Guest Author Interview – Leigh Greenwood

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 Title: No One But You

Genre: Romance/Western

Synopsis: Alone in the world and struggling to make ends meet, Texas war widow Sarah Winborne will do anything to keep her two small children safe and her hard-won ranch from going under. She hasn’t fought for so long to lose everything… and if that means marrying a stranger to protect her family’s future, then so be it.

She never expected anything but a business arrangement, but something about Benton Wheeler’s broad shoulders and kind eyes awakens emotions she’d long since buried. He makes her feel beautiful. He makes her feel desired. He makes her feel like a woman again. And even though their marriage was never intended to be more than a matter of convenience, as Benton stands between her small family and the wild and dangerous West, Sarah may just realize that the cowboy she married is the love she never dreamed she would find…

Leigh Greenwood, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Leigh Greenwood. Years ago, his wife hooked him on romance novels and he later became a romance author. Welcome to my blog, Leigh.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

LG: It’s the story of a woman who will risk everything, including herself, for her children.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

LG: The only formula I use is ‘boy-meets-girl’ with lots of conflict ensuing before they live happily ever after.

In doing a series, I always come up with the situation first.  In the Seven Brides, it was a dysfunctional family of seven men.  In The Cowboys, it was a group of orphans no one wanted.  In The Night Riders, it’s seven men who vowed to bring a traitor to justice.  The first book of any series is where it all comes together.  I have to come up with a plot that will launch the series.  More importantly, I have to create all the characters—at once.  That’s crucial because in the following books, I have to come up with plots and heroines that fit with characters my readers already know and hopefully love.  Readers often have very specific expectations for their favorite characters.  Several years ago I received an impassioned three-page letter explaining why Iris was the wrong bride for Monty Randolph.  The reader begged me (with triple underlining) to have them get divorced.  Salty (No One But You) was my readers’ favorite minor character in Rose, so I had to build a story around the character they already knew and loved.

Another difficulty is that the lead characters in a series have to be different enough for the reader to follow them when they’re all in one story without getting confused.  Yet, they have to share the qualities that will ultimately enable them to become the hero of their own book.  When it comes to the heroine, I look for a character who will cause the hero the most trouble.

In case you’re upset that I always seem to build my series around men, you should know that the Cactus Creek series was originally about five women who were cousins.  Editors reduced it to three and suggested that I add the three brothers.

CH: You pull the heartstrings of readers with this historical western romance. What made you decide to write this book?

LG: I had wanted to write a spin-off from the Seven Brides almost before I finished the series, but my editor wanted something new.  (She got The Cowboys).  Then she finally relented, I chose Salty because readers seemed to like him so much.  I don’t know where the details of the plot came from.  Once I have an overall plan, they just start to emerge.  For example, once I decided the widow needed children, I had no preconceived idea of what they would be like.  Elements like that come into being as I write the book.  I like to create characters who engage my emotions, who make me pull for them.  Once I’ve done that, everything seems to come together.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

LG: I can’t tell you where my characters come from.  Four of the brothers in the Seven Brides came out of nowhere, full grown before I even realized they were in my head.  Most of the time my characters materialize as I begin to bring the overall plot into focus.  In the case of No One But You, I wanted a widow who needed someone to keep her and her children from starving.  I never have trouble with children.  They seem to come to me rather than the other way around.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LG: I had no difficult characters in No One But You.  Once I figured everything out, they just seemed to do their job.  In my whole career, two gave me a lot of trouble.  Daisy from The Seven Brides because she changed her mind and Will from The Cowboys because there was nothing driving him to do anything.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

LG: I’m like a parent in that I don’t really have a favorite character.  My favorite villain is either Laveau diViere from The Night Riders or Oliver Carlisle from Sweet Temptation.  Laveau was evil.  Oliver was a truly nasty man.

CH: This book has plenty of family love. Are you from a loving family?

LG: Yes.  I’m one of four children, but my parents came from families of seven and twelve.  Though we’re all different, we manage to co-exist.  My siblings and I always gather at my mother’s for Christmas, and my larger family has a reunion each year.  In my experience, there are no stronger and longer-lasting relationships than those of family.  Often we bring our best friends into our families.  I’m very close to my children and grandchildren.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

LG: I don’t know that there’s anything particularly different or exciting about my writing.  If there had been, I’d be on bestseller lists with Nora Roberts.  I do know that I try to tell stories that are believable with believable characters.  I try to make my characters likeable, not just by being honest and admirable, but by being basically good people.  I do my best to keep my history and my geographical facts accurate.  I don’t let my characters avoid the final conflict.  They have to have something important on the line and fight to keep it.  I do love children and seeing the humor in life which is why both keep cropping up so often.

CH: You’ve written several books, well over 50 books. What contributes to your success as a writer? 

LG: I try to write about interesting characters—and hopefully realistic ones—in a story that is logical enough that readers believe it could have happened.  I also have to like my characters.  I figure if I like them, then maybe the reader will, too.

CH: Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

LG: I never intended to be a writer.  I majored in music and was a working musician.  The first piece I ever wrote was about what it was like to become a father for the first time.  I never intended it for publication.  After that I wrote bits and pieces about things or situations that interested me.  You can read the rest of my story on my website.

CH: Is there a message in this book that you want the readers to grasp?

LG: I don’t write a book with a conscious message.  If I want to say anything, it’s that even the least likely situations can have a happy ending with hard work and a good helping of luck.

CH: You seem to have quite a following. What type of feedback are you receiving from your readers?

LG: I have gotten quite a bit of fan mail over the years, all of which has been positive. My favorite letters were those that told me something I’d written had made a difference in the life of the reader or someone in their family. I got a lot of positive response when my editor put my picture in my books. Many readers were glad to learn that a man could write romance. My favorite response was that they couldn’t tell from my writing that I was a man. 

CH: Are there any writing projects in progress? What can we expect next from you?

LG: I retired last summer just before I turned seventy-four. Writing was my second career.  I call it my mid-life crisis career. I was a music teacher, organist and choir director for thirty-two years.  While I have no new books coming out, Sourcebooks is bringing out some of my backlist. Last year they brought out No One But You. The Night Rider series will follow.  I’ll have a Christmas novella, Father Christmas, coming out for Christmas 2018.

CH: Since you’ve been quite successful, do you have any advice for new writers?

LG: Love what you do because you can’t do anything else.  All too often you have to write for your own satisfaction.

CH: Can you tell my audience about your website address?

LG: Yes, readers can visit my website, but I must warn you that I neglect it disgracefully.

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

LG: As far as I know, online and in bookstores everywhere.

CH: How to Find Leigh Greenwood:

CH: Any closing remarks?

LG: Writing was my second career, but it has given me as much pleasure as my first.  A large part of that has come from the letters I’ve received from readers.  It’s a wonderful feeling to know my stories have given pleasure to so many people.  The best part is to learn that on occasion my stories have made someone’s life better.  Thanks, Cheryl, for having me on your blog.

CH: Thank you so much, Leigh Greenwood, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Leigh Greenwood and Cheryl Holloway..

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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