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Author Interview - Leslie Lee Sanders

What's your book/current WIP about?

Before the Darkness (Refuge Inc., #1) is an MM post-apocalyptic erotic romance that takes place in a ruined Phoenix the days after an asteroid impact. It follows survivors Elliot and Adam and focuses on their growing attraction for each other as they hunt for spray painted signs across Phoenix. Signs directing them to a mysterious place called Refuge Inc. Book one is a dark, suspenseful, character- driven introduction to the series and an in-depth look at the characters and their companionship.

Care to share your favorite line(s) from your story?

Adam chewed his bottom lip and stood motionless for a few seconds. What could he possibly be thinking about? He then continued to move furniture around the room. "You know that saying that goes something like, be thankful for every day because you don't know what the future holds?"

Elliot nodded, rolling his eyes. "Yeah, I've heard people say that plenty of times."

Adam paused, looking ahead with a vacant stare. "I really get the meaning now."

What's your next project?

Book two of the Refuge Inc. series, Amid the Darkness, is my current work in progress. This story is more of an MM post-apocalyptic dystopian erotic romance. Without giving too much away, it follows the same characters immediately after the first book and further explores the mysteries of Refuge Inc.

Describe your writing in a sentence.

My writing is a straightforward, unapologetic look at in-your-face sex, flawed characters and words that suck you into every scene.

Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?

I choose the name that best suits the character. What name would I call the person that looked like this, sounds like that, grew up in this place, etc? And then I see how the characters' names play off of each other before I decide.

Plotter or panster?

With my novels I definitely outline the plot. There are usually too many characters or subplots that I need to keep track of and having some sort of outline works well for me in that case. Shorter works, I usually have a theme in mind or maybe a couple characters that pushes me to write and see where it takes me.

Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?

I listen to music while I write. If I didn't, then I would hear the distracting sounds of children laughing or crying, Spongebob Squarepants on the TV in another room, or the frequent "Mom!" every other minute. Music that fits the mood of the story I'm working on usually inspires me more than distract me.

What are you currently reading?

I'm actually reading a lot of nonfiction books to further improve my writing skills. I've recently read So You Want to Write a Novel, Nail your Novel, and Write Good or Die. The books are very useful writing tools which provide great tips on everything from plot to characters.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?

The question would be: What do you wish non-writers knew about writing? My answer is: I wish they knew the difficulties and the time it takes to get the final product to them in nearly perfect, if not perfect, form. That way they could fully appreciate the book making process and the struggling authors behind them. Lately, there's been a lot of author bashing in negative reviews, and it would be great if true book lovers continued to support writers and their efforts with the reader's honest opinions about their books. And hope readers who bash authors follow suit and critique the stories instead of speaking negatively about the authors.

People think I'm weird because...

I don't drive. I stopped driving in 2001 and never had the urge to do so again. Realizing that you're responsible for a ton of steel that can double as a lethal weapon can cause a person to reconsider handling such deadly objects.

Title: Before the Darkness (Refuge Inc., Book One)
Author: Leslie Lee Sanders
Publisher: Self
Length: 45,000 words
Genre: Romance
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Sub-Categories: Erotic, Gay (M/M), Mystery/Thriller, Post-Apocalyptic
Heat Level: Sizzling (Highly explicit sex scenes/language.)

Available at:

After an asteroid strikes Earth, a series of violent earthquakes destroy secluded Phoenix and leave survivor Elliot struggling to stay focused in the bleak aftermath. And then he meets fellow survivor Adam. Together, the two search for reliable shelter and other survivors while distant murky clouds fast approach. Their hunt for shelter leads them down an alternate path when they find spray painted symbols directing them to a mysterious place: Refuge Inc.

As ominous clouds slowly shut off all light to their devastated world, they are forced to come to terms with their pasts and their growing attraction for each other.

Neither thought their pasts and personal crises would affect their ability to endure the horrors they're forced to live through. Neither thought they would be drawn so close to one another in the aftermath of an unimaginable catastrophe. By working together, can they continue to survive? Or will the mystery of Refuge Inc. cause diverse expectations and lead them to decisions that further threaten their lives?

"See that dark color on the horizon?" Adam pointed to the east, suddenly looking somber. "That's a wall of smoke, ash, dust and who knows what else, and it's coming our way."

"What? What do you mean?" A bit of panic began to stir in Elliot's stomach like a bowl of his mother's spicy and overly greasy chili. He'd thought the worst was over.

"Ever heard of impact winter?" Adam's green eyes pierced his and neither moved. "What's headed for us isn't good. We're gonna have to take shelter somewhere and fast before it blocks out all light and it gets so dark we won't be able to tell which way is up. Can't run from it either," he added, as if predicting Elliot's next question. "Been watching it for a couple hours now and it's moving pretty fast."

"What do you mean it's going to get dark?" He knew he looked like a wide-eyed idiot, but he didn't care much about his appearance at the moment.

"Let me put it this way. Once the sun sets we're not gonna see it rise for quite some time. That wall of soot headed our way is so thick it will block out the sun. It will take months, maybe years, for all the crap to fall down."

"Are you sure?" He dipped his eyebrows suspiciously. "How do you know all this?"

"When those assholes finally told us that an asteroid might hit, I went looking for info about anything to do with asteroids hitting Earth and that's what I found out. We need to find some shelter."

Elliot looked at the dark grey horizon. Indeed, the cloud of unnerving darkness grew bigger, wider, closer. His heart dropped, it sank in the pit of his stomach like a ton of concrete rubble. "We're not going to make it, huh?" He gulped, suddenly feeling defeated. Panic. "What's the point in finding shelter when we're not gonna live to see the sun again?"

Adam grabbed his hand, gave it a gentle squeeze and let it loose before Elliot realized it had happened. The friendly squeeze hadn't been part of his imagination. A look of sincerity and concern painted Adam's handsome face. "I was beginning to think the same thing and then I saw you. Like I said, two heads are better than one."

Video Book Trailer:

About the Author:
The author of several books of fiction and fiction with spice, Leslie Lee Sanders spends her time writing erotic romances (mostly in the gay and ménage categories). She currently has two books available for mature teen readers and several erotic romances published as e-books and in print.


  1. You're welcome any time, Leslie! Thanks for being here. :)

  2. O.M.G!!!!!!!!!
    I want to read this book--no kidding around--it sounds so good!

  3. Really like the blurb and excerpt! I'll be sure to check it out!

  4. It's always so interesting to learn about other writers. Great job!

  5. Thanks for your comments, Brenda, Melissa and Sheri! Happy reading. :)


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