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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J. Leigh Bailey here today. Welcome, J. Leigh and thanks for the great interview and bringing along such a wonderful giveaway!
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with J.Leigh Bailey
Before I get started, I wanted to say a big “thank you” to Scattered Though and Rogue Words for letting me stop by today and celebrate the upcoming release of STALKING BUFFALO BILL. I had so much fun writing this book, and I’m thrilled to be a part of Dreamspinner Press’s new line, Dreamspun Beyond.
Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?
I’ve been reading romance—bodice rippers, category, cowboy, paranormal, pick a subgenre and I read it—since I was ten years old. Some were age-appropriate, some were definitely not. But I’ve always chased the Happy Ever After ending. As a writer, there was never any question in my mind that I would be writing romance. Because my reading choices were eclectic within the romance umbrella, my writing has been just as varied. The only requirement: HEA. As a result, I’ve written YA romance, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance. I mostly write male/male now (and I didn’t actually start reading that particular subgenre until well into my 20s), but I’ve had short stories published in horror and erotica with M/F pairings as well. Though, to be fair, even my horror stories could be categorized more as horror-lite and they had the promise of an eventual HEA. So, yes, it’s fair to say that my childhood and teenage reading habits DEFINITELY carried into my choices as a professional writer.
Do you like HFN or HEA? And Why?
I’m a big believer in Happy For Now (HFN) endings. Sometimes the traditional Happy Ever After (HEA) is unrealistic in the storyline as written. Sometimes the characters are 17 and clearly the are not going to get married and have a passel of kids. That being said, I can admit that, while the HFN endings are appropriate and logical, I always assume, in the deepest parts of my brain and heart, that the characters will ultimately have their HEA. Yes, even my 17-year-old boys will be together forever and ever, hopelessly devoted to each other for all eternity.
That’s what makes romance such an amazing genre. It’s all about the hope, the promise for a future together for two people (or more, if that’s your thing). The world can be a crappy, scary place, and I love that in romance no matter how bad things get, or how many obstacles they face, a couple will end up together, love will conquer all, and good will defeat evil.
Do you/did you read romances as a teenager and as an adult?
Yep. I was the girl who had my nose in a book—a ROMANCE book—all through middle school and high school, up through my adulthood. I was the one whose 7th grade English teacher wanted to know if my mother knew what I was reading (the answer is yes, she absolutely did). I’d been known to have a romance novel with me at the ROLLER RINK(!) and at the football game (!). During high school I read in study hall which taught me two things: First, sex scene sound WAY different when read aloud by a 15-year-old boy than they do in your head; Second, in historical romances of 350-450 pages written in the early/mid-90s, there is always a sex scene on page 200. I was (and am) the lady in the office breakroom reading a different romance novel every day at lunch. It was more obvious back in the day when people could see the cover of the book, but in this age of digital, it just looks like I’m one of the many people staring at my phone.
Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?
I suspect that for an author choosing a favorite among her books would be like a parent choosing a favorite among her children. That being said, there are a couple of my stories that are favorites for different reasons. In some ways, GUYLINER (a YA coming out/coming of age story) is my favorite because it’s the “book of my heart” that authors talk about. It was the first manuscript I finished and will always hold a special place in my heart. NOBODY’S HERO is a favorite because it was my first published book, and so holds a special place in my heart. It also allowed me to explore some different family dynamics that I really enjoyed. But I have to admit, my newest book, STALKING BUFFALO BILL, though, is my current favorite-favorite because it was the most fun to write of any of my books. I completely fell in love with Donnie and his voice and personality. I got to be over-the-top and dramatic in a way I’d never been able to do before.
What’s next for you as an author?
I’m currently working on edits for the next book in the Shifter U series, CHASING THUNDERBIRD, and writing the third book, THE NIGHT OWL AND THE INSOMNIAC. Ford, the love interest in CHASING THUNDERBIRD, is introduced in STALKING BUFFALO BILL. He’s Donnie’s roommate and best friend. Ford and Simon—a geeky ornithology professor—have to pair up to battle a serpent-worshipping cult who are trying to gain immortality through the destruction of the entire race of thunderbird shapeshifters. Like STALKING BUFFALO BILL, it’s a little quirky and a little fun. I mean, a bird nerd and a mythical bird of prey battling a serpent-worshipping cult? So much fun to write.
Stalking Buffalo Bill—A Shifter U Tale
A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.
A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.
While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.
It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.
About the Shifter U Series
A fun, male/male take on shapeshifter romance, the Shifter U stories include characters who shapeshift into more than the average apex predator. Sure, there are wolves, tigers, and bear shifters, but there are also coyotes, owls, beavers, bison, and more.
All books in the series center around Cody College, located on the outskirts of Cody, Wyoming, where the occasionally furry have a safe place to further their education. Affectionately known as Shifter U, the school offers shapeshifting students a “special track” which gives them the chance to learn important subjects like mathematics, philosophy, and, most importantly, how to hide their secret identity from local humans.
Maintaining secret identities is tough. Dark secrets, old enemies, mythical heritage, and a mysterious illness challenge the stealth skills of even the sneakiest students and staff. While these shifters struggle to handle their type of “normal,” thorny complications of attraction pop up—always at the worst possible times.
**GIVEAWAY** I’ll be giving away a signed copy of GUYLINER (US only) or a digital copy of any of my Letting Go (new adult contemporary romance) series books (open internationally) to a random commenter who tells me: Why do you read romance? What does HEA mean to you?
j.leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending. For upcoming releases and appearances information, sign up for her newsletter at https://t.co/FfL9gFVJLQ.
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Website (www.jleighbailey.net )