Interview With First Place Winner: Leslie Marshman

Photo of Leslie MarshmanRACHELLE: Oh, I love a good young-love-gone-wrong story that resumes in the present. How’d you come up with the idea for DESIGNS ON THE TEXAS TYCOON?

LESLIE: There was talk about building a riverwalk near where I live in Texas, and that was the beginning of the idea. Nicole and Clay were already roaming around in my head, just waiting for the right story. I put them all together, and then the real fun began.

RACHELLE: Can you give us an overview of DESIGNS ON THE TEXAS TYCOON?

LESLIE: Nicole Parker is an independent survivor who’s never been part of a loving family. When she returns to her Texas hometown to design a river walk that will launch her architectural career, the last person she expects opposition from is her ex-boyfriend, a controlling land tycoon whose life revolves around familial obligations. When negotiations go from strictly business to oh-so-personal, sparks fly in the bedroom as well as the boardroom and the hot Texas summer gets a whole lot hotter.

RACHELLE: How long have you been writing?

LESLIE: The first thing I remember writing was an epic poem about a fish that lived on land. I was seven, I think. But I’ve been seriously pursuing a career in writing for about four years now. There’s such a big difference between just writing for my own enjoyment, and storytelling while crafting a book. I’ve had a huge learning curve.

RACHELLE: What do you find most enjoyable about writing? Conversely, what do you find most challenging?

I love it when I’m completely in the zone, when I’m lost in the story and don’t want to return to reality. And I love to edit and revise, playing with what I’ve written until I hear that “Hallelujah” background music in my head and know I’ve gotten it just right.

My biggest writing challenge is time, with a full-time day job and a very long commute. I’ve also battled the energy-drain of self-doubt. I’ve had to mentally convince myself every single day that I can write. The Chase the Dream contest has been such a boost for me in that area. Getting positive feedback helps to force those doubt demons back into the shadows.

RACHELLE: Are you currently a published writer? If so, who do you write for and what are the titles of some of your other books? If not, who is your dream publisher?

LESLIE: I’m not currently published, but I hope to be with Silhouette Desire. I received a request for the full manuscript of DESIGNS ON THE TEXAS TYCOON about the same time I entered Chase the Dream, and I’m currently working on revisions.

RACHELLE: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

LESLIE: Chase the Dream has been an amazing experience. I want to thank you and Leigh for offering the opportunities it affords, and the Panel of Experts who volunteer their time to give us feedback on our entries. I’m honored to be among the many talented finalists this year.

RACHELLE: Congratulations on winning the 2007 Chase the Dream contest, Leslie.  Much success to you with your writing. Leigh and I look forward to reading DESIGNS ON THE TEXAS TYCOON when it comes out in print – or your first Silhouette Desire, whichever comes first!


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