Leslie O’Kane interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Jun 13, 2017 7:09:56 PM
Leslie O’Kane interview with David Alan Binder
Bio from Amazon: Leslie O'Kane is the author of 25 novels—three mystery series, one women's fiction series, plus a pair of young-adult thrillers. She began writing when her son was a year old, and she realized if she didn't shut down her technical writing business, she would never achieve her dream of writing fiction for a living. She gave herself six years to accomplish the feat and got her first contract two months shy of her deadline. Like her characters, she loves the occasional girls' night out and dutifully follows the old saw: "A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away." (Which, technically, might be considered a misquote, but should not be.)
Most of Leslie’s novels are murder mysteries, and she considers the time she was taken hostage in a robbery to be the beginning of her life in crime. In that particular instance, her knack for finding humor—something she readily employs in her writing—nearly got her killed. The robbery occurred at the bar in Boston where she worked as the head-waitress, and she informed a large, bearded young man that he'd missed last call. Minutes later, the man burst back through the doors with a rifle in one hand and a shotgun in the other. Although a couple of her coworkers screamed in terror, Leslie's first thought was: He's taking missing last call WAY too seriously. That observation amused her, and earned her a jab with the business end of the shotgun—which instantly sobered her.
Nowadays, Leslie continues to find humor in unusual situations and joy in her writing. She hopes to keep writing well into her well-aged-like-fine-wine years. (And to avoid armed robberies.)
Leslie O’Kane: http://leslieokane.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/leslie.okane.9
Leslie O’Kane Books https://www.amazon.com/Leslie-OKane/e/B000APU4VK
2. Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
I have been a published author for 20 years now, and I’ve learned that things rarely go as planned. The key is to roll with the punches and keep writing. Twenty-two years ago, I asked myself a key question: “If I knew for certain that I would never get published, would I still want to write?” After a long session of soul searching, I decided that the answer was yes, and that I would make my goal to become the best unpublished author of all-time.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
When I’m truly stumped as to how to resolve a plot predicament I’ve gotten my character into, I shut myself into my bedroom and won’t let myself read the room until I’ve figured out a worthy solution.
5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I was published by Random House and St. Martin’s for 15 years and began publishing eBooks four years ago. Both ventures have pros and cons.
6. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I got my agent by meeting her at a writer’s conference and having her appreciate my manuscript. I think that personal, face-to-face contact is invaluable. However, it is secondary to having a manuscript that is a great read.
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
When I started writing, I was a mother of a small child (and later of two) and had to write during naps and school schedules. Once I became an empty nester, I discovered that I am most creative in the afternoon and evening. I also discovered from writing for more than three decades that I always come to a point in which I believe I cannot salvage this book, yet I almost always do wind up with a book that I enjoy reading. (I’ve deserted five manuscripts, at least, and I will never publish them, because if they aren’t good enough for me, they truly aren’t good enough to be read by anyone else.)
8. How many books have you written?
I’ve written and published 26 novels. Many years ago I also wrote about 10 books for children, but none of them were published, and I haven’t tested the children’s market in 20 years.
9. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
Join a critique group. The benefit is twofold. You learn from others’ opinions as to what would improve your work for them, and you learn how to determine objectively what works and doesn’t work in someone else’s work. Read vociferously. Put many, many hours into writing. Like everything else, improvement comes from repetition.
10. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
Outline your book. A full-length novel needs about 20 plot points/twists, so I start with a numbered list from 1 to 20, in which “1” is the applecart being tipped over for my character that will set the story in motion, and “20” is the end of that story. (Followed by the brief denouement, in which the character has a new applecart that he will push or pull in the reader’s mind after “The End.”)
My best twists are ones that are so challenging; I’m not sure how I can resolve them. A writing teacher of mine, Barbara Steiner, used to say: “Put your character on the edge of a cliff and throw rocks at him.”
11. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
All of my books have humorous elements and are quick, entertaining reads.
12. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
BookBub ads are fabulous. With HOW MY BOOK CLUB GOT ARRESTED, I am boosting my Facebook posts and will offer to come to speak to any book club within a 50 mile radius of Boulder, as long as they buy at least five copies of my book.
13 What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why? I would have leapt on publishing eBooks five years sooner than I did. It is much harder now to get readers to discover your books when it was when eBooks were a novelty.
14. What saying or mantra do you live by?
15. Anything else you would like to say?
I hope you’ll give one of my books a try. My most recent release is HOW MY BOOK CLUB GOT ARRESTED. On July 15th, I’ll release DOG DRAMA, the fifth mystery novel in my Allie Babcock series about a dog therapist in Boulder, Colorado.