“Romance…beyond your imagination”
Don’t you just love Leah’s tagline? I do. And it made me think, I HAVE to know more about her!
Luckily, Leah Braemel, Samhain author of the Hauberk Protection series, is here today! Last month, she hosted the most incredible birthday bash, and was not only kind enough to invite yours truly to participate, but to blog here in return!
Not only that, but the lovely Leah has offered to give away a copy of Private Property to one of the commenters. Yes, consider me jealous I’m not able to win. Really, just read the blurbs, and you’ll know why these have gone onto The List of Things to Be Read. You can see why… I’m a cover-lover, and hers is just downright sexy.
And to appease my nosy nature, Leah has allowed me to interview her. Read it below!
Skylar: What inspired you to write romances?
Leah: I’m not sure I can say any ‘one thing’ inspired me to write romances. I love reading stories that have a romance in them, whether it’s a primary focus of the story or a side story so I guess that spills over into my writing. It wasn’t until around 2005 that I realized all my stories had romances in them as well, whether it was the “meet and fall in love” type storyline or a couple who had been together for a while (either life-long friends or husband and wife who had grown complacent) who were having to rely on each other to overcome some problem that had cropped up in their lives.
Skylar: How do you research for your novels?
Leah: Nowadays the web is a huge resource, though it can be difficult sorting out whether the site is a reputable basis of information. Since I’m writing about a private investigation agency and some of my characters are former police officers or FBI agents, I turn to some private investigators I’ve taken courses from or from some members of the CrimeSceneWriters yahoo group. For instance, I’ve had advice from Steven Brown who is a former FBI agent and is currently a private investigator and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating. My web mistress is also a former FBI agent who is very patient when I hit her up with my questions. I’ve also gone to talks given by my local police department.
Skylar: What is your biggest pet peeve in a hero? In a heroine?
Leah: I really don’t like heroes who are over-the-top alphas and gives commands to the heroine regardless of what she wants. I just had to put down a book by a famous NY author because the hero just “knew better” than the heroine and forced her to do things (sexually) she wasn’t prepared to do/accept. In a heroine? The age-old “Why did you open the door/go down in the basement? Why didn’t you call 911, you idiot?” stereotype. The heroine who knows she’s ill-equipped to go after the bad guy, or who deliberately places herself in a bad situation when the best/smartest thing would be to NOT GO, especially if others have warned her. Of course it usually leads to the hero having to rescue her. *rolls eyes* Unfortunately, I can also argue that I’ve done exactly that – a couple years ago I heard what sounded like a woman screaming in the parking lot behind my house one night. What did I do? I opened the patio door and walked out into the backyard. Of course I had my cordless phone in my hand and 911 on the line, but I still shouldn’t have walked out, should I? So I guess I’m my own TSTL heroine, LOL.
Skylar: Can you give one piece of advice to aspiring writers?
Leah: Oh, wow, just one? I’d love to talk about finding good critique partners and how much you need to read in your genre as well, but I guess the main thing I’d say is you have to write. I’ve met a lot of people who say they want to write, but when I talk to them I discover they’ve never actually finished anything they’ve started. If your goal is to just have fun with the story, that’s not an issue, but if your plan is to get published, then you must have something finished before that can happen. So focus on your favorite story and write and write and write until it’s finished. THEN worry about editing it.
Skylar: What is your writing routine?
Leah: Normally when I’m working on a new story, I do a 2 page outline, then sit down and write a minimum of 2K a day until the story is finished. Normally by the end of page 1 the outline is in the trash and being reworked. (Yeah, I’m a diehard pantser I guess.) I can’t write while listening to music, although music can inspire scenes.
Skylar: What is the best part about living in Canada?
Leah: Wow, never having lived anywhere else, that’s tough. All I can do is compare it to other places – I have the freedom to wear jeans without the fear of being lashed like the women who live in Sudan. Nor do I have to cover my face with a veil or wear a burqa; I can drive –restrictions women in Saudi Arabia and other middle-eastern countries face. I am allowed to vote to help determine my country’s government and to say what I think. If I’m sick I can go to the doctor without worrying about being able to pay the bill. What’s not to love?
Skylar: As a reader, what entices you to pick up a book?
Leah: Usually I rely upon friends’ recommendations to pick up a book or a new author. Only a couple times in my memory have I picked up a book based upon a review. If I’m in a store and I don’t have any friend’s recommendations in mind, then I look for “Janine recommends” stickers, LOL. Janine is the lady in my local Chapters (Canadian bookstore) who does the purchasing for the romance section. I don’t think I’ve read a book she’s recommended that I haven’t liked. (I really hope she never quits the store, a whole plethora of romance readers in the area will be lost, LOL)
Skylar: What is your favorite childhood book?
Leah: I loved CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe –I didn’t care for any of the children but I loved the idea that a different world could exist and would be as easy to access as opening a closet door.
Skylar: What is your least favorite adverb?
Leah: Actually. Drives me nuts when I hear it, especially by people being interviewed on television. Which is funny considering how many times I use it myself when I’m speaking. Although if you asked my editor, she’d probably say my favorite is ‘really’, LOL.
Skylar: What three books are on your “keeper” shelf?
Leah: Considering I have several shelves filled with my ‘keepers’ that’s a tough choice. There are two types of keeper books for me – those I reference for when I’m writing. (How did “author” do that type of scene?) And my comfort reads. So I’m guessing you’re talking about those types? They change up and if you asked me a year or two from now they’re probably be different, but for now JR Ward’s Lover Eternal (Rhage’s story), Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I (since I used to have a speech impediment and had to undergo speech therapy I can really identify with Simon, plus I just love Julia’s writing.) The third one … hmm…it’s a tie between Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Deidre Knight’s Butterfly Tattoo – that book can make me cry in about five places every time I read it.
What about you? What book is on your keeper shelf? My latest addition is The Naughty Professor by Natasha Moore.