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Monday 25 January 2016

ℚ♫ Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick - N.R. Leigh

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick (, Booktrope Editions, 384 pages), a New Adult Coming of Age novel.

"In her wonderful, entertaining debut novel, N.R. Leigh takes us on entwining odysseys with three distinct, beautifully formed and complex young women each on a journey of the heart and self-discovery.

Told in intimate diary form, Leigh's characters lay bare their psyches, sexuality, and spirits as they cross the country, encounter danger, and have believable but often freewheeling adventures where the consequences are as compelling as their tender hearts and juicy predicaments.  It was a pleasure to work with Leigh as she polished her complex, engaging book.
" - Kathryn Galan, editor.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Nicci Leigh; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter.

To start N.R. Leigh has shared with us her music playlist for Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick?
"When I was nineteen years old, I spent a summer between college semesters traveling around the U.S. (alone) following the Grateful Dead and just exploring.  I met many colourful characters, and in 2009, I read an article describing the havoc a group of neo-hippies had brought to a local town, which inspired me to craft a story that takes readers on an adventurous trip filled with peace, love—and of course—a Dead Hippie Chick!"
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"Well, I would say that a significant portion of myself is reflected in one of the three main female characters, but I won’t say which one.  You’ll have to read and guess for yourself!  This intimate story deeply reveals the joy and pain many young women experience as they are coming-of-age."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The cover reflects Kara’s setting, as she is hiding in the vast wilderness of New Mexico.  The VW van is significant from the beginning of the book, but I can’t spoil why.  The young woman in the clouds represents the Dead Hippie Chick.

The artist is Michelle Fairbanks of Vancouver B.C.  She is a designer with BookTrope, my publishing company."
Why should we read Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"Readers have said that this book is unlike any they’ve read before.  That’s great in the sense that it’s original and not a familiar fan fiction plot.  However, it has made it challenging to classify the genre of the book, or provide comparable titles!

My intention was to take readers into a world unlike they’ve likely explored before and entertain the heck out of them.  It’s fast paced and complex in that all three girls paths eventually cross, and the suspense builds around which one is the “Dead Hippie Chick?”"
Can you tell us something quirky about Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick, its story and characters?
"Okay, so the more interviews I do, the more forthcoming I become…

Two of the characters in the story are REAL.  Based on real people, and almost true to form.  I cannot however say which ones!  It’s a pretty wild story, so it will hopefully leave much for your imagination!"
Who would you recommend Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"This book is intended for a mature audience.  Eighteen and over only. There is sex, drugs, and Rock and Roll in abundance!  But the over and under tones are much deeper in that my intention was to speak to women and uplift them—to vicariously show the interconnection and significance between the events of our lives, and that the grand orchestration of life goes well beyond chance."
If you could / wished to turn Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Ahhh… In previous interviews I’ve listed a cast of contemporary actors, but I originally wrote this story as a screenplay in 2009, so it was intended to be an Indie film, and I had imagined it would provide great roles for unknown or up and coming actors.  I had hoped it could provide many breakout roles like films of the 80s did!

Here’s the cast I provided in a previous interview:
For the three Hippie Chicks, I would cast AnnaSophia Robb as Amy, Dakota Johnson as Kara, and Odeya Rush as Natasha.  Not to mention the host of supporting male characters: Jimmy could be played by Taylor Lautner, Rock-n-Roll by Yani Gellman, Lucas by Adrian Grenier, and Ian by Zac Efron."
What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I tend to like to write about women who are gaining strength and power in oppressive circumstances.  There are several stories I’m planning to write in the coming years which are a humorous or sci-fi variation of this theme, and I’ve just been waiting to write them, but I have to ask myself if this is still the vein I want to be writing in?  Is there even another level of human evolution that I wish to explore?  I will have to spend some time meditating on that!  I love to read mysteries and suspense."
What is your writing process?
"Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written.  I work full time as a skincare professional, so that says a lot.  I have to be completely free from distractions, at home, in the morning or late evening.  I would say it’s like anything creative: you have to be in the right time and place in your life for the work to flow.  But, I tend to write in my head while driving, showering, sleeping (yes!), then jot down little key elements in a composition book long before I start writing.

I always plot on note cards and make character boards for the protagonist and antagonist.  I interview the characters, I try to spend days as each of them.  It’s really fun.

When I actually write, I go chapter or scene by scene.  I use my notecards, so I can jump around until I have the first draft done.  Then, it becomes much harder as the revision process kicks in and kicks my butt!  I typically do five rounds of revisions before I hand it over for the first edit or beta read.  It can take years… PL&DHC took five!"
What is in store next?  Any series?
"Yes, I have a sci-fi series in development titled Imagine Yasmin.  It’s about a young woman in a pre-apocalyptic setting, who inherits a school for youth savants, after the death of her maternal figure, the school’s headmaster.  She then inherits an ancient gift she must use to save the school (and the world) from an evil predecessor who’s out for her head…"
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Oh, my dog Sydney is my absolute fur baby!  She is the sweetest little thing.  We thought she was an Australian Kelpie, but then had her DNA tested and found out that she is a Schipperke crossed with a Staffordshire Terrier!  Oops!  She is my couch buddy while I’m writing, but she figured out how to close my laptop!"

Clever AND helpful!  Good girl, Sydney!  :-)

Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick
Available NOW!

UK: purchase from US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble find on Goodreads


Unknown said...

Thanks for having me today! This is a lovely blog, and great touch with the playlist!

Unknown said...

And WOW, what a great looking cast! Thanks for that as well :)

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the book! I know that experience must have been traumatic for you. Following the Grateful Dead was a chaotic experience. That kind of lifestyle is better suited for laid back people.

Unknown said...

Good writing process! :) Chapter by chapter is an excellent way to write, and using notecards!

Majanka @ I Heart Reading.

Unknown said...

Hello Blastfromthepast! Young and dumb as they say, but worth the experience! It sounds like you may have given it a try too?

Unknown said...

Hi Majanka! Thanks for stopping by. Are you also a writer?

BooksChatter said...

Hi! Aww - thank you :-) It was great having you here!


BooksChatter said...

So did I... we travelled across Europe...
Ah, being 17...