We here at COASM are proud to have the talented Leona Turner, author of ‘Perfect Intentions’, in for a chat with Patrick Scattergood about her influences, her novel and more!
PS: Firstly, welcome to our little part of the internet.
LT: Thank you very much for the invite- nice to have an excuse to be away from the Christmas chores for a bit.
PS: What would you say was the biggest influence in you making the leap in to the world of being an author with your novel ‘Perfect Intentions’?
LT: I’ve always loved reading and been a big fan of the horror/thriller genre for as long as I can remember. Stephen King, Martina Cole etc, but it was the e-publishing revolution that finally prompted me into trying it myself. E-publishing finally allowed all writers a voice and a showcase for their work. I discovered authors such as Iain Rob Wright and Brian Moreland, both of whom are superb ambassadors for the thriller/horror genre and both have inspirational self- publishing success stories.
I realised then that indie publishing was gaining real ground and offering something the big publishing houses couldn’t, for both authors and their readers.
PS: How would you describe the novel to someone that may not be familiar with your writing style?
LT: My writing style is quite down to earth and yes, a little rough around the edges. Its supposed to be. I like to think of it as more akin to telling a friend a story than a classically trained actor reading a soliloquy. I never wanted pretence, I don’t want to win awards for my writing, I want to win readers. When a reader gets to the end of my book, puts it down, looks at the clock and thinks; “Where did the last two days go?” that’s when I know I’ve done my job right.
PS: The thing that struck me as a reader with the novel was that you had influences of the classic crime thrillers from people such as Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell but you also had a sense of horror running through the story itself. Where did the inspiration for the story come from?
LT: The original inspiration for the story came from noticing a pattern with other thrillers, whether in books, film or TV. I wanted to try a different tack and see if I could make it work.
I’m also aware that there seems to be something of a prevailing belief about female authors and that they lack the conviction of their male counterparts when it comes to gritty aspects of thriller writing- I like to think I’ve challenged that somewhat.
PS: With some of the crime scenes and the reasoning behind the deaths being of the hard hitting variety, how much time did you have to dedicate to making the scenes and twists feel as authentic as possible?
LT: Thank you- that’s a hell of a compliment.
In honesty I think it comes down to the fact that we’re all individuals and our ability to deal with pressure can vary wildly from one person and the next. We’ve all got our own parameters for ‘normal’ and how much stress we can cope with is just a measure of degrees away from that ‘normal’. So for a scene and a reaction to remain authentic and true to the character the reader needs to have already have established what that characters ‘normal’ is, and will ultimately result in whether the scene feels natural or laboured.
PS: What would you say makes ‘Perfect Intentions’ stand above other novels in the genre?
LT: It challenges the well-worn path of the traditional thriller.
PS: The crime genre recently seems to be having a bit of a rebirth, especially with new releases from Kathy Reichs and other such authors. What do you feel you add to that rebirth of the genre?
LT: I’d like to think it offers the reader a different prospective on the antagonist and protagonist roles in the genre.
PS: If you could give advice to someone wanting to enter the world of writing, what advice would you pass on?
LT: Find your story and stick with it. Others might try and offer suggestions, but remember, its your story and the first person who has got to love it is you. If you don’t then how will you convince others to?
Let your characters develop legs (trust me- they will) and then they’ll merrily wander off, leaving you scribbling away in their wake. That’s a good sign, may seem like a pain at the time and will inevitably lead to numerous rewrites, but the story will thank you for it.
Listen to indie authors, because they’ve done it all before and you can buoyed by their successes and take valuable advice from them. We know how difficult all aspects of writing can be so get to know other authors and quite often you can end up helping each other.
Most important of all though- don’t give up. It’s the simplest piece of advice given and the most overlooked. Yes, it’s a cliché, but clichés become clichés for a reason.
PS: Do you see yourself returning to these characters or going a different route for the next novel?
LT: Perfect Intentions was always written as the first of two parts, so there will definitely be a return to these characters, there’s quite a lot of set up in Perfect Intentions with that in mind.
PS: What can fans expect from you next?
LT: I have been quietly working away on a dark comedy, although I feel I may end up working on that in tandem with the next instalment of Perfect Intentions.
PS: Thank you very much for taking the time to take to us here at COASM, it’s been a complete pleasure.
LT: Thank you very much, its been most enjoyable.
Now I suppose I really ought to get back to present wrapping.