Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Interview with Award Winning Author, Leslee Breene

This month I'm featuring an amazing writer and a fellow Women Writing the West member, Leslee Breene. Leslee's recent release, Journey to Sand Castle, is a tale of love and redemption. Leslee will be giving away a free copy of her novel to one of my blog visitors today. Be sure to leave a comment to qualify! Please enjoy meeting another Colorado author!

First of all, thank you, Erin, for inviting me to be on your awesome blog!

Thank you, Leslee, for stopping by. What are you currently reading?

I just finished Jeannette Walls’, Half Broke Horses, a true life novel. Told in the first-person voice of Ms. Walls’ no-nonsense, resourceful, and compelling grandmother Lily Smith who survived Texas tornadoes, droughts, floods and the Great Depression. A great read!

What/who has influenced your writing?
The Rocky Mtn. Fiction Writers and Colorado Romance Writers were the first groups that provided conferences and critique. In earlier years, I was influenced by authors of short fiction/novellas such as Somerset Maugham, Ernest Hemingway, western writers Jessamyn West and Annie Dillard. Later, romance authors LaVyrle Spencer, Laura Kinsale and Maggie Osborne mesmerized me.

What do you do beside write?

I have a passion for western music and support events like the annual Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering (some poetry, lots of music). The Arvada Old Town Pickin’ Parlor hosts a monthly concert with a continuous list of outstanding western, blue grass and dixieland singers and musicians that I find irresistible.

Do places you visit pop up in your writing? How so?

During leisure time away from the computer, I enjoy scouting for book settings with my husband in the Colorado Rockies. Some memorable research sites are Leadville, Georgetown, the Colorado Sand Dunes, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And, yes, several of these historical settings have led to storylines, characters and published novels.

Here is a little bit about Leslee and her new release.

Leslee Breene, award-winning author of novel and short fiction, takes pride in being a Denver native. She lives beneath the Colorado Rockies with her husband and, hopefully soon, a beloved rescue canine.

Her newest release, JOURNEY TO SAND CASTLE (June 2013), is a contemporary inspirational romance set in the San Luis Valley next to the Sangre de Cristo mountains. "Leslee Breene confronts conflict, resistance, and a well-written story of love and redemption." ~ Heidi M.Thomas, WILLA Literary Award.

To read the first chapters go to:

Journey to Sand Castle Synopsis:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tess Cameron, a divorced teacher, becomes the unwitting guardian of a bi-racial orphan. She is compelled to take the little girl to the Colorado San Luis Valley to meet her grandfather. Estranged from the child’s missing mother, he is unaware of the granddaughter’s existence and doesn’t want her.
Grant Wilder, a widowed outfitter, offers Tess temporary employment on his ranch. This gives Tess a reason to stay in the area and continue with her reuniting efforts. But can Tess’s wandering spirit find the faith to accept permanent responsibility of the child? Can she open her heart to love again in this land of amazing beauty and haunting secrets?

Other works by Leslee:

STARLIGHT RESCUE, (2011- Treble Heart Books) a western romance, is available in soft cover through, and is set beneath the Wyoming Big Horn Mountains on an animal rescue ranch. It received an RWA PASIC Book of Your Heart Award in the contemporary, single-title category.

HEARTS ON THE WIND (2008 - Five Star), a Denver bestselling historical romance received an “A” review in the Rocky Mountain News. LEADVILLE LADY (2006 - Five Star) received the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers PEN Award. The RWA Valley Forge Chapter awarded second place to her debut novel, FOXFIRE .

Ms. Breene’s short fiction has been published in various magazines, won national awards, and finaled in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 Women Writing the West LAURA (Ingalls Wilder) competitions.

Ms. Breene attended the University of Denver, received a Denver Fashion Group Scholarship, and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City. For several years, she worked as a newspaper fashion illustrator in San Francisco.

She is an active member of RWA, Colorado Romance Writers, and Women Writing the West and is available for Denver/suburban area library and group speaking engagements. She welcomes visitors at her website: and


  1. I've read and enjoyed Leslee's earlier novel and am looking forward to reading Journey to Sand Castle. As a Red Cross volunteer I spent several weeks helping the victims of Katrina, so I feel a special connection there, too. Good luck with your Journey Leslee. Thank you, Erin for the fine interview.

  2. Journey to Sand Castle sounds like a great summer read! I'm looking forward to getting familiar with Leslee's writing and drinking in the aura of the San Luis Valley. I'm from Colorado Springs, so I enjoy the setting very much. Thanks for sharing about this book! Josephine Young (

  3. Thank you, Mary! I didn't realize you also volunteered in New Orleans, helping Katrina victims. A gold star to you. I must have subconsciously desired to comfort those who had suffered terrible trauma from Katrina, and thus was born my heroine Tess Cameron and her journey. An internal as well as external journey to the compelling, historic Colorado San Luis Valley. I guess writers do that sort of thing, imagine that we might be inside our character's skin and do the admirable, sometimes crazy, unpredictable things they do. A vicarious thrill, for sure.

  4. Hi Mary. Thank you so much for your insightful comment. Didn't realize you had done more wonderful volunteering work in New Orleans. I think I imagined myself being there and coming to their aid. That's how my heroine Tess Cameron was created in Journey. Hers became an internal as well as external journey to Colorado's breathtaking San Luis Valley. (I'm sending this a second time...don't think first try went through.)

  5. Nice interview, Erin and Leslee! I enjoyed getting to know more about Leslee, her works, her honors and her music passion. I'm intrigued by her newest release, Journey to Sand Castle, as it sounds like some great conflict, character and plot are in the offing for readers. It's on my TBR list!

  6. I had the privilege of reading a partial of Journey to Sand Castle early on. A touching story and what a gorgeous cover!

  7. Great comments, ladies! I'm privileged to know and getting to know more readers who also are intrigued by the historic wonders of Colorado sites. Just being there, in many places, starts the juices flowing...characters materialize and their stories.
    If you'd like to read the first chapters of JSC, go to on the book's page and "look inside" the cover. =)

  8. Great interview ladies. I'm happy to see another Maggie Osborne fan. I'm really sorry she is not writing anymore, aren't you Leslee?

    1. Yes, Andrea, I am so missing Maggie Osborne! She has a certain style and way with her characters that's unique. If you do some sleuthing, you may be able to find her on Facebook. She's moved from Colorado, unfortunately, and has happily settled in another western state with her hubby.
      She generously endorsed my first western historical, FOXFIRE, set in 1880 Kansas/Colorado involving a runaway train robbery, stolen gold, and a fiesty Irish redhead. =) (

  9. This sounds like a fine novel. And isn't it fun to have a reason to explore possible sites for a novel! My husband and I like to do the same thing. You just never know when a landscape will call out to you, right? Enjoyed the interview, Erin.

  10. This is a good read--I know! Congratulations, Leslee!