For 30+ years I have been an aspiring writer and for the last two years I have fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a professional self-published author. I self-published two contemporary romance novels – Class of ’95 published traditionally with Ukiyoto Publishing House and Dreaming of Wilder – self-published. More is coming...
Leigh Anne Klein, came from privilege and luxury, but her parents shared the bare minimum with her. Belonging to that family came with a hefty price. A price that she pays in her freedom and voice. Armed only with her trusted rust bucket, Big Blue, her tiny home, and her Maine Coon, she sets off on a journey of discovery, adventure, and solitude. That was until she was drawn to the aroma of lavender.
Theodore Collins, a self-made man, who sees the error of his ways in the eyes of a lost soul. Tortured and cynical all of that changed the instance he heard her singing on the boardwalk, strumming a guitar as tattered as his own heart.
Ethan Klein, a man of little words, feelings, or emotions, but he wasn’t always this monster his family created. He’s made many mistakes, but he never regretted falling in love with his wife, Leigh Anne. He wants to be redeemed and the only road to redemption is through his wife, and he will use any means to become whole again.
Life can be painful and noisy. But silence and serenity can be found in the sweet aroma of lavender.
The evening air was filled with perfume. The aroma of lavender and jasmine clung to the air as she strolled home. She had been living in her tiny house down the street from the Santa Monica Pier for the last five years. That’s all she could afford since she left him.
Leigh Anne craved adventure. She wanted to feel the wind in her hair, the salt of the sea on her body, and the gritty sand beneath her feet. California was her last chance to find what she had craved her whole life.
She was thirty-five years old—three miscarriages and no one to love ever since her attempt at a happily ever after with her high school sweetheart ended in divorce. She couldn’t blame him for filing for a legal separation, which ultimately ended in the dissolution of their ten-year marriage.
Her hypothyroidism made her infertile, irritable, and she had constantly put on weight. Of course, Ethan didn’t find her attractive anymore. She didn’t blame him for having an affair that resulted in another woman pregnant with his child. So, she had done what any other respectful woman would have done. She signed the papers and left quietly—traveling across the country with her tiny house being towed behind her large blue Ford F-150, aptly nicknamed “Big Blue.”
Listening to a string of Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, and Heart, she felt better about her situation. Sure, the saline still stung her eyes, and her nose was a constant shade of red but at least, she only felt despair in the evening when the aroma of lavender could be detected in the air, close by.
Stranger On the Pier
When Leigh Anne wasn’t working her three jobs—a hotel housekeeper by day, a waitress every other night, and street musician when she didn’t wait tables at a dive bar named, Dusty’s —she walked. She loved it, especially in the summer. She loved the sea air, the lights from the Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, and the smells from the food trucks.
On her walk home, she enjoys looking at the various architectural style houses on either side of the narrow street - quaint, sweet summer cottages alongside massive, impressive waterfront estates. Shielded by massive iron gates, houses she’d never be able to afford. But she liked to live the fantasy of being the lady of one of those houses. She was curious to see what they looked like inside - not just on the other side of the door. Instead, she found her tranquility in the RV park two stop signs down the main road, where her tiny house she shared with her cat Gretel sat. Her little slice of heaven on an AstroTurf lawn.
After her final set on her guitar and against her better judgment, she grabbed a corn dog and can of ginger ale from her favorite food truck and ate on the pier. The sound of the waves crashing calmed her anxiety and aching feet.
Q&A with Leia Faiga
Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you became an author?
A: I am a mother and a wife. We moved from South Florida to East Tennessee for a better way of life, not only for us, but for our son. I’m originally from Long Island, NY so lots of my characters hail from that area or the east coast. I’ve been writing since I can remember. I never knew I wanted to be a writer, it was just something in me that I now finally get to do. Even if I remain in the shade, I will step out into the sun for myself and to show my son that even though others may not always see you, to be seen by those few who love you could mean more than a crowd knowing who you are.
Q: What is your writing process like?
A: The writing process can be tedious and draining. I like the parts that come after the edits. Where the book is formatted and the cover tells the story on the outside. As indie authors you hope the cover drives the plot until someone reads the words on the inside.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: I like reading. I like dreaming and thinking up new plots and birthing new characters. But, most of all, I like hugging and playing with my son.
Q: How do you celebrate when you are finished writing a book?
A: I cheer on the outside and do cartwheels on the inside.
Q: How do you celebrate when your books are released?
A: I don’t do much celebrating when it’s released. I’m too distracted by marketing and promotions. But I kinda tap my shoulder and say, “you did that.”
Q: Can you tell me how the book/series came about?
A: I had a bit of writers block after my last book came out and have been disheartened by the lack of reads it's getting. So as I put the sequel to that book on the back burner, I tried writing in a completely different style and a novella. I’m actually very proud of Aroma of Lavender.
Q: Are any of your characters similar to real-life friends or family?
A: All my characters have a bit of myself or acquaintances I have in them. Some are based on peoples personalities I don’t like (those types of people tend to be villains in my stories)
Q: What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
A: The location - getting the location just right was the hardest.
Q: What part of writing this book was the most fun for you?
A: I always love writing the broken ones. I love trying to mend them. I like telling the stories that others may find hard telling.
Q: What Authors or other Books have inspired you to write this book?
A: I tend not to get influenced by other authors. The only other author that would inspire me to write a book was an expert in the macabre and supernatural realm. And I’d be irresponsible ever trying to aspire to write like her. Anne Rice is my supreme inspiration. And I could never write her genre. Nor would I ever attempt to.
Q: What is your favorite passage from this book?
A: “My heart isn’t yours anymore. It belongs to someone else.” She turned her cheek to see the man that watched on as she left her past behind and welcomed her future. He smiled at her and she gently pulled her hand away from Ethan’s bloody mess.
Q: If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be and what would you say to them?
A: I’d like to meet Dran from my book Dreaming of Wilder and tell him, “Delores is like a pane of glass, if you let her fall and don’t catch her, she will break and shatter.”