Leona Pence and I go back to the very beginning of our professional writing career in 2011. We shared in an online critique group with four other women from all over the United States, and Mexico. In the early drafts of our first novels, Leona was working on Hemphill Towers, myself on Accident. To say that were both very rough drafts is putting it mildly. Now we both have polished and published results from our hard work.
Leona, tell everyone a little about yourself.
I’m a widow with four children, twelve grandchildren, and four great grandkids. I’ve lived in Illinois my entire life, the past fifty years in the same house. I admit to being a Facebook addict and spend way too much time there. But if I want to see current family pictures and stay in touch with distant relatives, it’s the place to be.
How did you become a writer, and did you always want to write?
No, I never saw myself as a writer and it still surprises me that I actually wrote a book. After my husband died from lung cancer, I turned to my computer to save my sanity. I met people online to chat with. Hemphill Towers started as a joke between me and two online friends. We made ourselves younger career women, each described a love interest, and I was to use the info to write a humorous story. Once I started writing, the words just kept coming. Three months later, I had a very rough, first draft novel.
And then we met online at Writers Village University.
Yes, we certainly had a good time. I am still in touch with some of the other girls. Everyone has completed at least one novel. Writers Village University has been a great asset.
I know you are still very involved with WVU. You lead the online chat for writers every week. I am sure you have heard hundreds of stories of both successes and failures along the way.
Yes, we spend a lot of time chatting about the technical parts of writing, plotting, character development and story lines, but I think the interaction with other writers keep us from feeling so alone in our endeavor. Writing can be a very lonely profession unless you reach out to the writing community for friendship. Most writer’s learn early on that their families don’t take them seriously and think they are a little crazy to commit so much time to what they (the relatives) think is a pipe dream. I have been very lucky to have a supportive family throughout my writing career.
Tell the readers about Hemphill Towers.
Riley Saunders has her dream job. As an art director at a leading advertising agency, she works every day with her two best friends, Stella and Birdie. All three have been assigned to ensure the Grand Opening of the Peterson Art Museum is nothing short of a success.
When a girl’s night out at a hot new Italian restaurant ends with a spilled bottle of wine, it sets in motion a series of events that leaves Stella and Birdie caught up in a whirlwind romance, and Riley fearing for her life at the hands of a deranged stalker. But when the handsome museum curator, Trent Peterson, learns of her situation, he vows to keep her safe.
In a quick-paced tale of fine art, wine forgery, and the Russian mafia, Riley and her friends soon discover their pursuit of love will require them to expose a crime, thwart a murder, and trust the one thing that has never failed them… their friendship.
Where can people buy Hemphill Towers?
You also have a blog. Where can people find you on your blog?
Blog Spot: http://leonaschatter.blogspot.com/
Thank you, Leona for being on Author Interview Friday.