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Monday, 24 October 2016

Hello Jenni ... welcome to the dungeon.



Kia ora,
Please welcome our latest victim guest, Jenni Francis On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.
In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation - you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.  



 Comfy?
A little cool, but thanks for asking ...


1. What’s your favorite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)
   Oh Lordy (you're going to hear a lot of that) I guess ... well I'm usually pretty disappointed with takeout nowadays. So I suppose, a real good kiwi hamburger with beetroot, and good chips - not those horrible soggy ones.

2. Describe your current mental status.
   Frazzled - I've climbed out of my warm bed to come down to do this because  the husband is snoring. 


3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
 One word dragged out of me at a time. I know what I want to say, but it doesn't always come out right. So I procrastinate.


4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
     I have two on the go - one almost at the printing stage and one halfway through writing stage. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone come and take the after-the-printing stuff away - but us indie authors just have to keep working - uploading to ebook publishers, (doesn't that sound easy - anyone else done the Smashwords going nuclear, then spending the next month trying to figure out where you went wrong!!). Then there's the distribution and the marketing ....

Oh wait - I didn't tell you about the latest work - I just moaned - well I'm onto book five of a series. It has a working title of Watch Me. But the book coming out soon is called Cold as Ice and is set partly at Whakapapa. Themes are blended families, some kind of unspecified abuse, anorexia and a good rollicking adventure story thrown in. (Nope, I wouldn't read it either).


5. Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?
A good strong espresso with a little sugar to make it syrupy. Or gumboot tea, black. no sugar.


 6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)
I AM the ADMINS. Old lady bloomers work for me, none of this string up the ..... There is no such thing as a typical day. But if there was one it would go like this. Up at sevenish, walk the dog, back for coffee, a bit of housework, a bit of admin work, a bit of gardening work, a bit of community work, a bit of choir work, a bit of ... you get the picture. Five acres, two businesses, 12 grandchildren and I manage to write 500 words a day. 900 was a record.


7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)
She is me - I am her. My 12 year old self. Only she is way braver, more sassy and adventurous then I ever was. She stands up to people - I never could do that - I was woolly wussy hopeless. 



8. Who are your favorite writers?
Oh Lordy - (there it is again) I love the books of Dick Francis, they are my go-to books when I'm down.  But in my bookshelf and in no particular order are - Louis de Bernieres, Fiona Sussman, Witi Ihimaera, Chris Cleave, Wally Lamb, Anthony Capella, Robert Galbraith, and I think Maeve Binchy was wonderful at story telling about ordinary people.


9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)
    Ackshully ... I guess the old boy upstairs snoring.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
     No, but many have gone the dog's way from the washing basket (let's not go there) plus a few smelly socks. 

11. Describe your perfect day.
      Pretty much as above. Only the dog and I are walking on a beach, he's chasing the rabbits in the sand dunes and we have coffee at a cafe, where he manages to scrounge a second breakfast from the people at the next table. Then it is home for all the above plus an hour reading if I can fit it in. I like to be busy. 

12. Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
   Oooh, that guy out of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he was a nasty piece of work.

13. Do you have any quirks?
I like to play Frozen Bubble before I settle down to work. Does that count? 


14. All-time favorite movie and why?
It's another Oh Lordy question. Well, I like quirky, (Juno, Strictly Ballroom, Moonrise Kingdom, Life of Brian, The Princess Bride) and darkish but uplifting ones (Life is Beautiful, As it is in Heaven, Gloomy Sunday), plus soooo many more.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?
Hate it!

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
 Here, nowhere else.

17. Favorite Pizza topping?
Marguerita - tomato, basil, mozzarella

18. What were you before you became a writer?
Wife, mother, teacher, worked in a pharmacy, worked on a photo lab, teacher of deaf children. 

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Jumped backwards, blindfolded, off a platform in trees that was about 50 metres high, attached to a harness and rope. Okay, 30 metres. Oh alright 20 metres, but that's as low as I go.


20.  If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
Ha! See above. Singing.

21. Who is your ultimate character?
Character? or person? Can't answer to fictional character, but Nelson Mandela for a real life character.

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
Again, marguerita but with tequila this time and not mozzarella

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)
Saw, screwdriver, ruler, (true! all on a dinky little hair clip) also hand sanitiser, wallet, lippy, and a pen that doesn't write. 

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?

PC and Mac


25. Ebook or tree book?
Tree book unless I'm desperate.


26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
The Road!  Now there's a book I'd forgotten about. Apocalypse with a smidgen of hope.


27. Where do you do most of your writing?
Upstairs in a kind of mezzanine spare room.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others it’s the actual writing …)
Marketing!! All the way! I hate selling myself. 


You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle...
That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably … Hahahahahaha


You can find out more about Jenni Francis in the following places ...



And of course in our store! 



Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Grab a cuppa and come meet Brian Stoddart



Kia ora,
Please welcome our latest victim guest, Brian Stoddart. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.
In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation - you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.  






 Comfy?


What’s your favorite type of takeaway?
Oh F&C and failing that, Indian

 Describe your current mental status.
Too much going on in there to actually have a status

I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
Bit of a planner and a scheduler, which is not exactly like my books. The daily list rules

Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
A Straits Settlement (Crime Wave press) is no. 3 in the Chris Le Fanu series of crime novels set in colonial Madras, India, in the 1920s. But this time he gets to cross the Bay of Bengal and get to work in Penang and what were then the Straits Settlements.He is chasing murderers and antiquities thieves and gets involved with Chinese and Malay gangs.All good stuff

Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?
English breakfast

 Walk us through a typical day.
Usually start writing early, around 8 and aim to get through at least 2k words a day, and that’s usually midday or early afternoon. But if the flow is there I keep going, up to 5k. At the start of the writing I usually have a quick look back at and edit of the previous day’s work to get back in the vein. Once done I’ll try and do an hour or so on the mountain bike, think about the work, take in the scenery etc. After that it will be research, online auctions, reading, tasks and all the usual

Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)
Chris Le Fanu I first met, really, in the Tamil Nadu Archives in Madras (now Chennai) when I was researching my PhD thesis. I got interested in the police dealing with Indian nationalism, and by luck resided with a former Inspector-General of Police for Tamil Nadu and he told me a lot as well. Through him I get to cast an eye on the British in India, the strengths and weakness, the interactions with Indians, and I also get to travel the locations with him and that is really great.

Who are your favorite writers?
A wide range: Rankin, Kate Atkinson, Parker Bilal, Walter Mosley, Karin Slaughter, Sarah Paretsky, Phillip Kerr, Greg McGee (Bosco), Paul Thomas, Philip Temple, Cat Connor!  More widely Somerset Maugham, Robert Louis Stevenson, Steve Berry. Then there are the non-fictionistas like David Finkel, Robert Darnton, Jill Lepore, David Lanchester. And so on.

Who inspires you to do better?
The people who email me direct to say they like the books and are looking forward to the next one. And the writers I rate who say my stuff is ok.

Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
No animals available, we travel a lot

Describe your perfect day.
Had one recently at Thrillerfest when I got to hang out with Walter Mosley, Larry Block and Peter James among others. Now that was fun.

Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
Stringer Bell in The Wire. Come to think of it, it might be Idris Elba himself, as Luther written by Kiwi Neil Cross he makes a pretty good villainous cop.

Do you have any quirks?
Who doesn’t? I have this mad mania for Straits Chinese porcelain that I have collected for over twenty years

All-time favorite movie and why?
Probably Lawrence of Arabia because I am fascinated by the Middle East and by the intrigues of that period. A film that you can literally “see” the books in. And McKellen’s Richard III set in a 1930s Britain that is really Nazi Germany. Brilliant.

Do you enjoy the editing process?
Yes I do, mostly. Having trained as a teacher and worked as a lecturer I can be tough on myself. Not so wild about others being tough on me, though!

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Oh, hard. I’ve been lucky enough to live in a few different places. Favourites: Edinburgh, Tours in France, the Montalbano country in Sicily, Penang in Malaysia, near the Botswana game parks.
But being back in NZ is great

Favorite Pizza topping?

Sicilian


What were you before you became a writer?
Trained as a teacher then became a university lecturer. Then a university exec before going into consultancy for agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Now do cruise ship lectures.

What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Started writing crime novels!

If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
These days mountain biking, taking photographs, playing golf, reading

Who is your ultimate character?
Probably Rebus and Montalbano, because they realy set the bar fro crime novel protagonists, at least for me.

Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
Malt whisky, Sancerre or pinot noir from Central Otago, Kingfisher

What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)
iPhone and a neat German credit card holder Sandi found for me. Not apocalypse prepared then

Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?
Laptop, Lenovo that has just had extra storage put on it

Ebook or tree book?
Both, though more e-books because of the travel

Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
Anything that looks like Apocalypse Now.

Where do you do most of your writing?
At a small desk that looks out to the Remarkables in Queenstown and, yes, I can still be productive.

What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others it’s the actual writing …)
Definitely the social media follow up and promotion and all that stuff

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle...
That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …





You can find out more about Brian in the following places ...


Twitter: @BrianStoddart
Facebook: Brian Stoddart

And of course you can find Brian's books in our store :)




Thursday, 13 October 2016

Put your hands together and welcome Kirsten McKenzie to the dungeon



Kia ora,
Please welcome our latest victim guest, Kirsten McKenzie, on the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.
In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation - you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.  

Comfy?

  1. What’s your favorite type of takeaway? 
Indian. Butter Chicken. The bastardised NZ version, with a plain naan bread and rice.

2. Describe your current mental status.
Grieving. This year I’ve lost one girlfriend to Singapore, one to Tauranga, and now one to Perth. All due to job availability. I’m in need of more friends…

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
Through the life giving strength of coffee and wine, although not at the same time.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
The one I’ve just finished, or the one I’m half way through? The one I’ve just finished is the sequel to my first historical fiction novel, ‘Fifteen Postcards’. Titled ‘The Last Letter’, it’s due for publication on the 1st November, which is also my birthday. So I thought everyone could buy a copy in honour of my birthday…

5. Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?
There are different coffees? Seriously, I’ll drink almost any version of coffee presented to me. When it comes to tea, I am a little more picky - English Breakfast first, usually Twining's. Followed by Earl Grey (but only if nothing else is available). I’ll drink peppermint tea, which is okay, but I don’t seek it out.

 6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)
Underpants must match your bra (or at least that was the case before I had children. Now I’m lucky if my bra is clean…).
A typical day is wake up, drink coffee, make breakfasts, make lunches, tell everyone to hurry up, walk them to school, walk home, drink more coffee, think about writing, faff about on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, read the NZHerald online, faff about on social media some more, kid myself that I’m making connections, make another coffee, make lunch, see that its 2pm, start writing, get into a great writing groove, bash out 500 or so words, then pick up the children from school, forget what my train of thought was, feed children, take them to their after school activities, come home, drink wine, make dinner, put children to bed, faff about on social media, at about 10pm find the motivation to start writing, write about 300 great words, then realise I have to get up in seven hours, so go to bed, and lose train of thought again…rinse and repeat.

7. Tell us about your main character
I first met Sarah Lester when I was at work in the family antique shop. Oddly, she’s a little bit like me. Although one reviewer described her as a ‘bubble-head’. I was hurt at first, but actually I’ve embraced that side of her in my writing, and I think the reviewer did me a favour by calling me out on that. I like that she misses her Dad so much. I miss mine desperately, and have everyday since he died suddenly ten years ago of heart failure. Through her pleas to her father, I’m really releasing my own dreams for my father to come back.

8. Who are your favorite writers?
Edward Rutherfurd, he of the massive multigenerational tomes such as London, Paris, Russka, Sarum.
George R.R. Martin - for his utterly amazing character development, and his descriptive passages.
Deborah Harkness. It was reading her Old Souls trilogy which encouraged me to write.

9. Who inspires you to do better? 
My brother, who in the beginning said I never finish anything, when I told him I was going to write a book…well I’ve finished two books now, signed two publishing contracts, and I am half way through my third one! My husband was all good with my quitting my job, and my children (mostly) leave me to do my writing after I’ve begged time to write “just two hundred more words”.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
We have a fancy Santa suit which we try to dress the cat up in every year. She hates Christmas…

11. Describe your perfect day.
Late sleep in. Breakfast in bed. Move from bed to outside in the summer’s sunshine, with a book, a guava juice, then a dip in the pool, cocktails by the pool, a dinner cooked by someone other than me. Did I mention the wine with dinner?

12. Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
I like the cunning of Moriarty. The droll delivery of Professor Snape. And the creepy evilness of Hannibal Lector - where you can’t help but actually like the guy…

13. Do you have any quirks?
I am an eye roller…got me in plenty of trouble at work. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. Stupid people deserve a gratuitous eye roll…I must work harder at controlling this.

14. All-time favorite movie and why?
Midnight in Paris. 1/ It’s Paris. 2/ It has the best actors playing some of the best authors and artists history ever gave us. 3/ The soundtrack - I’m listening to it now as I type this.  

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?
Actually yes. I find it easier than the writing of the initial story. 

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
New Zealand seems pretty safe to be honest. And progressive. And clean. And I have travelled a lot. I’d prefer to live by the beach than in central Auckland, but that’ll come in the future. 

17. Favorite Pizza topping?
Pepperoni. But we have started buying the three cheese pizza, which is fast becoming my favourite. 

18. What were you before you became a writer?
Writing is my third career. I was a Customs Officer for fourteen years, before my father died. My brother and I both quit our jobs to run the family antique business, which we did for ten years. Now he owns it. And I write full time.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Went on an archaeological dig at Vindolanda in Northumberland in England for two weeks. Two of the best weeks of my life. I loved every shovel full of dirt I moved. And I’ll be putting my name down for another go next year.

20.  If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
Volunteering on the PTA. For my sins, I am the chairperson. The PTA is not for the faint of heart I can assure you. I have made some wonderful wonderful friends, but it is a lot of work. 

21. Who is your ultimate character?
Arya Stark in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books. She just gets on with it, and doesn’t wither away in the dark. 

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
A whiskey liqueur - Glayva. Any wine…usually I’d prefer a Pinot Gris or a Riesling for a white wine, and then an Otago Pinot Noir for my red. Never tequila, nor beer.

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)
I have a small country in my handbag. I have two children…

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?
MacBook Air

25. Ebook or tree book?
Any book. I have a Kindle. But I also have a stack of library books, and books from friends, old favourites. 

26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
The Hunger Games scenario seems to be the most likely scenario to descend upon earth sadly…

27. Where do you do most of your writing?
At the dining room table. I have an office, but theres a better view from the dining room. Which is also closer to the kettle.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author?
Singing my own praises. We have a saying in our house, “be more American”. American’s don’t seem to have any problem singing their own praises. In New Zealand we are all far too scared to being tall poppies and being cut down by our peers.

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle...
That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

You can find out more about Kirsten McKenzie in the following places ...


And you can find Fifteen Postcards by Kirsten McKenzie in our store




Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Massive welcome to the beautiful and deadly, Leigh K Hunt



Kia ora,
Please welcome our latest victim guest, Leigh K. Hunt. 

On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.
In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation - you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.  



 Comfy?



1. What’s your favorite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)

Any shit that I don’t have to actually go and get. 

But maybe my grandmothers roast that she plates up for me to take away…. It’s apparently because she cares. I’m not sure if this is true or not or if she’s just trying to get rid of the leftovers. But like a pig to a trough, I just sweep on in and snaffle any little morsel she deems worthy of my consumption. 



2. Describe your current mental status.

Sometimes I talk to myself… most of the time my self talks back. Is this normal? 
I discover that the older I get the less stable I am… or maybe that’s just me realizing that I was never very stable in the first place. 



3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?

I spend a lot of time in the bathroom… thinking. 

I often think up creative ways of murdering people…. So I just thought I would write it all down and see what happens. Turns out – people think I’m a creative writer – but really, I’m a bit of a psychopath. 

In reality, doing what I do comes with great fecking difficulty. Most of the time I’m juggling about a millions different things. I work full time, have a four-year-old, and everything else going on in my life. These days I’m finding it hard to write – but soon, very soon, I’m hoping that I will have a new time structure in place. 
Oh, and the thoughts of the literary killing of someone is sort of thrilling… isn’t it? How’s that for a little motivator? 



4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

My latest… well. It’s a work in progress. It’s a spy thriller – hopefully the first book of many, but if it’s not – I’m actually okay with that idea too. Some days I think it’s good and the most brilliant story in the world – other days I hate it and want it to burn with wild fire. 

It’s about New York Legal Associate and Heiress, Millie Parker. Summer has arrived, and her famed playboy Uncle decides she should go and spend time at his Hampton’s beach house. While she’s there getting some much needed R&R, Jack appears on the scene and sweeps her away into a whirlwind and lustful state, that she’s only too happy to comply with. 
But when her Uncle is murdered in the South of France, suddenly Millie realizes that life isn’t a box of chocolates, Jack isn’t who he appears to be, and some secrets are more deadly than others. 


5. Do you have a favorite coffee or tea?

Eeeeep! TEA! So much peppermint tea. I’m a self-proclaimed addict, and I like it that way. (There are a lot worse things to be addicted to – like murdering people. Ahh… I mean characters. On the page.) 



6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)

Really? You wanna know the details, huh? 
Okay. 

My four-year-old wakes me up by jumping into bed with me for lovely morning cuddles in the warm morning light. She plats my hair, holds my hands, and we like to sing kumbaya. Then I get up, bake a fresh batch of cookies, and whip up pikelets for brunch. We meditate in the sunshine, and listen to a bit of classical music. Then at about 3pm, I drown my sorrows in booze and smoke a lot of pot while thinking about my miserable life and how I am trapped in it. My daughter goes to bed without any dinner, and then I start on the tequilia while using facebook as my online diary of depression. 

Nope – that doesn’t quite sound right… 

  • Wake up
  • Make a list of the people who have pissed me off in the last week
  • Hunt them down
  • Put them through a mulcher
  • Pretend im making compost in the back yard
  • Fill the holes
  • Eat dinner
  • Make list for tomorrow… 

Or then there’s this… a typical weekend day is: 

  • Wake up
  • Try and snatch five minutes so grab a quick shower. 
  • Then I look at the list of crap I need to get through for the day, whether it may be birthday parties, grocery shopping, house work, or whatever is coming up. 
  • Try and cross stuff off the list – whatever that may be. 
  • Eventually eat – if I can think of what I actually want. 
  • Drink a lot of tea. 
  • Smoke a lot of cigarettes. 
  • Maybe visit someone. 
  • Think about dinner. 
  • Get to dinner without knowing what to cook. 
  • Grab takeaways. 
  • Feed child, bathe child, and put child to bed. 
  • Collapse. 

  • Think about writing. 


7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)

My main character in the Nights series is Mack, the Assassin. 
Now answer me this… would YOU really want to hang out with an assassin? 
Life expectancy: Significantly lowered. 

Mack is fun to write as she’s pretty new to the Assassination game, and she’s got a lot to learn. But she’s coming into her own, and discovering a whole new way of life. 
Would I like to hang out with her? Some days I think it would be fun, like flying in private jets, staying in luxury houses, driving fast cars, and whipping out a Glock every now and then. But in all honesty – writing the Mack books is exhausting. They are so fast paced, packed full of really bad dudes, and a little bit of romance on the side – that I just don’t think I could live like that. 


8. Who are your favorite writers?

My favourites? Soooo many favourites. 

Lee Child, Tasmina Perry, Marissa Meyer, Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, and a bunch more off the NYT list. 

On the NZ author list – we have J.C. Hart (I can read absolutely anything by her!) Melissa Pearl, Richard Parry, Frances Duncan, T.G. Ayer, Catherine Mede, Cat Connor, and a whole bunch more who I just love to bits. 



9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)

My mum… but she’s dead now, so has demonstrated that even she couldn’t stick around! (Kidding!) 
My critique group are amazing – all of them. Incredible humans, brilliant writers, and they’re usually pretty decent as well. 
Also, my daughter. Her world of wonderment is truly awesome. 



10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?

Shit – half the time I forget to put my own pants on, let alone an animal’s. 

Can’t say that I’ve ever put pants on a dog, or even a cat or budgie – but we did used to dress the family dog up like a burlesque dancer. I don’t know why that dog actually put up with us. 


11. Describe your perfect day.

Sand, sun, beach, Bora Bora, music. 
No… actually…. 
Waking up to discover I’m the only human being left on the planet. 
No… actually….
My perfect day would be winning a large sum of money from Lotto, and dreaming up the amazing opportunities sitting there waiting for me to snatch them. 

Okay, okay. My perfect day would be waking up, warm and toastie with the sun shining. Making myself a peppermint tea and having breakfast… then sitting down to write my day away surrounded my good music, and happy thoughts. Yup. Perfection. 


12. Who is your favorite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?

MAVEN – from Victoria Aveyard’s series. He’s such a prick. It’s great. 
In my books – the character I love to hate the most is Luke, who is also a complete prick as well (I would use a stronger word, but I’m pretty sure there would be a lot of offended people out there!) 
I actually can’t wait to [spoiler alert] – kill him. Eeeep! It’s going to be so much fun, and brilliant comeuppance for his foul behavior. 



13. Do you have any quirks?

I am a quirk. 
And I can wiggle my nose like Samantha off Bewitched. 



14. All-time favorite movie and why?

The Labyrinth. Cos who wouldn’t wanna get lost in a maze with a crazy heterochromatic goblin king, chasing a stripy baby. 



15. Do you enjoy the editing process?

It depends on how much work my editor has given me. Sometimes I yell at her because of her snark, but mostly – I respect her opinions. I actually do quite enjoy the editing process. I love the refinement that the books go through – shaping them into something even bigger and better. 

And my editor calls me out on all my shit. That’s good too. 


16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Paris. I should have been born there. 
The French way of life is something that I would really like to acquire for myself one day…. Hopefully one day soon. 


17. Favorite Pizza topping?

Oh – a ‘make my own’ pizza I used to make quite frequently…. 
Camembert, smoked chicken, cheese, feta, pesto, and acidophilus yoghurt. Holy shit that stuff is good.

I haven’t been allowed to make that in years due to family complaints on my lack of cooking skills.  


18. What were you before you became a writer?

I was… schizophrenic. I think. I can’t quite tell. 

I was supposedly a corporate person, who fumbled and farted her way through life earning money. I also painted a lot. But… It’s not the way I was designed. When I actually listened to those weirdass voices who are constantly chattering at me – I realized that those voices probably weren’t a sign of schizophrenia (like I originally thought) – but were actually characters – waiting to be written. 


19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?

Got married. 



20.  If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

Sleeping. Trying to sleep. Planning how I’ll sleep. Or digging holes in the back yard.  

No really. I’m a mummy, I work full time, I have a design business, I write, and I have all sorts of everything else going on in my life – which is pretty much like working all day, every day. Without ever stopping. 


21. Who is your ultimate character?

Elektra. Wait… she’s not mine. 
Erm. River – he’s pretty boss. He’s big, tough, strong, zen, professional, and he reigns in Mack every single day. Oh, he’s sexy to boot as well. 


22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?

Bubbles…. Margaritas… Martini. 
And peppermint tea. 


23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)

A lighter. I’ll burn the zombies if I can get close enough. They may need to stand still. 


24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?

Laptops, and iPad. 


25. Ebook or tree book?

Both… I love collecting paperback books, as having lovely books in the house makes me feel at home. But e-books for sheer convenience. 

Paperbacks will be handy to start fires with later. 
To burn the zombies. 


26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?

Where everyone is dead, and it’s just me hanging out in my cabin in the woods? 


27. Where do you do most of your writing?

I do it on the fly. I used to do a lot on the train on my way in and out of the city. Nowadays – I get writing done in snippets of time. I quite like writing in Hotel rooms, actually – I get through a lot doing that. The dirtier and seedier – the better. 
Or a 5 star. I’m good with that too. 


28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others it’s the actual writing …)

Marketing – cos I’m rather shocking when it comes to giving a shit. 
Isn’t that terrible? I love it when my books are selling and doing well – hate trying to get reviews – and generally when a book is released I’m more focused on the next project. 




You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle...
That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …


You can find out more about Leigh in the following places ...

Website and blog: www.leighkhunt.com 
Twitter: @leighkhunt 
Instagram: leighkhunt

And of course ... Leigh's books are available in store.