Get ready to learn more about the book Out to Get Her in this discussion with sapphic author Leigh Landry.
Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Leigh Landry about Out to Get Her, writing, reading, and more.
This book is part of the Small Town Romance category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.
Why did you write Out to Get Her?
I love adding mystery to romance, and this just started flowing out when I needed to switch gears and write something fun. It took three years of starting and stopping to get both the mystery and the romance plots right.
Who is your favorite character in the book?
Both main characters are a little like me. Erin’s got my impulsive side and Samantha’s got my responsible side. And like me both have pretty high protective walls, but once people get through, they’ll defend them fiercely.
What was the biggest challenge writing Out to Get Her?
I started writing this book in early 2020, with a main character who is a small town police officer. While she was fed up with the system and wanted to change it, the events that year weighed heavily on me. I wasn’t sure I could reconcile how I felt about what was happening repeatedly in this country with a character who was part of that system causing so much harm. But I eventually realized it wasn’t my job as a novelist to fix the system. It was my job to make sure my character realized she couldn’t either, but that she could still take steps to make things better while we all fight for bigger change.
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
There’s a meddling restaurant owner whose voice was so clear in my head. She’s full of sass and contradictions. Every scene she’s in was fun to write, as she verbally sparred with almost every character she interacted with.
What is your favorite line from your book?
“When I want to burn down the patriarchy, I don’t try to fix it. I light a match and take the whole town down with me.”
What is your writing process like?
I used to plot more, but I never followed my plans for the book, so now I just let myself write a really messy skeleton draft without a map. Sometimes, especially if a book is complicated or has a dual mystery-romance plot that needs to fit together, I’ll record scenes or beats as I write them, so I can see the story at a glance if I get stuck or to see what’s missing in revision.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
I’m terrible at stopping to celebrate wins, but sometimes I like to celebrate a book birthday with a cake (a small ice cream cake usually) and a tiny bottle of bubbly.
Do you have a pet who helps/hinders your typing?
We have our own dogs and cats, but I usually have a foster cat sharing my office. So I have a different cat “helping” write each book.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing, and by whom?
A long time ago, (I forget where I heard it) someone talked about writing sideways. Whenever I get really stuck, I switch to another project to make some progress in that, then hop back a little later to the stuck story after it’s had time to percolate in the back of my mind. I love that it helps me continue to make forward progress in something all the time.
What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?
I’ve started pulling tarot cards for characters, new scenes, and whenever I get stuck. It’s been an excellent inspiration tool.
What books did you grow up reading?
I grew up reading a lot of fantasy books (with a flashlight under the covers way past my bedtime) because that’s what my dad kept on our bookshelves. For a while I thought I wanted to write fantasy, but I get bored writing and reading fight scenes. What I really wanted was to fill stories with more female characters… especially ones I could ship.
Do you only read books in one genre or do you genre hop?
As much as I love sapphic romance, I can’t read it while I’m writing it. I definitely genre hop with my reading, usually doing a deep dive in one genre at a time. Lately it’s been psychological thrillers in audiobook format because the mystery holds my attention when my brain is unfocused.