A Conversation with Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh is from South Africa and her debut novel Perfect Imperfections was released earlier this year. It took me a while, but I finally got to it and wished I had been able to read it sooner! It *might* make my top 10 of 2017! We still have about  1.5 months to go, but so far it is in that list!  My 5 star review for Perfect Imperfections is here.

Book Description from Amazon:
291 Pages
Publication Date: March 29, 2017

Sarah Lewis desires nothing more than to begin again after a failed marriage and a tragedy so terrifying, it forces her to leave her life in London to stay with her best friend a world apart in South Africa.

Despite immediate success in her business, she struggles to understand who she really is and where she belongs in the world. So begins a journey of discovery as Sarah re-unites with Katy in the land where she was born, where the air is lavender scented, and weekends are spent cycling on the beach.

Until the day when she has to return to London to face the ghosts of her past and confront a situation that has grown more complicated in her absence.

Perfect Imperfections is an intriguing tale which hints at wrongdoings and deceit without giving too much away. The author cleverly weaves a tale around fragile yet strong Sarah as she tries to reconcile her past with her future, engaging the reader to the point where we simply want the best for her and for happiness finally to come her way.

Buy Perfect Imperfections NOW!
Amazon US
Amazon UK

JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room) Tell us a little about yourself.

I am born and raised in South Africa and currently live here with my husband, son and two cocker spaniels named Rocky and Cuddles. My book has been published in the UK and the plot is based in London and Durban, South Africa. Durban is the city I grew up in where my love for books began. I spent my school days with my nose buried in books in the library being transported to the magical places the Author took me to.

JRR: Did you always want to be an author?

The dream started when I was in school. I then tried to start writing my own books, but they never seemed to be going where I wanted them to. So I put away the idea of writing. It was only while chatting to someone about my struggles, and telling her my love for reading and writing, that she suggested I try to write as a creative way of expressing myself. It was then that I began dreaming again of writing and Perfect Imperfections came to me.

JRR:  Yay for that encouragement! I enjoyed Perfect Imperfections.  What was your publication journey like?

It was a long process. I initially sent books to South African publishers. One of them came back suggesting I try to publish in the UK, as they weren’t publishing much debut Fiction novels here in South Africa. I sent my book to a few agents and publishers in the UK, and two came back offering to publish. Sending books to publishers can be nerve wrecking, and you need to wait for 6 weeks to hear back on their review of your first 3 chapters only.

JRR:  I bet that was nerve wracking.  You send someone your ‘book baby’ that you put all your heart and soul into.  Then comes the wondering “Will they like it or not?” You have to be a strong person who can handle rejection to be an author.  So what inspires you to write? 

Mainly places I visit and people I meet. I love hearing people’s stories, and going to beautiful places. I also love having meaningful conversations with people. It inspires me to write stories that can be relatable and memorable to whoever reads it.

JRR:  Where did you come up with the idea for Perfect Imperfections?

The story came to me as I fell asleep one evening. I like dreaming up scenarios as I sleep and this was one of them. I fell in love with the story instantly and wanted to get up immediately and try write it down.

Initially I had only 9 chapters, but the characters sort of wrote themselves into the 33 chapters that the book ended on.

JRR:  Going from nine chapters to 33!  Wow!  I can imagine that ‘book baby’ growing into what it is now.  Now, what made you choose the giraffe to have the importance that it does in the novel?  It became special to me and I mention that in my review.

When the story came to me, the giraffe was part of the story. I think the story and the giraffe chose me in a way, more than me deciding to incorporate it. Knowing that it means so much to you makes me feel that it was mean to be, and that there was a purpose for it!

JRR: The giraffe does have importance for me and that made Perfect Imperfections so special for me. I was wondering about the cover then I reached that part in the novel and I loved it!  How did you decide on the wrapping for the gift? It is so significant.

Ooh I love presents, and I am married to a man who loves giving them to me. I’ve always loved to make presents looks beautiful and I love receiving beautiful gifts. So as I wrote and realised that the gifts would play a huge role in the storyline, I made sure to make the wrapping just as special!

JRR:  Can you do my holiday wrapping for me?  LOL. I hate wrapping gifts.  How long did it take you to write Perfect Imperfections?

It took about a year. I wrote off and on when I had a chance, but the characters have stayed with me ever since.

JRR:  They are characters that will stay with you.  Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up?  Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?

I loved Enid Blyton. Anything she wrote that I could get my hands on I did. Malory Towers and The Faraway Tree were my favourite reads of hers.

JRR:  Who is your favorite author as an adult? Who inspires you?

I’ve loved Emily Bronte, Karen Swan and Sidney Sheldon. Each have their own unique writing styles that make reading their books so inspirational in their own way.

JRR:  If you could have dinner with three people(living or dead) who would they be and why?

  1. I would love to have met Nelson Mandela, for his willingness to forgive.
  2. Enid Blyton, because she wrote around 762 books. She also wrote under the name Mary Pollock.
  3. Oprah Winfrey. She seems to have succeeded despite her circumstances and is a major success.

JRR:  Good choices!  And that is a lot of books to have written!  Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?

Anything by Nicholas Sparks. His books sound good, but I’ve never read any.

JRR:  I have a couple of his that I have not read.  I have seen several of the movies.  Of course the one that sticks out for me is The Notebook.  Now, what’s the best advice you have ever received?

To “run my own race.” So not to worry about what the person next to me is doing in life, but rather to focus on my own goals.

JRR:  Great answer! You can’t compare your life to another’s as you never know what is going on in their life.  You may think someone has a perfect life from what they share when in actuality they are falling apart! 

Are you working on your next novel? If so, can you share anything with us?

I’m definitely working on my next one. Closer to it being published, I will definitely share it !

JRR: Such a tease! Thank you for your time with this interview Taryn. I look forward to seeing what your upcoming novel is about! 

Contact Taryn:

Facebook: tarynleighauthor
Twitter: tarynleighbook
Instagram: @tarynleighbooks