Long before I was a writer, I was a rabid reader who tore through romances, mysteries and thrillers. Then one happy day, I discovered the paranormal world which manages to combine all three elements. Oh, the thrill of stepping into the heroine’s thigh high leather boots! Within a few pages, I was everything I wasn’t in real life—a size six given to withering quips, lights-out punches and sizzling come-hithers.
That being said, after a couple hundred books, I found myself wanting to meet a urban fantasy heroine who wasn’t tall, gorgeous and naturally brave. If I wrote a book, I thought, I’d write a coming of age story about a short, round girl whose first inclination in the face of danger would be to haul ass as fast as possible…
Meet Hedi Peacock. Half-Fae, half-Were, all trouble.
(A small confession: I didn’t toss out all of the tropes. What’s life without a good comeback? I kept the withering quips.)
Please tell us about your latest release.
The first book in the series, The Trouble With Fate, explored the concept that you can’t escape your destiny. The Thing About Weres takes it one step further. What if choices you made altered the course of your destiny and you weren’t totally thrilled with the results?
What’s a girl to do? Should you ever pin a wish upon a star?
Perhaps not, if you’re Hedi Peacock longing for her missing mate, Robson Trowbridge. For that’s when Karma steps in again, determined that this small, plump morsel of a half-Fae, half-Were girl receives exactly what she asked for. Charged with emotion and razor-sharp wit, The Thing About Weres, has been described as a realm-challenging thrill!
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
Expediency is key when it comes to secondary character names which is why I pinch those from my personal contacts and/or the credits on IMDB. Once I have a short list of first and last choices, I mix what I have together until I create something that sounds right to me. Want an example? Kerry Butcher.
So, secondary characters don’t get the love. On the other hand, you wouldn’t believe how long it took me to come up with memorable monikers for my heroine, Hedi Peacock, and her love interest, Robson Trowbridge. My protagonist’s first name was lifted from a 40’s bombshell called Hedi Lamar, her last from the gilt script on an Interior Decorator’s truck.
Here’s an irony: despite the effort I put into producing a unique name for my protagonist everybody gets Hedi’s name wrong. Please, scrub the image of the Swiss Alps from your mind! It’s not Heidi, which sounds like “Hi-Dee”. It’s Hedi, pronounced like “Head-ee”!
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
Hands down, the hardest character to develop was Merry, a sentient being trapped inside a hunk of amber amulet. Pendants, as a rule, are mute. Just how do you make a pet rock interesting? Turns out Merry is given to attitude and action. She soon pushed me aside and showed me the way to telegraph her opinions.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
A six foot ex-Drag Queen named Cordelia. She drawls her vowels and sways on her heels. She wears Ann Taylor and leaves a trail of perfume. I’ve always wanted an Ann Taylor dress…
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
Nope. I just throw words on the page until I discover their ‘hook’—the telltale thing about them that defines their personality. It’s not a particularly elegant method but I’ve given up on trying to force my character’s arrival on the page. When they’re ready, they’ll show up.
What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?
I did a deliberate face plant in a swampy bit of conservation land. In early spring. On a very cold day. Think about it.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
I wish I could say that it’s a hammock strung between two birch trees but I live in one of Toronto’s high rises, so it’s my bed. The city lights twinkle like stars as I turn the pages.
What can readers expect next from you?
I’ve just finished writing the third novel in the four-book Mystwalker series and I’m happy to report that my editor was thrilled with The Problem with Promises. I can’t wait to share it with my readers!
Where can readers find you on the web?
Head over to my website www.LeighEvans.com for my blog and the latest news/contest alerts. (Psst: Don’t tell my editor but I also spend way too much time loitering on social media. You can also find me on Facebook as LeighEvansAuthor or on twitter under the handle @LeighEvans001)
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
With a sigh, I slid my hand free from my safe cocoon to touch his pelt and said (in what I still maintain to this day was a nice, soft, pacifying whisper), “This would work better if you weren’t a wolf.”
About the Author:
Leigh Evans writes paranormal romances for St. Martin’s Press. Her very first novel earned high praise from RT Book Review and these rave words from NYT bestselling author Patricia Briggs, “Reader beware, if you pick up a Leigh Evans book, you won't put it down until the last page.”
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Leigh now lives in Toronto with her husband. She’s raised two kids, mothered three dogs, and herded a few cats. Other than that, her life was fairly routine until she hit the age of 50. Some women get tattoos. Leigh decided to write a book. A little tardy, but then again, her Mum always said she was a late bloomer.