When Leigh van den Broeke began writing When the Gates open for Casey Vallen in the backseat of his car while on his lunch break at work. He had recently completed a Media degree and after taking a job in sales he was annoyed at himself for not persisting with writing. For an hour every day Leigh would sit in his car making notes on plot, character and style while his colleagues were in the cafeteria.
When Leigh completed the first draft he enrolled at UTS in a Master of Arts in Creative Writing to continue working on Casey’s story. The classes included workshops with lecturers and other students critiquing the manuscript. The workshops often finished with excited classmates asking questions like, ‘What happens next?’ or ‘How did you get that idea?’ Some of them even passed the chapters on to their children to read at home.
As a child, Leigh loved books having grown up reading Roald Dahl and J.R.R. Tolkien. When the Harry Potter phenomenon hit he was completely taken by J. K. Rowling’s novels and found himself reading that genre more and more. He feels children’s books are more fun than any other kind of story.
Leigh decided to use his childhood as inspiration to start writing a story of his own. He would write a chapter, give it to his mother to read, then take it to university to workshop and apply the feedback before moving on.
Leigh writes because he loves stories and he hopes you enjoy this one.