Please welcome j. leigh bailey, author of Reckless Hope, to Book Reviews & More by Kathy.
Hi, j. leigh, thank you for stopping by and chatting with us today. Could you please tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book?
Thank you so much for having me! I’m an office drone by day in the Chicagoland area, and by night I’m the author of New Adult and Young Adult LGBTQ romance. Reckless Hope is the second book in my Letting Go series, and is an opposites attract story centered around two characters who have to overcome the stresses and disappointments of their past to build a happy relationship together. And, while doing this, they have to figure out who they are and, ultimately, what they want for their future.
1) How do you feel about e-books vs print books?
I’m a hybrid reader. I love reading, no matter the format. Before I started writing seriously, I would read about a book a day, while working full time. On weekends, I’d read anywhere from three to six books, depending on what I had going on. And my addiction to books didn’t translate to library check-outs. No, I bought my books, because I always re-read them and you never know when the urge to read a particular book will hit. If I get a hankering to pick up a Johanna Lindsay book, I don’t want to have to wait until the next time I make it to the library. Which means I have more than 2,o00 books in my house. The last time I moved, 75% of the boxes were books. The Kindle was one of the greatest gadgets I’ve ever seen. I have over 2,000 books there, also, and no movers cursing my name. Also, With the introduction of e-books, I was introduced to a lot of authors and genres I didn’t even know existed. I discovered Male/Male romance because of e-books. So, yeah, I’m a fan.
I haven’t given up on print books in favor of e-books, though. I still love a good paperback, and there are some authors who are on my “collection” list, and their books I buy in hardback and place on my limited shelf-space when I’ve read them. I love the convenience of e-books, the hands-on of print books. I couldn’t live without either.
2) What process did you go through to get your first book published?
I went through a fairly typical process to get my first sale, though there were some moments of incredible luck along the way. I knew going into it that I wanted the traditional publishing process. I didn’t have the know-how or, I admit, the confidence, to self-pub. So I wrote a book I liked. I got an amazing beta reader (Whitley Gray!). I entered some RWA contests, and this is where the incredible luck came in. One of the contest judges offered to beta read the manuscript, and since she said she was published in M/M, I figured, why not. Then I found out who the judge was. It was Heidi Cullinan!!! (Though I normally avoid excessive exclamation marks, this warranted it.) I was so intimidated I almost didn’t send it to her, but then decided I’d be a complete idiot not to take her up on the offer. Well, she read it, and liked it enough to send it to her agent. So I sent all the typical query stuff to her agent (Saritza Hernandez at Corvisiero Literary Agency), who then offered to sign me. After that, we subbed the manuscript around, which led to my first book deal with Spencer Hill Press for my Young Adult novel Guyliner, which comes out in November.
That was my first sale. My first published book was actually Nobody’s Hero (the first in the Letting Go series). I wrote it while Guyliner was on submission. So even though Guyliner sold first, Nobody’s Hero and Reckless Hope were actually published first. That’s illustrates some of the differences between the process for publishing a digital book and a print book. The print book takes a little longer to go through the whole publishing process.
3) How do you find or make time to write?
I don’t know if I should admit this, but I have no life. Or, a kind of boring life. I’m not married and I don’t have kids, which makes a huge difference. I have so much respect for married writers or writers who are parents (or both). I honestly don’t know if I could make enough time to write if I had some of those other responsibilities. Add to that, I don’t watch much TV and, other than reading, I don’t have any hobbies, though I’ve recently taken up running. That leaves most evenings and weekends free to write. It’s still a struggle sometimes, but it has more to do with discipline than with making time.
4) Name one person who you feel supported you outside of your family members?
I don’t know if I could pin down a single person. One of the perks of belonging to an organization like Romance Writers of America, is that you are surrounded by people who support you and what you do. There are a few people who supported me the minute I walked into my first local chapter meeting (Robin Skylar), and those whose enthusiasm made a huge difference (Jennifer Stevenson). Then there are the ones who are the most hands-on supportive. I couldn’t do any of this without my critique group. They were especially helpful when I was freaking out about Reckless Hope and afraid the whole thing was going to fall apart. Stephanie Scott, Vanessa M. Knight and K. D. Adkins are the best CPs a girl can have.
5) Tell us about a book you’re reading now.
I just finished Treble Maker by Annabeth Albert. It’s a great NA gay romance that takes place in the world of a reality TV singing contest along the lines of The Sing Off. Like Reckless Hope, it has an opposites attract storyline, with a bad-boy rocker and a good-guy bass. I love the world she created, and the way the characters bring out the best in each other. So, if you like a capella, bass voices so low they blow the speakers, tenors in eyeliner and a song-list that blows your mind, this is the book for you.
Title: Reckless Hope by J. Leigh Bailey
Letting Go Series Book Two (can be read as standalone)
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, M/M, Romanc
What’s life without a little risk?
Or a lot of risk, if you’re Sebastian Carlisle. He’ll never live up to the legacy of his dead brother, so why try? Being the wild child in a family of stuck-up rich snobs suits him just fine.
Until he meets Micah Burke, and everything changes.
Micah’s got too much going on for a relationship. Even if he could trust Sebastian, a distraction–a sexy, reckless distraction with a death wish–would only derail his carefully scheduled life. If it were just Micah, maybe that would be fine, but his mother and sister depend on him, and he can’t let them down. Or at least that’s what he tells himself.
A hot moment leads to a hot night leads to a connection neither of them are ready for. And when a crisis hits Micah’s family hard, Sebastian will have to shed his bad-boy image and decide whether he can be the man Micah needs–and Micah needs to decide whether he’ll let him.
Book two of Letting Go
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“I thought I knew what kind of person you were.”
“Yeah, you made that pretty clear.”
Micah cringed, but kept going. “You take for granted everything I work my ass off to achieve. It’s easy for you. And now I know there’s more to you than that. I don’t understand your choices, or the need for an adrenaline rush you seem to have.” He held up a hand to keep Sebastian from saying anything. He scooted up, resting his back against the handlebars. “I don’t have to understand. It’s part of who you are.”
“Somehow I don’t think this discussion is heading in a direction I’m going to like.” Sebastian drew his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them.
“The thing is, you’re a bad influence on me.”
“You don’t even have to do anything. Take tonight, for instance.”
“I have a midterm tomorrow. I should be studying. Or even sleeping. Instead I’m here. I never have trouble doing what I’m supposed to do. Setting aside my ‘want tos’ to do my ‘have tos.’ Except around you.”
“I’m not trying to make your life harder. I’m just trying to be part of it.”
“That’s what I don’t get. You could have almost anyone. You could find someone a hell of a lot less complicated than me.”
“You may not believe it, but I don’t mind complications.”
j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of New Adult and Young Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.
She wrote her first story at seven, which was, unbeknownst to her at the time, a charming piece of fan-fiction in which Superman battled (and defeated, of course) the nefarious X Luther. She was quite put out to be told, years later, that the character’s name was actually Lex. Her second masterpiece should have been a best-seller, but the action-packed tale of rescuing her little brother from an alligator attack in the marshes of Florida collected dust for years under the bed instead of gaining critical acclaim.
Now she writes New Adult and Young Adult LGBT Romance novels about boys traversing the crazy world of love, relationships and acceptance.
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