He writes ‘Lit Fic’ about the ups and downs of modern relationships and freely admits his writing is ‘adapted from life’ but says that the characters soon take charge, sending his stories off in unexpected directions.
Leslie began writing his début novel, Purple, 10 years ago. In its first printed version, the book told the story of Matthew Lavender at university in 1969, hiding his lack of sexual knowledge behind a super-cool front. What followed inevitably was a coming-of-age tale where Matthew had to learn about women.
Purple changed and broadened out as a result of two life events. “The first was moving to Berkhamsted,” Leslie explains, “to live with my wife, Sue Hampton. I learned how to write novels from the inside by reading and editing hers.” The second was completing a Writing Masterclass with the University of East Anglia. “I beefed up the novel on that course,” he said, “weeding out 12,000 words but keeping the main idea, and adding a first-person narrative told by Matthew’s gran, Mary.”