I much prefer "Leigh", it's easier to spell (everyone misses the "i" in Leonia) and people tend to shorten names anyway. When I'm not writing, I'm playing with my dog or watching the Food Network. I've been writing stories since I was a child and now feel as if I have begun to fulfill my life's purpose - naturally, my dog thinks my purpose is to give her treats...so I'm pretty good at that, too.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the country so when school was out for the summer, there wasn't much to do except read. I remember going to the bookstore with my mom at the start of the vacation so I would have my "summer reading list" (which I'd manage to go through in about two weeks!) and those are some of my favorite memories. As an adult, I fell in love with Boston's north shore and most of my books are set in Salem, MA or the Berkshires - both places I love dearly.
When did you first start writing?
I don't ever remember NOT writing! In third grade I wrote a poem for the local newspaper and won first prize - it was wonderful because I'd never imagined that the little poem would catch someone's eye. I wrote from that point on (but my poetry is still on a third grade level).