Hello there folks.
Welcome to another classic installment in the Author Interviews Series.
Today I am interviewing multi-genre author Grant Leishman, as he gives us the lowdown on his eclectic books and generously shares a lot of writerly advice.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the show.
Hi there Grant, great to have you here with us, so we can find out more about you as a writer and get to further grips with all your books.
Hi David, it’s always great to have an opportunity to share with others my passion for the written word, so I’m primed and ready to go.
Let’s start with your novels “The Second Coming” and its sequel “Rise of the AntiChrist”. You mention that this is a planned trilogy of volumes. The concept will be controversial to some, in that they both deal with God & Jesus but your tongue is set firmly in cheek and the tone is humorous, along with not being either pro-religious or anti-religious, focusing primarily on ‘What if’s?’ situations. What exactly can we expect from these two books, in terms of characters, plots and story arcs?
Okay, firstly, there is a third book, “Holy War”, which I’ve just this morning completed the second full edit of. I’m hopeful it will be self-published by the end of September, but that will depend on the outcome of ongoing discussions with the publisher of the first two books.
As to the two previous books, they are predicated on a simple what if? Putting aside any religious overtones (these are not religious books, despite their content) the simple what if in this case was; What if God looked down on earth one day and was so disgusted with what man had made of his creation, he determined to destroy it and start again from scratch. Jesus (or JC as he is known in the book) begs for one more chance to lead humanity on the right path. The entire trilogy follows the Castillo family as they fulfil their mission of saving humanity from the brink.
In the Second Coming, JC awakes in hospital, suffering from temporary amnesia following being hit by a bus in Manila. With the help of his friends (disciples) and an intervention from the Archangel Michael, he gradually recovers his memory and the team of disciples set out on their mission.
This book is totally set in The Philippines as JC and his Disciples set out to change the world. Their first task is to expose a usurper to the title, “Son of God” who happens to live and preach in the Southern Philippines, in Davao City. What follows is a series of adventures that takes them all over the Philippines, including being arrested, a trial and a confrontation with the feared terrorist group The Abu Sayef.
Simmering through the entire story is the burgeoning relationship between JC and his number one disciple, Maria. By the end of the book, JC has to make a decision, to stay and surrender his immortality to marry Maria and settle down or to return to Heaven.
Rise of the AntiChrist, opens with the birth of the couple’s first children, the twins, Samantha and Damien. Conceived whilst JC was still a God, before donning the cloak of humanity. the twins have powers that allow them to support and further their parent’s mission on Earth.
Rise of the AntiChrist covers the globe, as the Kingdom of God Church sets about establishing communities of loving, caring people, all over earth, especially in those areas torn by war, oppression or poverty.
Unfortunately, Beelzebub (the Devil) has escaped the pits of Hades and is determined to seek domination of the Universe. Inevitably, he seeks out and perverts one of JC and Maria’s children, to his evil ways.
Whereas, The Second Coming, could probably be describes as warm, funny and uplifting, Rise of the AntiChrist is definitely, darker and racier, although, still tinged with humour.
The final book, Holy War, chronicles the final confrontation between the forces of Good and Evil, pitting brother against sister in a showdown that could jokingly be called Armageddon.
Although I have had some minor criticism from some Christians who have described the books as blasphemous, I tend to take this with a grain of salt. These are fiction, in the same way the famous Left Behind Series, was fiction – none of that was biblical and yet Christians seemed to embrace it and believe it. I don’t want people to believe this – it is pure fantasy. At its heart, these three books are about love, family, caring, redemption, the human spirit and the uplifting of our collective consciousness about what is important in life. That I chose to clothe this adventure story in a faith-based dress is actually irrelevant, in my opinion. I mean, what better opportunity for a bit of fantasy fiction, than Gods, Angels and a Grumpy Old Devil. It seems perfect to me.
I realised I was walking a fairly fine line with this trilogy, but I enjoyed it and I hope the readers will take the books for what they are – fun fantasy.
You also have two stand-alone books called “Just A Drop In The Ocean” and “The Photograph”. They are a Contemporary Romance and a Supernatural Thriller respectively. You clearly enjoy dabbling in different genres. Please divulge more information about these two stories and where they will take us on their very different journeys. Also, If you had to pick your favourite genre, what would that be and why?
Just A Drop in the Ocean was a way to develop the idea that long before the internet, real relationships did develop between pen-pals, through writing old fashioned letters. I had a pen-pal or two when I was younger and I wanted to explore that idea further.
The book follows the lives of Teresa from The Philippines and Nick from New Zealand, who first connect as young teenagers through a school project. As they grow into adults, they think they have their lives planned out – their lives together, but as is often the case, circumstance gets in the way.
The book parallels, the pair’s journeys through their separate lives, as they make poor choices, bad decisions, face their own versions of hell and deal with their own demons. Always in the back of Nick and Teresa’s minds, however, is the thought; what if? The story takes the pair through the hell of physical, mental and sexual abuse, the criminal underworld, violence, prison, bad marriages, alcohol addiction just to name a few.
With the new age of the internet, can Nick and Teresa find each other again? Is there redemption and a second-chance for this broken pair?
Just A Drop is intensely personal for me. It reads like an autobiography, from the perspective of Nick’s character and that’s because it basically is. It was a story I needed to tell and one that I know has a happy ending (no spoilers here).
The Photograph was something totally different. I was between stories and wondering what my next project would be. I eavesdropped on a Face Book conversation (as you do) between a couple of friends. One guy was saying he’d just found an old roll of film from 1972 that had never been developed. He was wondering if he should develop it. It got me thinking what might be on that film and I was intrigued – The Photograph was born.
What I quickly discovered was I liked the freedom writing horror, supernatural stories gave me. I had license to invent weird and wonderful happenings. I did enjoy it and what came out was a tale of searching for a family’s roots and trying to untangle a 700 hundred year old mystery. Again, this book was about family, despite it involving witches, demons, black magic, and a priest who liked a bit of demon worship on the side.
I have written all over the place, so far, genre-wise, I guess, but I suspect I’m still trying to find the genre I’m most comfortable in. I think I prefer writing romance above all else, but it has to be edgy romance, with a bit of adventure, action and nastiness thrown in for good measure. I think, as long as I’m writing and as long as there’s someone that wants to read what I write, the genre’s unimportant. In fact, I’d go as far to say that today authors have become fanatical about genre and subgenre. When I grew up there seemed to be only a few genres; Romance, Action/Adventure, Science Fiction, War and Thrillers and the last two could even fit in Action/Adventure. Everything fitted somewhere in there.
Today, there seems to be a sub-genre to fit every story. For God’s sake, could someone please tell me what Space Opera or Steam punk is? It’s all bollocks to me.
So, my favourite genre is Filipino Romantic Comedies, with Africa-American protagonists and an evil Pinoy antagonist, written on a wet Wednesday in August. (It’s almost getting that silly in my opinion.)
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
The most difficult thing about writing, for me anyway, is procrastination. DAMN THE INTERNET!
It is just way too easy to be dragged away from what you’d planned to do and suddenly find you’ve wasted several hours, doing beggar all.
The easiest thing about writing is the writing. That comes naturally. Once I have an idea, the plot just develops from there and I write pretty much continuously until the book is finished.
Who are some of the authors in general that inspire you?
Every “Indie” Author I’ve ever met (metaphorically speaking) inspires me. What so many of them achieve with just their own guts and determination to tell their story is phenomenal. I only read “indie” authors these days and there are some fantastic ones out there, every bit as good as the legacy authors. To name just four, but there are many more: Jana Petken, Christoph Fischer, Ellie Midwood and Paulette Mahurin.
They have all achieved what I seek to achieve – quality comparable to any legacy published author.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
I have spent my life reading and most of my research is inside of my head. When I need to flesh that stuff out – well, this time it is THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNET. So far I haven’t written anything that’s required too much research, but like when I need the names of thirteen fallen Angels – hey, just Google it!
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
There are two answers to those questions.
Firstly, I write because it is my bliss. It is what I want to do and it is what I intend to do for the rest of my life. Clichéd as it may sound, “I am living the dream.”
What inspired me to become a writer is a different issue. I came to this game quite late in life – 54. However, when I was a child I read prodigiously and I well remember one time when I was off school sick, I read and was captivated by a very long and wonderful book; The Swiss Family Robinson. I remember saying to my mother at the time, “I’m going to write books like that one day Mum. I’m going to be a writer when I grow up.” Although my dear mother was gone by the time I finally took up writing seriously, I like to think she’s looking down at me now and saying, “well, it did take you a long time to grow up son, but you got there in the end.”
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
Touch wood I haven’t had any serious ones yet. I guess what keeps me motivated most is my darling wife. When I see her heading off to work every day to keep me in the manner to which I’ve become accustomed, how can I possibly justify having creative slumps or writer’s block?
I just do it! Just like she does, every day, for us.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
Wish there was more of that. When I’m not writing, I’m promoting, editing, whatever is necessary to make it all happen. An “indie’s” lot is not always an easy one – editor, proof-reader, marketer, publisher…you name it, we have to do it.
I’m reading constantly. I probably read around three books a week on average – all indie authors. Apart from that, I do try to spend some time with my darling wife and our two daughters. My one vice, outside of writing is watching sport on television – specifically volleyball.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I’m right at that crossroads now. I have no idea at all what my next project will be. I’m torn between writing a non-fiction book based on some blogs I wrote a year or so ago about happiness and self-help, or a sequel to The Photograph (which I left the option for at the end), or… nah! Frankly, I have no idea at all. One thing I’m certain of though, it will come to me before the time is here to start writing again.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Trust me! The only nuggets I can give would be most unwelcome.
Seriously, though, the one piece of advice I would give to anyone who wants to write is simply – write. I think Stephen King said; “the worst page you ever wrote is infinitely better than the best page you never wrote.”
Don’t listen to the naysayers and never let them take anything away from your dream. It is your dream and your work validates itself. You don’t need their validation.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for your time Grant, we really appreciate it and allowing us to learn more about both you and your books 🙂
Bio (in Grant’s own words):-
I am an expatriate New Zealander, now residing in the beautiful islands of The Philippines. After careers in finance and journalism, I have finally found my true calling in life and I am now a full-time author. As I like to put it; “I’m living the dream.” I live in Metro Manila, with my beautiful wife and our two daughters.
Writing is my passion, my love, and my bliss. Apart from writing and spending time with my family, my favorite activity is interacting on social media, with my readers and other “indie” authors. I am passionate about promoting the marvelous “indie” authors that the new technology has allowed to flourish in what was previously a tightly-closed shop of elitist, legacy-published, authors.
I am also a great champion of the need to encourage and entreat our younger people to read more. Reading opens the window to new and exciting experiences and allows young people to exercise and test the limits of their imaginations; something today’s visual-media world does not always allow.
I blog regularly on my website and try to live every day by the mantras I put at the bottom of each and every one of my blog posts.
CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS,
ALWAYS, FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
Have a great life and spread the love!
Changing the world – one reader at a time!
You can connect with Grant on the following Social Media channels:-
Facebook:- Grant Leishman – Author (FB)
Goodreads:- Grant Leishman (Goodreads Author)
Google Plus:- Grant Leishman – Author (Google Plus)
Instagram:- Grant Leishman – Author (Instagram)
LinkedIn:- Grant Leishman – Author (LinkedIn)
Pinterest:- Grant Leishman – Author (Pinterest)
Twitter:- @GLeishmanAuthor (Twitter)
Website:- The Website & Blog of Grant Leishman
You can buy his books here:-
Still want more? Well, Grant is a huge fan of self-publishing/indie authors and the freedom/autonomy that it provides when exploring the facets of creativity. For more articles relating to the theme of ‘Autonomy’ then check out the links below:-
1. Saint P. Blogging – Prompt for the Day: “Autonomy”
2. Devil Doll Musings – Only The Lonely
3. Brittany Brice – Autonomy
4. writingjourneyblog – Autonomy
5. Theresa Barker – Lab Notes – There is one small thing here
6. A Walk Along Lakeshore Drive – Heaven’s Sunshine
7. shame – Happiness, but
8. Poem for July’s First 8 Days of Daily Prompt – Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored
9. My Mixed Blog – Autonomy For All
10. Don’t Understand – Sunken Thought
11. artifiswords – AUTONOMY
12. five lines / autonomy – The Dreaming Lady
13. Crazy Independence Day and Revisiting Tony Robbins – Success in Spry
14. Poem: Senryu (5,7,5) – “Separately Together” #introtopoetry #amwriting #senryu – Mandibelle16
15. Mainline_Matter – West Trainz Autonomy
16. Autonomy – Angela Montijo
17. Love Endures Always – Choices
18. Sacrificial Chain Breaker – AUTONOMY
19. Here I am !! – Autonomy
20. Sight of Life – Sense of Autonomy
21. BROKEN MACHINES – curiousitygotmecom
22. Chained In A Box – curiousitygotmecom
23. Trampoline on Ipad – Meow
24. Dear Friend – Poetic Anarchy
25. Autonomy – Sanch Writes
26. Self-governance – Girl With A Tripod
27. An Enemy to Overcome – atrangizindagieksafar
28. The Street Style – somerberry
29. They don’t know – Writing All Along
30. Daily Prompts #104 – She isn’t ruled by your terms of Freedom… – Passionate Ambika
31. What it feels like to give up your autonomy? – Ms Skyfall
32. Solace… – maybeiamsure
33. MY ENDURING BONES – Infernally Yours
34. Le Happyone – The naughtiest thing about me… is my mind
35. Purposive Writer – Is Autonomy The Answer?
36. Autonomy – Inside The Writer’s Closet
37. anatomy autonomy – guavarilla
38. Autonomy (flash fiction – 99 words) – Traces of the Soul
39. Leanne Murphy – Ten words #6
40. The Beacon Bright: – Stokespeare
41. dreamsofintrospection – Autonomy – July 4th
42. Daily Prompt – Autonomy – Short Story – Brandon’s Rambling Writing
43. Autonomy – My Garden Bio-Diversity
44. inspiration in progress – Autonomy – The Daily Post – 100 word fiction
45. The Autonomy of Becoming a Strong Woman – OnYour Path
46. Being You – itstrueiamamazing
47. Coloring Outside the Lines – Autonomy
48. Serendipitousbloom.com – Freedom to Blog
49. Belinda O – By What Authority My Decisions Are Made
50. LINES of SHADEAU – Autonomy
51. The Seminary of Praying Mantis – mama supervisor
52. Autonomy – z a y n e e a . n e t
53. Le Drake Noir – Not a matter of size
54. Autonomous Feelings – The Christian Owl
55. Claiming Independence – Living Life
56. coldhandswarmheartsblog – Snow Babies
57. Solo Duets – Catherine Hamrick
58. another quiet muse – Autonomy…
59. Frank Prem – politika of the pipples
60. Words with Wolfgang – Autonomous Antinomy of Waves- Daily Prompt in Haiku
61. So Much For Fireworks – Compass & Quill
62. Your Nibbled News (c) 2016 – The early drive for personal autonomy
63. Common Pursuit – Dependent Autonomy
64. The Only Way We Get There is Together – Mrs. Completely
65. Autonomy – Mac’s World
66. The Colour of Lives – Get Lost!
67. Fluffy Pool – Found Garbage
68. Self Rule – A lot from Lydia
69. Only 100 Words – Independence
70. Jibber Jabber with Sue – Life as a Green Sea Turtle
71. Willow’s Corner – Let me tell you about Americans
72. Daily Prompt – Catherine’s Blog – Freedom,Freedom Where Are You?
73. Autonomy – StrangeLander2015
74. Delicate Little Thang and Buffalo Gal – Autono-ME or Autono-WE?
75. Rob’s Surf Report – Haiku Today 2016.07.04 —
76. Autonomy ~ Fallings – Word Adventures
77. trapped in their world – What does nelkumi think?
78. Two Cartoons for Today – Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky
79. Autonomy – Scott’s website
80. crown me. – lemonadeletter
81. Writing Web – Daily Prompt – Autonomy
82. Living Out Loud – AUTONOMY
83. Autonomy – The new-ness
84. Self Governence – Dreamer’s Paradise
85. The PhD delusion – Tag Alsh
86. Anton’s Ideas – A NEW SORT OF SELFIE
87. Insach – Award time
88. Prompt for the Day: “Autonomy” – saintpblogging BlogJob site
89. Caledon Acres – A memorable holiday getaway
90. simplywithin – But This Woman Is… Island/Autonomy
91. blackcattwriting – Autonomy
92. Autonomy – Image & Word
93. Incredible Pie – Mused totally!
94. Women and Autonomy: Self-Determination – Writings from the Heart
95. Blooming Awareness – icicle
96. Micropoetry Monday: Path of Stars – Fantasy Raconteur
97. An Upturned Soul – Sometimes all it takes is admitting something to yourself…
98. K. Phoenix – Autonomy Of Sorts
99. Prompt for the Day: “Autonomy” – Saint P. Blogging
100. To Wear A Rainbow – spell
101. The Sleeping Reading Beauty ~ book reviews – Teach Me to Do It Myself
102. They, You and Me – my autonomy…haiku
103. Decisions – The RANDOMNESS that is WE
104. Jaded Psychodelicide – Peace & Be Wild
105. The Autonomy of Thought – Daniel Amatiello
106. Anonymous Autonomous – bantering bangalorean
107. ATG Successful Living – Top 10 Ways to Increase Independent Learning
108. SERENDIPITY – A GREAT AMERICAN BIRTHDAY PARTY – 2016
109. Autonomy! – Pippakin Talks Cats, Dogs, Teeth and Claws
110. Flowers and Breezes – Autonomy at Home
111. Second Opinions: Finding Your Voice and the Search for Autonomy – Ellies Little Adventure
112. Autonomy in all its glory – In The Soul’s Streets
113. Barryjack’s Place – Choices
114. Original-Dante – Power.
115. Understand the secret of autonomy – Say Yes To Greatness
116. The remote’s in your hand… – clumsyandsilly
117. What Rhymes with Stanza? – Follow the… who?
118. God? – Caillen James –Author
119. Ofcourse, we enjoy autonomy.. – Celebrating ART
120. The Well-Informed Namer – July 4th – Patriotic Names
121. Musings and My Two Cents – Independence Day
122. Just set me free.. – Writing belly
123. thelonerose – Our reliance on cars
124. I don’t need any advice – Geek Ergo Sum
125. 83 Unsung Heroes – Autonomy And Help
126. Independence, automony versus politically correct speech – Emotional Fitness Training
127. The Concept of Failure – Culture Eighteen.
128. Poem- Freedom For Sale – jotabouts
129. Giggles & Tales – Autonomy – The Daily Prompt!
130. Autonomy of Her Snippets – Her Snippets
131. Aren’t they Creating a living Hell – mySestina
132. We yearn for that which we fail to merit – Vinni’s Vault
133. Lamont and Dude Ponder Autonomy – Where’s the Windmill?
134. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Solo Act
135. speaking up for myself – Identity
136. poetry penned in moon dust – Happy 4th of July #Independenceday #haiku
137. The Failing Buddhist – Rock Bottom: Why I Abandoned Autonomy
138. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Feline Autonomy
139. sixty, single and surviving – The State of Monicle
140. kristinakoti – Black Anthem
141. Autonomy: A false Right. – hashtagtrustyourinstincts
142. The Cry For Autonomy – farrahstyles
143. Razan Masri – Let Your Mind Serve You, Let It Not Destroy You
144. HarlemATL Inner City Blues – Her Autonomy
145. Jacki Kellum Juxtapositions: Read My Mind – Thoughts on Independence on Independence Day
146. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – I, me and myself and the rest
147. Awl and Scribe – Autonomy
148. Autonomy -Ample opportunity – rupalislale
149. Do Not Annoy The Writer – BiC For Her: Autonomy For Female Writers!
150. ….on pets and prisoners….. – daily prompt: autonomy
151. Autonomy…our power to govern – My Second Act, Scene One
152. Autonomy – A Pre-Published Indie Author
153. myfavouriite – “Autonomy” finally i know its meaning
154. Is Britain’s autonomy part of biblical prophecy? – Selah Ministries
155. devildollmusings – Only The Lonely
156. Freelancing and the Morning Routine – Sweat, Tears and Digital Ink
157. Giantness – zorazebic
158. Seven Days of Summer Challenge, day 4: Independence Day ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
159. Relax – Happy Independence Day.. let’s keep it going!
160. kStan(ly) kSays – autonomous automatons forbidden
161. Zombie Flamingos – First round of vacation over…sigh…
162. Travel Much? – Paris Much? Parc Asterix
163. Our Strange Lingo – littleflamesblog
164. By yourself – lovelyricism
165. Autonomy: Writing Prompt Response – KimKnight_Author
166. Autonomy – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
167. the15thday – …as i am my most well known subject
168. AutoKnowMe – Adarsha Kharel
169. I Do It! – Just Writing!
170. The Daily Post – Progressing into Solitude – Autonomy
171. Vexing Point – Autonomy
172. deetravelssite.wordpress.com – July 4th, Independence Day
173. Walnuts or Roses? – HemmingPlay
174. Preface to Leaves of Grass – HemmingPlay
175. La Tour Abolie – Indeed…
176. theblackwallblog – We’ll Cross That Bridge…
177. Spoketh! – pins & ashes
178. DP Prompt ~ Automaton – The Wandering Poet
179. Social Evil: The Four People – Eloraquence
180. Lantern Words – Autonomy Of Help