Rockledge writer perseveres to become best-selling author


Leigh Duncan didn’t let early rejection deter her from success as an author.

Courtesy of Leigh Duncan

Leigh Duncan’s books should be required reading as pick-me-ups during today’s trying times.

The Rockledge author’s latest romance, “A Cottage Wedding,” is just out from Hallmark Publishing. It is set in the picture-perfect wedding destination town of Heart’s Landing, where eternally good-looking couples stroll hand-in-hand along Bridal Carriage Way. “A Cottage Wedding” whisks readers to Happy Ever After Land … after resolving a few romantic bumps along the way.

The book is Duncan’s second in the Heart’s Landing Series and she is under contract for a third, “A Waterfront Wedding,” before the end of next year. Making the deadline should be easy for the prolific Duncan, an Amazon best-selling author and a National Readers’ Choice Award winner with more than two dozen novels to her credit.

Although she had been writing off and on since the first grade, it took the big 4-0 birthday for the former teacher and computer specialist to get serious about the business of writing. 

“I started getting up extra early every morning, and I’d write for two hours before it was time to get the kids, hubby and myself off to school and work,” Duncan said.

It would be nice to say that success arrived immediately, but it would not be true. What did arrive were dozens of rejection letters for Duncan’s first angst-heavy first efforts. 

She persevered.

“I wrote another book, and then another and then another one after that, all of them earning the same slew of rejections,” she said.

Triumph finally arrived when Duncan changed gears with a light-hearted romance about a Florida newbie who arrives in Cocoa Beach the day hurricane evacuation orders are issued, and fortuitously meets a hunky policeman ready to rescue her.

“I sold that book to Harlequin American Romance, which published it as “The Officer’s Girl” in 2010,” Duncan said. 

Duncan’s biggest career thrill happened when her “Journey Back to Christmas” novel was featured on the “Home and Family Show” after Hallmark Publishing selected it as the lead book for their new line of romance novels.

Duncan approaches writing with discipline. Six days a week, she is at her desk by 8 a.m. and doesn’t leave until she hits her daily word count, usually by 5 p.m. or later. Amazon’s introduction of the Kindle e-reader created more competition for writers like Duncan, who now, in addition to writing, must include marketing in their daily activities.

Duncan may well have hit the mother lode of good vibes with her current series.

“All the stories in this series revolve around weddings, and who doesn’t love a great wedding romance?” she said. 

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