Meet Leslie Tentler.
Leslie Tentler worked in public relations as a writer and editor for nearly two decades before deciding to pursue her love of writing fiction. Her first manuscript won multiple Romance Writers of America chapter contest awards, including the prestigious Maggie Award of Excellence.
Leslie is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee. Growing up, she was an avid reader, first of Nancy Drew novels and then surreptitiously devouring her mother’s historical romances at probably too young an age. As she got older, her reading interests moved to romantic suspense, which she writes today.
Leslie is the author of five novels, including BEFORE THE STORM, FALLEN, and the Chasing Evil trilogy (MIDNIGHT CALLER, MIDNIGHT FEAR and EDGE OF MIDNIGHT). She was a finalist for Best First Novel at ThrillerFest 2012, and is a two-time finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.
Leslie is a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Novelists, Inc.
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Guest Post – The Writing Life: Creating Worlds of Our Own
It’s true that authors very often start off as avid readers who begin to desire even more immersion into fictional worlds. Simply reading becomes no longer enough, so we start dabbling in worlds of our own creation, thinking through stories in our heads until finally we become bold enough to put those ideas on paper (or the computer screen).
Growing up, I never planned to be a novelist, but I did have a strong imagination. And I also loved to read. My favorites were Nancy Drew mysteries. I’d learned the general timeframe in which new ones would arrive at our local “Rose’s” – a discount retailer similar to Target or Wal-Mart in our small Southern town – and I’d beg my mother to take me there. Once the book was mine, I’d force myself to savor it as slowly as I could, not wanting that world to end. And when the book was finally finished, I’d daydream about new plots for Nancy until another mystery was released.
I also became enraptured by Island of the Blue Dolphins, a sad, coming-of-age novel I read over and over. I’d imagine life for Karana—the novel’s heroine who survived alone on a desolate island for years—after she was rescued and what her return to civilization was like. I must have checked that book out from the library two dozen times.
As an author, creatively, things haven’t changed all that much for me from those days of my childhood. The characters and worlds are now completely of my own creation, but I’m still getting little nuggets of story ideas, glimpses of heroes and villains, passing through my head. Germinating those ideas until they become fully formed novels takes a lot more work, though, and I do sometimes become slowed by adult fears like failure.
It was easier when those stories in my head were just for me, when they weren’t being put out there for the world to see. It can be scary sometimes. But in taking the risk and putting my stories “out there,” I also experience the great joy of sharing them with others. There is nothing more elating than having a reader tell you they enjoyed your story, that they shared that same bond you feel with your characters. My favorite thing to hear is that the reader wished the story hadn’t come to a close.
While FALLEN is a romantic suspense novel set against the backdrop of a tense hunt for a serial killer targeting police, there is also another story within a story. It’s about a once-happy couple torn apart by tragedy, then brought together again by circumstances and fate. It’s this – Lydia and Ryan’s story – that is at the book’s heart.
If you’re a writer, have you ever thought about the “why” of it? What compels you to do what you do? If you’re a reader, what books from your childhood stuck with you the most?
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