Susana: What inspired you to start writing?
Leslie: As long as I can remember my brain has manufactured fantastic tales. To keep my skull from exploding I’ve put these stories down on paper, because let’s face it. It would be illegal to kidnap people and force them to act out what’s in my head (although, if I could get away with it I might give it a try).
Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Leslie: My number one piece of advice is to make sure you have a strong grasp of writing mechanics, grammar, and English. If you don’t have these skills (and let’s be honest, just because you have great stories in your head doesn’t mean you know how to transport them from gray matter to the page), learn these skills, or find someone who has already mastered them to help. My pet peeve when reading a book is bad grammar, bad spelling, and writing that doesn’t flow. My next piece of advice is to find someone who knows more about the publishing business than you do to help you get published. A writing coach is a great place to start, especially if they’re published as well.
Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Leslie: Total pantser. I’ve tried to plot, but once I start writing the characters take over and choose their own paths. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to plot, only to completely deviate from the plan and go a completely different direction. To avoid any undue stress, I’ve found it’s just better to let the characters have their way. They know their stories better than I do after all, because it is their story. J
Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
Leslie: If they’ve read my bio, then readers shouldn’t really be surprised by anything. If not, perhaps they’d be surprised to discover that although I write romantic suspense, I’m not a girly-girl. I have extensive training in firearms, police tactics, and knife-fighting. I’m also a trained sniper, and I was the first female to complete an intensive 3-day SWAT course on the first try (the other woman in the class had taken the course before and dropped out after the first day). I hate lace and frills, but I love my tactical pants that have enough pockets to carry all three of my knives and my pistol. But, I do dress up and wear makeup. I can kick some serious butt and look good while doing it!
Susana: What would we find under your bed?
Leslie: Dust bunnies, hovering over the body of my cleaning fairy. They’re some bloodthirsty little bas*****, those dust bunnies are. And you’d also find dust. Lots and LOTS of dust.
Leslie: Well, if it was research for a project then I’d have to say the Scottish Highlands. I’m about two-thirds of the way through a paranormal romance set in both present-day Scotland and 16th century Scotland. If I were to just say I was doing research, then I’d definitely have them send me to the Maldive Islands. Of course, with a setting as beautiful as the Maldives, I’m sure I could manufacture a story or two out of it (wink, wink!).
Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
Leslie: I have several, but this is by far my favorite.
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
— John Stuart Mill
Susana: Do you write in multiple genres or just one?
Leslie: My primary genre is contemporary romantic suspense, but I have also written historical, paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi. I’m working on a romantic comedy, which is quite a departure for me. Humor is hard!
Susana: Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?
Leslie: I didn’t get a “call.” I received a publishing contract in the mail. It came at the end of one of the worst weeks of my life. My then seven-year-old son had broken his femur and spent a week in a children’s hospital 60 miles from home. After surgery to insert a titanium rod in his leg he and I lived in the hospital for five more days. When I finally got home I picked up the mail and noticed a large, manila envelope from Black Velvet Seductions. I thought it was another rejection letter returning my “first 30 pages.” I let that envelope sit for a week. As I was getting ready to throw it out I remembered I’d submitted to BVS electronically. “No freaking way.” I opened the envelope and realized I had just become an author (insert scream here). My hubby was my first call.
Susana: What has been your biggest adventure to date?
Leslie: Hands down, working the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. I served in the US Navy during the Gulf War, and was one of the first groups of women allowed to work the flight deck (I even have my picture in an issue of SeaPower Magazine with a story of women’s expanding roles in the military). I served on four different carriers during my five years in the Navy, and being one of 100 women on a boat with 2000 men is one helluva target rich environment! Anchors aweigh, baby!
About Accidental Affair
A good Samaritan stops to help him, despite the danger he poses to her.
Laine Wheeler knows better than to stop for strangers on the rural Montana highway near her home, but her conscience won’t allow her to leave an injured man behind.
What she doesn’t know is the man is an undercover ATF agent tasked with infiltrating a domestic terrorist group. His cover has been blown and helping him will put her life in danger.
Though there is an instant attraction, Jack knows that beginning a romantic relationship with Laine would be both unfair and unwise. Yet the farther they run, the harder it gets to ignore the feelings that are surging between them.
About the Author
Leslie McKelvey has been writing since she learned to write, and her mother still stores boxes of handwritten stories in the attic. Leslie read her first romance at 12 and was hooked. When her high school Creative Writing teacher told her she needed to be a novelist, she decided to give it a try. Finally, at the ripe old age of…forty-something…her debut novel, Accidental Affair, made it into print through Black Velvet Seductions Publishing. The publisher has also contracted two more manuscripts, which will follow Accidental Affair shortly.
Leslie is a war-veteran who served with the U.S. Navy during the Gulf War, and she was among the first groups of women to work the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. During her five years tour she was stationed at NAS Miramar and was an F-14 Tomcat mechanic and plane captain. While in San Diego she spent time on the carriers USS Independence, USS Ranger, USS Lincoln, and the USS Nimitz. The final two years of her enlistment were spent on Guam and her squadron frequently deployed to Japan and the Middle East.
She learned everything she knows about firearms and tactics from her police officer husband, who is a weapons expert, range master, and firearms instructor for one of the most highly-respected law-enforcement agencies in the world (and one he wishes her NOT to disclose). He is her biggest supporter and her unpaid consultant on everything law-enforcement and weapons related. She has three boys who keep her very busy and contribute daily to her growing number of gray hairs. Her oldest son is a United States Marine and the younger two have vowed to follow in their brother’s footsteps (OOH RAH!). She spends her off-time (kidding…WHAT off-time?) reading, taking pictures, and sending lead down range (that’s shooting, for those who are unfamiliar). One of her favorite scents is the smell of gunpowder in the morning….