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Jenn sat down with Leslie Scott, an author we’ve featured before here on Thrice Read Books, to talk about life, romance, and her new release, Hot Lap. (You can find links to her reviews for Leslie’s books at the bottom of this post.)
Jenn: I’ve had the privilege of reading two of your books so far, and I’m in love with your style and characters, but before we get to them… Could you tell us a bit about you?
Leslie: Thank you, by the way. Especially the part about the characters. That always makes me smile.
I live in North Alabama. So think more rockets and engineers and fewer cotton fields and rednecks.
Jenn: Right on…
Leslie: I’ve been a stay at home, homeschool mom since this writing journey started. I have an eleven-year-old gifted son and a school setting was difficult for him. So if I’m not writing, often I’m teaching. It’s been a learning experience for both of us.
Or playing Mom-Taxi, there’s a lot of that.
Jenn: Homeschooling is a huge challenge that requires flexibility and constant adaptation. I remember those days well.
Leslie: It’s really a mess, a lot of times. My mom lives with us (and has for years), the other day she asked me if I was ever planning on cleaning the books off the kitchen table.
To which my son piped up “That’s the math lesson right now, we can’t.”
Jenn: Right! When Sam decided she wanted to do public school last year, I think I had a mini-celebration for all the new shelf space I’d acquired.
Leslie: Right? LoL. But we do that, we rescue and foster cats and dogs. I currently have eight (4 of each) right now and none are fosters. Well, one is a foster fail.
When this writing gig got busy, I had to enlist the aid of an online curriculum. So, while I supplement heavily, it’s not all on my shoulders anymore. And he’s doing well with that.
Jenn: So, you write romance, teach middle school, foster kitties and doggos…plus entertain rocket-men and engineers?
Leslie: LOL, mostly yeah. And Mr. Scott does cars. Always cars. Buying, selling, fixing, restoring, playing… cars. Which is where the idea for Arkadia Fast came from, lol.
Jenn: Hehe… I’ve known a few of those. I noticed a distinct flair for classic muscle in Hot Lap. If you ever get out to the West Coast in the Summer, we have a couple of fantastic little car shows.
So, how did this writing gig get started? Have you always wanted to be a writer? Or was it more of a hobby/idea that came from extra homeschooling time?
Leslie: I’ve always been a writer. Since I was a little girl, I’ve told and wrote stories. Won writing competitions. And for years I wrote on writing sites on the internet… for fun. (back when that was a thing)
I’m actually jumping into the Radish App this spring, which will be like going back to those days for me. The homeschooling thing just allowed me time to really pursue this as a career.
Jenn: That’s one I haven’t heard of… What’s Radish?
Leslie: Radish Fiction is a mobile app for serialized fiction.
Jenn: That sounds like fun.
Leslie: Basically, you read a few episodes for free, then pay a small amount to open the rest. Yeah, the likes of Bev Jenkins and Kelly Armstrong have stuff on there.
Jenn: Oh… that does sound interesting.
Leslie: It’s a cool way too, for me to explore new genres
Granted, the app is romance heavy, I’ll be writing an Urban Fantasy (with romantic elements).
Jenn: I’m always curious about this when I get the answer “I’ve always been a writer.” Did you pursue writing/creative writing in college?
Leslie: In high school, yes.
I went to a technical college first, and they didn’t have creative writing. But after the plan was to go for an English degree (still on the agenda, but haven’t got around to it) with a focus in creative writing.
My 8th grade English teacher goes to church with us.
She told me back then I should be a writer, she’s thrilled now.
Jenn: Hehe… That’s awesome!
So, as we transition over to talking about your books, let’s dive into the source – Where do you get your ideas for stories?
Leslie: lol, is “the voices in my head” a good answer for that?
Jenn: As a writer… it works for me!
Leslie: In truth, some just come to me. Others I get a spark of inspiration from everyday things.
Leslie: The Arkadia Fast series came from watching drag racing/street racing videos on youtube with Mr. Scott. And going to a few street races (and the drag strip).
BUT Two Hearts, One Stone I wrote specifically for a publisher’s open call
Jenn: I figured there was a personal experience there. The descriptions were too precise.
So, let’s talk about Two Hearts first… That was my introduction to your work, and I fell in love with your style in that story.
Leslie: Awe, thanks! I love my little cowboy novella.
Jenn: It’s a really sweet story.
Leslie: Thank you.
Jenn: You wrote it for an open call. For those who aren’t sure what that means, could you explain it a little?
Leslie: An open call is when a publisher wants a certain type of story. So they put it out there (both to their authors and often to the public) that hey we’re looking for this type of story written to a certain type of parameter.
For Stone, it was a novella about a cowboy and a baby.
Jenn: That sounds challenging. Do you write the story on a deadline? Or write the proposal and then do the story while you’re waiting on the response to your proposal
Leslie: Different for each story, truly.
For Stone, I wrote it on my own and submitted it when I finished (no real deadline).
Jenn: Okay. That makes sense.
Now, Arkadia Fast… that’s an entirely different thing, and I haven’t read book 1 yet (book 2 was awesome, and I didn’t feel like I was really missing out on anything by having not read #1). is that your only other series on the shelves so far?
Leslie: Right now, yes. I hope that changes by the end of the year. There are quite a few other things in the works. But, this business moves so slow. LoL.
And there are still four more Arkadia Fast novels to go.
Jenn: It does! Between the creative work and the product development (pretty much everything not writing and editing), it’s not an exact science.
Leslie: Indeed not. There are lots of things happening behind the scenes, though, and I can’t wait until I can share them with everyone.
Jenn: Yay! I’ll be looking forward to those.
Leslie: Let’s just say, my first true love… is romantic suspense. And at some point, more cowboys.
Jenn: Hot Lap comes out in just a little over a week, so let’s talk books! For those who haven’t gotten around to the review yet, what’s Hot Lap about? (Because it’s not about lap dances!)
Leslie: Well, let’s start with what it means, first.
Leslie: Hot Lap is a racing term for the turn around at the end of a track and running the race again without a cool down period for the car.
It’s dangerous, exciting, and well… yeah.
Jenn: More danger, more excitement.
Leslie: So, in Hot Lap, our hero is stepping back into the world of romantic relationships. Hadley, the heroine, is his Hot Lap.
The novel is about a young woman trying to find a place to belong and a young man trying to hold his little family together.
Jenn: He’s also a single father, with complications.
Leslie: Yes, indeed.
A young, single father, which really ads in another layer of problems
Meanwhile, the heroine is trying to hide a very large secret about herself.
Jenn: This is book 2 in the series, but I didn’t feel totally lost in reading it. Can you back up just a bit, and introduce book 1?
Leslie: There is a very major plot point in book one.*
The entire series follows a group of friends in the small town of Arkadia, Texas.
The Finish Line (book 1) is about Raelynn Casey and what it’s like to come home when it’s the last place in the world you want to be and the only place you need to be… All at the same time.
First loves, tragedies, and all of those things.
Jenn: I think I know which group of friends…Is this the race track/street racing bunch?
Leslie: Yes, it is. Most of the town is drag and/or street races. The prominent family in the first three novels (hint to book 3) own a Performance Speed Shop in town.
Jenn: Exactly. I caught a heavy hint of that tragedy in book 2.
Leslie: That tragedy, the loss of someone you love, haunts the entire series in its own way.
Jenn: It’s not something to just “get over”. That’s for sure.
Leslie: Indeed not. I think a lot of books do that, just skim past it as back story.
In truth, when something colors every decision you make, it becomes its own character in a way.
BUT, the books aren’t depressing. They are about finding the light and love despite such a thing.
Jenn: It does. And honestly, the way that you’ve portrayed the ongoing effects of such a loss, makes your characters come to life in a different way, which I love.
Leslie: Thank you, very much.
Jenn: I can’t speak for The Finish Line, but Hot Lap was definitely not depressing.
Leslie: The Finish Line is not either, it’s exciting and fast-paced and sexy.
Jenn: Two Hearts was, as well, so I have no doubt!
Leslie: I wish Book 3 was about to come out, as we could expand on this much more. We should revisit the topic when it does come out. lol
Leslie: Especially if you like big scary guys who turn into teddy bears.
What one tidbit would you dangle in front of a prospective reader? What would you most like for a reader to know before diving into your books, or if they were considering reading one of your books?
Leslie: Oh wow. I don’t know!
I guess, that they may be romance novels (and romance gets a bad rap) but the characters come to life. Their stories, what happens to them, is more than just a romance. I like to write characters that become your friends, your family in their own right.
That’s why I said it means a lot when someone mentions them as you did at the beginning.
Jenn: You do that superbly, by the way.
Leslie: Thank you.
Jenn: I hate when I hit the end of one of your stories, and dang it! The page won’t turn, because that’s the end!
Leslie: LOL. That’s a pretty awesome compliment.
As we start to wrap up, what’s the best way for readers to follow you?
We have links at the end of the article, of course, but where are you most likely to be hanging out?
Leslie: I’m a Twitter-aholic.
Jenn: The writing community on Twitter is amazing, isn’t it?
Leslie: Yes, it really is. That’s the best way to interact with me as I’m constantly there and have Tweetdeck open all the time.
And sign up for my Newsletter. I don’t spam, but any updates and the like I get (giveaways, contests, cover reveals) all go through my mailing list first.
Jenn: Sweet. We’ll be sure to link to that, too.
Leslie: And if you really love the stories, I have an ARC group on Facebook. So, a chance to read my stuff before anyone else. And a glimpse into all the stuff I’m doing I “can’t talk about.”
Jenn: For a quick recap, The Finish Line is already out, Hot Lap comes out soon… and book 3 is waiting in the wings. Any chance we could get ball-park release time for book 3?
Leslie: I’m hoping Book 3 (Full Tilt Boogie) will be out this winter.
Jenn: Very good!
Leslie: But, my serial, Black Water Magic will be out early May on the Radish Fiction app.
Jenn: Alrighty! I definitely have to add that to my tool kit.
And there goes my TBR pile… Again.
Leslie: LOL. Mine is RIDICULOUS, btw. I have an ad running on Bookbub so I log in daily to check it, and the first thing it shows me are the sale ebooks in my favorite genres.
So… yeah. LoL
Jenn: Hehe. I came home from RWA-2018 with over 100 books… And that’s just from RWA.
Leslie: Oh yeah, we did a small conference (you’d love it) in Atlanta called Moonlight and Magnolias
Leslie: And my CP had to check her suitcase on the flight home because she brought home so many.
Jenn: Oh, no! I know we had about $150 in shipping to get the books home because I couldn’t even fit them in my bags.
Leslie: Yeah, I can see that.
Jenn: But the one thing Hubby never hears is “I have nothing to read.”
Leslie: I drove, thankfully, and brought mine with me.
Jenn: Exactly! I’d like to thank you again, Leslie, for joining me today, and having such a fabulous little chat.
Leslie: This was fun, Jenn. Thanks for having me.
Jenn: I’ve been looking forward to getting to sit down with you since I read Two Hearts, so this was a HUGE treat for me.
Leslie: oh yay!
*Jenn has The Finish Line in her reading cue, so keep an eye open for the review!