Favorite Quote: “I was stirred only like a leaf in the wind, that is all. . .” — Anaïs Nin, 1933
Erin M. Leaf is a romance novel devotee, the steamier the better, with a specialty in edgy erotic tension. She also writes romance as Marie E. Blossom.
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Want to know a little bit about me? Read on. . .
I once surfed down a shale pile in an anthracite strip mine when I was a kid (please don’t tell my Mom). I’ve been lost on the river docks in Pittsburgh at 2 am (so stupid). When I got locked out of my car, I paid a homeless man twenty-bucks to break into it for me. I’ve been stuck on the side of a mountain during a blizzard with only a few pretzels and a trench coat. I’ve broken my ankle into little bits (bicycle fall = sixteen screws in my leg). I’ve watched a solar eclipse at noon in front of the Empire State Building (via cardboard with a pinhole). I’ve had a pigeon poop on my head.
I have a tendency to stare at bird butts instead of doing my work (I live in rural Pennsylvania and have a bird feeder right outside my window). I can bake bread, make homemade ravioli, and burn bacon. I know how to tango. My teenage sons learned their best curse words from me. I met my husband when I was seventeen, two and a half decades ago. I keep the first book he gave me on my desk.
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Q: What inspires you?
A: I find that inspiration breeds perspiration. Wait, no, that didn’t come out right. Perspiration breeds inspiration. Um, scratch that too. Inspiration comes from writing and writing and writing some more. Sometimes I perspire in my dreams and then I wake up and write about it (that sounds gross, sorry).
Generally, ideas crowd into my head. I don’t have enough time in the day to write them all down. Inspiration is like opening a door: once it’s ajar, you hate to have to shut it. I opened the door in 1999. Sometimes other people shut the door despite your protests. Sometimes life shuts the door or buries it in rubble. But if you can find the knob and turn it, inspiration walks back in.
Q: Advice for new writers?
A: Just keep swimming. Lately I can’t get that song out of my head. But honestly, that’s what you have to do. Just keep typing. Keep going. Every time you think you can’t manage another word, every time you read another rejection note, just keep writing.
Writing is an art form. To master an art form takes years. If you love it enough to get past the crap that you write in the beginning, you’ll do well. If you give up, well. . . . No one wins the lottery without buying a ticket.
Q: Favorite genres?
A: Favorite genre to write: does poetry count? One of the first things I wrote was this ridiculous poem about a bunny and rainbows (insert puking sound here). After that I moved on to butterflies and, I kid you not, unicorns (insert dry heaving sound here). Eventually I got to the emo-teen years and wrote about demons and blood (I was reading Poe at the time) and about how utterly boring everything, everyone, and every waking moment of my life was.
My favorite genre to read? Romance. Or maybe fantasy/sci-fi? Hell, I can’t decide. How about this: I like romantic fantasy novels with magic where the action takes place on an alien planet with hot guys and phasers. Extra points if the heroine has the ability to kill people with her brain (if you click the link, scroll to 1:19).
I can’t even give you an example of my favorite book read because I’ve devoured so many. When we moved to this house ten years ago we piled the empty book boxes in the living room. And the garage. And the hallway. And then we had to start burning them because there was no room for the furniture. Owning that many books is insane, but Hoarders wasn’t on TV back then so I didn’t know I was crazy. I’ve since donated/thrown out/cried over most of them but at least I got my collection down to manageable levels. I don’t even have any books in the master bathroom anymore! Yay!
Q: Do you ever use your dreams as a basis for a story?
A: Oh definitely. I wish I could stop the dreams. I often wake up in the middle of the night because my head is stuffed with ideas and images. Duct tape. Ducks swimming. Orange plastic bags. Snakes. It’s just crazy. I can’t outrun the crap that fills my subconscious head. Don’t be surprised if my next book has a scene with duct tape. And possibly snakes. Maybe one of my characters will duct tape snakes to a wooden duck. A giant, evil, wooden duck. Imagine that!
Q: How many books do you own?
A: See the genre question above. Also, let’s just say I got down on my knees and thanked the universe when digital readers were invented.
Q: Are you planning on writing more erotic romance?
A: Hell yeah! I’ve been trying to come up with increasingly hilarious places for my characters to boink around. Maybe a train scene will appear in the next book. Oh wait, I did that already. Um, a bus? A plane? In the basket of a hot air balloon?
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: See the genre question above. I make no excuses if a unicorn of some sort appears in one of my books someday. Or a demon.
Q: How do you deal with rejections from publishers?
A: Just keep swimming.