Leigh M. Rose is a native of central Kentucky and earned a B.S. from Eastern Kentucky University. She has worked as a quality engineer and quality manager in the automotive and telecommunications industries for over 20 years. In her spare time she works as a professional artist.
Leigh has traveled extensively both in the United States and abroad and loves coming home and sharing her photographs and the foods and wines accumulated on her travels.
Many readers are interested in craft. Can you explain your approach to craft and writing?
First I must have the idea for the story, and as the story starts taking shape in my head then I'll develop the first chapter and from there decide which way I want the story to go. Depending on what the story's about, it influences the research I have to do. I always have to do a tremendous amount of research to the point I develop timelines to keep the sequence of events consistent in the storytelling.
Many novels begin with well known scenes or situations. How did the The Third Floor begin?
Actually, it was a pretty strong image. I was living in South Carolina and awoke in the night from a dream where I was walking down a dark hallway to an unfinished section of the house I'd purchased, and there was a flash of light in the room. I just kind of bent down and shielded my eyes from the light, and that's where it began.
How about your decision to focus on a Kentucky setting?
I really don't think the storytelling would have been different. Some of the facts, but not the storytelling itself because you can have a haunted Victorian mansion anywhere in the country.
Speaking of which, there's a Victorian home featured prominently in the book. What is it about these homes that you think lend themselves to fiction and what about them fascinates you as a writer?
It's from a different time period. I love the architecture, the lines. That era had kind of a picturesque quality even though it wasn't the best time in which to live. But it still had this picturesque quality and the houses just kind of look a little spooky.
Any writer will tell you that characters sometimes take on a life of their own. Which characters in your book do that, and how so?
Definitely Leslie and Beth did. Those are the two dominant characters in the story, and having known people who have kind of similar personalities and quirks as those do, it was kind of easy to develop the characters.
You mentioned research earlier. Can you explain more on the type of research you conducted?
I bought some good history books about that time period. One was a book on the Great Influenza of 1918; I researched actual letters and the way that people wrote to their loved ones, and commendation letters written about soliders who fought in World War I. I also researched clothing from the time period, types of dolls, the stuffed bear that's in the story, things like that. All of those were key elements in the story, so I had to make sure I had all the details and dates correct.
What's been the most enjoyable part of the publication process?
Just finally seeing the cover art and sharing this story in my head. People tell me they really like it and they hope I write another book. That's very humbling and gratifying. I am working on another book right now and I have storylines sketched out for two more. This next one will be set in Lexington, Kentucky. Unless the story takes me elsewhere, all my future novels will be set in this general area--central and east-central Kentucky.