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Author Suzanne Leonhard

 Author Suzanne Leonhard

Suzanne Leonhard is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter. She lives in the beautiful rolling hills of West Virginia with fellow writer Robert R. Leonhard. She has ten children (his, mine, and ours), and a lot of cats.

She’s been writing fiction since high school, and published her first book with Harper Collins when she was 27 years old. “The Goliath Code” is the first book in her post-apocalyptic Goliath Trilogy.

https://www.facebook.com/thegoliathcode/

 

Questions –
1. When did you realize that you wanted to be an author?
I was a ravenous reader in high school—mostly romance novels—and one day, when I was about 21 years old, I decided to give writing my own novel a try. I wrote my first book in a spiral notebook that has now been carefully hidden away where no one will ever find it. When I finished that first book, I immediately started on the second book, and then the third. By the time I got to the fourth book, I began to wonder if I might actually be able to publish something. It took me six weeks to write my fourth book—a time travel romance. I sent a synopsis to five or six different publishing houses (that was back when you didn’t need an agent to query for you), and two of them actually called me on the phone less than a week later. It was mind-blowing. Harper Collins offered me a three book contract for the time travel romance and two western romances I was working on. That was a very good day. 

2. How long does it take for you to write one of your books?
When I was writing romance novels back in the 90s, it took me a few months at most to finish a book. The Goliath Code was an entirely different animal. It’s been describe by readers as “epic.” It took me three years to conceive of the book and fit all the intricate plot pieces together, and then another two years to write it. 

3. How do you balance your work schedule when you’re busy writing?
I’m a full time writer. I’m lucky enough have a wonderful supportive husband who’s happy to pay the bills while I pluck away on my keyboard all day. 

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure if its more scary than interesting… I pace and flail. That’s how I work through plots in my head and figure out character motivations. I pace the room, talking to myself and (I’m told) flailing my arms wildly.

5. How do you come up with ideas for your books?
TV shows. Movies. Commercials. Print ads. I’m very visual and usually inspired by single images: A woman standing in a moody forest; a man standing on a beach looking out over an ocean. Sometimes a secondary character in a novel or movie will inspire me. It usually starts with an idea for a main character, and then I build a story around that. 

6. When did you write your first book?
I was 21, and it was called Timeless Love (a time travel romance). It was about a young woman who traveled through time by sitting on a magic boulder. Yeah. It never sold.  LOL.

7. What are your hobbies when you’re not writing?
I watch a lot of movies and television—which is likely why my books are often called “cinematic.” Some of my favorite TV shows are The Walking Dead, Outlander, and Game Of Thrones. I do read, but never when I’m working on a book because I’m too easily influenced by the voice of other writers. I learned that about myself early in my career. I was writing a western and reading a medieval romance. Suddenly my characters began talking like they were straight out of Henry the V. I read books, but only when I’m in between projects. 

8. What do your family and close friends think of your writing?
I think the romance novels were a bit much for some of them, but they all seem to really like The Goliath Code. My manager in LA, who handles my screenplays, is so impressed with the book that he’s shopping it around studios, looking for a movie deal. So I guess that’s a good sign. 

9. What was one of the most interesting things that you learned about yourself when you published your first book?
That I could actually get paid to write a book! I felt like I’d won the lottery. I also learned that I’m never satisfied for long. I was very impressed with myself when I signed my first publishing contract, but that feeling only lasted about a day before I felt driven to sit down and write something even better. I’m not the kind of person who can accomplish one big thing and then be satisfied with that for the rest of my life. I’m always trying to outdo myself.

10. How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I’ve published eight books with Harper Collins and one Indie book. I’ve also written five screenplays. The Goliath Code is by far my favorite work. It’s the book I have always wanted to write. It just took me a while to gain the experience and knowledge to be able to put the story together. 

11. What do you think makes a good story?
Well-drawn characters that people can relate to, an intricate plot that takes the reader in directions they didn’t expect to go, and really tight writing that pulls the reader in and keeps the story moving—that makes the reader not want to put the book down even to eat a sandwich. When I finish reading a book I want to feel dazed, like I’ve just stepped out of an alternate universe and into the bright light of day. 

12. Where do you like to kick back and write your books? 
I like to change my work environment. I’ll work a first draft on my laptop sitting in the kitchen, or out on the porch, or in bed first thing in the morning. But when it comes to edits and final drafts, I prefer the big screen on my desktop in my office so I can open multiple pages and move things around. I don’t like writing in public spaces like parks, coffee shops, or airplanes. It’s too distracting. 

 

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