Dr. Leanna Floyd Interview Published on: 27, Nov 2019

Where did you grow up? What kind of child would you say you were?

I grew up in a small town outside of Tampa, Florida where “everybody seemed to know your name.” When I was a child, the orange groves were prominent where I lived, and I loved smelling the aroma from the tree blossoms. I was a studious child. I entered my first writing contest when I was in elementary school for an essay title “My Favorite Older Person.” I won third place, received a plaque, and was awarded a $50 savings bond. This small accomplishment fueled my passion and love for writing. I would say that winning this award at a young age helped me to believe in myself and my ability to write. From this point on, I knew I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write to give myself and my life experiences a voice.

Why did you choose the suspense and thriller genre?

I chose to write my book in the suspense thriller genre because this is the genre that I am most drawn to in my own reading. I like to read books that keep me guessing and that keep me engaged. I wrote Over the Borderline as a suspense thriller because I wanted to write a book that takes readers into the minds of pathological characters in such a way that they read with anticipation and excitement of what will happen next. As a graduate student, I had to read many scholastic books and research articles relating to psychology and pathology. During my studies and training (in an all-male prison), I became particularly fascinated with the mind of a serial killer. I really wanted to understand the layers involved in the making of a serial killer. In my debut novel, I wanted to create a story that explored the idea that there really is no “face of a serial killer” and present a story that kept the reader guessing and trying to uncover the clues of who the killer was.

What do you like to do to relax? What kind of TV shows do you enjoy watching?

I like to relax by spending time at the beach. I have always loved being by the water, and it has always been an outlet to escape the demands of the world for me. Swimming is my way to unplug and to reconnect with myself. In my free time, I enjoy watching TV shows/movies with a psychological component. I have recently started watching the series Mind Hunters, which explores the minds of serial killers and is based on actual FBI interviews with the murderers. I tend to watch shows that are based on real life events involving pathological characters.

Which literary character of any book do you most relate to?

A literary character that I relate to is Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium novel series. I love the idea of a strong female antiheroine who isn’t afraid to take risks and fight for justice. She’s a strong but complicated character who has her own flaws, but she has chosen to rise above her past hurts and become a warrior for the abused by exposing them and handing out her own justice. I love this character because she doesn’t conform to what’s socially acceptable but rather creates her own set of moral guidelines. Lisbeth has a complex psychological profile, and she definitely has interesting layers beneath her psyche that I enjoy reading about. What I relate to most about this character is the idea to persevere in spite of past hurts, and not only to persevere, but not let those events define me.

What are some things you keep in mind while reviewing any other author's work?

When reviewing another author’s work, I always keep in mind all of the sacrifices he/she has made to complete the book and all of the effort that took place behind the scenes. When authors write books, they are putting their minds and hearts out there for the world to review and potentially critique. I understand firsthand the struggles that come with being an author, and I read/review other authors’ work through a lens that supports and encourages. I want to always be one who builds them up and provides feedback that is constructive. This is my view not just in reviewing other authors’ work but one that I practice in my everyday life. I am very passionate about building people up to their highest potential and reminding them that they were made for a greater purpose and that they were made for greatness.

Who inspired the character of Brooke Douger in "Over the Borderline"?

The main character, Brooke Douger, in Over the Borderline, was inspired by me and my life experiences. My life as a doctoral student, my experiences working in an all-male prison, and the experience of sitting through my cousin’s murder trial all had a significant influence on the development of Brooke. I wove together different experiences of my life- the good, the bad, and the ugly-into a character that is essentially made-up of pieces of me.

How do you think your background in clinical psychology has helped you to give the reader an authentic feel in "Over the Borderline"?

My background in clinical psychology had a significant impact on my writing of Over the Borderline. Specifically, my firsthand experience with working with special populations (in a prison setting) allowed me to have an insider’s view of how to relate with and write about pathological characters. Also, during my clinical training, I had to read copious amounts of literature that looked at an individual’s pathology in such a way that I got a comprehensive feel and understanding of what goes on in one’s mind in both the conscious and subconscious realms that influences behavior and the expression of more maladaptive patterns of relating. My clinical training allowed me to give a more authentic feel to my characters because of my knowledge and interaction with these special populations.

What challenges did you face while working firsthand with murderers, psychopaths, narcissists, and borderlines while working in a Florida prison?

I faced a lot of challenges working firsthand with murderers, psychopaths, narcissists, and borderlines while working in a Florida prison. It was in this prison setting that I encountered my first stalker, was trapped in a room alone and encircled by a large group of male inmates, and had an inmate, who was pending an early release, threaten to kill me. Since this was my job and required training for my doctoral degree, quitting was not an option. Driving to the prison each day knowing that I had a death sentence over my head was torture. It was in this setting that the idea of understanding the mind of a killer really started to become a central focus of my study. I had to hold in my emotions in an attempt to be professional and to project an image of confidence and strength. Writing gave me a voice that had once been silenced. Writing allowed me to have control and, in some way, make sense of the pain and terrifying events that I had to endure. These experiences, along with sitting through the trial concerning my cousin who was murdered, influenced my first novel of my series, Over the Borderline.

Since how long have you been living in the Sunshine State, Florida?

I have lived in the Sunshine State, Florida, for most of my life. After I was married, I traveled a lot with my husband for his work, and we lived in seven different states and two countries over the last ten years. Florida is our primary residence now that he is retired.

How does your family support you in your writing career? Have your kids read your book?

My family has been extremely supportive towards my writing career. For the past ten years, I gave up my career to support my husband in his career, but now that he’s retired, I have focused my time and energy on pursuing my dreams. Since becoming a published author, my oldest son has been encouraged to write, and he recently won first place in a local writing competition titled, “Why I Love My Grandparents.” This achievement was super special to me because I had won a similar contest when I was his age, and this accomplishment had encouraged me to reach for the stars with my writing. My children are very proud of me, but they are not old enough to read my debut novel (They are eight and four years old.). When they are a lot older, I am sure they will read my books out of love and support for me.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

My writing style characterizes compelling and complex characters, and I like to give the reader vivid illustrations of how human psychology, one’s personality, and pathology shape one’s motivation and behavior. I write in such a way that the reader is given an insider’s view into the minds of pathological characters. My writing is suspenseful and grabs readers psychologically and emotionally.

Where did you meet your husband, a retired major league baseball player?

I met my husband, a retired major league baseball player, almost 16 years ago at a local Florida hotspot that had live music. He was way too shy to approach me so he had his friend come up to me and tell me a cheesy pickup line. His unconventional approach won me over, and we will have been married for 10 years this January.

When can we expect the release of the sequel to "Over the Borderline"?

I am currently writing the sequel to Over the Borderline, and I am hoping that it will be released by the end of next year.

Lastly, what are your thoughts and opinions on AllAuthor and its services?

I have been really impressed with AllAuthor’s services. As a new author, it’s so valuable to have a team in my corner cheering me on and helping me on my journey. I love that AllAuthor provides authors with so many valuable tools to help them promote their books, and they make the process super easy when it comes to creating ads/content. I am always thrilled when I get a notification that they have promoted my book through their social media channels. They truly work hard for me as an author helping me gain visibility in the book world. One of my favorite things about AllAuthor is that they also help authors find the right readers for their specific genre. AllAuthor puts in the work to help readers find new books, which is very valuable to me as an author. Whether one is a new author or an established author, I highly recommend using AllAuthor for one’s book needs.

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