Dark MoonYears ago, before I got published with Killing Me Softly and Dark Moon, the story that came to me grew out of my love of fantasy and the paranormal, but it was set in the modern day. In Australia what’s more. It had Elves, Witches and magic and an ancient prophecy, a people torn from an ancient world and thrown across the galaxy who all must somehow find a new way forward. It spanned two time periods, from the Dark Ages to modern day. It was the story I had to write, the story I wanted to read, a story I thought other people would want to read as well.

The first time I spoke to an agent about it ten years ago, I was pitching it to them over the phone and her response was one of almost horror. ‘Nobody would want to read a fantasy set in modern days,’ she said. ‘Particularly in Australia. It will never sell. Have you got anything else?’

I was gobsmacked. So gobsmacked in fact that I pretty much hung up without defending my choice of subject matter. The fact that I knew she was absolutely 100% wrong with her narrow minded view of fantasy and what fantasy readers wanted to read just didn’t make it out of my mouth. And the reason I knew she was wrong was because I am a fantasy reader. And I wanted to read the kind of story I was writing. The kinds of thing I was watching, and had been watching on TV for some time. The kinds of novels that others were trying to get out there, or had managed to get out there (but sometimes, sneakily, packaged as something else).

Rather than hanging up almost immediately, I should have expounded on the virtues of one of my favourite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its mix of ancient mythologies and legends that had always been relegated to fantasy and horror, mixed up now with a very modern flavour. But it wasn’t only Buffy that told me it was a genre others were slavering to see more of. Shows like Charmed were HUGE at that time. But I couldn’t have only talked about that. I could have talked about the fact that the idea of urban fantasy/paranormal/scifi had been around for decades. The Twilight Zone had started it years before, Dr Who had always skated on the edge of scifi and modern fantasy, Stargate was doing it too, mixing the scifi with ancient history and mythology set in a modern world. Not to mention Anne Rice’s novels and the modern paranormal stories Nora Roberts had begun to write and publish and the epic stories of Barbara Erskine. They were just a few. And there were so many more coming.

If only I’d known of Kerrie Arthur, a fellow Aussie, who believed that urban paranormal stories set in Australia would be just the thing – and she has been proven right many times over, being a multiple New York Times Bestseller. And she was followed by many others, many far more famous others, like Stephanie Myers and JK Rowling and Rachelle Meade and so on. I was actually writing urban fantasy in the time just before it started to hit in books, but had already been around for years on TV and movies and some book titles, but I let that one stupid agent – who proved to know nothing of the genre at all in her narrow-minded view of it – talk me out of continuing down that path. So I turned my attention to writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense, genres I loved, but not in the same way I loved fantasy and paranormal and the urban versions of them. Of course, I wasn’t writing what I loved, and it wasn’t until I started to do that, I began to have more success with my writing and finally got published.

Looking back now, I know that original idea needs a lot of polish – I was a very new writer with lots to learn at the time – but it was still a great idea, and one worth time and energy spent on it. I will add it to the current urban paranormal series I am writing, the Witch-Were Chronicles, that began with Dark Moon which was published earlier this year. I will write what I love, knowing full well, that there is an audience out there for it, just like there was all those years ago when I first started writing, and will be for many more to come, because it is a fascinating genre with a never ending supply of ancient mythologies and legends to borrow from in coming up with new and exciting stories that can help us understand important lessons about being human in this modern day life.

Dark MoonDark Moon Blurb:

Lately, Skye Collins has been unable to shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After a lifetime spent hiding her true nature, she knows that any unusual attention is something to be wary of.  And the only attention she’s been receiving lately is from the intense and attractive Jason McVale.

Jason claims to know things about Skye that can’t be true, and it’s obvious he’s hiding secrets of his own. Yet despite herself, Skye can’t resist the attraction between them, and her surrender will set in motion a chain of events that will have consequences for everyone she holds dear.

Gradually, Jason convinces Skye that she has to trust him if she is to solve the riddle of her past and learn the truth about her power.  But believing Jason means that her entire life has been based on a lie.

As her enemies gather strength and the danger increases, Skye is forced to accept who she really is. Will she risk everything and fight for those she loves? Or save herself and let them be destroyed by the forces of darkness?

Leisl Headshot tweetAbout the Author.

Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).

After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.

Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dog, Buffy, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She sometimes sings in a choir and works as a swim teacher in her day-to-day job.

Leisl writes paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense.

You can buy Dark Moon here:



Destiny Romance


Google Play

Killing Me Softly Cover2Her romantic suspense, Killing Me Softly is out now:




Destiny Romance

Google Play

You can follow Leisl and find out more about her and her books on her website: www.leislleighton.com



Follow her on Twitter @LeislLeighton





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