Today I’m glad to present Grant Leishman, whose book “The Second Coming” I really loved. It is a thoughtful and quirky take on The Second Coming of Christ. I’ve attached some reviews at the end of this feature. He has also just released “A Drop in the Ocean”, which I also adored. It is a beautiful and bittersweet romance with insights into life in the Philippines that shows a lot of sensitivity.
It was a very long and torturous road actually. I vividly remember when I was about eight and home from school, sick, I wasn’t allowed to watch television and was forced to stay in bed, so I read The Swiss Family Robinson from cover to cover in three days. I remember telling my Mum, I was going to be a writer when I grew up and write fascinating stories for people to read. She smiled knowingly and just said; “Grant, you can be anything you want to. It’s all up to you.”
After boring and “failed” careers in Finance and Journalism, I did finally grow up and at the age of 54, I wrote my first book; The Second Coming. I like to think my dear, departed Mum was looking down when I opened that box containing my new novels and that she was smiling and said; “See son, I told you, you could do it.”
Now, I am a full-time writer, based in the beautiful islands of The Philippines and I believe I can truly say, I am now “living the dream”. In one word – writing is my bliss!
How did you come up with your stories?
In the case of The Second Coming, it was a tad more pragmatic than that.
I remember thinking, well, this is my first book and I want it to be a best-seller. What is selling at the moment? I looked around and at the time and what was selling was a book about someone receiving a phone-call from heaven. Aha! The light went off – God sells! I was wrong – God doesn’t sell, but that’s another story altogether.
I asked myself; what if God looked down on Earth? What would he think of what humanity has done to his creation? My conclusion was that God would be pissed! The story developed from that thought.
The sequel to this book will be released in December and is called Rise of the AntiChrist. The third and final book, called Holy War is about 15K done and will hopefully come out in March or April next year.
My latest book, Just A Drop in the Ocean was inspired by my life story to some extent and “heavily” fictionalised.
You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite?
Without a doubt my favourite character in The Second Coming Series is Maria Manyanan (Ma.) She made the mistake of falling in love with the Son of God and it seems that nothing but calamity has befallen her and their family from this love. Yet, she remains steadfast and loyal, to the end….or does she? We’ll have to see, in the third book.
I far greater enjoy writing female characters than men. I find there is much greater scope for emotional development and interaction in a female character.
Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?
God would have to be played by Morgan Freeman (he’s had experience after all)
JC would be difficult to cast, but I could envisage him perhaps being played by Leonardo Di Caprio, of a few years ago (he’s getting a bit old for the role now), so that being that case of today’s kleading men, I’d plump for Bradley Cooper.
The part of Maria would go to a Filipino actress, perhaps; Kathryn Bernardo or Kim Chiu
Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?
If we are talking about The characters from The Second Coming series, I suspect I would be compared to Chog and Dan-dan, the two characters who betrayed JC and ran off with the Church’s millions; later to reappear in Rise of the AntiChrist and Jesus and Chito.
I’d like to think I am most like the character of Ange; short, fat and funny, but always sees the positive side of everything and is always guaranteed to cheer everyone up, even in the face of disaster.
I’m sure every writer says the same, but I’d like to think there’s a bit of me in every character.
Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?
I think I might be what is termed, in the literary world, as a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. I rarely, if ever, know what is going to happen in the next chapter. Usually, the next chapter’s plot and action comes to me when I have a break in the current chapter I’m writing. Touch wood, I haven’t hit a block thus far.
What is your main reason for writing?
One word – Bliss! Writing is where I’m happiest. I say, as a full-time author, living in such a beautiful country, married to the most amazing woman, I truly am “living the dream” and that’s not a cliché, that’s my true belief.
I ‘ve only read one of the books so far. What is the idea behind your series?
The over-arching idea behind my series is that there is an inherent good in humanity that can be attained. We have the power to achieve such greatness and yet we allow ourselves to be swayed by ideologies, dogma and fanaticism. I wanted to try and show that humanity is indeed worth saving.
There are many other underlying ideas in my works, such as; love conquers all, community is everything and God is not religious, he is spiritual. I can worship God, as I see him, in a Church, a Synagogue, a Mosque, a Temple or on top of a bloody mountaintop. He does not care – only we do.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
The best aspect of writing is the rewards – and I don’t mean money. Nothing compares to opening that box and taking out the books with your name on them. It is heaven. The best fun you can have in life, with your pants still on!
The worst aspect – authors who feel they are competing with you and have to put you down. I compete with nobody – I celebrate their successes as much as my own. There is not a writer in this Universe that writes what I write. I am unique and so are they. This is not a competition.
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
It’s a juggling act. Most authors will tell you they hate marketing. I’m not sure I hate it. I love interacting with other authors and that’s a big part of marketing. It’s hard to get the balance right, but you do what you can do and you have to be satisfied with that.
For me, I split my day – writing in the morning and social media (marketing) in the afternoon – it’s hard.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I read – voraciously. I no longer read legacy authors though, only “indie” authors and damn, there are some awesome “indie” authors out there.
Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.
Odd – Mmmmm…I am addicted to watching women’s volleyball
Mundane – The only thing I really miss from New Zealand, is Beetroot – it’s so damn hard to find here.
What else would you like us to know about yourself and your books?
My books are me and I am my books – it’s that simple.
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
I self-edit (the joys of poverty). I edit once for content. I edit twice for grammar and spelling (not my strong point – the grammar part anyway) and I edit one final time for a final check. As an ex newspaper reporter, I am reasonably good at spotting errors, but the fact is self-editing is very, very difficult. I do my best to quality control, but I’m sure some mistakes still slip through.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
Actually I enjoyed it. It’s quite fiddly getting the ebook set up just right and then the paperback version, but there’s a real satisfaction at the end.
I’m so proud of my latest effort; Just A Drop in the Ocean – apart from the cover, I did it all myself. Yay Me! Frankly, it was fun.
What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?
Best – The peace and solitude it affords me
Least Favourite Thing – The peace and solitude it affords me
What is your advice to new writers?
Stephen King says it all: “The worst thing you wrote, was better than the best thing, you didn’t write.” In the immortal words of Mr Nike: “Just do it!”
Who are your favourite independent writers?
There are so many great ones out there: I hate to leave some out, but my top five so far are: Angela Gascoigne, Rachel McGrath, May Panayi, Jana Petken and Tom Hodden. Sorry, I have to make it six – I can’t leave out Colin Griffiths.
Who are your favourite authors?
These days – as above. I used to read Grisham, Clancy and Cussler, but once I started reading the “indies”, I realised just how formulaic those legacy authors are.
What is your favourite book?
The Alchemist by Paolo Cuelho and The Hero by Rhonda Byrne
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
Currently reading There Was No Body by Colin Griffiths – ebook version
What makes you laugh?
British Comedy – Blackadder, Are You Being Served, The English Rugby, Cricket and Football teams
What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?
A Kindle with internet access
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Muhammed, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Oprah Winfrey
Hot or cold?
Coffee or Beer?
Salty or sweet?
What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
My best – Loyalty
My oddest – Sense of humour / sarcasm
What would you chose as those qualities?
Well, I have a PHD in not suffering fools lightly and an Olympic Gold Medal in sarcasm, so I would choose that first, although my loyalty to those I believe in and love is unbreakable.
Tell us about your other books?
The sequels to The Second Coming; Rise of the AntiChrist and Holy War continue the saga of JC and his family in saving humanity from itself.
Just A Drop in the Ocean is a very personal novel that explores the quest for happiness. It is a love story that spans continents and a generation. It is a powerful affirmation of one of my core beliefs; that love truly does conquer all. I am very proud of this work.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
The video trailer for my book has the music of the 1812 Overture, but if I was to choose a song to actually go with it, it would have to be from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar and it would be Mary Magdalene’s Song; He’s a man, just a man.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
With grace and dignity – yeah right! It hurts, anyone that says it doesn’t is lying, but the truth is some people love my book and my style and that’s who I write for. If you don’t like it, no problem – change the channel and buy something else.
I am an expatriate New Zealander, living in Manila, The Philippines, with my wife and two step-daughters.
At age 55, after careers in Finance and Journalism, I have finally discovered my true passion in life – writing and I’m now “living the dream”, writing full-time.
My first novel was a romantic, fantasy, adventure about the return of Jesus Christ to modern day Manila to try and sort out the problems of the world – yet again! “The Second Coming”, which was published by Pentian in June 2015.
My second novel “Just a Drop in the Ocean”, a romance that spans a generation and two continents, is completed and was published in October 2015.
The sequel to “The Second Coming” – “Rise of the AntiChrist” is completed and will be published in December 2015.
The final novel in The Coming Series – “Holy War” is around 15% complete and will be published in March or April 2016.
Links to Social Media et al:
My Website: http://www.grantleishman.com/
My Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14119893
My Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGrantLeishman
My Facebook Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/grant.leishman.37
My Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/GLeishmanAuthor
My Linkedin Page: https://ph.linkedin.com/pub/grant-leishman/97/222/77
My Pintrest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/grantleishman37/
What readers think of the book:
Grant Leishman’s tale of Jesus Christ’s return to earth is quirky, original and thought-provoking. Christ- JC to his friends- returns to 21st century Manila and Leishman does a great job of imagining how this would impact the conflicts present in today’s social-media drenched world. (I particularly loved the image of people cramming to take selfies with Jesus. Scarily accurate!!)
The book is at times both poignant and funny, with a good range of complex, well-drawn characters…
This was brilliant – creative, imaginative and completely off the wall, but the story has a great underlying tone about humanity and how we potentially need to stop and think about where we are going!
The characters are endearing, I fell in love with JC and Ma (the modern day Jesus and Mary Magdalene) and his unconventional group of disciples…. I must admit that before I read this I really wondered how the author would make this concept, story and even its location in the Phillipines work wonderfully – but honestly it came together brilliantly! I’ve already recommended this read to someone else and passed on the paperback.
This was a truly inspiring and enjoyable read!
In The Second Coming, Grant Leishman has given the world a very thoughtful, entertaining, soul searching read hoping for peace to come to all.
There are a few grammar errors in this book but they don’t detract from the power of the messages his book contains.
Grant uses humor in telling this story and many moments the reader feels that they are right there alongside side the main characters and touching loving moments are truly heartfelt. Romance between main characters is heart warming and so real in the sense that you totally get the innermost thoughts of the characters. Thank you Grant! Mary