My guest today has many skills in writing great stories. Please help me welcome author Leslie Hachtel! Let’s take a glance at her bio and then find out more about her.
Leslie Hachtel was born in Ohio, raised in New York and has lived all over the country. Her various jobs, including licensed veterinary technician, caterer, horseback riding instructor for the disabled and advertising media buyer have given her a wealth of experiences.
However, it has been writing that has consistently been her passion. She sold an episode of a TV show, had a screenplay optioned and has so far produced fourteen novels, including ten historicals and four romantic suspense. Leslie lives in Florida with a fabulously supportive (retired) husband and her new writing buddy, Annie, a terrier.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Leslie: Years ago, I was cleaning my house and thought ‘I can either change the sheets and finish dusting or I can write a book’. I have no idea where the idea came from. But, I wrote a book. It was not a good book, but it sparked the passion.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Leslie: I’ve always been a voracious reader and my degree is in English literature. Reading good books is an education in itself. And then I got a good editor who taught me so much.
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Leslie: The first romance I ever read was by Kathleen Woodiwiss and I was hooked. But, I knew I couldn’t write the same way she did, so I learned to listen to my own voice as I told my stories.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Leslie: Writing is so much a part of who I am and I now realize I was writing short stories as far back as first grade.
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Leslie: I actually started with scripts for television and moved on to movie scripts. I sold a TV script and had one of my movie scripts optioned, but novels were more appealing.
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Leslie: Everything! I love the research, the total immersion into the characters and settings, creating stories. Every part of writing is gratifying to me.
Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Leslie: I took classes and had mentors, but there is no substitute for a great editor.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Leslie: How hard it was going to be to get that first break.
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Leslie: Every book I read inspires me in one way or another. But the first book I read that made me want to write, oddly enough, was ‘Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King. Such great characters, and such great insight as well as wonderful writing.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Leslie: Like so many others, I am fascinated with serial killers. This was originally inspired by an episode of “Criminal Minds” but the plot ended up going in a different direction.
A serial killer in her small town in Florida has Detective Liza Boone challenged. Luckily, FBI agent Nash Corelli is on medical leave and living across the street. Together they must find the killer. But, he cannot help her with the nightmares about her sister’s assault. When Liza is terrorized, can Nash stop the threat? Can he protect the woman he has come to love?
A drop of sweat slid between Liza Boone’s breasts. Blood pounded through her veins and her temples throbbed. The taste of death lingered on her tongue, so she swallowed what felt like razorblades, blinked, and forced herself to concentrate. Had it only been a few hours ago she was sitting on her dock, sipping coffee and looking forward to another quiet day?
The victim lay sprawled, a disjointed set of limbs spread out on the concrete in the deserted alley like a broken doll. His mouth was open and an even set of white teeth gleamed in the morning shards of light that peeked out through the threatening clouds. His clear blue eyes were wide and seemed to beg for mercy. Or since it was a little late for that, justice. His fly was down and the zipper split apart to reveal the hard to fathom. His private parts had been savagely hacked away. Brown smears of dried blood that had soaked through his pants told her all she needed to know about pre-mortem agony. Liza’s body shuddered and her fists clenched in an effort to remain unmoved. Why did she have to be so damn emotional?
Her partner, Grey Winston, had just knelt down next to the body to get a closer look and then quickly stood, shaking his head. This was a small town in central Florida and this kind of violence just didn’t happen. She had no doubt he, too, was appalled or even shocked. Men were very sensitive about their genitals. Then again, maybe he’d seen worse, though that would be hard to imagine. Of course, he’d never betray his own reactions.
For Liza, it was that moment of conscious disconnect, between the feeling and the working. It never got easier when what had just recently been a living human being was spread lifelessly at her feet. Liza focused to shift her brain into clinical mode. After all, this was not her first corpse and it wouldn’t be her last. She had to woman up. Luckily, the time it took to shift was less and less, even if the initial response was always the same.
I love my job. I love my job. She did love her job. She just wished she could be less reactive when it came to the staring corpses. No matter that she had been on the streets for going on four years until this recent promotion to detective. She never got okay with the vicious, violent, premature end to a person’s life. Which was why she chose this field. She wanted to solve these crimes and get the perps put away before they could cause more damage.
Thanks for the inspiration and the peek at your story, Leslie!
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