Thursday, October 2, 2014

An Interview with Harlequin Romance Author, Leigh Duncan

Before having the absolute pleasure of becoming acquainted with Ms Duncan, I am ashamed to say I had never picked up a Harlequin Romance novel. After all of the various of genres I have picked up in my time as a bookworm, I had yet to explore this new universe of literature.

I was missing out.

Ms Duncan approached me about reading her Glades County Cowboy books in exchange for honest reviews, and I was immediately smitten with her, and her work. Leigh Duncan and her books are truly spectacular.

Not only did I want to share the wealth and spread the joy of these books, I wanted to give an insight into the world of Harlequin Romances as well, so that any stereotypes could be debunked, and more eager readers may find the magic in these books. What better way to do that than to ask for help from an author?

In addition, I went back to Ms Duncan and asked if I may interview her to ask her a few questions about herself, her books, Harlequin, and her latest book, His Favorite Cowgirl. She agreed.

So without further ado, an interview with Harlequin Romance author, Leigh Duncan!

The Literary Connoisseur: Hello, Leigh! Welcome to The Literary Connoisseur, and thank you so much for agreeing to do an interview! If you're ready, let's begin. Tell us a bit about yourself, your career as an author, and how you became an author. At what age did you start to write? 

Leigh Duncan: Rebecca, I’m soooo glad to be here! And congratulations on success of The Literary Connoisseur! I love the fresh insight your blog brings to today’s romantic fiction! 

As for myself, whew! When did I start to write? Almost as soon as I could hold a pencil. Seriously, I wrote my first romance in the second grade, and I’ve been an on-again/off-again writer ever since. In college, I studied Creative Writing. When my children were small, I focused on writing Children’s Literature. As they grew, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column for a workout journal, sold a few pieces to the folks at Chicken Soup but, when I hit 40, I knew it was time to “get serious” if I was ever going to write a novel. My first attempts weren’t very good—they still hide under the bed with the dust bunnies. But I kept at it and sold to Harlequin American Romance in 2009. I’ve been writing for them ever since. 

The Literary Connoisseur: How does one become a Harlequin Romance author? 

Leigh Duncan: Each author for Harlequin has their own unique story. Mine started when a couple of published authors suggested I set aside the heavy, dark women’s fiction I’d been focusing on and try my hand at something a bit more light-hearted. As it turned out, I had an idea I’d been kicking around—about a young woman who transfers to Cocoa Beach just as a hurricane turns toward the East Coast...and the hunky police officer who forces one reluctant heroine to evacuate. I started to work on it. Once the manuscript was complete, I submitted it to Harlequin. We went through several revisions before they bought the book, but it was published in 2010 as The Officer’s Girl.Anyone who wants to write for Harlequin should check out the submission guidelines posted on the Harlequin website ( Or enter Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write (SYTYCW) contest, which runs throughout October of each year. The grand prize includes a publishing contract. 

The Literary Connoisseur: Are there any stereotypes you would like to clear up about Harlequin Romances? 

Leigh Duncan: At book signings and author appearances, I often hear people say they don’t read Harlequin books because they’re “too spicy.” I tell them that, maybe, they haven’t found the right kind of Harlequin book. A lot of people don’t realize that there are many different “lines,” and each has a different focus. From vampires to exotic locales to historical romances—Harlequin offers a line of books to meet every readers’ preferences. For instance, I write for American Romance. Our books are heartwarming, family- and community-focused, emotional stories with lots and lots of cowboys. A reader who enjoys stories with a Christian theme should pick up one of the Love Inspired books. A reader who wants something with a little heat might want to give Blaze’s “fun, flirty and always steamy” books a try. 

The Literary Connoisseur: Which book (or books) of yours has been your favorite to write so far?

Leigh Duncan: I fall in love with the heroes and heroines in all of my books. That makes the book I’m working on right now my favorite. 

The Literary Connoisseur: What would you say is your favorite part about being a Harlequin Romance writer? 

Leigh Duncan: I don’t think I’ll ever get over the thrill of walking into a book store and seeing my name on the spine of a book. It’s the best feeling!

The Literary Connoisseur: Do you have a favorite place to sit and write? Outside? In a comfy sitting room, perhaps? 

Leigh Duncan: A couple of years ago, the ruckus caused by having college-aged kids at home seriously threatened some tight deadlines for NY Times best-selling author Roxanne St. Claire, Award-Winning Urban Fantasy author Kristen Painter, top-selling Erotic Romance author Lara Santiago and me. We had to find a quiet place to write! So, we started meeting at the library. There, we’d snag one of the tiny study rooms, turn off our cell phones, plug in our laptops. We set goals—everyone had to write 1,000 words before we took a lunch break. Another, longer session followed in the afternoon. The result—seriously improved word counts and a better chance of meeting our deadlines. But the room was t-i-n-y, windowless, and often, airless. So, after three months, we re-located. Now, we host Writers Camp at one another’s dining room tables several times a week. The accountability and the camaraderie of Writers Camp—wherever we meet—makes it my favorite place to work. 

The Literary Connoisseur: Please tell us about your latest release, His Favorite Cowgirl. 

Leigh Duncan: HIS FAVORITE COWGIRL is the second book in the Glades County Cowboys series. These stories focus on the five hunky Judd brothers who come home to manage the ranch their family has worked for four generations. In HIS FAVORITE COWGIRL, Hank Judd seizes a last chance to reconnect with the daughter he barely knows during his stint as manager of the Circle P Ranch. To forge a relationship with her, Hank turns to the one person he’s sworn to keep his distance from...his high school sweetheart and the girl who broke his heart, Kelly Tompkins. Kelly needs Hank’s help, too, but spending time with the man who let her down twelve years ago risks unearthing a heartache that never truly healed.

The Literary Connoisseur: The Glades County Cowboys books take place in sunny, warm, and gator-infested Florida. Why choose Florida? 

Leigh Duncan: I grew up in Florida. I can’t think of a place I’d rather live. And I love sharing its natural beauty and unique setting with readers.

The Literary Connoisseur: Are you currently working on any new projects? Are there any more stories coming out featuring the Glades County Cowboys? 

Leigh Duncan: Look for older brother Garrett’s story in The Rancher’s Lullaby next May. There are two younger Judd brothers—Randy and Royce—who may have a story to tell. Reluctant cowpoke and favorite birdwatcher Josh might find love on the Circle P Ranch. Time will tell. 

The Literary Connoisseur: Leigh, thank you again so much for stopping by! I cannot wait to read more of your work.

My review for His Favorite Cowgirl by Leigh Duncan

  As a newly found fan of Leigh Duncan and the Glades County Cowboys books, I was absolutely thrilled to dive right in to His Favorite Cowgirl. Before I started Leigh Duncan's latest release, I was introduced to her writing with Rancher's Son and The Bull Rider's Family, and I immediately fell in love.
  Ms Duncan's books are positively precious! Every time I finish one, I just feel so good inside. With a combination of lovable characters, intriguing plots, a twist that will make you come close to tears, and an ending that will warm your heart, these books have all the right ingredients to make a wonderful novel.
  Especially His Favorite Cowgirl.
  Hank Judd masters the art of riding horses, helping to run the Circle P ranch, and cattle herding...but after ten years of being a dad, he just hasn't been able to connect with his daughter, Noelle.
  In fact, there's another female who occupies his mind, almost on a regular basis, even though they didn't leave on the best of terms...ever since they broke each other's hearts.
  Kelly Tompkins.
  Kelly Tompkins hasn't been back to her grandfather's ranch (which happens to be the Circle P's ranch rival) since the day he kicked her out. She's become extremely successful working for the number one most popular cowboy boot company in the south, but still, she feels as if something is missing from her life...
  But what she doesn't know, is that you really can go back home.
  I am hopelessly addicted to Leigh Duncan's books. Positively, hopelessly, and undoubtedly addicted to her books. They are AMAZING! There is enough romance in His Favorite Cowgirl to melt your heart and make you swoon, but Ms Duncan keeps it classy (which I appreciate VERY much).
  I loved His Favorite Cowgirl. I loved Hank (very, very much), and I loved Kelly, which is impressive, because you all know how easily female characters can irritate me. After her character grew, I fell in love with Noelle as well, but most of all...I love the Circle P ranchers.
  I will, without a doubt, read more Leigh Duncan because I feel almost as if my life is incomplete without the Circle P ranch.

Book                                 ebook

About Leigh Duncan

Award-winning author Leigh Duncan and her family moved fourteen times before the children graduated from high school. All that packing and unpacking led to Leigh’s long-standing philosophy that when dirt builds up in the corners, it’s time to call the movers. It also taught her that solid relationships are the foundation for true happiness. Married to the love of her life and mother of two wonderful young adults, Leigh worked as a secretary, a teacher and a government contractor before leaving those jobs behind to pursue writing, her life-long passion. Once the moving vans made their final stop in central Florida, Leigh settled in to write the kind of books she loves to read, ones where home, family and community are keys to the happy endings we all deserve.
When she isn’t busy working on her next book or checking the corners for dust bunnies, Leigh loves nothing better than to curl up in her favorite chair with a cup of hot coffee and a great book. She invites readers to contact her at PO Box 410787, Melbourne, FL 32941 or you can e-mail her.

Leigh's Books

ebook format



For more on Leigh Duncan, Check out her website here!

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