Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sitdown Saturday with Leigh Riker



Today we’re celebrating Man of the Family

So, Leigh Riker, where did you get the idea for this novel?
            Well, that’s a long story, at least in terms of time. The book has been in my head for a while, but it was only when I revised the storyline and even the settings that it suited Harlequin Heartwarming, and I’m very happy with it now. At last. It’s always been in my heart.

Is it a standalone? Or part of a series?
            A standalone. Notice the redhead (hero Griffin’s sister) peeking between him and Sunny, the heroine, on the cover? She’s already married to Sunny’s brother or I’d give them a book of their own. Bronwyn’s so cute.

How long did it take you to write?
            About three months, give or take. Not counting more revisions.


In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption, what would it say?
            Love is in the air! Just look at those two people’s faces. (Or maybe, for today, the caption should say Happy Fourth of July!)

What is your favorite scene?
            I love the one in which Sunny has stayed at Griffin’s apartment for dinner (a first for them). He teases her about the hot chili he made and their mutual attraction becomes apparent. Really, he’s already over the moon for Sunny by then but won’t admit it.

Who was your favorite character and why?
            Griffin, because I admire his efforts as a single dad to protect his motherless children from further hurt. At the same time he has reinvented himself—and I admire him for doing what he had to do. After his wife disappeared, Griffin quit his busy career as a TV anchor, moved to Florida to be near his sister, and became the manager of an apartment complex so he could work near home and have more time for his vulnerable kids.

How did you choose the settings?
            The book was due in November, and I wasn’t looking forward to the cold weather where I live. So Florida seemed a good choice (rather than the original New England). I also met my husband in New York City so that’s my second home—and the perfect place for Sunny to suffer the professional and personal setbacks that finally force her to face her painful past.

Tell us one thing you learned during research?
            Sunny was molested as a young girl. I learned that some girls still today are reluctant, even ashamed, to admit what happened to them. I hope this story helps someone to deal with her own experience.

This is your sixteenth novel. Exactly what does that mean to you?
            Oh, wow. I love piling up the numbers. This is also my sixth Harlequin novel. And Man of the Family is—by sheer order of the line’s books that have been published—the 100th Heartwarming title. Love that medallion on the cover, even when I had nothing to do with it!

What are you working on now?
            My new book is called Painted Ponies. It involves a family tragedy and some hand-carved carousel horses that eventually help them all to heal emotionally.

What are you reading for pleasure?
            I just finished Gone Girl. An interesting read but I didn’t find any of the characters especially likeable. Right before that, I read Nora Roberts’ book, The Liar, which I really enjoyed. And The Fixer by Joseph Finder. I seem to be on a thriller kick lately!

I hope readers will enjoy my new romance, Man of the Family.






19 comments:

  1. Congratulations to you, Leigh, for the release of Man of the Family. I agree with Liz, it sounds wonderful!

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  2. I always like to hear the background behind books. Thanks for sharing! Congratulations on being the 100th book, Leigh.

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    1. Thank you, Jill. Did you see? You won a copy of the book a few days ago. Contact me: lbrwriter@gmail.com to claim it.

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  3. Leigh, the story is intriguing and the characters like real people we all meet. I also like the sneak look at your painted ponies. In Tucson a few years ago our mall invited local artists to submit painted ponies to stand around the mall and people got to vote on them. They were about five feet tall. But once the contest was over someone made and sold small versions of them. Almost all had desert scenes and were beautiful. Looking forward to Man Of The Family. Keep piling up the numbers.

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    1. What a neat story, Roz. Wish I'd been there then. I'd have bought a small painted pony! There are few old carousels left now. But we have a good one here in TN that is featured in the book. In the meantime, enjoy Man of the Family.

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  4. Congratulations, Leigh, on the release and for being the 100th Heartwarming. I imagine you marching with the banner, all of us coming up behind. I remember a wonderful carousel at a nearby amusement park when I was a little girl. (Anyone else heard the term 'Dobby Horses?") The horses with the plain poles were stationary, the ones with the turned poles went up and down. Your story sounds like a real heartwarming read.

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    1. yes, the dobby horses! Thanks, Muriel. I hope that next book will be an enjoyable Hearwarming read too.

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  5. Happy 4th of July everyone! Boy, Leigh, you have a lot to celebrate for being 100th for Heartwarming. I love the sounds of your book and I, too, am fascinated by how stories come to other authors. I tend to think I'm an odd ball and surely there must be some organized, sensible way to "get it." All the July books look great! I better get my order in before they're all gone. I'm still a physical book person, by the way. I know. I know. My husband tells me all the time I should have a Kindle. He adores his. I'm just not "there" yet.

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    1. Well, it's nice holding that physical book in your hands. I like to flip back in a story to double check what I read and that's not as easy with an ebook.

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  6. Happy 4th of July everyone! Boy, Leigh, you have a lot to celebrate for being 100th for Heartwarming. I love the sounds of your book and I, too, am fascinated by how stories come to other authors. I tend to think I'm an odd ball and surely there must be some organized, sensible way to "get it." All the July books look great! I better get my order in before they're all gone. I'm still a physical book person, by the way. I know. I know. My husband tells me all the time I should have a Kindle. He adores his. I'm just not "there" yet.

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  7. Congratulations, Leigh. Can't wait to read about Griffon. He sounds like my kind of hero. I love the idea of painted ponies, too. Our local museum always has a display of antique toys and carousel horses at Christmas.

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    1. Thank you, Beth. I hope Griffin lives up to your expectations. Wish I could see your museum's display of the carousel horses.

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  9. Happy Fourth and congratulations on having the 100th for Heartwarming! Memphis used to have carousel horses. If I'm not mistaken, they are having them restore and will display them once again. The book sounds great and I love your cover.

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