It’s Ask Leah Day 12


I’m starting to hear from people who have read Tangled Past. Including a couple who have mentioned they’d like to hear some inside scoops — about the characters, the research, etc. It’s actually what spawned my post over on Toni Anderson’s blog the other day — where I mentioned a childhood acquaintance who had removed all the chair rail (and more) in his bedroom and how I used it as something Nate had done as a child.

So I’m going to throw this open to you — do you have any scenes (in any of my books) that you wonder about? Questions about characters or anything you think may have been going on behind the scenes?

Oh, and did I mention, I’m giving away an e-copy of Private Property to one lucky commenter… (if you already own it, I’ll substitute another of my backlist…you will be rewarded 😉 )


12 thoughts on “It’s Ask Leah Day

  • Bennet

    This question is more toward you and not your books — so when did you consider yourself a writer?

    • Leah

      Despite others encouraging me to call myself a writer as soon as I came out of “the writers’ closet”, I don’t think I felt comfortable with calling myself a writer until I was actually submitting my work. But really, anyone who writes should feel free to call themselves a writer.

      Now I tend to call myself an “author” because I have been published. Let’s turn the question back to you – do you think there is a difference between author and writer? Does writer imply unpublished and author imply publishing credentials?

  • Willa

    Ooooh – I finished Tangled Past last night and I loved it . . . particulary Jackson *swoon* – what a guy with his strong sense of loyalty towards Sarah and their marriage vows.

    You really captured the flavour of a Western too – did you enjoy the research aspect of it and any chance of Zach getting his story? ☺

    • Leah

      OMG the research that is required for a historical — talk about tough! Most of my historical writer friends write Regency England and the clothes their heroines wore were very different from the prairie dresses Sarah would have been wearing. And for the 1880s, I had to research things like if the frontier women would have ridden astride at that point in time, or whether they’d have a split skirt (yes they did, in fact they had almost trouser-like garments). I had to figure out if they would have had any sort of indoor plumbing — in some houses they had cisterns on the roof, or small pumps in the kitchen, some even had indoor toilets, usually the more well-to-do people, but the less well-off still had to go outside to a privy or the pump at the well. (Actually I grew up in rural Canada in the 60s and 70s and some of my friends still had to use outdoor privies and old-fashioned pumps even a hundred years later!) I (and my editor) had to be very careful about word usage — for instance at one point I had Jackson saying they weren’t using Sarah as a “smoke screen”, well, that saying didn’t come in to fashion until the first world war, so that had to get changed. Every tiny detail has to be checked out which made writing a historical that much more challenging. Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. Having a deadline didn’t help my sense of panic.

      Akk — you’re siccing a Zach plot bunny on me for yet another story? *whimpers*

      • Willa

        Oooh – thankyou for a detailed and really interesting reply ☺

        As a reader, you just absorb the words without giving a thought to the hurdles those words have made you jump through!

        As for Zach . . . what a fab hero he would make ☺

  • Allie

    I started Tangled Past last night. Love it so far! I love westerns. I appreciate it when you get horse details correct. I have 30 years experience with horses and I am always quizzing people about romances with horses in them, westerns or not… Does the author get the details right? Because if they aren’t, it ruins the story for me. So my question is – do you have a horse or have you in the past? Most of the authors I like who do the horse details well have a horse so I was wondering. 🙂

    • Leah

      While I did get to ride a pony named Dolly on occasion when I was little (my sister was horse crazy so our parents took us to a local stable for riding lessons), I don’t own a horse. I have the good fortune to have a friend and critique partner who breeds/trains/raises Arabians and does mounted shooting competitions as well as endurance races. I’ve visited her ranch and she’s taken me riding (I really want to go back to visit her one day…so much to do, so little time (or money.)) Whenever I have a horse in a story, I send her numerous emails and she fills me in on what to expect from the horse. Like what would spook it, how they’d handle going across a stream, care and feeding, etc. All different ways to cause the hero or heroine problems. 😉 Oh and she covers not just the horses but the tack too — like this one: It’s all in the name of research (She’s also written a book about the 33 Worst Mistakes Writers can Make about Horses.)

      • Allie

        How NEAT! I’ll have to find that book. How cool is that. My own horse is an Arab. He’s a real terror but he has mellowed a little with age. Fortunately his favorite person in all the world is his veterinarian (the only person he has never bitten ;). And please thank your friend from me for helping you with the horse details. I am so grateful, because it means I really get to enjoy your books. 🙂

  • Zee

    Do you think much about how feminist your female characters are? What do you think makes them “strong”? Both Sarah and Nikki need rescuing at the beginning of their stories, but both of them have enough personality that I didn’t think they were dishrags. Is it a conscious effort?

    • Leah

      I try to ask myself how I would handle it, then I write the opposite 😉 No seriously, I do consciously think about how the characters would react given their backgrounds. I allowed Nikki to cry once because she had had a lot thrown at her and she felt comfortable enough with Brett to let down her guards but with Sarah, I think she had probably learned at a young age that tears served her no purpose. I also tried to write my heroines as people I can identify with, often using elements of women I know who have been through similar events.

      For Sarah, I have the luxury of having known my grandmother who was born at the turn of the last century, and my mother who told me tales of her grandmother who would have been alive when Tangled Past was taking place and what was expected of women back then. These were the women who had to fight for the right to vote or even be considered a person instead of their husband’s property so they were very early and even militant feminists. So I tried to give Sarah and Martha a hint of that type of determination.

  • Leah

    And the winner is — Willa! Willa, send me an email with your choice of formats (PDF, ePub, etc.) to “contest @ leahbraemel . com” (without the spaces). And if you already own Private Property, let me know what other book in my backlist you would like.

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