Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Author’s website address:

Books in Print: A Promise for Destiny

Books in Process:
I Met a Man is a novel about unfulfilled love. Daniel Hawkins and Susana Powell, develop an enduring bond rooted in their childhood. As their long distance relationship as soul mates transitions to lovers, a tragic accident leaves Daniel hopelessly incapacitated in a coma. Susana does not give up on Daniel and visits him daily in hopes he will awaken from his certain eternal sleep. She only wishes she could find a way for him to communicate with her. Perhaps she can learn how to connect with him if she moves into his childhood home. She sits; night after lonely night, in his empty home waiting for the answer to come. Mysteriously drawn to the attic, she finds a box of memorabilia belonging to Daniel. Will she find the answer in the musty, dust-covered box?

Welcome Leonard,

1. When and why did you begin writing?
I have written technical documents for more than 35 years in the form of failure reports, technical specifications, and requests for proposals, budget reports and personnel reports. It was only within the last three years or so that I stepped out on a limb and ventured into the literary world.

2. What inspired you to write your first book?
As strange as it may seem, the basic plot and characters came out of repetitive sub-conscious thoughts that woke me up at night. At first, I put them off as just dreams. Over the course of time, the story line kept growing. After a while, I decided to jot down the thoughts in the middle of the night. I finally scrawled out a six-page synopsis and showed it to a friend. She thought it was worth pursuing. Once I looked at developing a formal manuscript, the ideas began to flow freely. It was interesting that the first memory I have of this story sticking in my head was focused on the character Ann and the scene in Chapter 1.

3. How did you approach writing your first book?
I guess you could call it brute force. The flood of ideas was so great in the beginning that I merely started typing the story without regard to any particular organization. When ideas didn’t flow, I did a lot of research on how to write novels and did historical research on the area of the Adirondacks where I was born and raised. That research and my knowledge of "my old stopping grounds" made the setting a perfect backdrop for the book. This allowed me to focus on the characters and the intricacies of the plot.

From the beginning, I knew my fictional characters were going to be somewhat dysfunctional in their own way. I deliberately wanted to make this mixture of unusual characters come together. My challenge, as a new writer, was to ensure they were likeable in the reader’s mind. It was an interesting challenge also to make their actions logical, albeit, off the beaten path, considering the environment they were living and their own history.

4. Who or what influenced your writing?
It has always been my nature to try something new. Since I never wrote a novel it was intuitively obvious to me that I should at least try considering that I already had a plot and some unusual characters already programmed in my head. In the course of casual conversation, I mentioned the idea of writing a book with some friends. My wife of over 38 years and another dear friend, both avid readers, provided encouragement and critical eyes to help me bring Lucas, Ann, Barb and Dot to life in A Promise for Destiny.

I think Sr. Theresa and Sr. Rita would be proud of me. These two Sisters of the Holy Spirit supported me in spiritual and intellectual ways as holy people, teachers, counselors and friends during my high school years at Holy Ghost Academy in Tupper Lake, NY. Blessed to be insightful enablers, they encouraged me to join the Forensic League and participate in every level of competition offered.

5. Why do you continue to write?
As we get older, we need something to keep our minds active. While developing a new plot and characters you need to refocus on the world around you and in you. To write well you need to open up your mind and let it be flooded from all the external stimuli that surrounds us. Whether it is from a walk in the park, a day at the beach, driving to work, having a drink with your friends, walking your dog, mowing the lawn, or any activity, we can get a new perspective on life. The creative writing process allows me to "see" things that I might otherwise overlook. It helps me to see the good, bad, ugly, beautiful, funny, sad, disturbing, spiritual, mystical and otherwise off-center sides of the world around us.

6. What do you hope to accomplish through your writing?
To paraphrase the thoughts of Lucas Ambler, the main character in A Promise for Destiny, I want to become the kind of writer he wished he could be. I want to take readers on a journey to un-charted real and mystical worlds. I want my readers to travel with me and find wonderment in the new worlds they visit as seen through my eyes and psyche. I want to develop the literary eloquence to put into written word all the insights I derived from my affair with nature and life. God has given me a good life. I want my readers, young and old alike, to experience through their mind’s eye and my words, the world I know and experience. In the end, I hope he or she will be in a better place.

7. What has been your experience as a published writer?
I find the writing processing to be challenging and it allows me to discover a creative (and perhaps a little off beat) side of me that I apparently had suppressed for many years. I continue to be surprised by the comments I receive from people. One reader enthusiastically said she hoped that I would write more. She said my readers would be terribly disappointed if I didn’t write another book. I suppose that is a testament to the quality of my work.

8. How do you promote your book(s)?
My on demand publisher, Outskirts Press, provided an initial campaign to connect to some of the major on-line outlets like Barnes & Noble and Otherwise, I sent out many copies for review across the country. I am working with local bookstores to gain placement with other local author’s works and to set up book signings. The book has only been published a short time, since late May 2006, so there are still many more possibilities. Also, I am in the early discussion stages with a New York City literary agent.

9. What advice would you like to share with other writers?
All writers use their talents in their own way. Each is motivated differently. I know what worked for me. I am confident that success will come if I persevere and remain loyal to my readers. All I can offer is "Enjoy what you do!" It will be reflected in the work you do.

10. Any other comments you would like to add?
I want to continue writing novels. From early reader comments, I may have found a niche in fiction/romance but time will tell. I was told that I should have written this romance novel using a female pen name. I suppose the challenge is to satisfy the romance novel audience while writing from the male perspective. In the end, I would like to have people enjoy what they read and close the book with a sense that they were inspired to look at the world a little differently from when they first cracked the book open.

Thank you, Len, for your time and sharing your experience.

Interviewer: Kaye Trout - August 16, 2006