Sunday, 12 February 2012

Author Interview - Leslie Deaton

Leslie Deaton, author of A Marked Past, stopped by our blog today for an interview! Leslie was also kind enough to offer up 10 ebook copies of A Marked Past. See below for details of the giveaway!

Lyla Mercer’s life changed the moment her dad was murdered, and again when she heard that she could be next. Forced to move to Salem for safe keeping, Lyla soon discovers her family has a dark history in the small town, and when a glossy black moon appears on the back of her neck she becomes newest part of that legacy. Her family is marked and being hunted, but Lyla may be the weapon they need to survive. Lyla attempts to ignore the danger, pretending to be normal, but whispers and rumors follow her everywhere. She thinks nothing can ever be normal for her again until she meets Caleb, the minister’s son, and the absolute wrong boy to be dating a witch. He’s everything she wants to be, just a normal kid from a normal family. At least that’s what she thinks, but nothing is as it seems in Salem. Caleb has secrets to keep about his family that rival her own. Until recently, her father's murderer has managed to keep his true identity a secret, but when Lyla uncovers the truth about him, nobody is safe, especially her.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but as little girl I dreamed of being a Cowgirl. Not the kind who repaired the fence line and rustled cattle, but the kind with a red hat, a cute jean skirt with a rhinestone belt buckle, and some pretty boots.

When I got a little older that dream faded (thank goodness) to something a bit more realistic. I thought I wanted to be an English teacher; but after I completed my English degree, I landed in the consulting world, and I really love it. I write every day, creating processes, instructions, and educational materials for my clients.

When did you first consider yourself an author?
It didn’t come until I arrived at my first book signing…I remember smiling at all the people who were carrying my book in their hands; my book, and waiting for me to sign it for them. It was an amazing day, and definitely a dream come true.

Do you have a favorite character from A Marked Past? Which character did you have the most fun writing?
Lyla is definitely my favorite character; she is the heart of the storyline, holding all the emotion and drive as the protagonist but still possessing the innocence of a teenage girl. The fire behind her character was inspiring and I loved telling her story.

But honestly, I loved writing about Hana the most. Lyla’s cousin, Hana, is one of the main characters of A Marked Past and she is the antithesis of Lyla in every way. Hana is the quiet to Lyla’s voice, the thoughtful to Lyla’s sometimes selfish nature, and the reserved to Lyla’s fight. Hana carries a loss and fear in her heart and because of that, it was challenging but very rewarding to tell her part of the story.

What kind of research was necessary for A Marked Past?
I did a lot of research for A Marked Past, from reading about the Salem Witch Trials, to investigating Wicca, to researching old New England barns, and finally I drove to Salem and wandered through the streets. I went to witch shops and let the cold wind of Salem steal my warmth. I listened as the trees creaked in the wind and let the place haunt me. I felt the old houses watching me as I walked the cobblestone streets. And when I left, it all stayed with me.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I loved writing A Marked Past, and I was lucky enough to have a sister who was reading right long side me as I wrote. My sister Sarah and I worked hand in hand to evolve the storyline together. So that part was great.

The most challenging part was definitely editing. I spent hours poring over specific wording, phrases, dialogue, and searching for typos. I also worked with a reader to perform major enhancements to the storyline, evolving the battle scenes, and ultimately the outcome of the novel. I had to stay emerged in Lyla’s world but also be able to take a step back far enough to accept the need for change. It was a difficult line to maintain, but editing is probably the most important final step of writing a novel.

What were your feelings when you first saw the finished product of your first book?
Elation! I literally cried when the final product arrived and I held the book in my hands. It was a surreal moment to open the cover and see my words, my characters, my novel, right there in print. The small black book represented so much to me, all the years of wanting to write, the hours revisions, the help of friends and family to create the look and feel, and finally the pride of actually having done it. The only thing better than all of that, was the smile on my Dad’s face at my first book signing.

A Marked Past is the first in a series. Are you working on the next book, and can you share a little bit about that?
The manuscript for my second book, A History Renewed, is in editing right now and is due out June 2012. The storyline is a continuation of the Mercer family’s adventures leading to more mystery and discovery along the way. I’m very excited to be finishing the second, and starting on the third later this summer.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I love to travel, watch TV and movies, and of course I read. I’m always looking for a new adventure to try or a great story to get lost in. Last year some of my adventures included hanging out in English pubs, visiting a bison farm in Wyoming, snorkeling in Maui, and spending a week on a houseboat in Kentucky. I’m game for almost anything, and I try to absorb as much as possible when I am visiting a new place. You never know when you might weave part of a personal experience into a character’s plotline.

What book are you reading now?
I’m reading the Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I love the relationship that’s unfolding between the two main characters. It’s strange and wonderful at the same time.


Thank you Leslie for stopping by!!

To find out more about author Leslie Deaton or her work check out her Gooreads page or her website. You can follow Leslie Deaton on Facebook and Twitter.

Now for the giveaway!!  It's easy...simply follow Leslie via Facebook or Twitter.  Leave a blog post comment below letting us know how you are following and your e-mail address.  The first 10 people to comment will recieve an ebook of A Marked Past!  (Giveaway ends March 1, 2012)


  1. Ok I am following Leslie on twitter, goodreads and facebook, I don't remember if I have this book so I am signing up just incase. I will get back to you if I do.

  2. Ok, following on twitter

  3. Great interview!
    Following on FB and Twitter, @candyco01

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Twitter!

    1. Following on both twitter and facebook.

      Thank you for the giveaway!

      Margaret(Literary Chanteuse)

    2. Awesome interview... I enjoyed reading about Leslie very much!

  5. I enjoyed the interview.I am following on twitter and face book and blog!Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. I liked the interview. I follow on Twitter and FB and GFC. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. thanks, follow you on gfc, and subscribed to leslie on fb.

  8. I'm following Leslie on Twitter =D

  9. I'm following Leslie on Facebook and on Goodreads!

  10. That's 10...giveaway has ended. Thank you everyone!!

  11. woohoo i won! thank you making connections and Leslie Deaton!

  12. I sent emails to everyone with a Smashwords coupon, so let me know if you didn't get it!