Interview with Calix Leigh-Reign, author of “Opaque”

Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

Sort of, yes lol. A trained eye is simply a side effect of habitual reading and writing. What published author isn’t going to notice a repeated or singular grammatical error involving their, there and they’re? It comes with the territory.

What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?

I toggle between my laptop and traditional notebooks. I often text dialogue to myself when I have nothing to write or type with. I have several thousand texts containing random dialogue from my books.

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

There was no singular “a-ha” moment. Honestly, God led me to words. Not just in His book or other books. I developed a desire to write and see my own words printed on paper at such a young age that I now look back on it and wonder why my parents didn’t inquire lol. Reading and writing are simply a part of who I’ve always been.

What inspires you to write?

Life, in its various forms. It’s mostly spiritual. But I might be watching a film with my sister and an entire world will flash before my eyes. I’ll type out a synopsis, outline or chapter right away or jot down my idea for later.

How often do you write?

I write when the thoughts pour. I don’t have a set schedule but often find that most of my writing occurs at night until the sun comes up. Night owl syndrome.

How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?

It wasn’t hard at all. Opaque poured from me to the point where I had to pace myself and eventually stop myself. I had no idea about guidelines or word count until I had surpassed 100K words and couldn’t quite end the story. That’s when I hopped online to research. But it was Adam expressing himself through me. I was just his medium.

Writers are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?

I can’t speak for everyone else because each human is unique. For me, I was a standalone kind of gal since toddler years. I never spoke much. I always listened and absorbed my surroundings. I swiftly noticed that society didn’t feel comfortable with those who weren’t chatty. So I’m social, but not overly. When I feel pushed, I simply step away. I enjoy my company so I don’t feel lonely much.

Do you think writers have a normal life like others?

Normal is just a word to me. Created to label and make people feel like aliens. Life is life. Mine is mine and everyone else’s is everyone else’s. So, in my opinion, there’s no such thing.

What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?

The easiest aspect of writing is the writing. The thought, the fantasy and the absent boundaries.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I once read every chance I could get. I would write, read and listen to music simultaneously. Many wonderful personal moments of my life were sitting in front of a radio, pen and paper and a book. As a teenager, I read lots of VC Andrews, Stephen King, Francine Pascal and others. I read so many books that as time passed, my mind cemented the milestone literature. VC Andrews’ Dawn is cemented. I recall reading that novel dozens and dozens of times. Slowly. That book is part of the reason why I fell deeper in love with reading. As far as today, I enjoy Dan Brown, WM Paul Young, Rowling, Meyer etc.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

Both. No matter how many times one reads and re-reads their own work, there’s bound to be an error somewhere because our minds know what the sentence is supposed to say. Someone else will read it for what it actually is.

Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?

I’m currently being pulled in 4 different directions by characters who want me to write about them. A few are 6 months or more in the making. It just happened.

Have you ever designed your own book cover?

Yes. I designed the cover for Opaque. My graphic artist, took my vision and brought it to life.

How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?

I would be as happy as though 1,000 had showed up. I completed a novel that has been published and that’s a high I’ll likely never come down from.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

I wanted to sing more than anything else. Nothing held me more captive than music, lyrics and song.

Did you ever think you would be unable to finish your first novel?

Oh heavens no. The only problem I had was figuring out how to end the book. It finally dawned on me that Adam and Carly were beyond a one book adventure and the pressure fell away like leaves from a tree.

Do you read any of your own work?

Yes. After several months, I’ll go back and read my scribblings and wonder how such dialogue came from my brain. Sometimes I swear that I’m reading someone else’s writing.

Do your novels carry a message?

I hadn’t realized it but the characters I create actually do encourage people to think for themselves. Critically. To be inquisitive and not stand with a crowd.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

Very little. Possibly a few straggling thoughts or beliefs. So about 5%.

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

I’m currently working on the sequels to Opaque. Many of my young readers are already anxious for those. I’m also finishing up a mystery/suspense/thriller, a legal thriller and a historical romance.

They say books die every time they are turned into a movie; what do you think?

I disagree. In many instances, it enhances the experience. It all depends on who’s involved. Stephen King’s Misery is a prime example. The novel was spectacular and captivating. But Kathy Bates brought Annie Wilkes to life in a spellbinding way. Stellar performance! Another example is Winston Groom’s Forrest Gump. The novel was a good read, but the film was phenomenal!

Which book would you want adapted for the silver screen?

Opaque. Most definitely. Without skipping a beat, I fantasize daily about seeing Adam, Carly and the gang come to life on the big screen. I daydream about their Limbal rings glowing and I get butterflies. Hopefully, one day.

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