New Adult/Coming of Age
Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick follows the intertwining journeys of three young women in the mid-1990s who go on the road and off the grid, and leave their worlds behind. Each woman falls into a dangerous subculture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll in an attempt to attain her own sense of peace, love, and freedom.
KARA, a middle-class Midwestern girl, flees her painful past after a tragic accident claims a loved one, only to learn—after a violent attack—that there’s no safety among friends or strangers. Survival rests in her hands alone as she escapes into the wilderness of New Mexico.
NATASHA, born into privilege, rebels against her family’s expectations as she follows the Grateful Dead concert tour circuit, selling contraband and exploring her sexual freedom.
AMY, an impoverished Southern belle, becomes love-struck when an exotic drifter passes through town, deciding to leave home and follow him.
This intricately interwoven coming-of-age tale delves into the connection between strangers and the premise that the grand orchestration of life goes well beyond chance.
Friday, February 25, 1994
Well, that didn’t go as planned. I can’t believe this even happened!
Everything was going fine. I left the cow pasture, and there were only a few semi--‐‑trucks and travelers on the road. Once on I‑25 south, I kept my eyes peeled for cops or anyone else who could have been tailing me—nothing. After about an hour behind the wheel, I pulled into a truck stop outside of Las Vegas. (The New Mexico one, not Nevada’s.) I put on some baggy clothes and tucked my hair under a greasy--‐‑smelling Red Sox cap that I’d found in the van. I was trying not to attract much attention—driving a VW bus does enough of that on its own. I should get rid of it.
I parked near the semi--‐‑trucks, went inside, and heated a microwave burrito. They had showers for $1.25 and I desperately needed one but knew I didn’t have time. I wanted to get as far south as I could. I even wondered if I should have slept during the day and driven at night. I wish I had; then none of this would have happened.
To be honest, I developed the character Kara from my debut novel Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick with much influence from my own life. In 2009, I crafted the premise of three young women traversing the United States in the 90s with their paths crossing, after reading about a group of hipsters who brought a bit of chaos while passing through a local town. However, some of the details were inspired by my own experiences in the mid 90s when I left home during a summer break between college semesters and traveled around the country armed with only a backpack and a Congo drum. Argh! Fairly common thing to do back then? Maybe. I still look back and wonder how I made it home alive…
Though women are multi-faceted, I knew that one character alone couldn’t shoulder all of the dramatic events of the story, so I tapped into three character’s psyches whose eyes I felt the readers could best witness them through. I’m a skincare professional by trade, and I owned a spa in Michigan that I was fortunate to sell before my family relocated to Florida in 2013. I took six months off work when we arrived and devoted it to writing the first draft of PL&DHC. I spent days “in character” living as each of the three Hippie Chicks. I really connected with Kara’s story of loss, family pressures, and the desire to make a new start.
Each of the women has their own demons to face and dreams to bring to life. I felt that readers could relate to at least one of the characters. It was fun for me as the writer to root for each of them, and at other times, want to pull my hair out as they made some not-so-great choices. They majority of readers I speak with like Kara best, followed by Natasha and her fearlessness. Overall, readers express frustration with Amy’s naiveté, but feel protective of her.
My end goal with the novel was to take readers on an adventure to places off the grid, and to uplift readers (women) through the Hippie Chicks own plights—reminding us that the places we explore, the people we meet, and challenges we face go far beyond chance.
N.R. Leigh will be awarding $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour - ends 16th February
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N.R. Leigh began her writing career in 2007 as a featured columnist for the guerrilla newspaper The Uncommon Sense. She since has written books as an expert on personal health and wellness under the pseudonym Nicci Leigh.
She was inspired to write her debut novel, Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick, by a conversation with a friend, who described a newspaper article regarding the events that surrounded a group of hippies’s visit to her small town and the havoc they caused. This crazy, fascinating account, coupled with N.R.’s experiences traveling the United States in her early 20s, gave birth to her story.
N.R. has a background in education and teaches aesthetics, yoga, Reiki, and related holistic modalities. Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, she currently lives in a rural coastal community in southwest Florida with her family and their Australian Kelpie, Sydney, who believes she’s a Tasmainian Devil.
N.R is inspired by funny people and those who create positive change and peace. Her friends and family describe her as driven, strong, silly, and independent. Something most people don’t know about her is that, at age eighteen, she aided police in the capture of a team of bank robbers.
N.R. is working on her first fiction series, Imagine Yasmin.
Please visit her website, www.NRLeigh.com, to connect.
Author website: www.nrleigh.com
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Author Location: Currently resides in Cape Coral, Florida; born & raised in Flint, Michigan