Author Spotlight – Gloria Lesher

This month is spotlighting former editor, now paranormal cozy author, Gloria Lesher, who is never in a funk, even if her protagonist is.

Q: What inspires you to write your books?

A: I write about the paranormal to explore the unexplainable. The mystery side of reading or writing a cozy mystery reminds me of putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It’s all about the clues of shape and color. Fitting small pieces into a big picture. And creating order out of chaos. If I can become really good at doing these things, I may someday reach my long-term goal: to become wise—a respected crone among my family, peers and associates.

Q: What made you want to become a writer?

A: My parents bought us a set of encyclopedias called The Book of Knowledge, published by the Grolier Society. I especially loved reading the stories and poems. I memorized the poem, Little Orphant Annie, by James Whitcomb Riley, and recited to my siblings, “An’ the Gobble-uns’ll git you if you Don’t Watch Out!” As the oldest of four children, I loved to entertain my siblings with scary stories. They liked my stories. The scarier the better.

Q: Where do you get the ideas for your books?

A: I like to use works of classic literature that have intrigued me as springboards for my own novels. For instance, THE SKINNY ON THE JINNI pays tribute to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic tale, “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” IN A BLACK MONK FUNK is based on Anton Chekhov’s story, “The Black Monk,” and it explores Jewish and Christian lore from the Book of the Watchers, ancient apocrypha written in the third century BCE. The novel I’m currently working on is a takeoff of Oscar Wilde’s creepy masterpiece, THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. If you haven’t already guessed, I love Gothic literature!

Q: How much of yourself is in your characters?

A: As Gustave Flaubert once said, “Madame Bovary, c’est moi.” (“Madame Bovary is me.”)

Q: Do you belong to a writing or critique group?

A: Yes—and it’s a terrific critique group! I live in Heather Gardens, an age-restricted, park-like community of active, independent adults. Our community boasts a Writers Club with about 12 members, many of whom have been published both traditionally and independently. These creative people write thoughtful poems, essays, and autobiographies, and they tell whopping good stories that make you laugh, shed a tear, or long for the good ole days! They’re also fabulous critique partners, with a wealth of knowledge. Really, I couldn’t do without them.

Q: What is your daily routine like – do you include regular exercise, a regular writing time etc.?

A: Because my work is so sedentary (I spend hours at the computer every day), I build time into my daily routine to get outside and take walks. This is sometimes difficult to do in Colorado when it’s snowing! But I have a little poodle, “Pierre,” who must be taken out no matter what. Besides my two or three walks every day, I sometimes ride my bike for a couple hours. In the winter, I like to ski once a week. My legs give out after about four hours, but I hope to keep skiing until I’m ninety!

Q: How much do you read, and what do you read?

A: I read every day and finish 2-3 novels each week, mostly paranormal cozy mysteries and supernatural thrillers. My all-time favorite authors are Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Danielle Trussoni, and Dan Brown. As a young person, I loved the gothic romance novels written during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, by authors such as Phyllis A. Whitney, Dorothy Eden, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, and Mary Stewart. I can never forget reading DRACULA, the 1897 Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker. I also remember being really taken by Margaret Mitchell’s GONE WITH THE WIND.

Q: How did your childhood affect your development as a writer?

A: My fascination with all things preternatural began in the Land of Enchantment—New Mexico. I spent my early grade school years in Roswell, renowned site of a 1947 UFO crash with dead aliens. Then we moved to Albuquerque, where my sisters and brother and I were the minority kids. Our Hispanic classmates called us “Anglos.” I remember whispered stories about La Llorona—a wailing ghost woman who could snatch you away if you were bad and disobeyed your parents.

Q: If you could go back in time and tell your young writer self anything, what would it be?

A: Start earlier. Believe in yourself. And know that it’ll be a lot of hard work, but it’ll be worth it. Persevere.

Gloria’s books are available from her website:

THE SKINNY ON THE JINNI: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Paranormal Case Files #1) A BLACK MONK FUNK: A Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Paranormal Case Files #2)