Today literary, mystery, suspense, and thriller author Jennifer Leeper sits down with us for an interview. Learn more about Jennifer and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
In high school and college, I had written poetry and short stories, but it wasn’t until after college, in my early to mid-20s when I decided to delve into novel writing.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
It wasn’t until my 30s that my first short story was published, followed by a novella and novel, so it was a long time coming!
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I’m indie published across the board and I love to support indie presses.
Where do you write?
My ideal writing setting is a coffee shop with the perfect level of white noise, however, I usually wind up writing at my kitchen island or laying on my bed.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
In the beginning, I listened to mostly alternative and some contemporary folk/rockabilly music, but eventually I found this distracted me too much so now silence is golden, unless of course we’re talking about the “coffee shop” noise I mentioned above.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I’ve only based on of my characters on someone I know. Most of my characters are developed in my imagination and subconsciously they could be rooted in friends or family, however, at face value they are constructs of how I imagine them to think, act, look and feel.
Describe your process for naming your character?
Either a name pops into my head in a moment of inspiration or I do an online search for unique names and when I’m doing such searches I consider the personalities and backgrounds of my characters to help me match them to the right names.
Real settings or fictional towns?
The southwestern mystery I’m currently working on is a hybrid setting – a mix of real and fiction. Generally, I alternate between real and fictional towns in both my short and longer fiction writing.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
One of my short story characters is a shoe hoarder.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
Where do I begin? I can (and have) eaten the same thing (think Chipotle) every day for months at a time.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Because a writer that can humanize a dog who teaches me something new about myself and the world I live in, is my hero in fiction and in real life.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I wish I would have continued on in geology instead of following a boy to a different city/university and earning a journalism degree.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People who post too much personal information on social media. I’m a mystery writer. The lives of others should hold some mystery even though it’s possible share everything with everyone these days.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A great book, my laptop and plenty of gummi bears – I live on them when I write. Sugar and creativity seem to go together.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I worked as a mall housekeeper in college. Women’s bathrooms are horrible!
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
That’s tough. I could list a hundred books, but the one that comes to mind is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
Ocean or mountains?
MOUNTAINS. There is no debating with me here. My dream permanent place of residence is Leadville, Colorado – living and writing at 10,000 feet-plus.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
City girl unless I’m living in the mountains or on the high plains of Eastern Colorado/Western Kansas.
What’s on the horizon for you?
Other than Border Run and Other Stories being released this month, I’m working on a southwestern mystery/suspense novel that I hope to finish in the next few months.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
Readers can get a free 4-chapter preview of Border Run and Other Stories at BarkingRain Press.
Over at my Twitter feed, I run a Twitter blog called One Question, where I ask authors one question about their writing and post their Q&As, along with anything they want me to promote over at @JenLeeper1.
Border Run and Other Stories
This collection of 14 stories dives headfirst into self-exploration through varying degrees of loss, from two sisters, one widowed, once divorced, who must find their way off a mountain South Korea at night as well as out of the darkness of their relationship with one another, to a boy who has lost his abuela and takes her final request to carefully distribute her house-sized hoard of shoes more seriously than the rest of his family.