Lesli (no "e" on the end) Richardson is a stubborn, snarky, caffeine-addicted Taurus and native Floridian who lives in southwest Florida with her son, husband, and a houseful of neurotic, misfit animals of various species. As of this writing she has never seen "real" snow.
She has dozens of software tutorials to her credit, and has in the past been a freelance writer and newspaper columnist, among other things. Her life-long dream of writing fiction for a living (and getting paid to do it) has finally come true, so she's forbidden anyone to pinch her and wake her up. Feel free to read more about her assorted scribblings at her website or drop her a line. (Also writes as Tymber Dalton.)
Q: What's your quick 411?
A: Happily married to "The Best Husband in the World" for over eleven years, one son from my former marriage, a houseful of dogs and other critters, Florida native from a long line of Florida natives (an endangered species). I'm a caffeine-addicted, snarky (which is the polite way of saying I'm a ball-buster) stubborn Taurus who isn't fit to be around until I've had at least two cups of coffee in the morning. Been writing since I was a kid, but only recently attempted to get published.
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: I live in Florida. (And yes, I know how to properly punch a butterfly ballot.) Seriously, many of my ideas start out with at least a few cells of real-life truth to them in some way. Maybe not the story's plot, but certainly the characters. Whether it's an event in the news that sparks my creative juices, or something I've seen or done or heard about that influences a character's development or conflicts, there's always some grain of truth in my stories somewhere.
Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I can rebuild a car engine and have performed emergency roadside brake repairs on my vehicle. In my previous marriage, I ran an automotive and engine repair shop. Also, as a Florida native and life-long state resident, I've never seen real snow.
Q: You've never seen real snow? Ever?
A: Nope. Twice in my life we've had very slight flurries, but I've never seen real snow. The upside is, I can remember plenty of Christmases with temperature highs in the mid to upper 80s.
Q: Why is there no "e" on the end of "Lesli?"
A: Because I have no middle name and I dropped the last part of my full first name. There is no "e," "y," or even an "ey" on the end of my name. Just "Lesli."
Q: What's it like being the mother of a child with a disability?
A: My son was born with spina bifida, which provided some challenges throughout the years. Frankly, as he's my only child, I don't know any different. I love him, and he's a great kid. (Although as of this writing he's not thirteen yet, so ask me again when he's a teenager, I might have a different opinion on the "great kid" status!) While my novel Cross-Country Chaos is fiction, there are factual snippets in there from my own life. I can't count how many waitresses have assumed my son wasn't able to order his own food, and how many well-meaning people have said they're "sorry" he's in a wheelchair. I consider myself lucky, because as the heroine in my book says, it can always be worse.
Q: How and where do you write?
A: I grab the laptop and whether it's at the kitchen table or in bed or on the couch depends on how I feel. Now that I'm able to fully devote my efforts to my fiction, it's a good chunk of my day. I treat it as a job, although a job I can do while wearing pajama pants and a fuzzy pink bathrobe. If I didn't have dogs to walk, I'd probably never get out from behind my laptop. I'm a touch typist and pretty fast, so it's not uncommon for me to churn out over 10k words in a day if it's a good day. That's not every day, but when I get on a roll, I prefer to "write it out" instead of stopping and losing the flow. Getting into a good writing rhythm gives me as good a buzz as fine espresso. When I'm driving I do a lot of thinking about whatever story I'm currently on, and it's not uncommon for me to be heard speaking dialog to myself in the shower. I usually have a notepad within reach if I'm not at my laptop so I can write something down. I have a mind like a rusty sieve, and more than once I've forgotten great ideas.
Q: What's your favorite genre to write?
A: I don't have one. I go where the characters lead me. If that means the story is a contemporary romance, fine. If it means it's a paranormal thriller, that's cool. If it's a mystery or erotica orwhatever. My characters take on a life of their own, and I think my writing is better for it.
A: Oh, yes. My mp3 player is chock full of a wide variety of things for various moods, from classical to rock and roll, from Gershwin to Pink. When I find a particularly good "trigger" song for a scene I'm working on, I've been known to set the player to repeat track and play it over and over (and over) again until I need something else.
Q: What do you read?
A: Whatever catches my interest. It's got to have good writing and a good plot and catch me quick or I lose interest.
Q: "Pants" or "Outline?"
A: Seat of my pants, for the most part. I don't outline fiction. I use a software called SuperNoteCard (no affiliation, yadda yadda) for my initial draft, which is like having index cards and decks. I can create a card with just a title or a snippet of dialog or narrative or whatever and shove it in where it needs to go. I rarely write a story front to back, I write whatever scenes come first. I see them as a "movie" in my head and whatever's strongest at any given time is what gets written first. Once I feel I've got the meat of the story in place, I export it all to Word and then format it, clean it up, fill in anything that's missing, and do my rough draft edits. This way I can be flexible and follow my story and characters, rather than trying to shove them into a pre-determined mold. I usually have a general idea of what I want to do, like point A, point M, point Z, but no detailed map of how to get to those various points until I dig in and get started.
Q: Favorite quote?
A: I saw this in a sig line and don't know who originally wrote it, but I love it and it describes me perfectly: "Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, 'Oh shit....she's awake!!'"
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: MUWAHAhahahahahahahah! *snort* Oh, you were serious? What free time? *LOL* I'm writing. It's not just my job, it's my passion and my hobby.
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[BookStrand Contemporary Romance] Note: Tymber Dalton writes mainstream romance as Lesli Richardson. Divorced mom Kelly Alexander wants her younger son, Denny, who is in a wheelchair due to spina bifi MORE...