Leslie Ann Sartor (aka L.A. Sartor) began telling stories around the age of 4 when her mother, at Leslie’s insistence, wrote them down and Leslie illustrated them. As an adult she writes suspense and action adventure novels with a dash of romance, and screenplays—she’s had a contracted adaptation! She lives in Colorado with her husband whom she met on a blind date. Leslie loves to travel and thinks life is an adventure and we should embrace the journey. She has a blog: My Story, My Way ~ an Indie Adventure. She is also one of the Five Scribes. Check out her website, www.lesliesartor.com.
Dare to Believe (2012)
Stone of Heaven (May 2013)
Be Mine This Christmas Night (Holiday 2013)
What inspires you to write?
I think I always had a story to tell, even when I was a young girl. Now I think it’s because I’ve realized I want to write about themes I believe we all struggle with. Universal themes of believing in yourself, that if you’ve failed, you can try again, that love is truly magical and a gift.
Tell us about your writing process.
Well, I admit it, I’m very lucky to now not have to work outside my own office. So it’s a joy to walk down the hall to my office which I continually make my own and write.
I usually have found a cue that leads me to think about the plot of the story, like for Stone of Heaven, there really was a hurricane that uncovered a rare blue jade roadway. Then I take that nugget and build a story around it.. The what-if moment. But characters are a close second and my Christmas story started out with characters, not so much the story. It was a different process and I loved it.
Dare to Believe started as what if a young girl is taken from her widowed mother…why???? Then I take the reader on a journey through Colorado and Hawaii.
So I have the plot, the beginning and end, and then maybe a few middle points, the rest is all by the seat of my pants. I’m writing now in Scrivener, but it’s not a plotting program, it just keeps everything I need in one place. I love it so far. And my character sketches come generally after the bloom of the idea has run it’s course. Usually not before. I want that rush to learn about them, and that comes as I write them.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters and when I’m stuck, I grab a pencil and a sheet of paper, old school, and write down the problem. Then I talk to them.
For instance, “why are you so certain this is a problem you can’t solve?” Or, “I need more conflict from you? Sheesh, you’re not perfect, reveal your flaws.” And I start writing around that question I posed in the middle of the page. By the time I’m done, I’ve usually solved the problem and the story heads in a better and different direction.
What advice would you give other writers?
Wow, I’m asked that often, and my answer has begun to change. Everyone says write and write some more. I agree with that. And learn the craft, but then move beyond it. Don’t be stuck by “rules”. Today there are a gazillion ways to publish, but make sure you have a worthy piece. Find people to evaluate your work. Listen to them. But don’t think everything they say is golden. And find a good editor to help you polish your work. It’s an investment in your future as an author.
Don’t be afraid to indie publish, but make sure it’s your best work…at that moment in time. My work gets better, stronger with each book.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was perennially on the verge of being contracted. But something always came up, like “we have too many of that story or this plot in the pipe line.” Or, get this one “your work is too sophisticated for us.” Whatever that meant. I got that a lot.
Then I moved into screenwriting, got a contract and loved it. By then Indie publishing was reaching a point of acceptance, the stigma of “vanity publishing” it once had, fading away. The Wall Street Journal was reporting on nearly every week for awhile.
It became a legitimate way to reach a huge audience. But with the caveats I mentioned above.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
You know, I don’t know. Ha. I’ve always love the feel, smell and look of a printed book. But I’m totally out of space. Yet, for my How-To Books on whatever subject it is, I far prefer a print copy. Sometimes I can wait for it to get here, other times, I need to solve a problem yesterday, so go for digital.
But now 99% of my novels are digital. It’s a brave new world out there. Even my 90-year-old mom has a Kindle.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Romantic Suspense, Romantic Adventure, Cozy Mysteries, Suspense with romantic elements, screenplays
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print