I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people this past year, and I am making an effort to introduce them to you on this blog. I am fascinated by other writers—what they write and why.Leslie Tentler is the author of the critically acclaimed Chasing Evil trilogy from MIRA Books. Her third novel in the series – Edge of Midnight – releases February 1 and to celebrate, she’s giving away a free copy! Comment below to enter for a chance to win.
What drew you to writing romantic suspense?
I love the elements of danger in romantic suspense stories, and the heightened passions that come along with that. While no one really wants that kind of danger in his or her real life, I’d think, it’s exciting to see it play out from the safety of a book. I’m especially drawn to male characters that act heroically and can be brave even to the point of foolishness when the stakes are high.—I’m with you, to be able to play it out in a book is preferable.
How do you research and where do you find your info?
The Internet is a wonderful thing! For all three of my books, I relied on it heavily. For example, for Midnight Caller, I did online research on vampirism and the Goth subculture, as both played key roles in the book. But I also had a good working knowledge of New Orleans, which helped with the city’s description and geography.
In Midnight Fear, my heroine is a former D.C. socialite who runs a non-profit equine therapy program. I loved the idea of the setting, but knew relatively little about horses. Fortunately, I had a friend who grew up showing and jumping horses, so she helped me a lot with descriptions.
In my current book, Edge of Midnight, my heroine is a newspaper reporter covering a crime beat. I know several former reporters and was able to pick their brains on their jobs and how the industry is changing in the Internet age.
So I guess you could say my process is a mix of online research and personal interviews.-I find research, especially if it’s outside of what you know personally fascinating. In each book you bring in some very interesting occupations and information (yes, I love the whole vampirism/goth subculture-on a totally intellectual level of course…)
Tell us about your current book, Edge of Midnight.
Here’s the back cover copy, which I think does a good job of setting things up:
The writer becomes the story when crime reporter Mia Hale is discovered on a Jacksonville beach—bloodied and disoriented, but alive. She remembers nothing, but her wounds bear the signature of a sadistic serial killer. After years lying dormant, The Collector has resumed his grim hobby: abducting women and taking gruesome souvenirs before dumping their bodies. But none of his victims has ever escaped—and he wants Mia back, more than he ever wanted any of the others.
FBI agent Eric MacFarlane has pursued The Collector for a long time. The case runs deep in his veins, bordering on obsession…and Mia holds the key. She'll risk everything to recover her memory and bring the madman to justice, and Eric swears to protect this fierce, fragile survivor. But The Collector will not be denied. In his mind, he knows just how their story ends.—I totally have to read this one!
Are you a plotter? Panster? Or a mix?
If you asked me that prior to the Chasing Evil trilogy, I would’ve definitely said “panster”. I prefer writing that way. It’s how I wrote Midnight Caller. I had a general idea for the direction of the story and its ending, and I just let things flow freely from there.
With the other two books, however, the publisher required an outline for approval prior to writing. So I didn’t have much of a choice and became a reluctant plotter.-Ah, see this is good to know. I’m a bit of both. But it seems to have worked for you. Outstanding!
Do you utilize critique partners? How do they help you?
I had a critique partner for Midnight Caller, but the deadlines I had for Midnight Fear and Edge of Midnight meant that I had to keep a much faster pace. So my critique partner became more of a reader who did a single read-through and just generally let me know if the story was working for her or not. By necessity, the process was nowhere near as extensive as it was with the first book.
That being said, finding the “right” critique partner is invaluable. It is tremendously helpful to have a second opinion or just someone to brainstorm with!-I couldn’t agree more. So glad you have someone you can trust.
Revisions: How do you like them – easy or hard? Help you define the story better?
I’m not the fastest writer, but the work I turn in tends to be pretty clean. My editor as well as my agent provided some suggestions for each book but there really weren’t any heavy revisions, so I feel fortunate.-Wow! I am in awe. I fear revisions.
What is your writing day like?
I’m still working part-time in public relations as a writer and editor, so my day tends to be pretty frenetic. I keep regular office hours (I work at home), but often switch between fiction and business writing projects. I’m definitely not the type of writer who works until late at night or gets up at three in the morning to tap things out on the keyboard – my brain doesn’t function in those “off” hours. I do my best to keep it in the confines of an eight a.m. to seven p.m. type day. –Yes, I’m jealous, but you make it work. I am impressed.
Writing: What is the hardest or easiest part about it?
The hardest part for me is battling the pressure of deadlines. I have a huge fear of a contracted manuscript not coming together in time or not living up to expectations.
The easiest part has been the signings and opportunities I’ve had to speak to book clubs and other groups. It’s rewarding to know that people have read and enjoyed the books you put so much of your heart into.-Ah, see that is my fear. I am not published but it lurks—the dreaded deadline.
Thank you so much for stopping by Leslie, it has been a pleasure and I hope you come again. I know you are doing a number of blogs. Your next one is with Kelly J. Stone at http://authorkellylstone.com/blog on Saturday, Feb 4.
I wish only good things for you. –M.V. Freeman
What RT Book Reviews says about Edge of Midnight"A compelling plot, thick suspense, a cunning villain, a shattered cop and a victim who wants answers at any cost place Tentler in the same category as bestselling authors Lisa Jackson and Beverly Barton." 4 ½ STARS - RT Book Reviews
ABOUT THE AUTHORLeslie Tentler is the author of the Chasing Evil trilogy from MIRA Books, which includes Midnight Caller, Midnight Fear and Edge of Midnight. She lives in Atlanta.
Midnight Caller at Amazon
ENTER THE CONTEST :
I will post the winner on the blog on January 28, 2012 **please put your email at the end of the post like this: jane at gmail dot com, so I can notify the winner directly** This is for one (1) copy of Edge of Midnight. Winner’s choice of e-book or print book. Print option open only to U.S. residents. WINNER is: Sandy! I will be emailing you. (I wish I could've given a book to everyone.) Thank you all for stopping by. --M.V. Freeman