AUSSIE MONTH with Leisl Leighton
Describe yourself in one word:
What is your background with regard to writing?
I worked in theatre for years and wrote and co-wrote scripts. When I gave that up, I still needed to write and turned to writing novels. I also have a BA specialising in Modern and Medieval Literature.
Tell us about Dark Moon:
Dark Moon is the first book in the Witch-Were chronicles. It follows the story of Jason McVale who is searching for his Pack’s lost Pack Witch. He needs to find her because if he doesn’t, his Pack will be destroyed by an ancient curse. When he finds Skye Cantrae, he is surprised that she knows nothing of her powers, but even more shocked by his response to her – she is his mate. But she doesn’t know who or what he is and even worse, the way her powers have been blocked means if he doesn’t help her to find a way to accept everything he has to tell her and embrace her powers, then she will die. But Skye has been brought up to believe what she can do is evil and can only destroy and she can’t bring herself to trust what Jason tells her, even though she responds to him in a way that she has never responded to anyone else. To complicate matters, there is an ancient Witch who is also looking for Skye, because she has a plan to use Skye and her powers to break the Witch-Were pact that has tied Witches and Weres together for centuries and to take the power for herself.
What inspired Dark Moon?
It was a dream about an accidental meeting on the ski slopes. When I began to write it, I had no idea what it was going to become, but as I wrote the scene (which is the first in the novel), it became obvious that Skye was a witch and Jason was a Were and it just rolled on from there.
What are you reading right now?
I have just finished Nalini Singh’s latest and am currently reading Alexander McCall Smith’s reworking of Emma – it’s a little bit of fun.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list?
I’ve done all the usual things people have on those lists – skydiving, abseiling, rap jumping, black water rafting, caving and a horse riding trek – although, I’m going to do another horse-riding trek with my sister and Uncle Richard in March, which is something I’ve always wanted to do again, so that will be another thing I can tick off. I suppose after that, I’d like to take the kids to Italy and share all my favourite places with them and do more OS travelling to places I haven’t been yet.
Best thing about being an Aussie?
Being an Aussie. Is there anything bad? I love our country, I love the mix of cultures, I love the wildness of the bush and outback, the civility of the cities, the opportunities, the community and the sheer sense of bloody-mindedness that allows us to do things our way.
What you want readers to know about the romance genre?
It is not just a single thing. You can pretty much read any genre within the romance genre – contemporary, mystery, suspense, sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy, historical, Regency, comedy, sagas etc etc. I like to think that as an author and reader that I am part of a wonderful community of authors who are helping to get the word out there that romance books aren’t rubbish, but have as much value as any other genre. Romance books touch on the human condition and promise hope. They show the best side of humanity. I love that love wins out at the end. Reading romance has helped me through some very dark and difficult times and rather than giving me an unrealistic view of the world and relationships (like many naysayers accuse it of doing), it’s made me hunker down and grab hold of the things that matter most to me and to keep trudging on through. It’s helped me to find the happy and the love – and that can never be a bad thing.
What have you got in store for your readers in 2015?
I am working on the rest of the Witch-Were chronicles and am also working on another Romantic Suspense novel set in country Victoria this time. I hope to have a few of them out later this year.
What were your big achievements of 2014?
Dark Moon was released, and I also became President of Romance Writers of Australia – which was a pretty big thing for me.
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?