Where does a writer’s inspiration come from? I couldn’t say. But for me, it always touches my awareness in the form of a dream. A dream that won’t leave me alone, but keeps playing time and time again. Sometimes the same scene, sometimes the story grows, adding characters and plot and depth and always in full technicolour surround sound.
The inspiration for my current series, the Witch-Were Chronicles – the first of which, Dark Moon, was released in March, and the 2nd, Healer Moon, and 3rd, Blood Moon, I’m working on right now – came to me in a dream like usual, but it was a dream that was a little different. At first, the dream started off as a memory of when I was skiing down Federation (a black run) at Mt Buller in Victoria. I love skiing. I love being on the mountain, the scent of the snow and the freshness of the air, the thrill of setting your skis down a slope and trying to perfect technique, the glorious views when the weather is good. When I’m up there, I feel free and relaxed in a way that’s hard to describe, something I share with my family.
On this day, (it was before I was married) I was just getting into my stride, when a snow boarder smashed into me from behind. The crash into the snow winded me, I got snow all down the inside of my jacket from smashing down over the moguls with him, his snow board smashing into my legs gave me a deep, gash-like bruise across my thighs. None of this was very romantic and it got worse.
When I was able to get my breath back, I registered that he was apologising, asking me if I was hurt and saying he really shouldn’t have let his friends talk him into going down a black run when he was only just up to blue runs. My fierce, always reigned in, red-headed temper reared its ugly head and I told him, in language that I’d learned from my theatre and comedian friends, to get off me and a whole pile of other things I’m not massively proud of. I lacerated the guy’s masculinity with my temper-driven tirade and told him to bugger off. Then got even crosser when he did and I had to track back up the hill to get my pole and ski which had come off, my leg throbbing.
I could never understand why I kept dreaming about this incident – it wasn’t something I was proud of. Despite the guy being an idiot boarding on a run he shouldn’t have been on and the fact he could have seriously hurt me, I don’t like losing my temper like that. But the dream kept on coming, like it was trying to tell me something.
And then it changed. The person who was knocked over wasn’t really me, even though she still had red hair. And the man who knocked me/her down was nothing like the guy who knocked me down in reality. He was mesmerising, the intensity of his blue eyes pulling at me, making my temper float away after a brief flare and suddenly the scene grew. It changed. Became heated with intense desire, with a pull that felt like something more than destiny, something more than human.
And that is how Dark Moon and the Witch-Were Chronicles, was born. I could have ignored it, I almost did, but it was insistent, the characters alive and I began to write. I couldn’t help it. And from this I learned that even my own personal experiences, no matter how ashamed I was of my reaction, can be used to create something special.
Here is a little snippet of that scene:
‘Are you okay?’ the man’s husky voice murmured in Skye’s ear.
‘Only if I don’t breathe,’ she managed, surprised she wasn’t winded. Snow inched into the collar of her parka. She shivered.
He shifted, pushing up onto his elbows to look down at her.
Despite the pain sparking through her body – damn, she was going to have some impressive bruises for show and tell on Monday – she became uncomfortably aware of the way their hips pressed together, legs tangled. She hadn’t been this close to a man in way too long. This wasn’t the way she’d imagined it happening again, though.
She tried to move. The action made his board – amazingly still attached to his feet – cut into her leg. She winced. ‘Well, this is a very charming way to meet and all, but can you get off, please? You’re crushing my legs.’
‘Sorry.’ He scrambled back.
‘Oh, fudgy-duck!’ She gasped as his board scraped over the bruise.
‘Are you hurt?’ He ran his hand ran over her leg, checking for injury.
Shivers chased across her skin that had nothing to do with the snow melting inside her jacket. Skye pulled away. ‘No. I’m fine. Just let me stretch it out.’
He shifted back. But instead of getting up and skiing off like most other people would, he stayed, kneeling beside her as she stretched out her leg.
‘I’m so sorry. I usually ski, but my brother talked me into trying out a snowboard this year.’
Rubbing her aching leg, her temper spiked at his words. Glaring at him, she snapped, ‘Are you kidding me? What the hell are you doing on Federation? It’s a black run – or didn’t you notice all the signs up the top, you irresponsible arse?’
His eyebrows rose above his sunglasses. ‘Wow. That thing about redheads and tempers is true.’
She bristled. ‘You could have killed yourself, or someone else. Namely me!’
He brushed snow from his hair. ‘For your information, I was doing okay until I hit that goddamned icy patch. I don’t know why I agreed to try a board,’ he grumbled.
He sounded so much like her twin, River, when he was pouting, that her flare of anger disappeared and she had to hide her grin.
‘So why did you go over to the dark side?’
‘My trickster of a brother said it would be a rush, but I think he just wanted to see me fall on my arse.’
Her lips twitched. ‘That would be okay, except for the fact you fell on mine.’
‘It looked softer than mine.’
She choked on a laugh. ‘Are you saying I have a fat arse?’
Rather than trying to back-pedal, his mouth curled into a lopsided smile – such a lovely mouth. ‘No. In fact, I was thinking how nice it looked before I smacked into you.’
Skye dragged her eyes from his mouth. ‘Is that why you took me for a toboggan ride, with me as the toboggan? To meet me and my nice arse?’
‘That, and the fact you stopped so suddenly.’
She snorted. ‘I thought you said there was an icy patch.’
‘Yeah.’ He laughed. ‘I did. Didn’t I?’ He pushed his sunglasses off his face to look down at her.
He had the most startling eyes. They were deeply blue on the edge, almost black, but lightened to an icy blue at their centre. Lightning bolt striations crazed through the iris, making it seem like his eyes glowed. They reminded her of a picture of a wolf River had put on his bedroom wall when they were young. She’d asked him to take it down. He’d thought it was because she was frightened of big dogs, but it hadn’t just been that. The wolf’s eyes had haunted her in a way that had confused her ten-year-old soul.
This man’s eyes were even more dangerous to her equilibrium. They pulled her in. Her chest ached like she’d been winded.
He broke eye contact and pushed to his feet, allowing her to catch her breath.
‘Here, let me help you up.’ He put out his hand.
Lately, Skye Collins has been unable to shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After a lifetime spent hiding her true nature, she knows that any unusual attention is something to be wary of. And the only attention she’s been receiving lately is from the intense and attractive Jason McVale.
Jason claims to know things about Skye that can’t be true, and it’s obvious he’s hiding secrets of his own. Yet despite herself, Skye can’t resist the attraction between them, and her surrender will set in motion a chain of events that will have consequences for everyone she holds dear.
Gradually, Jason convinces Skye that she has to trust him if she is to solve the riddle of her past and learn the truth about her power. But believing Jason means that her entire life has been based on a lie.
As her enemies gather strength and the danger increases, Skye is forced to accept who she really is. Will she risk everything and fight for those she loves? Or save herself and let them be destroyed by the forces of darkness?
About the Author
Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).
After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.
Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dog, Buffy, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She sometimes sings in a choir and works as a swim teacher in her day-to-day job.
Leisl writes paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense.