Interview with Leisa Rayven, Author of Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet
When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan’s romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.
Cast as romantic leads once again, they’re forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they’ll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks.
M book review of Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet can be found here:
Hi, Leisa! Welcome to my blog! And thank you for taking time to do this interview with me.
Thank you for inviting me!
Apart from being a writer, you are also an actress. Can you tell us a bit about your acting career?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an actress. My parents tell a story of me at the age of two, shushing an entire party of grownups so I could perform for them. Clearly, I was a shy child.
The day I auditioned for drama school was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life, and considering I grew up on a cane farm in Australia that was home to some of the world’s most deadly snakes, that’s saying something. Still, I guess I did something right, because I was accepted, and went on to gain my Bachelor of Arts majoring in acting and directing. Funnily enough, even though I’m a classically trained, most of my career has been spent in musical theatre. Right now, of course, performing has taken a backseat to my writing, but I’m really enjoying this career change. No need to put on false eyelashes and swanky gowns when you’re writing. No one cares if you’re in sweatpants and no makeup while you’re trying to bang out a couple thousand words a day. 🙂
Did you get your inspiration to write Bad Romeo from acting?
Well, as the titles imply, my original inspiration was Romeo and Juliet. Much like Ethan, I’ve always hated Romeo as a character. At the beginning of the play, he’s just had his heart smashed to pieces by Rosaline, and yet when he meets Juliet, he’s all, “Oh yeah, sure. Let me give my heart to another woman. One who I like ever MORE than Rosaline, so who has the power to hurt me even more.” I’ve never seen that as a realistic reaction. For me, a far more compelling story is what happens if Romeo meets his soul mate, but pushes her away because of how damaged he is by past heartache. When I knew that was the story I wanted to tell, I thought a drama school would be the perfect environment to explore that dynamic, because it allowed me to torture Ethan by casting him opposite the girl who he’s desperately trying to avoid.
That’s really amazing. How did you personally come about selecting NA as your primary audience? And what do you like most about being a NA author?
You know, I didn’t actually set out to write NA. I just wrote a story I wanted to read. Realistically, the story straddles the line between genres, as the scenes in the past are New Adult, while those set in the present are more in the Contemporary Romance category.
But for right now, I’m really enjoying exploring stories in which people discover themselves, and I guess for most of us, that happens in the age group covered by New Adult books.
Are there any books or authors that have most influenced you?
I actually grew up loving Stephen King, and read everything of his I could get my hands on. I’ve also read heaps of Dean Koontz, and James Patterson. (Growing up, I didn’t read romance at all.)
The first book I completely fell in love with was The Outsiders, by SE Hinton. I read it when I was ten, and it kicked off my lifelong love affair with books. It was only when I’d devoured it in one session that I found out she’d written it when she was 15/16. It’s still one of my favourite books.
The sex and love scenes in Bad Romeo are amazingly hot. How do you approach writing those scenes?
I think writing good love scenes is really difficult. Sex scenes are easy. Loves scenes – not so much. I really try to put myself into the skin of the character, and I have this weird habit of closing my eyes, because I see the scene really clearly in my mind, very much like a movie. Then I just write what I see. I need to have a visceral emotional response while I’m writing love scenes, or else I know they’ll turn out to be rubbish.
If Bad Romeo were to be made into a movie, who would you choose to play the roles of your main characters?
My ideal Ethan is actually male supermodel, Sean O’Pry, but I have no idea if the man can act. (I really wish he could, because he’s PERFECT.)
My second choice is a gorgeous British actor called Douglas Booth. I’ve never seen him play anyone as broody as Ethan, but I have confidence he could carry it off.
As for Cassie, there’s a great Aussie actress who’s in The Originals called Phoebe Tonkin. I think she’d nail it.
Wow. Great choices there! Any message for your fans?
Darling Starcrossed Fans,
Thank you so much for reading and taking Ethan and Cassie’s story to heart. I’m completely humbled and honoured by your sweet reviews and messages of support, and wish I could smoosh all of you in person.
Passionately yours, Leisa. x
You can purchase her books in:
(Bio taken from Leisa’s website)
Writing has always been a passion for Leisa, and even though she originally intended to be an actress, it wasn’t long into her time at drama school that she began writing plays.
Those plays were bad. Very bad. Well, her friends thought they were good, but that’s because they were always cast in them and any opportunity to be on stage was met with an obnoxious amount of enthusiasm.
Since then, she’s honed her craft, and several of her plays have been produced and toured throughout Australia.
These days, playwriting has given way to fiction writing, and Leisa’s debut novel, BAD ROMEO, will be available in a worldwide release through Macmillan Publishing in December 2014.
Leisa lives in Australia with her husband, two little boys, three cats, and a kangaroo named Howard.
(Howard may or may not be her imaginary marsupial friend. Everyone should have one.)