A fan of Winnie the Pooh, dark crackly chocolate and TED, Joe Leslie is a retired police force worker.With forty years experience his duties included training recruits and dealing with homicides to name just a few. He is a man who admires genuinity in people and both this and his experience on the force have been his inspirations for his triliogy: The Secret to Being Frank. The second novel of which, he’s working on now.
At the tender age of 3, Joe lost his father and was raised by his mother. He currently lives with his lovely wife in Carmarthen, the heart of Celtic mythology. He continues to write with passion, experience and a fire in his belly.
I was lucky enough that this man agreed to take the time and be my Christmas interview.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
1. What are you working on right now?
In essence, my insanity, in truth working on the second novel of the trilogy that follows ‘The Secret to Being Frank’. As an apprentice author, I like standing on the edge, it can be an extraordinary experience in the rain. The next novel, ‘Being Frank’ has somewhat defined my approach to this interview. Honesty can make you vulnerable. However, The Phantom Writer deserves nothing less.
2. Can you tell us a little something about it?
Although we all live in an essentially beautiful world, I decided that in order to appreciate the lighter shades of reality you have to appreciate the darker sides of human behaviour. The trilogy follows the protagonist Frank Macleod from adolescence to maturity when he joins the police force. His experience of social mayhem introduces the reader to his personality. At the point where he joins the police, Macleod is headstrong, somewhat aggressive with an addictive personality. His unusual and unorthodox style of policing facilitates his progress to CID where he confronts a serial killer Samuel John. For the first time an adult fictional psychological thriller taking place in Wales, explores the heritage of that nation. The Myth and legend of ‘damashealladh’, second sight and the immortality of the Gaelic soul has found a home in modern storytelling. This novel is more than a dark thriller; genre is the clothing that every novel wears. In this book, the clothing is merely a disguise. It answers the paradoxical question of the ‘who, why and what if’ regarding the characters.
3. Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration?
After spending forty years in the police force, I still care about the safety of the public. Understanding will never cure evil intent but it could help to cope with the incomprehensible dark side of human behaviour. Story telling can also be a powerful tool to understanding. Creating anything that has personal meaning requires courage. When I started writing an uncompromising voice whispered in my ear. It told me to reject the safe way of writing, tell it like it is, and treat the reader with respect.
4. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes. Do you have a writing must have?
Believe it or not, when I write I have the X rated version of ‘Ted’ the talking teddy bear from the movie on my desk. When I make a mistake or question my ability, I gently press his right paw and ‘Ted’ delivers the most obscene critique imaginable. Peter Griffin’s voice always triggers the laugh centre in my brain. I can feel the urge to laugh fizzing like champagne on my tongue.
5. What is your favourite book? Which author’s career do you admire the most and why?
The Winnie the Pooh books written by the genius A.A. Milne. The adorable bear continually shares his sublime wisdom about character and personality with the reader. My favourite quote shows the quintessence of Pooh: ‘If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart I’ll always be with you.’
6. Tell us something about yourself. Any annoying habits or hobbies?
The diversity of my experience in the police included; – Training recruits and officers to the rank of Inspector, the Toxteth riots, double homicides; and the IRA burying arms and explosives on the shoreline of my rural patch. In later years, with the Criminal Justice Unit, I worked closely with the local Crown Prosecution Service to deliver the DPP Guidelines on Statuary Charging. I live in the heart of Celtic Mythology in Carmarthen, the birthplace of Merlin the Magician. My addictive personality is in the novel.
7. Do you have a blog; website or social networking account people can go to learn more about you?
Yes, my website is located at joe-leslie-author.com my twitter address is @joeleslieauthor
8. What are your plans for 2014?
To finally complete the second novel in August 2014 and then start the last of the trilogy called ‘Let’s be Frank’.
9. Finally, Jaffa Cakes – Love them or hate them?
I love dark crackly chocolate, as you can see I also love to wear their Tee shirt.
Footnote. To all the genuine guys at The Phantom Writer Thank you for the interview,
Thank you to Joe for taking the time to do this insightful interview.
To follow Joe’s work please follow the links: