Real. Sexy. Romance: Interview with Leslie McAdam
Real, sexy romance novelist Leslie McAdam is what I call a “can’t fail writer.” She works hard at her craft and always pushes herself to do more for her readers. “I wrote secretly for fifteen years, too scared to show anyone anything I'd written, really,” Leslie says. “Then I met Kristy, who gave me some confidence I sorely lacked.”
I would argue that you can’t give anybody confidence, but I am proud of what Leslie has accomplished since we met. This month, she’s publishing her 6th novel, Sol. In our interview, we discussed the book, her process, and how writing feels like sex.
Kristy Lin Billuni: Tell me about Sol.
Leslie McAdam: It's the first in a new series of romance books set in Spain. The title, Sol, means sun.
KLB: Why Spain?
LM: I lived in Spain during college, and it holds a lot of special memories for me. So I'm setting the book at a translation school in southern Spain. This is a student-teacher book, but the student is the male (and he's military) and the teacher is the female, which I think is a little unusual.
KLB: Can you talk about the theme?
LM: The book has themes of forgiveness--as well as who is in control.
KLB: And inspiration?
LM: Inspiration comes from my own experiences living in Spain, the military members of my family, my cover model, who served in Afghanistan, and the freespirited people I know and love. I think it's great for fans of smart, contemporary romance about real people.
KLB: Something I love about working with you as a writer is the way you just accept that writing is a part of your every day life. It’s like it’s in your blood. Have you always been a writer?
LM: I learned how to read before I was three and always loved words. When I was little, I wanted to be a children's book writer. Fast forward a few years, and one day I picked up a notebook at a bookstore across the street from my work and started writing a fiction story on a park bench.
KLB: Next thing you know you’re winning awards!
LM: Yes! I put up my book on Wattpad, and it won the world's largest online writing competition.
KLB: Tell me about your writing practice. Do you write every day?
LM: Yes, I have a daily writing habit. I write three pages in a journal every day, and it's a pretty journal. I use a 17-year-old fountain pen. I refill the ink from an ink bottle.
KLB: Oh, I love that you do that. What about writing on the go?
LM: I always carry a moleskin notebook and tend to scribble at red lights (or pull over to the side while I'm driving). I also write on my laptop in Scrivener.
KLB: So, when you write at home, where do you sit?
LM: I have a beatup pink chair from my husband's deceased grandmother that is just my size. I write near a 1940s vanity, with my laptop on a lapdesk. Or wherever I can sneak pen or pencil to paper
KLB: And how do you begin one of your novels?
LM: I normally have some sort of idea--a theme. Something I really love and want to explore. And I normally start with just scribbling in a notebook.
KLB: And then you write every day until it’s done?
LM: It's usually something every day, although after I write an outline things go faster. The brainstorming process can take me awhile.
KLB: What kinds of things do you figure out in those early brainstorms?
LM: Thoughts about characters and settings. Fun things. I don't write it if I'm not enthused. If I'm bored, it means I should be writing something else.
KLB: I agree. If you don’t want to write it, nobody wants to read it. Write the good stuff!
LM: But I do like to be scared. I try to not repeat myself, and if I'm scared of a project it usually means I'm on the right track.
KLB: I think those are really exciting parameters for any writer: Write something that scares you. Don't write anything that bores you. And what about the sex? Is writing sexy for you?
LM: Yes, like in sex, there are beats to writing. Like, ohhh, that's right. Yeah, baby, that's how it's supposed to be. That's working for me now. First a little dialogue, and then some setting, and then go up to an interior monologue and then some more dialogue and ohhh yeah, that's just right. Get the rhythm right.
KLB: I love that. So hot! Okay, if I want to read more sexy romance novels, whom do you recommend?
LM: My buds are the Graffiti Fiction girls, Jerica MacMillan, and Lex Martin, among many others.
I love to talk to writers like Leslie McAdam about the process of writing. Buy Leslie’s books and read her fabulous blog. To meet more writers in social media, follow me, The Sexy Grammarian, on Twitter or share books with me on GoodReads. Yearning to jump into the writer’s life yourself? My free ebook, Arouse Your Writer Self, will get you going. Want more? Private sessions with me are more affordable than you think, and the first one’s free.