Interview with mystery author John “Rocky” Leonard

Today’s guest is mystery novelist John “Rocky” Leonard. He’s touring his paranormal detective novel Secondhand Sight.

Rocky is generously giving one copy of his book to a lucky commentor at each of his tour stops. If you’d like to be entered to win, leave an e-mail address with a comment. You can always leave a comment without an e-mail address, too!
John L. Leonard was born in Savannah, Georgia and graduated
from Savannah Christian School. He holds a BBA in Management Information Systems
from the University of Georgia and worked as a computer programmer for more than
twenty years before becoming a writer.

John has spent most of his adult life
in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. His writing has also been influenced by
shorter stints working as a bartender, real estate investor and

He has been married to wife, Lisa, for 21 years and is the proud father of 2 and grandfather of 3, as
well as pack leader for several wonderful dogs and a hostile Maine Coon

His first non-fiction book was
published in 2010.

John writes detective novels under
the pen name Rocky Leonard. His first detective thriller was published in

The local color in his writing is
equally authentic whether the setting is a Georgia beach, downtown Atlanta, or
the Appalachian foothills in north Georgia.

Welcome, Rocky. What inspired you to
write this book?
I watched an
interview with Joe Kozenczak, the police detective who apprehended serial killer
John Wayne Gacy. To my astonishment, Kozenczak credited two different psychics
for providing critical information that he claimed broke the case wide open.
When the detective directly responsible for catching one of the more notorious
killers in recent history gave credit to not one, but two psychics for helping
bring Gacy to justice, it certainly got my attention. And that got me thinking
about writing a novel where a psychic helped solve a murder.
I was also inspired
by my own experiences growing up in Savannah, which has a reputation as one of
the most haunted cities in America. I’ve personally had too many paranormal
experiences to count, more than enough to believe that ghosts really exist.

I steadied myself in front of a small mirror on the wall
near the tie rack. My trembling hands went through the practiced motions of
tying the tie, the same moves I had made first thing in the morning, four days
a week.
I looked into the mirror and gasped. Blood splatters
covered the glass, obscuring my reflection in the mirror. My hands felt warm
and sticky. Reluctantly, I looked down and saw to my horror that they were
covered in wet blood. It was all over me. My mind reeled. Bile rose in my
throat. I looked around frantically for the source of the spreading crimson
stains. Did I cut myself? I felt no pain. What in the hell happened? How? Did
the workers break the glass after all? Yet when I glanced in its direction, the
glass display case remained intact.
For several seconds, my mind babbled a brook of questions
for which no answers came. My knees felt weak, on the verge of collapse. Time
crept by. I marked its passage with my breathing, the only way I could tell
time hadn’t stopped completely. I looked around for someone in the store to
come help me. Words came to mind to cry for help, but they refused to pass my
A couple of muted sounds that might pass for the bleating
of a sheep rose in my throat, barely audible. No one in the store noticed me
foundering in distress. I looked around helplessly, desperate to avoid looking
into the mirror again. But I had to know. I forced my eyes to gaze at my own
reflection once more.
What exciting story
are you working on next?
Purgatory, the sequel to my
first novel, Coastal Empire, a new adventure featuring private
investigator Robert Mercer and his German Shepherd partner Ox. 
When did you first
consider yourself a writer?
I knew I loved
writing from my first high school course in creative writing, and in one sense,
my previous career was a writer of a different sort. Before I began writing
books, for a couple of decades, I developed computer software. In one sense, the
structured and methodical approach required for software development helped me
when I starting writing material intended for public consumption. Secondhand
is now my fourth book, and my second novel.
Do you write
full-time? If so, what’s your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than
write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, I find writing
very addictive. When I’m not working on a book, I’m usually blogging, or
interacting with friends on Facebook, the bane of my existence—because it’s
almost as addictive as writing. I’ve got a bad habit of working on a chapter of
my next novel, then “taking a break” to write something for the immediate
gratification of having someone read my words online.
My work day is rather
simple: get up at the crack of dawn, Facebook until time to feed the pack and
make coffee, walk the pack after breakfast, write until lunch, eat, write until
dinner, eat, write until I can write any more than night–lather, rinse, repeat.
About once a day, I manufacture some excuse to run an errand that requires me to
leave the house, just for a brief change of scenery. For more exercise, I play
tennis three or four times a week to avoid getting too fat.
What would you say is
your interesting writing quirk?
I usually require
some background noise to force myself to concentrate, like having the TV tuned
to a program I care nothing about or playing music in the background where I
can’t really hear it. Don’t ask me why, but I need something to ignore. Drives
my wife crazy.
As a child, what did
you want to be when you grew up?
An actor. At various
points during my rather impetuous youth, I also wanted to be a journalist, and
Perry Mason. I was almost ready to graduate with a double major in history in
political science, thinking I was going to law school, when I finally realized
that in the real world, most of my clients would actually be guilty—maybe that
happened about the time Al Pacino played a lawyer in the movie And Justice
For All,
but it’s been so long ago that I no longer remember the real
reason. My mother had convinced me I needed a backup plan before heading to
Hollywood, and the backup became the primary plan by the time I finished

Thanks, Rocky.

Readers, don’t forget that Rocky is generously giving one copy of his book to a lucky commentor at each of his tour stops. If you’d like to be entered to win, leave an e-mail address with a comment. You can always leave a comment without an e-mail address, too!

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