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Richelle M Putnam

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Interview with Jennifer LB Leese
by Richelle M Putnam   

Last edited: Friday, March 08, 2002
Posted: Saturday, June 02, 2001

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Author Jennifer Leese shares her expert background in writing children's books.

I’d like to welcome Jennifer LB Leese. Jennifer is a 31 year-old full-time
mom from Hagerstown, Maryland, who is striving to be a successful writer in
every genre. From the looks of things, she’s well on her way.


Jennifer, you’ve been writing children’s stories since your were ten.
What person or incident do you feel urged you into that direction?

I've always been fascinated with books and the person(s) who wrote them.
Books were my way of stepping into someone else's life for a while. I love
that I can read a book and feel as though I have become the character I am
I've always had an over-active imagination, and since the age of ten, I've
always had to put them into words. I can express myself clearly and more
effectively with words.
Unfortunately, through many moves as a child, my stories were lost.
The first book I wrote was when my oldest son, Nicholas, now 10 years old,
was only six, I wrote Beetle Bug Adventures for him. The story came about
because of his pet beetle, Poppy, which was given to him by his father. At
first, I had no intentions of trying to get it published, but as time went
on, I decided to give it a try, and thankfully, Wordbeams wanted to publish

Tell us a little bit about your book, Sounds I Hear, which was nominated
for the EPIC Eppie Award in the children’s category.

Oh I'd love to. Sounds I Hear is a collection of six short stories that I
wrote while flying to Florida two years ago. Actually, the collection
grew...starting with the airplane. The sounds on the airplane reminded me of
a game that my children and I always play. Wherever we were at the moment,
we'd sit and listen for a few minutes without making a sound of our own.
Then when I asked them, we'd share the sounds we heard. Remarkably they were
all quite different. The story was based from our game, and it just
esculated from there...noises in the backyard, noises from in the car, noises
we hear and don't usually pay attention to. I knew right away that children
would love it.
In the book, published by Wordbeams, my publisher has added sound waves. The
child can click on buttons and listen to "sounds" that are in the particular
story they are reading.

It is my understanding you participated as judge for the Young Adult
Category for the Epic Eppie Awards. Is being a judge difficult? What are
some of the elements you search for in a story when you are judging?

Yes, it was very difficult to read as a judge, but with having a background
in reviewing, I tried to look at it that way. There are some remarkable
authors out there that don't get the attention they deserve.
When judging, I just read the story first. Then I look at the questionnaire
form that is sent by EPIC to every judge, and then I reread the story,
looking for the answers to the questions.

Do ideas come for your Beetle Bug Adventures come fairly easy to you, or do
you search for them while you’re out and about running errands or analyzing

Oh no. I'm very fortunate. Stories just seem to pop into my head. I can be
doing just about anything, washing dishes, giving the kids a bathe, having a
conversation with them, watching TV, cleaning--anything, and a story will
just come to me. Stories have often come to me in dreams as well. I have to
keep a written log, and a log on the computer with all the story ideas I've
come up with so far. There just isn't enough time now to work on them all,
so I give them a title, and jot down the "idea," and when I have finished the
story I was working on, I get a new one from the list.

You have written several other children's books such as Michael's Drawing
and Mason Goes to the Doctor and Mason Goes to the Dentist. Are these
characters fictitious or did you create them from children you know?

Glad you asked. They are based from children I know...mine!

You have also published a collection of poems and adult books. You are a
reviewer fro ASTORYWEAVER’S Book Reviews and recently started a newsletter
called aMUSEing, which can be found at How do you find the time do
participate in all these activities?

I wish I could answer that to benefit a struggling author, but I don't know
how I do it. I just want to, so I do.

What is your writing schedule every day?

Nope, no set schedule. If I set a schedule for myself, I'd never get to
write. I write when everything around the house is calm enough for me to
concentrate...:) With summer here now, it's easier for me to find the time.
While the kids are playing, I sit on the back porch with my laptop and write
or read. I get at least one full hour of writing time a day, sometimes more,
if I'm lucky.

When you were a novice writer, what was a major obstacle in getting your
foot in the door of the publishing world?

First, I still consider myself novice, as in I'm still learning. Actually, I
figure that I will always be learning about the publishing and book industry.
As for overcoming a major obstacle--I'd have to say that would be finding
the right publisher for me and my work, and showing that publisher that me
and my writing was just what they were looking for.

What piece of advice would you share with a new writer just starting out?

Oh, that's easy...don't give up and don't take rejections personally!

What kind of future do you foresee in the ebook industry?

I foresee that ebooks will be in the conversations of all when discussing
books, authors and the like. With Palm Pilots and handheld devices, taking a
book wherever you go keeps getting easier and easier.
I foresee them becoming extremely popular. I hear more and more about them
when I read the newspaper, when I watch the news, or watch the TV Guide
station (ads). It's taken a while, but it's growing.

Do you hope to see any of your books printed in hardback and placed on
bookshelves in major bookstores?

Oh, of course. The Internet is great, I love being an electronic author, but
I will never give up the dream of seeing my book(s) in print, published by a
traditional publisher.
As for seeing my books on the bookshelves...I'm in the process now of getting
Lighthouse Publishing Company to print one of my children's books...I WILL be
in brick and mortar bookstores soon--so keep a lookout for "news" on my
website, It's Only Ink! (

In closing Jennifer, what do you believe sets an exceptional writer apart from
a good writer?
Basically, by their characters and plot settings.
As a reviewer, I have
read many books, many in different genres, age groups, etc. and I believe
that each book I've read, whether they were missing a few commas, or
quotation marks--they are ALL exceptional writers, but they just need a
better proofreader.
I believe the quote I read a long time ago...A good book tells us about the
characters, but a bad book tells us about the author!

Thank you Jennifer.

Thank you!

Jennifer LB Leese,
BLURB: Author of children's fiction. Beetle Bug Adventures, Beetle Bug
Adventures: The Cave, Mason Goes to the Dentist, Mason Goes to the Doctor,
and Sounds I Hear from Michael's Drawing from Saxco Publishing

Interview with Jennifer Leese, an author who has written children's books and articles on various topics. She is also a book reviewer for ASTORYWEAVER.

Web Site: Gotta Write Network

Reader Reviews for "Interview with Jennifer LB Leese"

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Reviewed by Pam Potter (Reader) 6/6/2001
very informative, thanks....
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