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THE JAMES GANG

November James Gang Interview

Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of "James" in their names or in their books. My November James Gang interviewee is multi-published author, Leah St. James!

1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why James?

Hi, Marcia – Thanks so much for letting me hang out with the James Gang! My first book was a romantic suspense with an erotic theme, so I decided to use a pen name to spare my children any more embarrassment than normal.  :-)

I wanted a name that had a rhythm to it, that felt easy and natural to say. The first thing I tried was my “stripper name” (my middle name with street I grew up on), which is Denise Silverton. … It’s okay, right? Nothing wrong it with, but it struck me: IT SOUNDS LIKE A STRIPPER! :-) Besides, I don’t feel like “Denise.” Suppose Oprah asks me on her show and we’re sitting on her couch, and she says, “So, Denise, tell us about your book,” and I look around the panel wondering who this Denise person is?! So I decided to keep my real first name and come up with a pseudonym for the last name. I was sitting around the dining room table with my husband and sons, tossing names out, and my older son, out of the blue, said, “How about Leah St. James?” There was this moment of total silence, then almost in unison we said, “That’s it!” So I wish I could tell you there was some deep meaning, but I just loved the way it sounded.

2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?

I started out writing romantic suspense, and most of my stories have an element of suspense and always an element of love. But I tend to rebel against genre restraints. Most readers don’t confine themselves to one genre, and I think they’re smart enough to know that authors can write more than type of story, too. In addition to romantic suspense, I’ve written a paranormal romantic/suspense, a contemporary with an inspirational theme, even a children’s book.

3. Tell us about your latest release.

I’ve recently released the audio version of Christmas Dance, a short novel about a man and a woman who meet at church during the Christmas holidays. They’re instantly attracted. The problem is they’re married…to other people. (Yeah, I like pushing the envelope story-wise, too.)

Christmas Dance blurb:

Alexandra Anderson has a loving husband who provides for her every need, a beautiful home in the suburbs, and money to fulfill her slightest whim. But after a lonely childhood, what she wants more than anything is a baby, a family of her own.

Sam Herrmann is married to his college sweetheart, and together they have three healthy, boisterous boys. Sam spends his days running numbers as a government accountant, and his nights and weekends trying to keep up with the grueling family schedule set by his wife – a wife he can barely remember.

What happens when two married people take a look at the perfect lives they've created and decide it's not enough? What happens when those same two people catch the eye of a stranger and like what they see?

Christmas Dance – A story of love, marriage and parenthood. A story of hope.

4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?

I tend to write books with good-versus-evil themes. Sometimes there’s an obvious villain, and sometimes it’s something as intangible as temptation. But it’s always there. People who haven’t read my books expect them to be lighter, but my writing tends to be on the dark and gritty side. I always warn them, “If you’re looking for fluff, don’t read it.”

5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?

My favorite hero is FBI Agent David Owens from my first book, Surrender To Sanctuary. David is a ladies’ man, a super-star agent who is presented with a murder investigation where he has to go under cover in a BDSM club with his brand-new (and beautiful) partner, Agent Anna Parker. While Anna works sex crimes and is familiar with that lifestyle, David doesn’t understand it, and balks at playing a role that requires him to be her “master.” I love his character because I think people would expect a man to jump at a chance like that, but David fights it and in doing so tells an opposing point of view.

6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

I guess it’s the same thing I enjoy about reading—losing myself in the story, getting caught up in a scene that feels so real, I sometimes have to shake myself out of it.

7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?

I was honored with a second-place award in the 2013 International Digital Awards in the Inspirational Novel category for Christmas Dance. I don’t think it’s a typical inspirational book in that in its core, it’s not about an examination of faith. The message of the book is that we’re fragile, we’re human, and we often take the wrong path, but redemption is within our grasp.

8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?

Because my books are published by small press, they’re generally not available in brick-and-mortar stores. So I try to get to fairs and festivals to meet readers and talk to them about their favorite books. As an avid reader, that’s the most fun for me. Aside from live events, I post updates about my work on my website (www.leahstjames.com). I’m on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LeahStJames?ref=hl), Twitter (https://twitter.com/LeahStJames), and Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/leahstjames/boards/) as LeahStJames as well. Facebook frustrates me, but Pinterest is my favorite. I can spend hours looking at everyone’s pins!

9. What is your next project?

I’m currently working on a short story for a Christmas anthology with The Roses of Prose blog group. We’re all using the same starting line. It’s fun and challenging. It should be up sometime in December. I’m also working on the sequel to Surrender To Sanctuary. David and Anna’s story picks up where we left them, and of course they get into all sorts of new troubles. I expect it to be released in spring 2014.

10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?

I’m going to sound a bit trite here, but I think we are each born with unique gifts, and each with a purpose for those gifts. It might take time to understand what yours are, or how to use them (I’m still searching!), but I think we each have an instinctive understanding of what our passions are. Don’t be afraid to explore them.

Thank you, Leah! My December James Gang interviewee will be Soulmate Publishing author, Kendra James!


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Judith James Interview

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Kayleigh_Jamison Interview

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Jimmy Thomas Interview

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Christina James Interview

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Syrie James Interview

Jessica James Interview

Julie James Interview

Lori James Interview

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Lyric James Interview

Ava James Interview

Sandy James Interview

Tiffany James Interview

Angela James Interview

Kate St. James Interview

Jamie Leigh Hansen Interview

Jeannie James Interview

Jamie Denton Interview

Elle James Interview

Liza James Interview

Raina James Interview

Allyson James Interview

Marianna Jameson Interview

Sherry James Interview

Maddie James Interview

Marcia James Interview

 


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