Aug 31, 2011

An Appointment with Leonie Knight!



by Sharon Archer

I'm extra thrilled to have Leonie Knight as a special guest on the LoveCats today because she's a fellow Medical Romance author!  She got her First Sale ribbon at the recent Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne just two weeks ago. Her first book, Suddenly Single Sophie, is on the shelves DownUnder right now and it's a gorgeous read!

So, a big warm LoveCats WELCOME, Leonie!



Thank you so much for inviting me as a guest on the LoveCats DownUnder blog. It's a privilege to be rubbing virtual shoulders with some of my favourite romance authors, several of whom I met at my first RWAus conference.

















Ooo, terrific picture of you and Amy Andrews and Emily Forbes rubbing shoulders at the cocktail party, Leonie!

What started you off writing?

I've always loved to write. At age six, in first grade, I remember a story I wrote about what I wanted to be when I grew up and no, I didn't want to be a story teller. I wanted to work in a lolly shop. My addiction to all things sweet, including happy endings, grew from there. When I graduated to high school, fuel was added to my creative fire when I had a massive crush on my English teacher but the fire burned low over the busy years of university, marriage, kids and a demanding job, all of which seemed to take up every minute of my days.

I started dabbling in writing again about ten years ago, recording anecdotes from my parent's long and eventful lives. Writing seriously with the aim of publication kicked off when I joined a critique group five years ago. I am lucky enough to live near the generous and always encouraging Anna Jacobs and couldn't have achieved what I have without my writing buddies, Teena Raffa Mulligan, Susy Rogers, (me) Anna Jacobs, Lorraine Mauvais and Claire Boston.


I love that photograph of you with your wonderful critique group, Leonie!  They all looked so happy for you!

Tell us about the inspiration for Will and Sophie's story.

The idea for the story of Sophie and Will's bumpy journey along the road to finding love originated from a TV documentary about a rundown inner-city suburb destined for destruction. It was saved by a spirited group of people, determined to make better lives for themselves. In my story I wanted to show a community working together to overcome serious and sensitive problems as a backdrop to the unlikely romance between my hero and heroine, and their attempt to overcome their own inner demons. I've made Sophie and Will work hard for their happy ending.

Is there anything in particular you'd like to share about the story?

I guess the main thing is that, with my editor's blessing and guidance, I have woven some tough issues into my story—like drug and alcohol abuse, dysfunctional families and terminal illness—that in the past have been considered difficult to incorporate into a category romance. In fact I give credit to my forward-thinking editor who says that nothing is really taboo in category romance if it is written well and sensitively and doesn't overshadow the romance.

I know your medical background is as a doctor. What was your area of specialty and can you tell us your most unusual experience?

I worked as a GP in both city and country practices for over thirty years (yep...I've got a few life-years under my belt) and retired two years ago. My main areas of interest were women's health and senior's health—both broad and challenging areas which have given me heaps of material on which to base future novels.

There's nothing that really stands out as the most  unusual experience but over the years I've never stopped being surprised at the attitude some men have to their own health. I've found most men need to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the doctors - usually by their wives - for routine health checks. But if something actually goes wrong, no matter how minor, they convince themselves they have a serious or even terminal illness. I remember one gentleman, probably in his forties, who was visiting the country area near where I was practicing at the time. He was so anxious, he'd been booked in as an urgent case and explained that he had a strange lump at the back of his knee that started with a slight itchiness but was increasing in size at an alarming rate.

'What is it doctor? A dangerous skin cancer?'
When I checked it out I couldn't help but smile. He had a common, relatively small kangaroo tick, about the size of a five cent coin - the sort of bread-and-butter-medicine rural GPs see every day. His relief when I told him was palpable and I removed the culprit after shocking it into loosening its grip on the man with a heated paper clip then gently removing it with forceps.
Problem solved - one satisfied and relieved customer!  

Ouch!  What a great anecdote and a lesson, too!  I can well imagine that your patient was very relieved!

On a lighter note...
What do you do for fun?
   Listen to ABBA, and do Latin Line Dancing – badly.

What are you reading?   Susan Duncan's memoir, Salvation Creek.

What are you watching?   Re runs of the American Sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond—a hilarious insight into relationships and family dynamics.

What are you listening to?   Birdsong at dusk.

What's making you smile?   Being exactly where I want to be, surrounded by the people I love, doing the best job in the world.

And what about future books?

My second book, How to Save a Marriage in a Million, is due for release in the UK in November and in Australia in December. I am contracted for another two books, the first is near completion.

 





Leonie has generously offered to give away a copy of her debut novel, Suddenly Single Sophie, while she's visiting the LoveCats!  Her question to you is....


What's making you smile today?  

62 comments:

  1. I'm smiling in spite of the nasty weather here because I've been enjoying vine ripened tomatoes from my garden. I'm also looking forward to a nice hot bath tonight as it is cool enough to enjoy it today.

    Congratulations on your debut novel Leonie. Will it be out in the North American market sometime? I hope so. I love Medicals because they do deal with some of the more grittier issues of life and death.

    Sharon ~ I just read The Man Behind the Badge and Reunited: Baby on the Way. I loved both books.

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  2. Hi Leonie,

    It is early morning where I am, and looking at your photos, your first sale ribbon, made me smile.

    Your happiness shines through my friend and I'm also happy for you.
    I've read and enjoyed Suddenly Single Sophie and looking forward to your second book now.

    Hello Sharon, I've also read The Man Behind the Badge and enjoyed it tremendously!

    I love Medical Romances!

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  3. Hi Leonie,

    CONGRATULATIONS on your debut novel. I am so excited for you.

    Well i'm smiling today because its my mum's birthday today and me and my brother are looking forward to the surprise dinner we have planned for her.

    Leonie wishing your debut release all the best!!!

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  4. What a great interview. I LOVE the sound of your book, especially the terminal illness dealing with. I'm off to hunt it down.

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  5. Hi Leonie and welcome to the LoveCats!

    What's making me smile? It's a *glorious* day here, like spring has arrived a day early. Birds are singing, the sun is sparkling in yesterday's raindrops, there's a gentle breeze. Glorious!

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  6. Hi everyone! I'm a late start this morning! Leonie's out west so it's still early, early, early over there for her but I know she'll be along later to say hello!

    :)
    Sharon

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  7. Hi, Kaelee! Thank you! I'm so rapt you enjoyed my books! You've made my day!

    Your home-grown tomatoes sound like a treat! Isn't it great to pick things out of your own garden to eat? Extra satisfying somehow! Our broad bean seeds have just sprouted and I'm looking forward to a nice feed of beans in a couple of months. I've even converted my dh to broad beans - if you pick them when they're young you can eat the whole thing, pod and all... mmm, can't wait! LOL

    :)
    Sharon

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  8. Nas, that First Sale pic of Leonie makes me smile too! Actually all her pics do - especially the one of her with her writing group. All of them look so happy and proud of her. And I know Anna Jacobs and she was so thrilled for Leonie's success!

    Thank you for popping and for you lovely words about The Man Behind The Badge!

    :)
    Sharon

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  9. Sonali, I love what's making you smile - that surprise dinner will be a real treat for your mum!
    :)
    Sharon

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  10. Hey, Rachael! Thanks for stopping in to help us celebrate with Leonie! And congratulations on your First Sale ribbon - it was great to see you at the conference with yours attached to your name badge too!
    :)
    Sharon

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  11. I've just heard from Leonie and she's having a wee technical problem getting in to say hello but she'll be along as soon as she can!
    :)
    Sharon

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  12. Oooo, Rachel, the day where you are sounds fabulous. We're a bit grey and cool here today - but a couple of days ago we had a few of those 'washed-clean' nearly spring days!
    :)
    Sharon

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  13. It's leonie pretending to be annonymous. Please be patient intil I sort the tech glitch I'm having.

    Here is a comment I tried to post about an hour ago

    Hi all you early risers and those living in different time zones. It's breakfast time here. I must admit all your positive and encouraging comments have made my day and I'm grinning ear to ear.

    Kaylee, I love having a nice long soak in a hot bath and vine ripened tomatoes are simply the best, especially if they're home grown. Unfortunately, my debut book isn't available in NA as there are only four that find there way to your part of the world. (out of the six published in UK and Australia). The only alternative is the eBook from the UK Mills and Boon website. I still prefer reading the print version though.

    Nas, thanks for the compliments and glad you enjoyed my book - I still can't believe my book is on the shelves and people are buying it. As you can see my default setting these days is a grin and you're right, the first sale ribbon at the conference just added to it.

    Sonali. Thanks for calling in and saying hello and for your congrats. I love surprises - hope you and your family have a wonderful evening and wish your mum a happy bithday from me.

    Rachel. I'm off to hunt down my book tomorrow - just to make sure it is on the shelves. My Hubby is taking the camera - does the warm glow ever cool??

    Leonie K - hoping to catch up with more readers and fellow writers today. It's so great to meet you.

    www.leonieknight.com

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  14. Hi Sharon

    Thanks for holding the fort while I was "temporarily" unavailable. All you LoveCat bloggers ar a very understanding bunch.

    Leonie K

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  15. Hi Leonie & Sharon
    Great interview and congratulations Leonie on the release of you debut book. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  16. What a neat story, Leonie, congratulations on the sales so far.
    Reading your take on men when they're sick (and when they're not!) made me smile, actually. So true!!

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  17. Hi Helen

    I'm a Newbie when it comes to interviewing so am glad you enjoyed it. Hope you like muy book as well

    Leonie K

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  18. Congratulations on your debut Leonie! I will be out to buy it this weekend :)

    And aren't those first sale ribbons beautiful? And I love your cocktail party outfit too - gorgeous!

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  19. Hi Leonie!
    Congrats on your debut (from one newbie to another!) I enjoyed learning more about you! Looking forward to reading your book! Do you know when it will be coming to the U.S.?

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  20. Hi Jo

    I'm not usually one to generalise but I believe that the dealing out of those X and Y chromosomes contibutes to how we humans behave. Glad you liked my take on men's health. I remember a bloke who got tangled up in medical-speak. He asked me to check out the liason on his leg??? I think he meant "lesion".

    Leonie K and hope your day is full of smiles.

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  21. Hi Leah,
    Congrats to you too. I remember following your exciting road to publication via New Voices - was it last year?

    And for those of you wondering about my interesting hat in the photo at the cocktail party - the theme was the 1920s. What an amazing ice-breaker dressing up is.

    Leonie K

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  22. Hi Wendy

    I'm in the middle of reading your first book and am loving it. Your voice is vibrant and fresh. I took it to the confernce with me but...somehow didn't find the time to sit down and take a deep breath, let alone read.

    I don't think the print version of my book is available in NA (only 4 of 6 published in UK and Oz make it to US) I'm not sure why but maybe one day Harlequin will realise what a dedicated group of readers (and writers) the have in North America and are missing an important slice of the market. The alternative is to download the ebook through the UK site.

    Leonie K

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  23. Leonie said: "Rachel. I'm off to hunt down my book tomorrow - just to make sure it is on the shelves. My Hubby is taking the camera - does the warm glow ever cool??"

    Rachel says: nope, it's always a fabulous moment. :)

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  24. To everyone

    Despite Sharon's wonderful advice I think it's going to take a bit of time to sort out my "profile" so for today I go by the name of "anonymous".

    And Rachel - I suspected as much.

    Leonie K

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  25. Hi Leonie and Sharon,
    What a lovely interview and beautiful photos! I'll keep my eye out for your book Leonie. It sounds great.

    Making me smile today are a family of magpies warbling happily in my garden nibbling on my dogs' leftovers and rummaging in the mulch. And I just had a nice long chat - which always makes me smile!

    Enjoy that warm glow, Leonie!
    Cath

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  26. Hi Leonie/Anonymous :)
    What great photos! They made me smile. I love it when Aussies do so well - and so many Aussies are so talented. I have your book on my TBR pile :) So looking forward to reading it.

    Thanks, Sharon for having Leonie as your special guest.
    Hugs

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  27. Hi Cath,
    I'm a sucker for magpies too. They seem to have personality. We live on an acreage which is two thirds natural bush and inevitably have them nesting and then the squawking, demanding youngsters. We usually succomb to feeding them now and again to give the poor mum (?or dad) a break.

    Today the black, red-tail cockatoos are making a great racket, which apparently signifies rain. Not surprisingly rain is forcast for the next 4-5 days.

    Keep smiling between chatting.

    Leonie K

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  28. Hi Serena

    Hope you enjoy my book. The long wait for the next one (Nov) seems to be rapidly shortening.

    I think everyone I met at the conference had a friendly word and a cheery smile - which shows in all the photos.

    And "Go Aussies" who are a great bunch of romantics at heart

    Leonie K

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  29. Hi Leonie and Sharon! Leonie, huge congratulations on the release of your first book. How exciting. Actually one of the things I love about Medicals is that they encompass such a wide variety of tones and subjects. Good on you, pushing the envelope!

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  30. Helen, how lovely of you pop in to congratulate Leonie!

    And you, too, Jo! (waving to you across the ditch!)

    Leah, I hope you got a pic of you with your First Sale ribbon too. It was so great seeing all off you with the lovely blue flash on your name tags!

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  31. Wendy, thanks for visiting to help us celebrate with Leonie!

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  32. Leonie, you're here in cognito - but you are *here* so that's the most important thing!

    Hopefully we'll be about to help you solve the pesky techo problem another time!

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  33. Catherine, magpie song always makes me smile too and the youngsters seem to be so playful which is fun to watch. We're lucky where we are because the magpies don't seem to be overly territorial - so no dive-bombing which is great.

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  34. Thanks, Serena! It's been a great pleasure putting Leonie under the microscope!
    :)
    Sharon

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  35. Hey Anna! It's always lovely to have you drop into the LoveCats! Thanks for helping us party with Leonie today!

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  36. Hi Anna
    Lovely to have you join the chat and I agree about medicals, the scope is pretty broad but within the confines of writing about medical professionals. Which gives us authors a pretty free range.

    Enjoy your day
    Leonie K

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  37. Hi Leonie
    I'm smiling today because I read your blog. It's just lovely! I can't imagine why a child would want to work in a lolly shop...
    And of course we're all grinning in the photo. We're so very proud of your success. Your joy is our joy!
    Lorraine from your critique group

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  38. Lorraine, I'm rapt to see someone from Leonie's writing group pop in! The pride and delight you feel for her shines on all your faces in that photograph!

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  39. Fabulous interview, Sharon and Leonie! Leonie, congratulations on your debut -- it sounds fabulous and I can't wait to read it.

    Making me smile: sneaking out to the movies to see Jane Eyre this afternoon. :-)

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  40. Hi, Sharon and Leonie! Fabulous interview.

    Leonie, congratulations on your H&MB Medical debut. I love that you've been able to explore more complex issues in Suddenly Single Susan. Can't wait to read it!

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  41. Hi Loraine,
    It's wonderful you've called in to have a look at the blog. It was team work of course - Sharon did most of the behind-the-scenes work.

    Re "lollies". As you know I still have a sweet tooth but have managed to keep my cravings under control. Trouble is, rarely a week goes by without something to celebrate - and chocolate seems to go perfectly with Bubbly.

    Leonie K

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  42. Hi Michelle,
    Jane Eyre was one of my favorite reads as a teenager. I still treasure the copy which was given to me when I was about twelve - it must be a collector's item by now.

    How was the movie? It's already on my "to do" list.

    Leonie K

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  43. Hi Vanessa,
    Thank you for your congrats. My editor seems to like the grittiness in my stories but I don't want to get stuck and hope to write a light-hearted book or two some time soon.

    Leonie

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  44. Leonie, what an interesting blog! It was a pleasure to help you on your way - but I knew as soon as our critique group read your first story that you had the gift of story-telling. There was, and is, a warmth to your writing. Rock on!

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  45. The sun is shining today after a wet week. That is cause for smiling.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  46. Hi Anna,
    As I said, you are always so generous with help and praise, and I hope I can live up to it. I am enjoying chatting with such a friendly group of people and delighted to meet up with you here. Am looking forward to seeing you soon.

    Leonie K

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  47. Hi Marybelle,

    The sun is shining here too but rain is on the way tomorrow. A mild sunny Spring day always makes me smile - and it also helps dry the washing...

    Lovely to meet you and glad you could drop by.

    Leonie K

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  48. Leonie, how lovely to have you with us on LoveCats today! Mega congrats on your debut!! I love the title--Suddenly Single Sophie--and the cover, and I can't wait to read the book!

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  49. Hi Michelle! Imagining you off playing hookey is making *me* smile! Good on you!


    Vanessa! Thank you for stopping in to say hello!

    :)
    Sharon

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  50. And Anna, lovely to see you pop in see Leonie on the LoveCats!

    Marybelle, the sun shining after a wet week is an excellent reason to be smiling!

    :)
    Sharon

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  51. Em, Suddenly Single Sophie is such a great title isn't it! Very catchy!

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  52. Leonie

    Huge congrats on the release I must get this one I so love the medical catergories and this one sounds great.

    My grandchildren make me smile even if I didn't see any of them today because I worked I have spoken to my daughters and they keep me well informed of their antics LOL and they are cuties.

    Thanks Sharon for inviting Leomie along to meet us today

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  53. Hi Leonie,

    It was lovely seeing you (briefly) at the Melbourne conference. Huge congratulations on that first sale ribbon and now on the book! What a terrific title. I'm looking forward to it.

    All the best,
    Annie

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  54. Helen, I can well imagine that the tales of your grand children's mischief makes you smile! Your daughters must love sharing the stories with you!

    Annie, thanks for zooming in to say hello!

    :)
    Sharon

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  55. Emily May, Helen and Annie,
    Your well wishes mean a lot to me and I'm overwhelmed at the response to the blog.

    I am a vicarious grand mother and enjoy my neighbour's grand kids.They are delightful and always bring a smile to my face.

    Leonie K

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  56. PS
    Love the photo Helen. Are they all yours?

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  57. Hi Leonie

    It was great to catch up with you at conference and I soon had your new book in my hands when I got home. I enjoyed it and found your storylines to be both inspriring, current and very interesting. Looking forward to reading your second book.
    Don't worry about the tech aspects - I can't post on this blog unless I'm anonymous but I still keep poppong up.
    I'm smiling today after managing to do some writing and knowing that spring is only hours away. I am so over winter.
    Cheers
    Tracey T

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  58. Hi Leonie

    Yes that photo is all of my grandchildren we have had 6 in 5 years they keep us on our toes LOL love being with them but love some me time with a good romance book

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  59. Popping in quickly to say, CONGRATULATIONS LEONIE!! It's wonderful to hear from people who are exactly where they want to be. Can't wait to read your story. Sounds fabulous!

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  60. Painting made me smile today. It was so relaxing and I hadn't done it so long that I just sat there for two hours and painted and didn't look up once. Of course, now my neck isn't smiling, but that's the price I have to pay!

    Congratulations Leonie on your success!

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  61. Leonie, I LOVE the sound of your book! And I'm sure your medical background would be invaluable for your writing =)

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