July 5, 2011

Interview and Giveaway: Leslie Parrish (Update: Winners announced!)


Today I’m thrilled to welcome an author that’s on my auto-buy list. Her name is Leslie Parrish and she writes fantastic romantic suspense. Her latest series also has a paranormal touch and I’m totally hooked. Today is a happy day because the second book of that series, Cold Touch, is finally available for everyone to read and I know that you will love it as much as I did.

Let’s get to it then!

Tell us a little bit about your writing process. Do you outline the plot? How much research is involved? Do you need a specific environment to write or can you do it everywhere?

Leslie: When I’m writing my dark suspense novels, I usually plot a little more carefully than I do with my light, funny contemporaries (Note from Brie: Leslie also writes contemporary romance under the name Leslie Kelly, Leslie Parrish is a penname). I like very twist books with a lot of plot threads that weave together and tighten as the book progresses, which definitely requires some plotting. Fortunately, I have both a husband who’s terrific at brainstorming plot ideas, and a plotting group (the Plotmonkeys) who are great at it too! So there are plenty of people to bounce ideas off of and believe me, I do…quite often!

I know there are people who just love to dive deep into research before writing, but I’m not one of them. Once I get an idea for a story in my head, I’m usually raring to go to write it and don’t want to be distracted by a ton of research right up front. So generally, I learn what I need to know to get started (usually via Internet searches, or by going to somebody who’s an expert in what I need to know and asking questions.) Then I start writing. If I hit roadblocks, I go back and find what I need, and work my way through the book like this.

For the past several years I’ve been working on my reclining sofa in my family room—which, for someone with a bad back, is a very bad idea. A few months ago, I tackled my office, which was small, cluttered, and poorly furnished. I invested in good furniture, a really good chair, painted it bright yellow, and totally de-cluttered. Now I love working in there! (One problem—it’s the hottest room in the house. So far, the summer writing has been a challenge.) 

When you are writing a series with secondary characters that will eventually be the leads of their own books, do you have their stories planed since book one? Do you know who will they end up with? Do you know their background in advance? How do you determine whose book comes first?

Leslie: I usually know which characters will end up having their own story, but I don’t always know what it will be about or who they’ll end up with. An example would be the second two books in the Black CATs trilogy. With Pitch Black, I introduced two entirely new secondary characters, who weren’t even in book 1. Yet Black At Heart featured two characters who’d been there all along, and who I knew would end up together eventually.
As for whose book comes first—frankly, it’s whichever character interests me the most at the time, and whichever one’s story best fits with the over-arching story I’m creating in the series. At this time, I’m trying to decide whether to write Mick’s story, or Derek’s as book 3 in the Extrasensory Agents series. I absolutely adore Mick, but I have a big vision for his story and I just don’t know whether I’m ready to tackle it yet, so Derek might be a better choice for me right now.

This series is a bit different to the Black CAT’s because it deals with the paranormal world. Why did you decide to write a paranormal suspense?

Leslie: I entered the romantic suspense genre because I love reading dark suspense and thrillers. But, although the books were very well reviewed, the Black CATs trilogy just didn’t sell well. Romantic suspense had begun its big death dive (it’s doing horribly right now!) My publisher wanted to keep working with me, but said they needed something different, something more suited to today’s market, and asked if I’d like to try incorporating a paranormal element into a Black CATs type romantic suspense. I’m not really into vampires or shapeshifters, but I do love ghosts and psychic phenomenon. That kind of idea sounded like it would blend well with a serial-killer-investigation type suspense novel. I’ve really loved writing the Extrasensory Agents series, and really delved deeper into the paranormal elements in book 2, COLD TOUCH.

The heroine in Cold Touch has a very unique and original “gift”, she can experience the last two minutes of someone’s life by touching their dead bodies. How did you come up with the idea?

Leslie: When I was creating the Extrasensory Agents team, I very much wanted to make sure each team member had a unique ability, and I wanted one of them to be extremely dark. Aidan, the hero in book 1, was pretty tortured, but not because of his abilities, rather because of his failure to save somebody he thought he should have been able to save. I wanted a character to be literally tortured because of his or her ability, and yet continue to use that ability for the good of other people. For somebody investigating murders, I couldn’t imagine anything worse than actually experiencing every sensation of another person’s death, being helpless to prevent it. Olivia’s “gift” fascinated me, because it was truly more of a curse, with the potential to drive her completely insane and destroy her life…which hero Gabe Cooper realizes soon after he meets her.

If you could have a paranormal ability, what would it be and will you use it publicly like your books’ characters or will you keep quiet about it?

Leslie: Oooh…excellent question! I think what I’d most like to be able to do is time-travel. First, for personal reasons. My mother died in a tragic accident when I was in my early twenties, and I’d love the chance to go back in time and try to stop that from happening. In a bigger-world view, I’m a huge historical mystery nut. I’d love to go back and see who Jack the Ripper really was, or find out if Lee Harvey Oswald really did act alone. I also find the thought of having a front row seat to powerful moments in history to be incredibly appealing.

Which are your favorite romance novels?

Leslie: I’m a big Susan Elizabeth Phillips fan, with Kiss An Angel and Nobody’s Baby But Mine being my favorites. I also love Karen Rose’s books—Nothing To Fear is probably my favorite. And I’m a big J.D. Robb fan, gobbling up each In Death book as soon as it’s released!

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions.

Leslie: Thanks so much for having me here!


Leslie’s awesomeness does not end with this fantastic interview. She is also giving away two books, one copy of Cold Sight, book one in her Extrasensory Agents series (and believe me you don’t want to miss that book especially because the hero is sexy, tormented and broody) and one copy of Cold Touch, book two in the series.

To get a chance to win just leave a comment telling us what paranormal ability would you like to have.

This contest is open internationally so everyone can participate. I’ll select the winners using random.org on Friday, July 8th at 5pm EST. You have until then to leave a comment.

Leave your email on the comment so I can contact the winner, if you are afraid of spam then do it like this: brie.clementine (at) gmail (dot) com.

You don’t need to follow the blog to participate, but if you can let other people know about the contest (via Twitter, Facebook, your blog, etc.) I will be very grateful and if you let me know about it I will enter your name twice.

Remember that we are not responsible for items lost during shipping. 


We have our lucky winners! They are Jen B. (she gets a copy of Cold Touch) and Sarah (she gets a copy of Cold Sight). Congratulations to you guys, be sure to check your emails to get all the details. Thank your very much to Leslie for the giveaway and to all of our readers for participating.

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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.