Today's guest is mystery novelist John “Rocky” Leonard. He's touring his paranormal detective novel Secondhand Sight.
Rocky is generously giving one copy of his book to a lucky commentor at each of his tour stops. If you'd like to be entered to win, leave an e-mail address with a comment. You can always leave a comment without an e-mail address, too!
John L. Leonard was born in Savannah, Georgia and graduated from Savannah Christian School. He holds a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Georgia and worked as a computer programmer for more than twenty years before becoming a writer.
John has spent most of his adult life in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. His writing has also been influenced by shorter stints working as a bartender, real estate investor and landlord.
He has been married to wife, Lisa, for 21 years and is the proud father of 2 and grandfather of 3, as well as pack leader for several wonderful dogs and a hostile Maine Coon cat.
His first non-fiction book was published in 2010.
John writes detective novels under the pen name Rocky Leonard. His first detective thriller was published in 2012.
The local color in his writing is equally authentic whether the setting is a Georgia beach, downtown Atlanta, or the Appalachian foothills in north Georgia.
Welcome, Rocky. What inspired you to write this book?
I watched an interview with Joe Kozenczak, the police detective who apprehended serial killer John Wayne Gacy. To my astonishment, Kozenczak credited two different psychics for providing critical information that he claimed broke the case wide open. When the detective directly responsible for catching one of the more notorious killers in recent history gave credit to not one, but two psychics for helping bring Gacy to justice, it certainly got my attention. And that got me thinking about writing a novel where a psychic helped solve a murder.
I was also inspired by my own experiences growing up in Savannah, which has a reputation as one of the most haunted cities in America. I’ve personally had too many paranormal experiences to count, more than enough to believe that ghosts really exist.
I steadied myself in front of a small mirror on the wall near the tie rack. My trembling hands went through the practiced motions of tying the tie, the same moves I had made first thing in the morning, four days a week.
I looked into the mirror and gasped. Blood splatters covered the glass, obscuring my reflection in the mirror. My hands felt warm and sticky. Reluctantly, I looked down and saw to my horror that they were covered in wet blood. It was all over me. My mind reeled. Bile rose in my throat. I looked around frantically for the source of the spreading crimson stains. Did I cut myself? I felt no pain. What in the hell happened? How? Did the workers break the glass after all? Yet when I glanced in its direction, the glass display case remained intact.
For several seconds, my mind babbled a brook of questions for which no answers came. My knees felt weak, on the verge of collapse. Time crept by. I marked its passage with my breathing, the only way I could tell time hadn’t stopped completely. I looked around for someone in the store to come help me. Words came to mind to cry for help, but they refused to pass my lips.
A couple of muted sounds that might pass for the bleating of a sheep rose in my throat, barely audible. No one in the store noticed me foundering in distress. I looked around helplessly, desperate to avoid looking into the mirror again. But I had to know. I forced my eyes to gaze at my own reflection once more.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Purgatory, the sequel to my first novel, Coastal Empire, a new adventure featuring private investigator Robert Mercer and his German Shepherd partner Ox.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I knew I loved writing from my first high school course in creative writing, and in one sense, my previous career was a writer of a different sort. Before I began writing books, for a couple of decades, I developed computer software. In one sense, the structured and methodical approach required for software development helped me when I starting writing material intended for public consumption. Secondhand Sight is now my fourth book, and my second novel.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, I find writing very addictive. When I’m not working on a book, I’m usually blogging, or interacting with friends on Facebook, the bane of my existence—because it’s almost as addictive as writing. I’ve got a bad habit of working on a chapter of my next novel, then “taking a break” to write something for the immediate gratification of having someone read my words online.
My work day is rather simple: get up at the crack of dawn, Facebook until time to feed the pack and make coffee, walk the pack after breakfast, write until lunch, eat, write until dinner, eat, write until I can write any more than night--lather, rinse, repeat. About once a day, I manufacture some excuse to run an errand that requires me to leave the house, just for a brief change of scenery. For more exercise, I play tennis three or four times a week to avoid getting too fat.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I usually require some background noise to force myself to concentrate, like having the TV tuned to a program I care nothing about or playing music in the background where I can’t really hear it. Don’t ask me why, but I need something to ignore. Drives my wife crazy.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An actor. At various points during my rather impetuous youth, I also wanted to be a journalist, and Perry Mason. I was almost ready to graduate with a double major in history in political science, thinking I was going to law school, when I finally realized that in the real world, most of my clients would actually be guilty—maybe that happened about the time Al Pacino played a lawyer in the movie And Justice For All, but it’s been so long ago that I no longer remember the real reason. My mother had convinced me I needed a backup plan before heading to Hollywood, and the backup became the primary plan by the time I finished college.
Readers, don't forget that Rocky is generously giving one copy of his book to a lucky commentor at each of his tour stops. If you'd like to be entered to win, leave an e-mail address with a comment. You can always leave a comment without an e-mail address, too!