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Jeff Leitch made his author debut with “Saving Our Pennys“. The novel was co-writed with Roy Dimond, who was one of our previous guests. It’s always interesting to hear about the excitement of debuting writter. Did I mention that “Saving Our Pennys” is my preferable style – non-fiction?


– Jeff, How would you describe Saving Our Pennys?
– Hello Ognian! Before I start, I would like to “Thank-You” for the opportunity to speak with you. My great friend, and Co-Author, Roy Dimond, extends his appreciation as well. Saving Our Pennys is a non-fiction story of a family man who seemingly has his life in control and has every reason to be happy. Yet happiness is only fleeting for him during certain times of his day, his weeks and months, and with great angst, our main character undertakes great pains to uncover who he is, after searching the depths of his ego. It is the ultimate story of redemption and finding the magic in our lives. Saving Our Pennys is a story for those who dare to believe that hope forever carries the day. This true story will change your life…
– When and why did you decide to write the story?
– At the beginning of my teaching career, (I can hardly believe it was twenty years ago), I had the great fortune to work with my educational mentor Roy Dimond. He was on the cusp of retirement as a Youth Worker, and after many conversations we realized that so many of our questions of people, whether they were school-age or about to take their last breath, echoed so much about humanity and each of our purpose waking up every day. As we worked with youth in crisis in our school, we realized that these kids reflected so much of the heartache and greatness of the human spirit that their story must be told. We channeled our efforts into a main character – Penny – who is real, and the story of Saving Our Pennys evolved over the course of a calendar year.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write-up process?
– The biggest challenge really wasn’t through the writing, or the story, but understanding the nuances and subtleties of the publishing industry. Roy and I learned, sometimes brutally and candidly, that the publishing world seems cold and unforgiving. Neither Roy, nor myself are particularly fazed by criticism and we both believed that this story had “legs.” After a while, we realized that “No” just simply meant “Not now.” We knew it was just a matter of time before Saving Our Pennys would be published, bound and printed. Thank you Grey Gate Media!
– How did you create the main character?
– A great question Ognian. Penny was a student that Roy worked with under the most horrific of situations. Her story is real and she was the inspiration – the signature student and the face of so many youth we worked with who struggle to survive every day. Penny’s story is nothing short of remarkable.
– Explain the joint writing process? How did you organize the writing with Roy?
– Co-writing is a fantastic way to write a book. When Roy retired he moved to a small coastal community about two hours north of me and my family. Saving Our Pennys became a “talking stick” as we mailed and / or emailed chapters, or pieces of chapters back and forth over the course of a year. This year allowed us to understand the feelings that a year’s four seasons does to each of us. How we move from Fall to Winter to Spring to Summer is a magical window of change. This tapestry of nature is a vital piece of the many bridges we all walk from light to dark, day to night, and sunset to sunrise. Nature’s wonderment through the eyes of all our characters gives the reader so much to identify with. In some of the wonderful feedback we have received, nature’s might and quiet have awoken many a person from unconsciousness.
– Who are you?
– I love this question. I have been asked this question many times over the course of the last five months, and my answer hasn’t changed much, although the first time I was asked, it took me a month to answer. I am a believer of hope, dreams and that there is no such thing as the impossible. In short, I am a “Magic Protector.” I am a man who is loyal, a forever friend, and a teammate for life. My wife, kids and dog have been a blessing, and they remind me of how lucky I was to grow up with my two brothers, under the watchful caring hand of our parents, Bill and Sharon Leitch, who made our childhoods magical. I love them for this. Now it is my turn to protect the magic; it is the most precious honour an adult has to give – even to other adults.
– Top 3 favorite authors?
– My three favourite authors? Wow… that is tough to narrow down, but the ones that immediately spring to mind are Stephen King for his ability to scare me with the lights on and the windows open, Dirk Hayhurst for taking me back into the world of locker rooms, Big League dreams and the magic of sport, and Jane Leavy for writing a masterpiece Biography entitled Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy.
– Do you plan to write another book?
– Absolutely. I have a couple of embers stirring my writing soul. Although I would like to write a book on my own, I would also welcome the journey of co-writing with Roy Dimond again. We really understand each other, and we enjoy the war stories of life and sport that come out of our down times as well.
– Beer, wine or whiskey?
– An ice cold beer to remind me of my friends, family and teammates who I’ve laughed, cried and spilt blood with in my life. A stiff whiskey to remind me of the fallen, – and to never forget those who I raised my pints of beer with.
– When will the aliens make contact?
– Ha-ha… Based on some of the behaviours I witness daily, I’d say they’ve arrived in full force.
– If you have a chance to ask one question to President Obama, what it will be?
– Wow, a great question to finish the interview! I am intrigued how Obama learned to have such great poise. A person with such poise has great conviction and patience, and must have endured and / or felt deep pain. I suppose the real question I would ask him is if he would tell me his life story. He evokes great compassion and tapping into his world would be fascinating.

Look at Jeff’s blog

Check out here Saving Our Pennys


Roy Dimond is the next guest at our virtual Q&A room. Honestly, one of the reason for starting such a section in the blog is to meet some special people. The co-author of “Saving Our Pennys” is one of them. Why? The answers are below…

– What is your last book “Saving Our Pennys” about?
– First Ognian, please allow me to say thank you and tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to interview me. It is greatly appreciated. Saving Our Pennys, is a work of non-fiction that I co authored with my good friend Jeff Leitch. It is best described as focusing on Self-Help and Personal Transformation with some humor and insight into the human condition. It is the story about a person who happens to be a teacher and he feels that something is missing in his life. He feels unfulfilled. The main character goes on a journey from Shadow, to Substance, to Spirit, and learns how the choices we make affect our lives.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– Combined, Jeff and I have worked for over 70 years in the education system and one day, while hiking, we decided that we wanted to write something of substance. Hopefully we have written something that will help others find their joy and therefore help them reach their potential.
– What is the difference between being an author and a co-author?
– Excellent question. The difference is significant. Writing alone is such a solitary experience. You are the master of the story and control everything that happens. A wonderful experience. Writing as a co-author however means giving up much of that control. But writing with someone else also means the story often soars to places unseen. I think working on a story with another in many ways is a deeper, richer experience. To do this successfully you must have great trust in the person you are writing with. Fortunately, Jeff and I have had a long friendship so we knew where we were both coming from. We are both able to set our ego aside and make it all about the story.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– Yes and no. The main character is a composite of both Jeff and me, but we also included many characteristics of the people we know. We placed the main character in a school. First, because it is an environment we know well and also because that setting is filled with so many heroes. In any school, anywhere, someone is always trying to help another and that makes it a perfect setting to tell a story about redemption. Our hero grows from being unfulfilled in his life, to understanding what makes a life filled with joy. He finds a mentor and is taught that he can tell how he is doing by the things he values. His life takes on meaning. So I think you can see that our main character can be anyone. Anyone on a journey to find oneself.
– What are your other two books “The Rubicon Effect” and “The Singing Bowl” about?
The Rubicon Effect, is the story of an environmentalist who takes on American Right-Wing politicians. International corporations manipulate politicians who in turn manipulate the church into proclaiming the End of Days. While the world ignores Global Climate Change until it is too late, a leader of the right wing by the name of Michele Yakin comes up with a horrific plan to deal with global change.
The story asks two fundamental questions. Who are we? And what do we believe in? I am very proud to say that the Pope I describe in this novel was created before the new Pope was ordained. The similarities are quite startling, down to having my character born in Buenos Aires and becoming the first Pope from South America.
The Singing Bowl, Will forever be my opus. A grand tale about a monk who is displaced from Tibet when the communist Chinese invade. His monastery is destroyed and his teacher, The Tenzin, meaning, The Holder of the Teachings, sends him on a quest to find a book that has been lost to the world. He travels the world looking for clues that lead him on a journey to ultimately learn that all quests are internal.
– Who are you?
– No easy question. Like most people, I am many things. A writer, husband, friend, wanderer, and searcher. I was a Youth Worker for thirty years in the education system and tried to help those who were struggling. I travel the world with my wife and gather insight from all those around me.
To be honest, if I had to describe myself in one word, I would say that I am a… listener.
– What are your writing habits?
– The first thing I do each morning is write. I write till I have nothing else to give for that day. Then I usually go for a hike or sit on my deck enjoying my life. I live in a very beautiful area of the west coast of Canada in a place called Garden Bay. So contemplating the beauty around me inspires my writing.
All three of my novels were at sometime enriched by the natural beauty I see everyday. If I do get stuck on a character or scene I ask my wife to join me for a walk around the three lakes near our log home and she usually has some helpful advice. If not, sometimes the deer, or birds, or bears provide insight.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the books and do you plan another one?
– I don’t know many writers who are satisfied with book sales. We write not only for profit, but so that others may read our thoughts and feelings. So no matter how many read our books all authors wish another would pick it up.
I am presently working on my first children’s book about a small child struggling with change. I have just signed a contract recommended by my agent, Malaga Baldi, for a book with the working title of Silence and Circumstance. It will be coming out from Untreed Reads this January. It is about the eleven days that Agatha Christie went missing and is told from the perspective of her governess. I have also just completed a manuscript called I, Bully a Young Adult novel revealing the seriousness of bullying from both the perspectives of the bully and the victim.
– What are you doing to promote the best possible way your books?
– Unfortunately I think the best and most underrated way of promoting books is word of mouth. It’s unfortunate, because we authors have little control over that. But the better book you write the more people will talk about it.
I do find LinkedIn helpful and Madi Preda, a marketer, has been a great help.
– You worked with at-risk children and their families. How important is it to help those kids in time and what percentage of them may be helped along their life road?
– One of the interesting things about working with at-risk families is you seldom really know who you help. Some are obvious and you see change, but others evolve over time and if you are lucky you find out years later that you bumped them, in a small way, towards a better life.
Helping someone as early as possible is fundamental not only to their happiness, but for the well being of society. It takes less time and has longer lasting results to intervene as early as possible. To break bad cycles now can save generations in the future.
As to what percentage is helped, I honestly believe that 100% of those who realize we care, are helped. It may not show immediately, but the next person that cares, or the next, or the next, may make a breakthrough because others before them cared. If we ignore those who struggle, I do not know if their life’s road is more difficult. And as a society that should be important to us.
– You traveled on four continents. Please make a top 3 destinations that you visit and why you selected them?
Tsumago in Japan… It is a small village of no more than a hundred people that is located in the Japanese Alps. It has been kept exactly as it was for hundreds of years.
Santorini in Greece… To watch the sun set from your cave home is an experience well worth having.
Machu Picchu in Peru… (the author’s picture is in front of the famous monument) From high in the sacred mountains, to look through a window carved in the stone, knowing that hundreds of years ago, another stood there looking down to the river thousands of feet below, transports you to another time and place.

If you want to take a look over Mr. Dimond’s books, check them out here:
Saving Our Pennys
The Rubicon Effect
The Singing Bowl

Roy is very interesting person. I recommend you to check his web space