I would like to thank Garrett Leigh for taking the time to talk to us about her latest release, Only Love, and how Jed and Max came to be. Check out my review for Only Love here. There is a giveaway, so stay tuned for that.
Hi Garrett, thanks so much for coming to gab with us. How are you? What’s shakin’ in your world in your world today?
I’ve just come back from a trip to the zoo with my minis, so I’m a little frazzled. Something about seeing chimps in cages really winds me up!
All I can do is grin at that. 😀
I’ve just finished Only Love and, well, it left me no quarter. I was haunted by the emotion and it flat out captured me. How is it for you while you’re writing? Are you affected likewise or do you feel the excitement as you’re locking into something, feeling it all flow. Or both?
When it flows, it’s a buzz like no other, creatively, at least, and for me, I often find myself chasing that feeling. With Only Love I was very lucky. I already had a plot nailed in my head before I wrote it. My main stumbling block was finding an MC to partner Jed. Couldn’t believe my luck when Max came to me in the shower one day (not like that, you dirty buggers).
Despite my brain’s perma-residence in the gutter, I totally get the inspiration-in-the-shower thing, happen to me all the time. Someone needs to invent a ‘dry erase’ board for the shower.
Now, when you were creating Jed and Max, what were some of the things you were thinking about, how did they appear in your mind, in your heart? About what were they insistent in making sure you told us about them? 😉
Jed was always…well, Jed, from the very beginning. He was reticent and grouchy, but I wanted readers to be in no doubt that he had a huge heart beneath all that. Max, despite his secrets, was an easy character to write. He was so kind and gentle, I always knew what he was going to say and do. Jed was different. Though I had his story mapped out, he didn’t always behave as I thought he might. I’m still surprised he got through the book without punching anyone. He was the most even-tempered of his crew, but I kind of assumed circumstance would push him over the edge.
Is there anything they’re still insistent about that wasn’t in Only Love and you’d like to share with us here? Hmmmmm?
Jed would very much like to tell you about when Max met Paul’s wife, Olivia and her newborn baby. Max was never allowed to hold Belle and Tess when they were tiny babies because of his epilepsy, but Olivia is very relaxed momma, and she trusted Jed to make the call. I have the scene in my head. One day…definitely, maybe…
I’d also like to explore the death of the Red Cross nurse Jed told Max about. I know who her lover was, and I reckon his story could be woven into the Only Love world…
Ooooh, and Max wanted you to know that Jed is an amazing swimmer. He found out the summer after Jed got sick. Swimming in the lake was good exercise for Jed when his leg couldn’t handle running, but stupid Garrett forgot to write it in!
Awww, that’s so sweet re: Max and Olivia’s baby, I’d love to hear that story. And don’t call yourself stupid, even in third person. You just told us about the swimming, so it’s all good. *thumbs up* 😀
It feels like you’ve done a lot of research for this story. How do you like to approach doing the research, what are some of your sources, including friends and family, etc.?
Research is one of the best bits about writing. I knew much of Jed’s medical history from personal experience, and I studied military history way back in the day. That stuff is easy…and fun if I don’t have a base knowledge of it. I think the trick is to look beyond Wikipedia and a cursory google search. When I wrote Max’s seizure scene I stalked some epilepsy support groups, contacted some charities and asked for help. There’s nothing more precious than a true life account.
Location research is tougher. I’m a Brit based just north of London and I haven’t set foot on American soil since I was twelve, so making my US-based books and characters convincing takes a lot of work. Often, I’m not even aware of British-isms creeping into the text until my editor starts yelling at me.
Knowing you’re a Brit, I actually thought about that and felt you did a great job in both the location descriptions and dialogue when it comes to American vs Brit . I think a couple of Brit-isms slipped in, but it just makes it fun. 😉
Similarly, if I were forced to guess, I would say you have family members who have served. I do, as well. If so, how do you think this has influenced what you want to write, what you want to express when you write?
My brother and my godfather were Royal Marines. My godfather actually writes for Jane’s Military Information Group. Beyond that, having an older brother meant my childhood and teenage years were dominated by action movies and books about soldiers, cops, guns and tanks. I think this has hugely influenced the way I write. I’ve been told numerous times that I have a distinctly masculine writing voice (whatever that means, LOL)
Whatever it is, it works, that’s all we need know. 😀
You give Galway, Ireland a shout-out in Only Love, which is one of my favorite places on earth. What are some of yours? What are your top three places you dream of being able to visit and experience someday?
I love London at any time of year, obviously, but I’d love to come to Chicago and walk a while in Pete and Ash’s shoes from my Roads series. I’d also love to visit Italy and Sweden. Oooh, and Iceland too!
I think Iceland sounds very intriguing and it’s on my list, too.
You also mention North Ireland and The Troubles. I was there a couple of years ago and things were peaceful, the people of Belfast were very kind and ready with a smile. There have been recent instances of violence there again. Did this influence any part of your story, and is it something you’d like to write more about in a future book?
Max’s father’s story was inspired VERY loosely on the murder of Pat Finucane. Seeing the violence flare in Northern Ireland again is horrible, but I reckon it will get worse before it gets better.
That’s probably true.
Ok, here’s a goodie: do you remember the first story you ever wrote? The one that actually made you think “wow, I just wrote a story!” If so, spill it, tell us what it was about:
Haha, the first sentence I ever wrote was a figment of my imagination. I wrote in my handwriting book that I’d been swimming at the local pool. Total bullshit, though my dad did take pity on me and take me the next week.
Awwwww, so your story became reality. 😉
With whom would you love to co-write a story? It can be anyone: in this genre, any other genre, living, and… not so living LOL. Who are those people on your list?
Now that, I cannot tell you. Just watch this space.
Ooooooooooooooh, ok everybody, take note of that!
What’s next up for you, both in upcoming releases and projects you’re currently in the throes of writing:
Bones (Blue Boy 2) is coming out May 6th, after that, I have a few things in the pipeline, but nothing definite yet so my lips are sealed.
As for current WIPs, I’m writing something light right now, but I keep getting pulled away from it by design jobs. I’m hoping to get back to it after Easter and get some serious wordage down!
That all sounds fab to me!
Thank you again, so much, for spending some time with all of us! 😀
Garrett Leigh has kindly offered an ebook of ONLY LOVE to one lucky commenter
Contest ends 25th April @ 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older to win. Void where prohibited.
From the Publisher:
The diagnosis of a chronic stomach condition leaves thirty-two-year-old Sergeant Jed Cooper with little choice but to call time on his Army career. Then on the dusty streets of Kirkuk, an ambush gone tragically wrong decimates his team, and he returns to the US with a shattered leg and the memory of his best friend dying in his arms.
Life in his sleepy hometown proves intolerable until he finds solace in a lakeside cabin with vivacious young carpenter, Max O’Dair. In the shadow of the epilepsy that periodically plagues Max, he and Jed form an unspoken bond. After a late night episode, Jed realizes how much Max means to him, and life has taught him not to waste time.
But the lines between contentment and complacency are blurred. Things left hidden resurface to tear through their world, and before they can repair the damage, death comes to call again. Faces, past and present, rally around them to weather the storm, but before long, they are left with only love.
About the Author
Garrett Leigh lives in a small commuter town just north of London with her husband, two kids, a dog with half a brain, and a cat with a chip on her shoulder. She’s twenty-nine, and now she’s reached that milestone, she intends to stay there for the foreseeable future. Garrett has been writing just about her whole life, but it’s been about three years since she decided to take it seriously. According to Mr. Garrett, it was either give the men in her head a voice or have herself committed.
Angst. She can’t write a word without it. She’s tried, she really has, but her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.
Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh.
Garrett Leigh has offered up 1 lucky commenter their own eCopy of Only Love.
Contest ends 25 April 2014 @ 11:59pm CDT. Must be 18 or older, void where prohibited…
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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