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Friday, February 25, 2011

20 Questions with author M. Leighton and a Giveaway!

It's time to play...
Today I had the great pleasure of sending M. Leighton, author of The Reaping 20 interview questions which she so kindly took the time to answer.
Here is what she had to say:

J: Have you always wanted to be a writer? 

ML: To be honest, until I wrote my first novel, I never even considered it.  It's kind of like wanting to be an astronaut or a famous actress.  Being a real, honest-to-goodness, bona fide writer seemed to be better suited to the “fairy tale” category than the “attainable” one. 

J: If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?

ML: I’d probably be pulling out handfuls of hair as I tried to force my square peg into a round hole.  As we adults must, I’ve done what needed to be done for many years, but I was never really happy (occupationally speaking) until I wrote my first novel.  And then it clicked.  I can’t imagine loving any job more.

J: What made you go the route of self-publishing?

ML: Oh, self publishing!  How I love thee!  Let me count the ways... 

I tried to get a novel published through the traditional channels and was promptly rejected.  At my husband's request, I started looking into self-publishing with Amazon and Smashwords.  And you know what?  I started to get really, really excited.  I could publish the work that is near and dear to my heart without having to sign away my life.  I could write what I want, when I want.  AND I wouldn't have to charge an arm and a leg to keep industry leaders in their Bentleys!  It was obvious to me from the very start that it was a win-win situation.  So when I finished The Reaping, I bypassed the mere thought of traditional publication, put it straight out in eBook format and I haven't looked back since.

J: Was there anything specific that inspired you to write The Reaping, or did the idea just come to you?

Inspiration strikes me in a lot of different ways, but what I start out with is never, EVER what I end up with.  The book that I plotted out in the beginning was quite different than the finished product.  Carson and Fahl had their own ideas for where the story was going.  I just listened to them.

J: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

ML: When the story started taking a different direction, I knew I had two choices: my way or the Humpty Dumpty way.  I could ignore the voices of the characters and continue on with MY plan and write the book I’d painstakingly planned.  Or I could go with what my willful characters wanted and then go back to the beginning to pick up all the pieces and glue them back together again.  I ended up going with Humpty Dumpty and the characters. That Carson's hard to ignore!

J: You created such great characters that are so real and so believable. Are any of them based on people you know? Which character is most or least like you, and in what ways?

ML: No, the characters aren’t based on anyone that I know, but I’m sure that will happen eventually.  I think Carson is the most like the person I HOPE I could be in that kind of situation.  Few of us ever get the opportunity to see what we’d do in a dilemma like Carson’s, thank God.  And I’m sure we all HOPE that we could be brave and selfless, but one never knows.  We can only hope that we’d do the right thing.

J: Do you need anything specific when you write? Music on, quiet, snacks?

ML: Quiet!  As close to absolute silence as I can get.  I can hear the voices in my head better.  I’m kidding.  (Or am I?)

J: How long does it take you to write a book?

ML: Anywhere from two weeks to three months.  The Reaping took three months, but I was working at the time and I started it right before the holidays.  How crazy was that?  Evidently I'm much more courageous than I look.

J: Can you tell us a little bit about what you are working on right now?

ML: I was torn about what to focus on first when I finished The Reaping.  But an idea for a dystopian novel hit me (right in the middle of showering, as some of my best ideas tend to do) and I decided to go with that. 

Without giving too much away?  Hmmm, let's see.  It's the story of a very special girl and her sister who, based on a mysteriously written prophecy, strike out across a (sort of) post-apocalyptic landscape in search of the one man, a reluctant warrior and outcast angel, who holds the key to saving humanity as well as the earth itself.

J: What do you like to do when you are not creating such great stories?

ML: I wish I could say that I love to run ten miles a day or I love to do hours of pilates followed by making my own bread and yogurt, but...I just don't.  I love to read and watch movies.  And eat.  I'm not going to lie.  And of those, eating's probably my favorite.  I love to eat.  Really!  If it were an Olympic sport, I'd undoubtedly have won the gold several times over.  People would be envious of my impressive display of medals and trophies.

Alright, let's do some 'Get to Know You' questions:

J: Are you a morning person or night owl?

ML: I'm a strange combination of the two.  I wish I could be solely one and not the other, but I can't seem to manage it.  I've been known to stay up until 3 or 4 am, but usually I don't.  I can't seem to sleep late so I start winding down by midnight or a little after.  I'm usually awake (sadly) by about 6:30 or so.  I'm a weirdo.

J: Last song that was stuck in your head?

ML: Turning Japanese.  I know that sounds insane, but we watched Let Me In (sad vampire movie) last night and that song was in it.  I was totally stuck on it until late this morning.  The worst thing about it was that the only words I know are "I'm turning Japanese.  I think I'm turning Japanese. I really think so."  And those few words just kept going round and round and round in my head.  It's a wonder I slept at all.

J: Do you have a guilty pleasure TV show?

ML: Glee.  Does that count?

J: What was your favorite book as a kid?

ML: Cinderella.  And that's weird because I was a skinny tomboy.

J: If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

ML: Planning on how to spend it and then wondering where it went.

J: If you had to eat one thing and one thing only for an entire week, what would it be?

ML: Chocolate.  Or fettucini alfredo. 

J: If you could recommend one book that everyone should read, what would you choose?

ML: Stands A Calder Man by Janet Dailey.  Great book!  Sad book!  I would never inflict such emotional pain on one of my readers. 

J: Picture this scenario. You just received a phone call from someone who wants to turn your book into a movie. They also tell you that you have full control over who gets cast in the movie. Who do you pick to play the parts?

ML: Wow!  Great question.  That is incredibly hard to say, though.  Maybe Amanda Seyfried and Chace Crawford.  That's a tough one.

J: Finish this sentence. My perfect day off would be...

ML: Lying on the beach with my husband.  Warm sand on my back, hot sun on my face, wind in my hair and a great book on my Kindle.

J: Everyone can always use another piece of good advice. Is there a piece of advice that someone has told you that you or something you have learned on your own that you would like to share with us?

ML: Don't waste your time doing something you hate.  Life's too short.

That is great advice!
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview.

Thank you for having me!
You can check out her blog HERE
There are  also two other books for the Kindle by this awesome author called Caterpillar and Wiccan. Personally, after reading The Reaping, I cannot wait to read those two.
You can check out my review for The Reaping HERE.
I enjoyed reading this book so much that I am going to give away a copy of it!
Since it is a Kindle ebook before you enter make sure you have a way to read it.
The giveaway will end March 10th so get to entering!
Just click HERE to enter :D


  1. Thanks for the interview Jessica !!! I hadn't heard of this author until now and she seems so nice and funny !! =) I'm going to check out the blurb of The Reaping !!

  2. Awesome interview! Like Elodie, this is the first time I have heard of this book, and I've already added it to my Goodreads! Thanks for the contest :)

  3. Great interview! I don't think I can enter because I don't have a Kindle or eReader and I am really not keen on reading a novel on my computer. My eyes strain easily. Best of luck to those that enter!

  4. The Reaping was creepy in a way that had me turning the pages for more and more, and not to mention the romance between the characters! Carson handled everything like a normal teenage girl, she freaked out and trusted her heart when maybe it wasn't the best idea to. Carson learned that the hard way which sometimes is the best way to learn. Carson lost everything she loved, her dad, and not to mention her mom and her sister.


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