Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Leesa and congratulations on the release of ‘Charming the Outback ’! Could you give us the blurb, please?
When jaded city girl Maddy McIntyre packs up and leaves Adelaide for a new job in the country, it’s not only a chance at a fresh start. Six months ago, the first guy she’d ever loved shattered her heart before moving home to Broken Hill. Deep down inside, Maddy is hoping that living in the same town will give her an opportunity to prove to Luke that she’s one temptation he can’t resist.
But when she arrives in Broken Hill, Luke White is not the same guy she knew in the city. And it soon seems very clear that he doesn’t want her there. Although Maddy settles in quickly, excelling at work and partying with her new friends, she can’t understand why Luke is remaining so distant. Particularly when all her instincts are telling her that they’re meant to be together – and that he feels the same burning attraction.
As Maddy learns more about Luke’s family and background, she begins to understand that his mixed messages are caused by balancing what’s expected of him with what he really wants. Maddy gave Luke her heart long ago and, despite their differences, she knows she’ll only ever be happy with her hot country boy. But how can she convince him that she’s the risk he needs to take?
Your novels feature sports quite heavily. What is it about all those toned and buff bodies that make for great romance?
I enjoy describing an athlete’s body with abs you can grate cheese on, broad shoulders, a tight rear, and incorporating their personality (often arrogant) into the emotion of New Adult romance.
I believe fans of our sporting heroes are curious to what happens behind the scenes of the playing arena. Sport has been a major part of my life so in my stories I touch on many issues, some controversial, and take the reader on a different journey to other romance stories.
What’s your favourite sport?
After watching my husband play Australian Rules football for Glenelg in the SANFL for many years, I developed a love for football. I also have to include basketball, as my four daughters played the game and I enjoyed watching them compete in national tournaments, representing South Australia.
You grew up in Broken Hill. What was that like? Are there things you miss about a country area as compared to the city?
Growing up in the country was a wonderful experience. There is a strong sense of community and as a child I felt safe. I miss the unobstructed views of sunrise and sunset with orange and pink splashed across the skies. And the stars shine brightly at night.
However I love the selection of cafes, fine restaurants, and the beach in Adelaide. Then there is also the variety sport and entertainment you find in the city and not in the country. Broken Hill is only a five-hour drive from Adelaide, so it is not far to travel when I need to escape and go ‘home’.
Can you tell us about the New Adult genre?
New Adult books are often about monumental firsts. There is a unique tone and often the stories are filled with emotion, as the characters in New Adult tend to fall in the age bracket between 18 and 25 years. We all know this can be a sensitive time with many changes happening in the individual’s life, and so the struggle of becoming an adult is generally central to the story. Most of us have fond memories of leaving school and attending university, or finding employment. It is a time when we spread our wings and embrace independence. It is also an emotional time experiencing highs and lows on leaving the family home, splurging on holidays and or travelling the world, and finding new friends while losing others.
But it is the finding love, sometimes our first love—and losing it just as quick—that is a focus for me. So my stories are about the characters finding their way as they enter adulthood, adding the emotion and adventure of romance. And during this journey they discover who they are and what really matters to them, and fighting for it. Something we can all relate to regardless of our age. Although I write contemporary new adult with a sport theme, other sub genres are becoming just as popular like fantasy or sci-fi, paranormal, and suspense.
New Adult is storming the bookshelves in the states and I hope Australia takes it lead, and gives New Adult the support it deserves.
What is the target market for New Adult? Who is reading it?
Readers 17+ ages can relate to New Adult stories. I for one look back at those years with happiness, in a nostalgic way, and yet I also remember the regrets. Younger readers may relate to the story while experiencing similar firsts, happy times and disappointments.
What would we find on your bookshelf or e-reader?
In my bookshelf I have a variety of books including Australian authors. Favourites are Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and yet I also enjoyed Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey. There are also many Nora Robert’s books.
I take my kindle everywhere as though it another appendage. The books on my kindle are mainly New Adult, with Jennifer Armentrout’s, and Lexi Ryan’s books featuring heavily. I also endeavour to buy many Australian authors’ books, especially those published by Destiny.
My favourite NA books:
Stay With Me by Jennifer Armentrout
Easy by Tammara Webber
Adam’s List by Jennifer Ann
Another New Life by Sydney Aaliyah
Goodbye to You by AJ Mathews
Tyler by Jo Raven
Walk With Me by Kaitlyn Stone
You have four daughters, does that help you to be in touch with what New Adult characters would be doing/thinking/feeling?
Absolutely. Many authors are given the advice to ‘write what you know’. I am living the emotional highs and lows of New Adult characters in my home. Whether it ‘first time’ experiences or conversations about alcohol and drug abuse in society, which is common among this age group, I believe I am in touch with New Adult themes.
Can you tell us a bit about your current work in progress?
Currently I am writing the third book in the series, another football romance involving a ruckman. Both characters are new, although my main characters in Winning the Player will receive cameos.
What does the future hold for Leesa Bow?
At the moment I am a full time author. I am enjoying my writing journey and hope for three or four more books to be published over the next year.
2015 will be a big year in my personal life, and I hope it to be just as big in my writing world.
Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Charming the Outback’, please?
Luke sat straight backed on the bed, his gaze devouring my body. As much as I liked watching his face adore me, I also wanted to perve. ‘Your turn,’ I whispered.
Luke shook his head and stood. My gaze shot straight to the bulge in his shorts. Whoa. He turned away and opened the cupboard door.
‘What are you doing?’
He moved coat hangers apart, searching for God knows what. ‘I’m picking out a dress for you to wear. We’re going out for dinner.’
I sprang to the edge of the bed. ‘You’re kidding, right?’
Luke looked at me from over his shoulder, hands still on clothes hanging in my cupboard. ‘No, I’m not. You asked me to kiss you like I meant it, and I did. Now we’re getting out of the house before I lose my bloody mind.’
Here’s the link to the first chapter on the Destiny website:
Leesa Bow grew up in Broken Hill. Sport played a major role in her life growing up in a small country town, and Leesa had a passion for basketball. Although she loved to read books with happy endings, she never believed she would end up a novelist.
Leesa started her professional life nursing at the local hospital before moving to Adelaide in her early twenties. She married a football player, and inevitably her four daughters were also sporty. Leesa began writing seriously when her second daughter became sick with cancer. Initially writing was therapeutic, but when her daughter got the all clear, she decided to continue writing seriously. Stories about sport, romance, and characters aged eighteen plus seemed logical since her daughters were of a similar age, and often surrounded by athletes.
In her spare time Leesa writes New Adult romance. On weekends she enjoys watching basketball and football, having beach days with the family, catching up with girlfriends, and daydreaming about strong heroines.