Describing herself an a 'accidental author', the writer of The Older Woman Anna-Leigh brooks, joins us this month to tell us all about her past, the inspiration behind her latest book and how her book just ended up falling into the erotica genre. I sat down with Anna-Leigh this month to unravel her writing mind and to see what is still to come.
Anna Leigh, for those people that haven't read your book, could you please explain what it's about, without giving too much away?
The Older Woman is a ‘second chance first love’ novel.
Jess, a 36-year-old who’s recently moved into a military village, seeking a new start following her divorce from a loveless marriage. A chance at finding the lust and passion she’s yearned for away from her old lackless life.
Jamie, a 19-year-old Soldier with a ‘work hard, party harder’ lifestyle, craves the excitement of an older woman to fulfil his wildest fantasies.
What would you say was your inspiration behind writing this novel?
Jarra Brown (Author of 46 Miles and Retired-Marine) and I were discussing my desire to write, tapping into my love of literature as an escapism from the mundane life of Furlough, he gave me the title as a starting point and simply said ‘write what your heart feels‘
Having lived in a military village, witnessing the effects of tours on my friends both those who are left behind and also the serving men and women, I was able to use my experience and knowledge of this lifestyle to bring the trilogy to life.
'The older Woman' falls into the erotic / romantic genre. Why were you drawn to this genre when it came to writing this book?
Erotica was not a genre I read, nor was it something I ever imagined being able to write. Having written the first 6 chapters, Jarra read this to offer feedback. Slightly embarrassed and hesitant at the thoughts my friend was about to read the first draft, I couldn’t believe it when he expressed how gripping it was, even this early on.
You've confirmed this book is the first in a trilogy because it's a trilogy, Did you find yourself writing parts for the second and third book?
No, in fact, quite the opposite. When I’d finished writing The Older Woman, I thought that was it. The thing with writing is, you can’t force it, it needs to flow naturally. I recall waking one morning with what can only be described as a racing mind, so completely full of ideas and starting points. I opened my phone and began to write, this was the start of ‘Ring of Hope‘ My eldest daughter read this at different points and completely fell in love, even today this novel remains her favourite. It’s the love story that binds the two characters. I recall being around twenty chapters into the third book ‘Jamie’ when I decided it was time to buy a laptop. Up until then, I didn’t own one and had written both novels on my mobile phone. Looking back now, I’m, amazed at how I managed this.
Was it always a goal of yours to write a book?
No, I’m what I would describe as an accidental author. I’ve always had a passion for English Literature, having children and a vivid imagination, storytelling has always come easy for me.
'The Older Woman' is your first book. How did you come to the decision that it was the right time to start writing?
In a simple conversation with Jarra during Lockdown, I discovered I have this talent to write, it came as a surprise to me let alone anyone else, whilst lockdown was difficult, writing allowed for escapism. Definitely something I am thankful for.
With 'The Older Woman' being dubbed, Barbara Cartland meets 50 Shades, a very prolific writer and book series, for you how does this feel? Is this what you were aiming for?
No not at all, but I can see where they’re coming from. I think it’s quite fitting, to be honest.
When it came to writing your first novel, did it end up being more difficult than your first thought or easier?
Surprisingly not, it literally just flowed, it’s almost like ‘where has that been hidden all these years? Better late than never hey!!
What advice would you give to any budding writers out there, who are hesitant to start.
Just go for it, honestly don’t think ‘what if this, what if that? you’ll wake up one day with regrets that you didn’t do it earlier or at all. It’s really funny but you’ll be amazed at how many messages I get from people whom I’ve inspired to write, I find it amazing really that there are so many talented people out there in the world, it’s wonderful.
Can you tell us about the next instalment in this trilogy?
Like everyday life, there are twists and turns at every corner. Elements you would not expect, this is all I can say without spoiling it.
Anna-Leigh, thank you for your time.
Thank you for having me, it’s been a great day.
You can learn more about Anna-Leigh and get your hands on a copy of her book over at www.annaleighbrooks.com