“His mouth tasted like thousand-page Russian novels I’d never read. When he kissed me, I could hear the ocean and when he was gone I heard the sound of a flagpole chain in the wind, clink-tinkling against hollow metal.” Absolutely, Sundog Lit


Leesa Cross-Smith’s website says “Homemaking, writing, Light. Baseball & eyeliner too” and that gives you a pretty good idea of who she is. She is light and love and baseball and whiskey and lip gloss and fangirling and Kentucky and exclamations!! and emojis and girl friendships and Boys and music and pop culture and stories that burrow into your heart. She is the co-founder and editor with her husband of the online journal WhiskeyPaper, which publishes a new and awesome story every Sunday. She is the author of Every Kiss A War, an incredible collection of stories that will make you FEEL THINGS.

I feel like it’s impossible for anyone to not already know and love everything about Leesa but if you’re new to her and her work then I envy you the experience of falling in love with her for the first time. She’s the kind of writer and person you want to invite into your home and heart to stay forever. She is Joy with a capital J in a world that often lacks it. She’s the bee’s knees and her stories are all the honey you’ll need.


You are in charge of assembling the perfect boy band. Who is in it, playing what role, what’s the band name, and what is the title of their #1 chart-topping single?

Honestly, it would be One Direction and I’d keep it as is, BUT ZAYN WOULD COME BACK and sometimes Justin Timberlake would be in it too. And they would play all of the songs they already have PLUS anything/everything I scream at them to sing. (And okay maybe there would be two or three clones of Harry Styles.) Also they would have a song called LEESA, obvi.

What’s your earliest memory of a smell? Please turn it into a writing prompt.

One of my earliest memories is being on my daddy’s hip…I must’ve been around three…and we were walking through my grandfather’s house soon after a fire. My grandfather fell asleep smoking. I’ll never forget how it smelled because fire smells like fire.

WRITING PROMPT: Two people go on a date after meeting online on a website for people obsessed with listening to police/fire department scanners and both of them are convinced the other is an arsonist, although neither of them are.

What’s the plot of one of the first stories you remember writing and how old were you?

First or second grade, two skunks get lost in the rain. And later when I was a sophomore in high school, I wrote about a girl losing her puppy. For whatever reason, I wrote a lot about animals getting lost.

What five words do you consider the most steamy?

Fecund. Surreptitious. Yes. F*ck. Honey.

Name some of your current obsessions.

Outlander. “Two Weeks” by FKA Twigs. Vikings. My novel, but only in the way I need/have to be in order to be a decent writer. Baseball, always.

If you were a pop song, what would your chorus be?

I’d like to steal some of the lyrics from “L.E.S. Artistes” by Santigold. Mostly because she sings “you don’t know me, I am an introvert, an excavator” and I love that. That is me. Also maybe any rowdy country song any rowdy country girl sings.

Can you describe your writing and revision process and routines?

I don’t have a strict routine outside of just deciding to finish things. I think one of the “hardest” things about writing a book is writing a book. Deciding to finish something. So when I start a story, I finish it. And when I revise, I try my best to brutally rip it apart. I don’t concern myself with whether I think anyone else will like it or publish it. I write it how I wanna write it. And if someone I trust gives me feedback and suggestions, I listen. This has always worked for me.

If 10-year-old Leesa were to leave a Post-it note for your current self, what would it say and where would you find it?

I’d find it behind my childhood bed because that’s where I would go to read, so I could have quiet and candy and sometimes a little electric fan in the summer. And the Post-it would say LISTEN. I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU AND EVERYTHING IS OKAY. RELAX.

What is your favorite recipe to make and can you share it?

This is my favorite chocolate chip recipe.

I made these garlic chicken legs in the crockpot this week and they were delish.

I love crockpot recipes! My favorite crockpot recipe ever is to put a good (organic/grass-fed) beef or pork roast in the crockpot with like ¼ cup water and seasonings and a stick of butter and let it cook on low all night.

If you were to draw a map of your heart, what five Places of Interest would you note on it and what would be next to the You Are Here star?

1. Jesus/Hope/Light. 2. The South. 3. Books/Writing/Reading. 4. Baseball. 5. Food, probably.

YOU ARE HERE STAR: My husband, my babies, my family, my friends. The people in my life I will ferociously and unconditionally love forever, no matter what.

What are you reading right now? Tell me something you love about it.

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum. It’s surprising and sexy and compelling. Everything I want a novel to be. It’s about love and secrets and language and how we talk ourselves in and out of things. And I think I gasped the first time I saw the cover…that’s how gorgeous it is. I’ve also been reading a lot of Liane Moriarty. Love them, love them.

If you were a stuffed animal, what would you be?

A giant fluffy pink unicorn! Or if not that, a little fluffy baby bear.

NOTE: If you are interested in reviewing Leesa Cross-Smith’s Every Kiss A War for Atticus Review, contact Sam Slaughter at slaughter.sj@gmail.com. 

Photo By: ashley rose