Friday, February 12, 2016

Interview with Jewel E. Leonard

My author interview this week is with debut author Jewel E. Leonard. I'm super excited for her as she is launching her first book, Tales by Rails, on February 15th. Ooh, that's only a few days away!

To get things started, I asked Jewel to provide her author bio. So, here’s a bit about her:
Jewel lives with her husband, 7-year-old son and 19-month-old daughter in North Central Texas. The Leonards recently adopted a black kitten who will be Jewel's minion of darkness in short order.
I bet you're pretty excited to have your first book launching in a few short days. Could you give readers a glimpse of what your story is about?
Fresh from a failed marriage, Rhea hops on a train going from Los Angeles to Chicago. It's the perfect escape from her troubles with the added bonus of meeting a sexy stranger. What begins as innocent flirtation swiftly escalates to sexual encounters beyond her wildest dreams.
What genre are your books?
I write in a variety of genres—from sci-fi to fantasy, adventure to romance.  I generally stick to historical (or a historical-feel) and paranormal elements are almost always involved (either as a faint echo or a dominant feature).  Tales by Rails is a bit of a departure from my usual in that it is a contemporary erotic romance.  It was a pure joy to write.
What draws you to this genre?
These genres are the ones I enjoy reading.  They're ones I'm familiar with as a reader and of course I write what I'd like to read.  It's a wonderful "vicious" cycle.
Have you ever considered writing stories for other genres?
I do consider writing in other genres, all the time.  I have an idea for a thriller and I wrote part of a horror for NaNoWriMo last year.  I hit my 50,000 word goal but I didn't write much with that horror component (and will be adding it as I edit).
When did you first discover your passion for writing?
I've been a writer for as long as I can remember.  My earliest recollections of writing go back to when I was about five. 
How long have you been writing?
If I divulged this information, you'd have a pretty good idea how old I am; and (to quote Oscar Wilde) one should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. ;)
Hey, I like that. I may have to use it the next time someone asks ;)
What inspires your stories?
I'm inspired by so many things—smells, music, television shows, random conversation overheard in passing . . . 
Tales by Rails in particular was inspired by my desire to run away from my life and responsibilities during a difficult time.
What is the best part about being a writer?
I love telling stories.  I love entertaining people, connecting with people.  I love the friends I've made because of writing.  When someone tells me "I don't like writing," it's like hearing someone say "I don't like breathing"--I simply can't fathom it.
Oh my, yes! Writing is life itself!
What is the worst part about being a writer?
Rejection, which comes in more forms than the uninitiated realize.
Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love or sex scenes? Why or Why not?
Generally, no.  But as my 7 year-old son is a fast reader and advanced for his age, now I have to be really careful when I write around him.  I'd love to know I raised a man who is a good and considerate lover.  But he doesn't need to have this information juuust yet!
If you write in the realm of fantasy, do you ever worry about how believable your scenes will be to your readers?
I have that fear with paranormal and I know there are places that there will have to be at least some suspension of disbelief.
Do you write for yourself or to what you believe your readers want?
For myself first and foremost.  You can't please all of the people all of the time but I know for sure I can at least please myself. ;)
And the general consensus is that if you write something you want to read, there are others out there who will enjoy it, too.
How do you deal with negative reviews?
I have promised myself I won't look at reviews.  I expect that to last about half a day. 
Haha! It is hard to resist taking a peek.
Do you find promoting your books challenging or enjoyable?
It's definitely challenging for me.  I wouldn't have done any of it (particularly the blog tour) without the help of a wonderful woman named Ashley-- @ashleygraham55  on Twitter.
Do you have a favorite author?
One of my all-time favorite authors is Nina Bangs.  She writes such fun characters, her books are filled with great humor.  The resolutions are smart and the sex scenes are . . .  sexy! :)  What more could you ask for?
What are you currently working on?
I'm about to start the follow-up novella to Tales by Rails, I'm editing a Steampunk book that will be going out for another round of queries to agents, and I've recently started writing a time-travel tale.
Would you like to give readers a bit of a teaser for your latest work?
    My great-grandmother introduced Anthony to Cleopatra.  My grandmother hooked up Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley.  And my mother?  She had a hand in Voltaire's affair with Émilie du Châtelet.  My eldest sister Chiba had something to do with a woman named Camilla.  That was when she decided to retire from the family business and Peter Henlein's remarkable wearable timepiece came into my keeping.  Of course, I was not yet born when Chiba gave up Henlein's Pomander Watch; but our sister Zehira wanted nothing to do with it or with the family profession.  And thus it went into safe-keeping.  Upon my birth, Mother created the shadowbox in which the timepiece had been displayed those last twenty years, with the hope that I may have someday used it, myself.
    My name is Shelesh Kupplerin and I am a matchmaker.
This is from my time-travel story.  It's surprisingly low on the sex scenes given the plot (especially for me!) and written in first person POV which is a huge departure from my norm.
That one sounds intriguing! I'll definitely be watching for that release date!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Sit your butt. In that chair. And write. 
No one is going to write your story the way you can and time is passing whether or not you're using it. 
Free additional advice: get on Twitter and find yourself some cheerleaders.  I'm an excellent resource and will hook you up with some amazing people you'll wonder how you ever lived without. :)
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you so much for interviewing me!  It's been a pleasure! :)
The pleasure was mine! Thank you for taking time out to answer some questions and introducing yourself to readers. I wish you all the best in your author debut and look forward to watching your success! 

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work?

Amazon Author Page:

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