Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with romance novelist Robin Leigh Morgan. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Robin Leigh. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Robin Leigh: I’m a retired civil servant who’s married with no children. We have two cats, one is a Maine Coon, about 13 years old with diabetes; the other is a one-eyed calico. We live in the NY City metropolitan area.
A few years ago I’d stopped writing almost-weekly commentary-type items for a community newspaper which I’d done for eleven years. During this time I started to write a Contemporary romance manuscript. However I never sensed it would be any good. After I retired someone suggested I should write for a younger audience, which I did and wound up with my first YA Paranormal / Time Travel / First Kiss romance novel.
Morgen: What genre do you generally write and what have you had published to-date? What do you think of eBooks?
Robin Leigh: I guess I’d have to say since my first novel has been romance; all my subsequent ones will be the say; although the sub-genre will change. The first book I’ve self-published is “I Kissed a Ghost”.
E-books are okay, the prices are definitely lower, but then you need a special reading device such as a Kindle to read them; and you must make sure your device is fully charged.
Morgen: Originally yes, but I use Kindle software on my iPad and Mac (and you can download it onto your PC, although some people have had enough of their computers to stick with it for their reading). You self-published –what lead to you going your own way?
Robin Leigh: I self-published for the simple reason I didn’t have the patience to send out a single query letter at a time, waiting two to three months for a reply. If they liked my query I would then have to send the first several chapters of my manuscript only to wait another two to three months for their reply. If at any time I’d received a rejection, I’d have to start the process all over again. The thing I like most about being self-published is even though I’m responsible for everything that happens in regards to the book; I’m in total control of what happens to my book.
Morgen: That’s what I like about it. Do you have a favourite of your stories or characters? If any of your stories were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Robin Leigh: Since I rarely see films where there’s a child star in the main roles, it would be quite difficult for me to offer any suggestions. But if I actually got to choose, I thing I would give the roles of the main characters to someone new.
Morgen: That’s a good idea. Which authors did you read when you were younger?
Robin Leigh: Aside from Dr. Seuss, I basically read whatever had been required at school.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day, and do you plot your stories or just get an idea and run with it?
Robin Leigh: Right now I’m in no rush to write my second novel, as I’m busy promoting / marketing my first book, trying to get as much exposure as possible, so at the present time I write whenever I’ve got really else to do. As far as the second portion of your question, if you’re asking me if I’m a plotter or a pantser I’d probably say a little of both. I make a skeleton of an outline, writing down the basic plot points I’d like to hit as the story unfolded; and as a sculptor starting with a wire base of what they’d like to have, I added material, then took some away, until I had the finished product I had in mind.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or research?
Robin Leigh: To tell the truth my first novel is basically one of pure imagination, as I wrote it, I saw different ways of letting the story develop, and chose one which I felt could be built upon. There were a few points in the place where I research the celebration of holidays of a hundred years ago.
Morgen: Where did the title for your book come from?
Robin Leigh: Selecting a title for a book had been a very challenging experience for me; but after racking my brain over it, I decided to merely summarize the premise for the entire story in as few words as possible until I had something which could be used as the title for my book. Hence, since the story is about a girl [Mary] and her kissing the ghost [George] she had living in her house, the story had to be called, “I Kissed a Ghost”.
Morgen: What advice would you give to new and aspiring authors?
Robin Leigh: Never give up living your dream of becoming a writer, as you can see from reading about me, I never did. Before you start looking for a publisher or even an agent you MUST have your manuscript edited, granted the editor you select might miss a few minor points, but at least it’s now in a much more presentable condition. Publishers want manuscripts which can be easily edited by their own editing staff, without them having to correct countless misspellings and grammatical errors.
Morgen: They do indeed, although if the story is so fantastic they may not be able resist (if they get that far through your submission – they often read a tiny proportion). What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Robin Leigh: Being retired it has given me something to do aside from the mundane life of a retired person while my other half is still working. Hopefully, if I become successful, I’d be able to start a second career as being an author. [I only need people to buy copies of my novel].
The most surprising thing which has happened to me in regards to my writing is that I actually wrote a full length novel and then self-published it.
Morgen: Getting people to buy an author’s books is definitely the hard part. Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?
Robin Leigh: I discussed this topic on my website at http://mypennameonly.webs.com/referenceaids.htm
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Robin Leigh: Now with my debut YA novel self-published, I’ve return to writing the romance manuscript I had started many years ago, and approaching it anew with the knowledge I’ve gained along the way in writing “I Kissed a Ghost”. The reason I’m writing it is relatively simple, I’ve always felt somewhat incomplete not having completed something I once had started out to do, and I now want to fill the void it has created in my life.
Morgen: 🙂 Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Robin Leigh: You can find me on the following sites:
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mypennameonly
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mypennameonly
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/RobinLeighMorgan
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Robin Leigh: I’m also on LinkedIn where I have two groups:
Authors / Writers Helping Authors / Writers http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4173121&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr
Young Adult Book Authors http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4512071&trk=hb_side_g
If anyone is interested in reading several UNEDITED SNIPPETS from the novel, you can do so under the category of “Ghostly Whispers” on any one of my blog sites:
Morgen: Thank you, Robin Leigh.
I then invited Robin Leigh to include a short synopsis…
In “I Kissed a Ghost”, Mary gets a new classmate named Jonathan who’s a great baseball player and to get on the team, he needs Mary’s help to improve his grades. Six months later when she learns she’s moving, she decides to give him something special–a first kiss. Moving into her new home she soon discovers it has a ghost named George, her age, who takes her on numerous trips to the past of a hundred years ago. As she meets children her own age, everyone teases her about her house being haunted, but no one will go inside. Mary likes his help doing her math homework, writing her reports, and taking her back in time. George and Mary’s interaction grows and she eventually gives him a quick peck on his lips while they’re in the past, which is the only place George is a real boy, for having done something special for her. Can Mary kiss George again at the special date and time he needs to be kissed? What happens afterwards if she does? The answers are all in the book!
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on the mixed blog but everything else (see Opportunities on the main blog) is free.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have this blog, https://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com, on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
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