Message From The Author

Author's Message

Violet

If I'd created Jeff Randolph the way I create most of my characters, I doubt I'd have had the courage to take away his arm in battle and make him bitter and resentful over the defeat of the South.

Being mad at the world made him a nice foil for his brothers (George and the twins); but it would get tiresome to have him causing trouble in every book. So I kept him offstage most of the time after Rose. When he did appear, however, Jeff was the brother readers loved to hate.

Then something strange happened. In the course of Fern, Iris, Laurel, and Daisy, Jeff turned into the brother readers wanted most to read about. I got letters asking not when my next book was coming out, but when I was going to write Jeff's story. One woman even asked, with a note of despair, if I was going to make her wait until the end of the series to find out what happened to him.

I was relieved readers liked Jeff, but worried I wouldn't be able to turn a bitter, resentful, one-armed Yankee-hater into a hero without destroying the cranky misfit readers had come to love. Having absolutely no idea how to begin this transformation, I turned my attention to the heroine. I hoped if I could get her clear in my mind, I'd know what to do about Jeff.

I needed a woman who would upset all Jeff's applecarts at once. She had to represent everything he thought he hated, so of course Violet Goodwin is a flag-waving Yankee from Massachusetts. She had to trample on his cherished image of a Southern lady-so she is fond of dressing in bold colors, is well past the first blush of youth, is quite capable of taking care of herself, in fact, she prefers it-and speaks her mind.

Needless to say, unless I tied him down, Jeff wasn't going to stay around this woman long enough to discover the color of her eyes. So I had them both quarantined in a girl's school for five days.

Jeff came out of that experience a changed man. But not changed enough. It took a family crisis and a piece of unbelievable stupidity on his part before he figured out everything he wanted was wrapped up in a very shapely package from Boston, Massachusetts.

But Violet had already crossed Jeff off her list. She didn't care about his missing limb or that he was an ex-Confederate. But she did care he seemed determined to throw his life away because of something that happened 17 years ago.

Jeff discovers there's something about Violet that finally makes the past seem unimportant. And Violet is about to learn that when a Randolph makes up his mind to go after something, he gets it.

I hope you like Violet, a March release and sixth in a series from Leisure. And I hope you'll agree I've brought Jeff into the corral without shaving off too many rough edges.

You may write to Leigh Greenwood at: P.O. Box 470761, Charlotte, NC 28226.


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