Friday, May 8, 2015

Author Spotlight: Leigh Baker

I am thrilled to have debut author Leigh Baker on my blog today. Leigh’s humorous memoir Is My Crazy Showing? was released on April 22, 2015. She is the outrageous personality behind reluctant-marathoner Steady Betty and writes at the utterly addictive blog

Exaggeration is her specialty. Leigh’s philosophy is you can’t hide crazy, so you may as well embrace it. Leigh brings an honest, fresh and daring truth to the literary world. When she’s not writing, she spends her time pestering the FBI for a job.

Though she’s a California girl at heart, she now lives in North Carolina with her husband, who she likens to Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, along with her two amazing children.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book?
LEIGH: My new book is titled, “Is My Crazy Showing?” It is a humorous memoir that takes readers on a hilarious journey through childhood love and loss, which leads to a preposterous hospitalization and sobering diagnosis. This memoir is a sidesplitting, triumphant feel-good story about surviving adolescence and a mental breakdown to ultimately create a family home filled with love, laughter and just the right amount of crazy.

JET: What drew you to humor?
LEIGH: I’ve always had a natural desire to entertain people. I love comedy and laughter it was just a natural fit for me to write humor.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?
LEIGH: I am not a natural sales person so the sales and marketing elements have been the hardest part, by far, for me. I find self-promotion very difficult. People confuse that with being shy; I am not shy. I just find it hard to pimp my own stuff.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?
LEIGH: The moment your real-live-published-hold-it-in-my-hands book arrives on your doorstep!

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?
LEIGH: I did not appreciate reading until I became an adult. As an adult, I most admire David Sedaris. His humor seems effortless!

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?
LEIGH: In 2009, I registered for a full marathon, although at the time I couldn’t run one uninterrupted mile. I hired a professional running coach, trained for five months and began to document my journey. During my training I emailed my family and friends about the dreadful circumstances that I had fortuitously brought on myself – physical ailments like blisters, wedgies and bad sports bras compounded by the mental anguish of fear and self-doubt. I did it all with endless sarcasm, wit and humor. The emails, which were intended to be nothing more than an entertaining Saturday morning read, went viral and spread like wildfire. My running alias, Steady Betty, became famous! The overwhelming response I received once the weekly emails and marathon were over was heartwarming. Family, friends and strangers who’d read my weekly emails craved more humorous tales from me. I received countless notes of encouragement claiming, You should be a writer! You HAVE to write a book! You’re so funny! And it was then that I decided to take the plunge into writing to entertain people.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?
LEIGH: Shooting the cover of the book was pretty crazy. I stood in the middle of downtown Durham during lunch hour wearing a straightjacket!

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?
LEIGH: My favorite chapter in my book is titled, “Why Won’t The FBI Hire Me?” I feel like that chapter is the best-written chapter in the book and completely showcases my personality and passion.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?
LEIGH: Be true to you. Be authentic. Write for you. Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what you have lived. Someone may be waiting for your story to resonate with them.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten... starting with Steak or Tofu?
LEIGH: Steak

JET: Beach or Mountains?
LEIGH: Beach

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?
LEIGH: Rock-n-Roll

JET: Leather or Lace?
LEIGH: Damn…this one’s hard….leather.

JET: Angels or Demons?
LEIGH: Angels

JET: Paper or Digital?
LEIGH: Paper

JET: Boxers or Briefs?
LEIGH: Boxers

JET: Spring or Fall?
LEIGH: Spring

JET: Coffee or Tea?
LEIGH: Coffee

JET: Sword wielding ninja or Gun toting momma?
LEIGH: Gun toting FBI Momma!

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?
LEIGH: Nothing in the works, but I think I might want to try stand-up!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Leigh Baker and her work at the following places:

Until next time,

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