My roots are deep, simple and southern. They begin in the flat lands of North Carolina where my mama was born, to the mountains of Virginia, home of my daddy’s family, where I’ve lived the last four decades. I was influenced by my mother’s simple upbringing on a farm and her ability to see “rich” where others saw “poor.” My dad’s people were the artists, a granddad who was a violinist, my namesake Leah who designed her clothes and laid a brick patio by herself. Both sides of my family tree were self-sufficient, hard working with humble dreams.
I came to the craft of writing in my mid-fifties and started with a subject close to my heart—memoirs about my mom, Lucy, and her extraordinary, simple life. Then I segued into fiction, attending writing conferences and workshops, haunting bookstores and studying my favorite authors. I cut my writing teeth on a novel that didn’t sell and a string of short stories that did.
Eventually, I found.the writing voice that is reflected in my first published novel. It’s southern and musical and best when read aloud. It is always about people who are self-sufficient and hard working with humble dreams.