Name Trisha Leigh (I also write as Lyla Payne)

Age: 37

Where are you from: Kansas City, MO

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc :

I have a wonderful family! They’re big and loud and we love to get together and eat and play cards, among other things. I have a bachelor’s degree in Film and Television Production from Texas Christian University, and part of a Master’s Degree in History from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I would love to finish it some day!



Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’m not sure I have anything – oh, except my publisher did recently tell me that they’re going to produce an audiobook version of Return Once More, my time travel romance, so that’s fun!


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I always wrote, even as a small child, but I started writing with publication in mind around 2007. I published my first book in 2012.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I finished my first book and new, immediately, that I had ideas for more.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Pirates of the Caribbean, actually – my first book (which is terrible!) was a historical treasure hunt and romance.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m not sure? I write how the words come out of my head, but if readers find a style in it, I’m more than fine with that.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I love titles, and they come pretty easily to me. It depends on the book – with my first series, I knew there would be four books that corresponded with the seasons, and the titles took off from there.


Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

If I have a pervasive message, it’s only that destiny will only take you so far. If you want something, if you believe in something, you have to go and get it.


Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The YA I write is science fiction, so it’s almost entirely made up. Sometimes I do borrow names or personality traits from family or friends, but the majority comes straight from my imagination!


Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

A Wrinkle in Time and Harry Potter are probably my biggest two YA inspirations, although recently I have also loved the Shadow and Bone books by Leigh Bardugo.



Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

This is hard! I’ve read a lot of JoJo Moyes lately (I loved Me Before You because of the perfection of that bittersweet ending, then went looking for her other books). Gillian Flynn, again for her ability to craft characters that exist in life’s gray areas. I adored the Graceling books by Kristin Cashore, the Dark Inside books by Jeyn Roberts, and everything by Melina Marchetta. Genius storytelling and worldbuilding, all of them.


Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

The writer’s community on Twitter – other writers, editors, agents who took the time to blog, etc – all had a huge impact on my early development and my belief that this was an industry I would learn to navigate.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Definitely! It’s my full time job and I do it absolutely every day.




Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No. I would go crazy if I worried too much about things like that, so once they’re done and published, I let them go like little children into the great big world.


Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Reading! I was a voracious reader my entire life, and at some point my love for reading stories morphed into the belief that I could also write them.



Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’m currently working on a YA Historical Fantasy for my agent. It’s set in 1810 New Orleans and follows three very different heroines – a French girl, the daughter of an American governor, and a girl from Haiti – as they forge a friendship strong enough to stop a dark threat falling over the city.

It’s complicated and challenging and I love it. Hopefully it will find its way into your hands one day.


Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Every book is different, so the specifics change, but of course! If it wasn’t challenging I wouldn’t love it so much, or feel so good when everything came out right.


Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I have, yes! I have books set in Ireland, England, Charleston, SC, New Orleans, LA, and a bunch of other places I’ve been lucky enough to visit. Here’s to many more!


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My YA covers have all been designed by Nathalia Suellen. She’s a genius.


Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

It’s different for every book, but typically, writing the endings is the hardest part for me.


Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I always learn things – I love to do research, especially about historical events. My boyfriend loves animals and nature, so I’ve picked up a lot of tidbits from him that I get to use occasionally too (so far about snakes, moonshine, and wild mushrooms).



Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead.

I really like Sophie Turner right now, and of course, Zac Efron.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write every day. Finish a book. Don’t give up. Don’t waste your time doing anything you don’t love, or that doesn’t love you back.


Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for reading. J Keep reading, even if it’s not my books. Your imaginations are what keeps us all going.



Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m reading a book called Americanah. It’s a literary fiction about a woman who emigrates from Nigeria to the United States.




Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I remember the first book I read on my own, that my mother bought me at a book store – it was Kristy’s Great Idea, the first in the Babysitter’s Club series.



Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My dogs make me laugh, and so does smart comedy. Now that I’m older, pretty much anything makes me cry. I’m going to see the film version of Me Before You this weekend and expect to bawl like a baby.



Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?

Jean Lafitte. Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette, Berenice Herod, Andrew Jackson, Albert Einstein, Anne Frank, gosh there are SO MANY, also Barack and Michelle Obama.



Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?

Maybe “She did what made her happy” or “She will be missed,” or “Her family loved her even though she was super weird.”



Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Reading, tennis (watching and playing), and hanging out with my friends’ kids.



Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Favorites all time are Felicity, Fringe, Gossip Girl, and Seinfeld. I have too many favorite movies to count, but It’s a Wonderful Life is my favorite favorite.



Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:

I’m not a picky eater at ALL. I love all food, lol. Purple and turquoise are favorite colors, and I’m not that into music?



Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

A history professor.



Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

Amazon Authors Page