Allison Leigh first sold to Harlequin in 1998. Her Men of the Double C Ranch debut was Stay… and since then, she has written forty-nine books. What she loves most about writing for Harlequin is creating the kinds of stories she’s always loved to read.
1. What book first got you hooked on Harlequin?
Oh boy. I can’t remember that far back! I began reading Harlequin Romances when I was in Junior High. And Harlequin Presents…I particularly remember loving Anne Mather and Charlotte Lamb.
2. How did you celebrate selling your first manuscript?
We were so broke, I sat down and cried after I got that first call. Then we went out for an inexpensive dinner that tasted incredibly, incredibly sweet.
3. Which of the many books you’ve written has stayed with you the most and why?
It’s clichéd but sort of like being asked to compare your children. My first five Men of the Double C Ranch books are pretty memorable, particularly since they’ve gone on to inspire dozens more. The Mercenary was a bit of a departure—more adventure—and was a great experience. Hard Choices because it dealt with a difficult subject—a young woman who gives up her child. The Bride and the Bargain because it was the first of the Hunt for Cinderella books, and the opportunity to collaborate with three other great authors. I could go on and on…
4. What’s top of your TBR pile?
I just finished reading Lisa Gardner’s Crash & Burn which was as terrific as all of her books are, so my TBR pile is currently empty. But that’s only because I can’t let myself get too many books to read when I have a few writing deadlines looming. I’m the WORST procrastinator for writing, when I have books sitting around that I want to be reading.
5. What book do you wish you’d written and why?
Oh, such a question. Harry Potter!!! Truthfully, though, I am pretty content being able to write the books that I am meant to write.
6. What’s harder – first or last lines?
Last lines, most definitely. I could write a book of first lines 🙂
7. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Using whatever convenient sources are at hand. Sometimes a name just comes to me out of nowhere. I have a few baby name books that I often turn to. If I happen to be around friends or family members while puzzling over a name for a secondary character, I toss it out there for suggestions. My main characters, though, usually come into my head complete with a name. Thank heavens.
8. How do you push through writer’s block?
Thankfully, I’ve never really experienced true writer’s block. I definitely have moments when I just don’t feel like sitting down and doing the work (so I can revisit my TBR pile, or play Candy Crush…ha!) but that’s not being blocked; just being lazy. When I’m having difficulty writing a particular scene, I might jump around a bit in my story line, working on scenes out of order, then weaving them back together in the end. Even after all this time, each book tends to come slightly differently. If I absolutely can’t seem to get going in a scene, I go back to the last time the book was working, and write in a different direction. That’s my last recourse, though, because as I’ve already established, I am lazy. And this means rewriting, sometimes A LOT of rewriting. But even though I’ll grumble a lot during that process, in the end it always means a better book. (And a finished one.)
9. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever had?
Write what you love. All else feels false.
10. Your preferred writing snack?
Peanut butter. Peanut butter. Peanut butter. In any fashion or form. Even above chocolate. And gallons of iced tea with lemon.
11. Who is your favourite fictional couple?
Depends on my mood. The most memorable couple harkens back to my discovery of romances way back when…Steve and Ginny in Sweet, Savage Love. Hot, hot stuff for a teenager!
12. If you could rewrite your life, what would you change?
Not one single thing. Except I would be three inches taller and thirty pounds lighter J
13. What would your readers be surprised to know about you?
Hmmm. That’s an interesting question. I think I’m pretty ordinary, and can’t imagine what would be surprising. I’m a total homebody. And fairly introverted. My mother and I did survive our car being hit by a train when I was a little girl. That’s pretty unusual, I suppose.
14. What is your most overused word?
Better ask my editor! Wry. Just. Flush. The answers are endless, here.
15. If I wasn’t a romance author, I would have liked to be…
Rich? Haha I don’t know, quite honestly. Possibly a nurse. And I’d still be an aspiring romance author.
16. When was the last time you said ‘I love you’?
A few minutes ago, to my mother and father. Earlier today to my husband. Last evening to my two daughters… I’m very fortunate to have people in my life whom I love very, very much, and I have the opportunity to tell them.
17. What does love feel like?
Like knowing you’re home.
18. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Oh, golly. Another tough one. Having pedicures twice a month. Loving action, shoot-em-up movies. Reading when I’m supposed to be writing…
19. What’s your most romantic song?
Thank goodness. An easy question. “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. Favorite song, hands down.
20. Every hero needs a…
Pair of safe, loving hands to hold his heart.