Spotlight, Author Interview & Excerpt : Deconstructing Lila by Shannon Leigh

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Book Blurb & Info

Deconstructing Lila
by Shannon Leigh

She’ll bring him to his knees…

Preservationist Lila Gentry returns to her small Texas hometown to restore the famous Chisholm Trail whorehouse where her great-great-grandmother was a madam in the 1880s. On her agenda is winning back Jake, the one that got away. But how do you rope a man who doesn't want to be wrangled?

Jake lives by one creed: Keep it simple. His ex showing up in town complicates his life and makes him think about things he'd rather forget.

When Lila's restoration project is threatened before it even begins, she turns to Jake for help. Working together stirs up old feelings, but while Lila and Jake always sizzle between the sheets—or wherever the moment takes them—it will involve some sweet-talking and finesse to bring these two together.

Buy Links
Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Entangled

Book Excerpt

“Jake. Sweetie.” Her blue eyes shone with sharp-edged emotion. “I know you’re not stupid. You may want uncompli- cated, but when has life ever served up that particular dish? I for one have never had it easy. It’s always messy, in-your-face complex. I gotta deal with it. So I suggest you learn to handle it, too. Because I’m not going anywhere.”

Jake held his breath until her hand dropped away. He let it out in a long push as she stepped to the driver’s-side door and climbed inside.

It dawned on him she planned to boil his blood and then leave him stranded in the post office parking lot. Despite better judgment—not that he had ever possessed such a thing—he shrugged and figured what the hell?”

Author Interview

Hi Shannon,

Thank you so much for sitting down with Toot's for an interview. If you don't mind, I have some questions for you about your new book, Deconstructing Lila and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.

So first off, Deconstructing Lila Questions.......

In your own words, what is Deconstructing Lila about? 

It’s a story about redemption and second chances. It’s an acknowledgement that YES, you can go home, and whoever said you can’t is an idiot! It’s a tale of learning to accept vulnerability and make the journey to human connection, joy and fulfilling happiness. It’s the story of Jake and Lila overcoming life changing events and circumstances to find love, strength, peace in each other’s arms. Oh, and uh, it’s kinda steamy along the way.

How did you come up with the title of the book and can you tell us its significance? 

Lila has spent the last ten years deconstructing how her relationships—including the one with the hero--went south. And she tells the reader in painful detail how it happened. But now she’s ready to build them back with strong foundations.

Is Deconstructing Lila a standalone book or will it be part of a series? 

I hope to hell part of a series. Casler needs his story told. The man is amazingly HOT.

What genre would you say Deconstructing Lila is and what sets your book apart for fans of the genre?

Maybe its more contemporary romance or women’s fiction with a fabulous HEA. There are some heavy real world issues in the book such as cancer, child abandonment, death, etc. But the love and depth of emotion balances the heaviness I think. What sets my book apart? Heart, maybe? My passion, hopefully? I’ll leave that for the reader to decide. It’s different for every reader I think.

What are some of the elements of the world you created?

The town of Hannington is based on a tiny Central Texas town called Hamilton—an old cotton farming town and one of the places where German immigrants settled during the 1830s. It has a flavor and a character that I attempt to convey in the book—uniquely Central Texas. I love it! The people, places, and situations are all straight out of my experiences.

If you had to pick one thing, what is your favorite thing about the world you’ve created?

I love the friendship between Jake and Casler. Two dudes who don’t like to talk about feelings, but wind up giving each other advice more often than not.

What was your favorite scene to write for either your hero or heroine in Deconstructing Lila?
I love the opening scene. It’s a bit of “world building,” but to me, it encapsulates my world and the things I love about Texas.

What was the hardest scene to write?

The ending. Trying to get a tornado and a climatic resolution to the love story to mesh. Lots. Of. Edits.

What's your favorite line or quote from Deconstructing Lila?
Lila cruised her Lexus under the red tin canopy of the Grab & Get. Her ex-hometown of Hannington, Texas, famous for its grand old bawdy days as a stop along the Chisholm Trail, had matured in the one hundred and fifty years since saloon owner John C. Henry sold whiskey out of a barrel beneath the old pecan tree on the corner. Matured so much that nowadays, instead of booze quenching the mouths of thirsty citizens, the ladies’ auxiliary offered homemade lemonade and sugar cookies at the same spot, both as a reminder of days gone by and a deterrent against hellish excess.


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?

I have no idea why or when I started writing. I was always fascinated by history and story telling (Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces) and just did it, like I just did everything else. It was a fact: I was bossy. I was spoiled. And I wrote romance stories. That was me. Still is.

What inspires you to put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard?

I am goal oriented and deadline driven. A lifetime of business has made me that way. When I get an idea in my head, finishing it is paramount. Editing is entirely a different animal. I will jack around endlessly with edits until someone jumps my ass and makes me finish.

What are some of the elements in/of your writing process?
I write and do not edit anything until the entire story is on paper. I revise and revise and revise and then revise some more.

Are you a Plotter or a Panster?

Both. I create a rough outline with opportunity to just free write and explore.

Have you released anything under a different pen name, and if so, is there any difference between them?

No. Shannon Leigh is it.

What's next for you?

More Texas tales. I want to write about Texas high school football and small town politics. Sexy and intense! The competition and passion. Very hot stuff.

Hopefully I can tell Casler and Threasa’s story.

Is there anything you’d like to add or say to your fans?

I’m SO very grateful for the time you spent with Jake and Lila. I hope you enjoy the book and please let me know what you think about it—good or bad! Feedback is awesome not matter what it is.

Personal questions......

Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but out of all your amazing characters, who is your favorite and why?

Casler. Hands down. Hot. As. Shit.

Are there any of your stories or characters that hold a special place in your heart?
Sarah Gentry, Lila’s mother. Her backstory is tragic, but full of experience, growth, acceptance, love and forgiveness.

If the book had to have a theme song, what would it be?
Lynard Skynard’s Simple Man.

Lastly, What 5 things do fans not know about you?

1. I love Star Gazer lilies

2. I love Chicago hot dogs

3. My bucket list includes visiting all of the industrial, underground night clubs in Berlin

4. I want to visit Cairo

5. I could live like a gypsy and be happy

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking time to answer some questions. Congratulations on the new book and I can't wait for everyone to read it! – Toot’s

Author Info

Growing up in Hell’s Back Forty, Shannon Leigh developed a fierce loyalty to all things Texas and pledged to share the romance of small town dance halls and the flavor of brisket BBQ with readers. Currently, she lives in Fort Worth with an extensive cowboy boot collection, a red and white, ’67 Chevy pickup and a mission to find the best taco stands in the city.

She’s been writing since Jesus was a small boy, but recently found a home with the uber wonderful folks at Entangled Publishing.

When she’s not writing fiction, she writes features for local magazines, sells real estate, and runs around with a particular 11 year old known as “The Boy.”

Author Links
Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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