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Leslie McKelvey has been writing since she learned to write. Her mother still stores boxes of handwritten stories in the attic. Leslie read her first romance at 12 and was hooked. When her high school Creative Writing teacher told her she needed to be a novelist, she decided to give it a try. Finally, at the ripe old age of...forty-something...her debut novel, Accidental Affair made it into print through Black Velvet Seductions Publishing. The publisher has also contracted two more manuscripts, which will follow Accidental Affair shortly. The next story slated for release is Special Agent "Bear" Bristol's, so for all who fall in love with Jack Vaughn's best friend, get ready. The 6'8" FBI agent saves wildlife photographer Beth Drummond's life and loses his heart to her in the process, a dangerous journey that tests the boundaries of loyalty, friendship, and love.
Leslie is a war-veteran who served with the U.S. Navy during the Gulf War, and she was among the first groups of women to work the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. During her five years of service she was stationed at NAS Miramar (previously the home of Top Gun) and was an F-14 Tomcat mechanic. While at Miramar she detached to the aircraft carriers USS Independence, USS Ranger, USS Lincoln, and the USS Nimitz. The final two years of her enlistment were spent on Guam and her squadron frequently deployed to Japan and the Middle East.
Leslie, welcome back to Reviews and Interviews. Please tell us about your newest release.
Accidental Affair is the story of Dr. Laine Wheeler and Special Agent Jack Vaughn, and what happens after she nearly runs him over on a rural Montana highway. Laine is an emergency physician hiding from her past, and Jack is an undercover ATF agent tasked to infiltrate a domestic terror group. After his cover is blown he barely escapes with his life, and now that Laine has made the fateful decision to help him, both of their lives are in danger. The story follows them as they run from their pursuers across Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, and the fiery, although inconvenient, passion building between them.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have great Technicolor dreams (when I manage to get any sleep at all), and I feel compelled to write them down to get them out of my head (because it would be illegal to kidnap people and make them act out what I see while I’m sleeping *grin*). I dreamed the opening scene and the rest just sprang from that point. The setting was inspired by a family vacation through the northern plain states of Montana and the Dakotas. As a California native I was not accustomed to so much emptiness and open space, and it seemed like the perfect place to stage the book.
What’s the next writing project?
I’m currently in edits on a sequel to Accidental Affair, titled Right Place, Right Time. It’s the story of Jack Vaughn’s best friend, Special Agent Ted “Bear” Bristol. It should be out by the end of the year and I am really looking forward to its release. Bear is my favorite character so far, and telling the tale of how he saves wildlife photographer Beth Drummond and then falls head over heels for the dark-haired beauty was a bittersweet roller coaster ride. See, I fell in love with Bear as soon as he started whispering in my ear, and letting Beth have him was really hard. Only a writer will understand this….
What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
With any book I think my greatest challenge is finding time to write at all. I am married to a police officer, and his schedule basically makes me a single parent with three boys. Between everything I have to do to maintain a household, take care of my kids and my hubby, and take care of myself, there aren’t many hours left in the day. Thankfully I’m a vampire, so I don’t need much sleep. The coffin isn’t that comfortable anyway. As soon as they make a Tempurpedic to fit in there I am SO getting one.
If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
I research as I go. I’ll do some preliminary research, and thankfully my husband is my number one source, but then I write and research as needed along the way. I recently completed a story about a Navy SEAL and a CIA agent set in Afghanistan, and I did a LOT of research for that one – satellite photos of Bagram Air Base, bomb-making methods, Muslim customs, weapons, torture techniques, etc. My husband said to me, “You know you’re pinging every computer at Langley right now, don’t you?” He’s convinced the black Suburbans will be arriving any day now to take me away. But, one does what one must to make the story as accurate and believable as possible, don’t you think?
What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
My writing space is a TV tray in the family room in between a flat screen TV and a fireplace. I often sit in front of my laptop with headphones and music playing to drown out the television, or I just wait until everyone else is in bed before putting fingers to keyboard. And my muse is always active, which contributes greatly to the reason I don’t sleep much. That b**** never shuts up! *grin*
What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I love Dean Koontz for his descriptive abilities, and I have read almost every book Catherine Coulter has written. I also like the classics, and non-fiction. I even read military and police books, and I used to read the dictionary when I was bored. Really helps when I’m playing Words with Friends!
Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
I really appreciate your readers’ time, and hope they check out Accidental Affair and the upcoming sequel. I may not be a rocket scientist and I probably won’t save the world, but if I can make someone smile and provide a temporary escape I’m happy. And I’d love to hear from those who read my book. I respond to every review posted on Amazon, and every comment on my blog. It’s like Christmas when someone takes the time to tell me what they think of my writing, at least it has been so far. I’m sure I’ll cry if I get less-than-favorable feedback because I want to please everyone, but at the same time I know that’s not possible.
Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!
Thank you for having me!