Today I’m going to unapologetically fangirl the hell out of Leta Blake. You’ll probably know her for her ice skating novel, Training Season, and also the Will and Patrick (Wake Up Married) series. But I’m fangirling all over her for The River Leith. Seriously peeps. This book kept me up all night. I simply could not put it down. I felt compelled to contact Leta (I gushed via Messenger. Can you imagine?) and asked very nicely if she’d like to come over to my blog and answer some questions. So, here we go: (Don’t forget to check out the giveaway!)
RJ: I totally fell in love with Leith and Zach. Where did you find the inspiration for these two?
Leta: I often find inspiration in music and, this will make no sense, but this whole story showed up for me when I was listening to the Gaslight Anthem song “Here’s Looking at You Kid”.
If you can listen to that and tell me how this story lived in the song and then accosted me with a demand that I write it, let me know! Because I have no idea!
The other thing I was playing with at the time was the idea of falling in love with the same person twice. I’d been talking with a fellow writer pal about how people love to read first time love stories and how it’d be fun to write one where the people fall in love a second time, but not because they broke up. Amnesia seemed a good solution.
RJ: Okay, you’re right. That makes no sense. It’s a cool song, though. I loved how you gave us Zach’s POV, without actually giving it to us. (For those who haven’t read it, Zach ‘talks’ to us via his vlog) This was ingenious and I haven’t seen it done before. Why not just write his POV? Was there a specific reason why you did it this way?
Leta: A dear friend of mine actually suggested the idea back when she was beta reading the original draft, which had none of Zach’s point of view at all. She read the draft and said, “You know, this really requires Zach’s point of view, and you’ve already got this vlog thread in there, why don’t you write his point of view as him doing the vlogs?”
If I recall correctly, though, I’m the one who decided to do it in script form, but it’s possible that was her idea, too. It was quite a few years ago now.
But I’m glad you liked the way Zach’s point of view was presented. I enjoyed pushing some boundaries with that!
RJ: Any chance of getting Arthur’s story? If not, what can I bribe you with?
Leta: Aw, Arthur! He’s a good brother! And, alas, no. I’m afraid this entire universe is off my writing radar right now. For some time after I’d finished it, I’d actually thought I’d write the story of their first time falling in love, and do it from Zach’s point of view. I was going to call it The Running Zachariah. But I’ve only written a few very, very short things for my blog, AO3, and Patreon account.
The Running Zachariah Meets the River Leith: https://archiveofourown.org/works/2601446
Are You a Runner or a Fighter? https://letablake.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/are-you-a-runner-or-a-fighter-the-running-zachariah-mmromance-amreading/
RJ: Leith’s story revolves around him losing three years of his memory and the implications, not only on his life, but on those closest to him. How much research went into the medical and emotional side of these events.
Leta: I did quite a bit of research but I tried to keep it more emotionally true than medically true. I wanted to explore the idea that love is more than memories and explore the grief of how a traumatic event can change people’s lives, leading them to make less than stellar choices (Zach) and yet also making them dig deep to find themselves again. I was more interested in telling that sort of story than making the medical details perfect.
I wrote a blog post about the choices I made regarding the amnesia here: https://letablake.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/amnesia-doesnt-work-like-that-research/
RJ: The title is reflected around Leith and Zach’s names but also around the loss of memory. How did you come up with the title? Did it come first or did the storyline dictate it?
Leta: Well, I specifically chose the name Leith because it was a great play on the River Lethe in Greek Mythology. That’s the river of forgetting that the dead cross through on their way to the underworld, making them forget their loved ones. I chose Zach’s name because it means ‘The Lord has remembered”, which sort of means like the one who remembers it all, yeah? So it made sense that there would be a lot of river symbolism in the story itself and, in the end, it just seemed to be the right title for the book. I actually love the title but have wondered if it is off-putting to readers since it doesn’t make it really clear that it’s a romance, etc.
RJ: Okay, time for some quick-fire questions. No thinking!
Coke or Pepsi? COKE 4-EVA
Favorite color? Red or green or yellow or blue depending on the day. 🙂
Favorite place to read? The beach!
Cook at home or dine out? Dine out!
Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Seltzer water!
Favorite holiday spot? Florida’s Gulf Coast
Winter or summer? SUMMER ALWAYS
Harry Potter or Twilight? Harry Potter!
If there were 25hrs in a day, what would you do with the extra hour? Write! 🙂
RJ: Wow! Most of your answers match mine. We could be twins!
That’s it from me. A huge big thanks to Leta for taking the time to indulge in my fangirling. If you haven’t read The River Leith, or any of Leta’s other works, I suggest you step it up and check them out. I guarantee a great read.
Keep scrolling for the buy links and a chance to win an ecopy of The River Leith and the first three episodes of Will and Patrick, you lucky buggers. 🙂
Memory is everything.
After an injury in the ring, amateur boxer Leith Wenz wakes to discover his most recent memories are three years out of date. Unmoored and struggling to face his new reality, Leith must cope anew with painful revelations about his family. His brother is there to support him, but it’s the unfamiliar face of Zach, a man introduced as his best friend, that provides the calm he craves. Until Zach’s presence begins to stir up feelings Leith can’t explain.
For Zach, being forgotten by his lover is excruciating. He carefully hides the truth from Leith to protect them both from additional pain. His bottled-up turmoil finds release through vlogging, where he confesses his fears and grief to the faceless Internet. But after Leith begins to open up to him, Zach’s choices may come back to haunt him.
Ultimately, Leith must ask his heart the questions memory can no longer answer.
The River Leith Buy Links
A random commenter on this blog post will receive an ecopy of The River Leith (you’ll be fangirling too after you read it) PLUS the first three episodes from Will and Patrick – Wake Up Married series. Winner will be drawn next week.
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.