Welcome to The Plain, Leigh. Tell us something about yourself. Where are you from?
I’m from Cape Town, which in South Africa is also called ‘the Mother City’ not only because it was the first home for settlers arriving from Europe, but because the city is surrounded by the most beautiful mountain ranges that curve around it like a mother’s arms.A scenic part of the world indeed. What sparked your interest in writing?
Stories are to me what a fireplace and a soft rug are to a dog. I adore them, I’m attracted to them, comforted and inspired by them. The first adult book I ever read was Percy Fitzpatrick’s Jock of the Bushveld. I opened the cover and was lost for days. The characters, their struggles and passions seemed every bit as real to me as anything outside my door or window. That I would want to write was perhaps inevitable but I still feel incredibly lucky and surprised that I’ve been able to create stories of my own.You’re off to a great start. What components, in your opinion, make a great story?
Believability, no matter how unlikely. As a reader I will travel anywhere so long as the world and characters drawn by the writer seem real while I’m in the pages and the events more than possible, natural even.How would you generally categorize the books/stories you write?
I write contemporary romance with a touch of spice, some heat and an African sunset if I possibly can.Do you set your books/stories in your hometown, or do you prefer more exotic locations?
Mainly in my hometown. The Untamed Safari Series is set just outside Cape Town and in the bushveld in the north of the country. The unsurpassed wildlife and magnificent scenery, the architecture, antiquity and sheer luxury and uniqueness of its bush retreats seemed the most natural place for romance stories for the same reason it is one of the most favoured destinations for weddings, honeymoons and proposals. So I’m incredibly lucky to be able to set my stories in an exotic location that also happens to be my hometown. In South Africa the wild and the sophisticated can be very close to each other. Just a couple of minutes after leaving Cape Town’s central business district, you round a corner and are met with a magnificent vista of mountains and veld dotted with wildebeest and zebra, grazing or galloping along the fence close to the freeway in the Table Mountain Nature Reserve that starts above the city.Besides all this incredible scenery, what inspired you to write The Alpha Match?
I wanted to explore the lengths we’ll go to avoid being hurt in relationships. In The Alpha Match, Caro and Ben have some hard lessons to learn about vulnerability and pride, but I was rooting for these two strong characters; that the beauty of the bushveld and their common purpose of wildlife conservation would be enough to heal the wounds of the past.
My other inspirations were the larger-than-life African bushveld and the plight of its wildlife. I’d always heard interesting stories about African wild dogs – also called painted dogs – but I’d never fully understood what fascinating creatures they are, or just how threatened their species is.What do you feel is your biggest strength as a writer?
I have been told that I’m a visual writer which allows me to draw readers into my stories and take them along on the journey with me.Do you celebrate when you finish a story, and if so, how?
There is always a fantastic sense of relief when I type the words ‘the end’. I usually have to catch up with all the other things I’ve neglected while finishing the book, but there’s always time for a small celebration and that’s anything that takes me away from the computer screen.If you could go back in time, what author would you most like to invite to share a chat and a bottle of wine?
I spent part of my childhood living just around the corner from the home of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, who wrote the classic, Jock of the Bushveld, the first adult book I ever read. I would love to share a bottle of wine and an evening listening to his adventures as a transporter driving wagons across Africa’s wild bushveld with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Jock.You’re marooned on a desert island. What’s the one book you’d want with you, and why?
War and Peace because it would keep me going for a while.Name a few of your favorite non-writing activities.
Anything that gets me outside in the fresh air, under a blue sky.Thanks so much for bringing your beautiful country to The Plain today, Leigh. And now, let’s have a look at The Alpha Match.
* * * * *Book Blurb:
English conservationist, Caro Hannah, and South African, Ben Duval, must work together to introduce endangered African wild dogs to a game reserve four years after their love affair ended. The challenges of their profession pale into insignificance beside the personal obstacles they must overcome to either bring closure to the events of four years before, or reignite a passion hot enough to burn up the African bush.
Ben watched Caro as she shared with the children. She was not only very good at it, but was obviously enjoying herself. And she’d never looked so beautiful. She had tried to restrain her hair at the back of her neck, but it refused to be tamed and fell in wisps and tendrils around her face. Her dark blue eyes sparkled, her cheeks were flushed and the mouth he had once known so well kept breaking into a wide smile.
Watching her had the same effect on him as a sudden bushveld storm at the end of a drought. More than once he’d celebrated with an indigenous people when the rains finally came. He’d turn his face up to the sky, warm rain drenching him, plastering his clothes to his body, his hair to his head, the taste of it running into his mouth, red dust churning to mud beneath his feet. That was the effect she had on him. This woman he had loved so much.
Again, he asked himself how this lovely, enchanting creature could have turned out to be so ruthlessly ambitious. He had wanted her to be the mother of his children, his life partner. Ben Duval, who barely remembered his parents, who had longed for siblings through all those lonely holidays and many a Christmas. It was this woman with whom he had chosen to create his most treasured dream: a family. How could he have so misjudged her?
* * * * *About Leigh Archer:
Leigh writes romance novels set in her native South Africa. She has always had a love affair with Africa’s wild open spaces, the intensity of its people and sunsets. Her love of storytelling began as a child when she spent every spare moment playing barefoot outside, watching wild creatures, learning to track spoor and dreaming up heroes and heroines dynamic enough to stand out in all the beauty and drama of the African landscape. Always in search of adventure, Leigh’s journey as a writer has taken her from journalism through communications, to working as a novelist.
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The Alpha Match / eBook available from
Coming Soon! Moonflower, Book #2 in the Untamed Safari Series, is now available for pre- order through Tirgearr Publishing.