Interview with Fantasy Romance Author R. Leigh

Author R. Leigh is a mystery to local neighbors, appearing enigmatic and ageless, and wearing an ever present red crystal pendant. Some have guessed this author's secret other worldly origin, speculating that the tales of Asharra might somehow be true. Outskirts Press does not confirm this and will not comment on rumors that the manuscript for this novel appeared in their offices out of nowhere. We urge you to read this book and decide for yourself. You can visit R. Leigh's website at

Welcome to The Writer's Life, R. Leigh. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I've been writing for several years, with my first novel, a science fiction effort (now out of print) called 3 Passports to Paradise, published about ten years ago. For the past ten years, however, I have been in a self-imposed "writer's pause", choosing to focus on exploring various aspects of life and traveling, amassing experiences and philosophies which would ultimately find their way into my recently released current effort.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

My current novel is called The Winds of Asharra and is 600+ pages of fantasy, adventure and romance. In short, it is a crossover work, appealing to fans of multiple genres. In addition to being a great adventure story, set in an alien world, and having quite a bit of sensuality, it also explores the complex mystical culture and philosophy of the Asharrans in great detail.
What kind of research was involved in writing “The Winds of Asharra”?

I spent several years studying a variety of diverse cultures ,religions and societies. The creation of Asharran culture, so rich and complete including language, rituals and worldview, was the result. This mystical world of the purple sky, under twin suns, is the backdrop for an exploration of what it means to change one’s way of looking at oneself and the universe.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

The cover design was a joint effort between my publisher and myself. Given the unique situation in this fantasy book that there is no clothing on Asharra, it was a challenge to depict as a cover. The ethereal multi-colored clouds and sky on the cover instead evokes the otherworldly mysticism that plays such a large role in the the adventure and the romance.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Publishing the Winds of Asharra was an interesting endeavor since it straddles so many genres, appealing to fantasy fans, romance novel afficienados, and even those interested in a New Age philosophy wrapped inside of a 600 page "epic fable". Finding a publisher who could appreciate that and understand what we were attempting to do was a challenge.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

We don't have a literary agent for the Winds of Asharra so we can't comment further on this. We'd be open to the possibility of working with an agent who shared our vision, certainly.

Do you plan subsequent books?

There are plenty of tales of Asharran style fantasy, adventure and romance waiting to be transcribed for Earthly audiences. Although the Winds of Asharra has just been recently released, we've already received a significant amount of feedback, inquiring when the next volume of the saga would come out.
Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

If the Asharran experience is any indicator, the time of day didn''t really matter (since the hours flew by at the keyboard, causing me to totally lose track of time).
If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

With unlimited resources, we'd launch a multi-media blitz, on radio, print and TV promoting the book, much as most authors would, I suppose.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

We've already sampled several different venues of self promotion including exposure on blogs, newsletters, chats, direct advertising, book trailers and of course virtual book tours like this one, geared primarily toward sites which focus on the spotlighting the backstory for a wide variety of books.

In July we will launch our major push for the Winds of Asharra, with some high profile exposure on sites specific to our target genres (Romance, Fantasy and New Age), and a corresponding, different kind of virtual book tour, intended to compliment that focus. A major industry romance site will also be featuring us throughout that month. All that we've done thus far is really just an introduction compared to what we have planned for July.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Many authors loudly proclaim that their latest book is for everyone. We would like to add a caveat to that. While WOA is indeed designed for fantasy fans, romance fans and even New Age philosophy fans, it is definitely NOT for everyone. It’s not often you hear an author admit that. While we are very proud of the adventure and the humor we injected into the 600 page opus, (centering on the journey of Victor and Ionera, two earth teenagers, who arrive on this world of the purple sky) we must make one point clear. Since Asharra is a very natural and sensual place, The Winds of Asharra is definitely not for a pre-teen audience. We certainly hope that any Hogworts graduate of the Harry Potter books will explore the world of Asharra, but they must be of legal age. The excitement in WOA comes not only from the adventures but also from the sizzle between some of the characters. The joy of creating a crossover product is that it can include a much wider audience than just a single genre. However, we feel it is our responsibility to also point out the proverbial flip side, when an audience segment (in this case pre-teens) should be excluded. While we're hoping that many readers will be "carried along" by the Winds of Asharra, we want to make certain that it finds the appropriate audience.

Thank you for coming, R. Leigh! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

The Winds of Asharra is available from a variety of online retailers including, Barnes & Noble and others. Those interested in the world under the purple sky can also reach us directly at for more information.
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