Updated: May 2
Jessica is a contemporary fiction writer from Guernsey, now living in the UK. She can swear in Guernsey patois and still maintains the correct rivalry with Jersey from across the English Channel.
She has been writing and blogging for well over fifteen years, and her flash fiction has been featured in an anthology, 'Deadly Sins'. 'The Bean Jar' is her first novel.
What book (or books) are you currently reading?
Frank Turner - The Road Beneath My Feet. Frank is one of my favourite musicians and it’s so intriguing reading the tales from his shows over the years.
What genres do you like to read? Are they the same genres that you write?
I read anything. From serial killers to cereal packets, if it’s got words on it, I’ll read it. But I do love feminist fiction of the sort I write myself - any tales of female friendship and solidarity will get me right in the feels every time!
What author in your genre do you most admire, and why?
Marian Keyes. Her stories are so often dismissed by critics as ‘chick-lit’ but her characters have such amazing depth and her stories have so many layers.
Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?
I use my maiden name as my ‘pseudonym’, but it’s not so much for anonymity as it is because my maiden name is a lot more distinctive than my married name and, let’s face it, ‘Leather’ is quite on-brand…
Do you ever model characters based on people you know? Why / why not?
Classified, especially with my books based around the heavy metal scene :p
What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
A distinctive voice and perfect spelling and grammar. Sorry, if you’re poorly edited, I’m not reading your book!
About your books...
How many books have you written and which is your favourite?
I have a hard-drive full of books, from single-page ideas to 150,000-word sprawling unfinished masterpieces. I’ve only self-published one, so far! My favourite is The Ten List, which I’m currently editing.
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
The sex scenes. …I’m kidding. Footage exists on the internet of me necking wine directly from the bottle while bemoaning the fact that I can’t write sex scenes! Though considering they tend to go down quite well (pun 100% intended) with my readers, maybe I’m better at them than I think… My actual favourite parts to write are alcohol-fuelled aftershow party scenes. Always a delight.
What part of the book was the hardest to write?
Emotional break-ups. I love to break my characters’ hearts but I never know quite how they’ll enunciate said heartbreak.
Which of the characters do you relate to the most and why?
Clemmie from The Ten List. A lot of her came from my own experiences at uni and on my Year Abroad - confused about life, hiding anxiety behind a brash exterior, over-sexed and looking at herself as unloveable. I want to pick her up, hug her, and tell her it’s all going to work out… eventually. Once I, as her author, have finished thoroughly messing with the poor kid.
What inspired the idea for your book?
For The Ten List, I started going to heavy metal gigs with my friend, and started writing a daft little story for the two of us along the lines of “what could have happened” if we’d run into the band at the first show we saw together. It evolved and evolved over the years and the characters took on a real life of their own… as did events in REAL real life in creepy parallel to the book…
What is the greatest compliment you've ever received about your book?
“F**k that scene was hot.”
If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?
“Christ on a bicycle, Clemmie, drink some water once in a while and please, for the love of God, make sure you’re using a condom.”
A bit of fun...
What’s your favourite writing snack or drink?
Cadbury Mini Eggs, buckets of coffee, and plenty of wine when it comes to writing the sex scenes.
Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favourite?
Each of my books has a bespoke playlist and I am fully conditioned into getting into my POV character’s mindset for each book when I hear said playlists. Even though I’m a big metal fan, and most of my books are set somewhere around the metal community, my playlists contain everything from cheesy 80s power ballads to classical piano.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you're not writing?
Sex, drugs, rock and roll. …or, if we’re being honest, left-wing feminist activism, drinking copious quantities of coffee, and, er, yeah the rock and roll bit rings pretty true.
Click here to find Jessica Leather on Kindle Store and get updates on her upcoming books!