Meet the Author: Leslee Breene

Welcome to my guest, Leslee Breene, author of the newly-published contemporary western romance, Starlight Rescue,  set beneath the Wyoming Big Horn Mountains on an animal rescue ranch.

Wyoming vet Kimberly Dorn fights to keep her rescue ranch from land developers.

Gabe Trent, an adventurous wildlife filmmaker, offers her an opportunity to film her rescue animals for a TV documentary. The film shoot goes awry.

Kimberly asks herself: If she  can’t trust him with her animals…can she trust him with her heart?

***

Leslee, you’ve written 3 historical romances before you switched to contemporary. What led you to write romances?

Thank you for hosting me today, Heidi. Well, I always loved western history and I also loved romance… This seemed the logical place to be for some years. I’m a Denver native, so that played a part as well. Now I’m changing horses, so to speak, and venturing into contemporary western settings.

Have you written in any other genre?

Yes, my short stories are mainstream women’s fiction. To share a bit of shameless self-promotion: My short fiction, “White River Phoenix,” has been selected as a finalist in the 2011 WWW LAURA Awards. The five finalists will be judged by the noted author Pam Houston and announced at the WWW Conference in October. I am honored.

Congratulations! That is an honor, indeed.

When did you start writing?

A long time ago. In the l980’s, a group of writers came together in Aurora, Co., and formed the National Writers Association. I joined critique groups there. We were all pretty much novices at that time and learned together. Several from that early co-ed clan became published novelists and poets. Sandy Bechtel, Irv Sternberg and Rob Baldwin to name a few.

How has your writing progressed since your first book? Has it changed you? If so, how?

I hope I’ve become a better writer, of course. =) My main character is always a woman on a quest. That hasn’t changed. My goal with each book is to delve more fully into that character’s inner self, her motivations, flaws, and growth at the end of the story. Perhaps I am evolving into a more spiritually guided author, at least infusing that universal desire into my characters. Especially so in my recently finished novel, Journey to Sandcastle.

What is your work background?

I attended the University of Denver and graduated from F.I.T. (Fashion Inst. Of Technology, NYC). My work background includes a mixed bag of categories. I’ve been a newspaper fashion artist in San Fran, a Kelly Girl, an A&W car hop, a fashion coordinator at The Denver (ladies dept. store), although not in that order.

What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore? How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published?

Ah, that was sweet! Foxfire, 2001. I believe it was the Tattered Cover in Cherry Creek, Co. They carried my book, but wouldn’t allow a book signing as it was “self-published.” Admittedly self or subsidy publishing was verboten at that time. Now, quite a few published authors are taking that route. I’m proud of that leap of faith I had to take to put the book out there. Foxfire was a national RWA chapter award finalist before it was published. It is still available through my website: www.lesleebreene.com. I’m sure my husband bought me roses on that occasion.

What do you think is the hardest part of the book process?

For me, the hardest, most frustrating part is the formatting and last edits. So time consuming. Every editor has different requirements and pet peeves. What is acceptable to one is not to another. In the future, I will definitely look for a competent, reasonably priced ms. editor.

If a movie were to be made from Starlight Rescue, who would you like to see cast in the leading roles?

I’m somewhat out of touch with the younger generation of actors, so that will take some thought. My heroine, veterinarian Kimberly Dorn, is in her late twenties, more an all American girl, not a glamour girl, blonde and outdoor athletic. Hero Gabe Trent is tall, dark and an outdoor  filmmaker. Now, there’s a pair. Both are animal lovers which movie characters would have to be comfortable with. Let the readers imagine who might fill these roles. =)

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

In about fourth grade, I read a wonderful book,The Five Peppers, I believe was the title. It was a charming, heartwarming story of a poor family with five children. What I remember was their efforts to make a special birthday cake for one of the members. The theme of love and support of the family impressed me the most.

What kind of books do you normally read and who is your favorite author?

I am very eclectic in my reading. There are so many! In earlier days, I loved LaVryle Spencer, Laura Kinsale and Maggie Osborne, all marvelous women’s fiction/romance authors. Recently I’ve discovered fiction author Jane Kirkpatrick and poet/non-fiction author Susan Tweit. It’s so difficult to name favorites because there are numerous authors I enjoy.

Outside your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

Free time? (She grins.) I would love to take a leisurely road trip through the Colorado mountains in the summer or fall. My husband and I have enjoyed past annual trips to Jackson Hole where he climbed the Grand Teton years ago. I’m always in awe of the majesty and beauty of that area. And, not to forget, spending time with my little soul companion, Danny, a spirited miniature poodle.

Starlight Rescue, a RWA PASIC award winner, is available in Softcover through Treble Heart Books and is also available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle, etc. Also, it’s definitely nice to have my new release in softcover and about half the price of my last two hardcover books. Please visit my new website at: www.lesleebreene.com.  and Amazon Ebook Kindle.

(First visitor to my last blog with Mary Trimble and the first visitor to your site will win a softcover copy of Starlight Rescue! Keep posted for next contest on my website and www.facebook.com/lesleebreene.)

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Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 6:05 am  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I really enjoyed learning more about you, Leslee. I remember Five Little Peppers (and How They Grew!) from my own childhood.

    • Lise, We do go back a ways… =) Remember those learning moments in NWA? Since you’re the visitor who’s commented on both Mary Trimble’s and Heidi’s blog, YOU will be receiving a free copy of STARLIGHT RESCUE!
      Please send me your mailing address at lbreene@q.com. And enjoy!
      Leslee

  2. What a wealth of material from your work background, Leslee! Thanks for an enjoyable post and much good luck with Starlight Rescue.

    • Irene,
      Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate good luck wishes from an author who’s accomplished as much as you have in your writing career!

  3. Very interesting blog Leslee. Kelly Girl! I was one too! Those were the days they could call us “girls” without it being sexual harassment 🙂
    Clare Austin

  4. Thanks, Clare. Actually I wouldn’t mind being called a “girl” at this stage of the game. =) Haven’t been called one in a heck of a long time. It might even be fun being called a “dame.” Ha!
    Good to hear from you.

  5. Nice interview and your latest book sounds good. I too loved La Vyrle Spencer. She had such a way with words and characterization. Congratulations on placing your short story in the Laura Awards. That’s quite an accomplishment with so many great writers entering. Hope you have much success with your book.


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