PERSONAL: Born in WI; married; husband's name Don; children: three.
CAREER: Full-time writer, 1994–. Has worked as a theater cashier, head of an accounting department, and on the board of directors of an engineering firm.
MEMBER: Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, Novelists, Inc.
AWARDS, HONORS: Bookrak Bestselling Author Award, 1995–96, for Luke; Career Achievement Award for Western Historical Romance, Romantic Times, 1995–96; Career Achievement Award, Romantic Times, 1996–97, for Historical Storyteller of the Year.
Love's Long Journey, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1981.
Paradise Redeemed, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1989.
Sweet Enemy Mine, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Proud Pillars Rising, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Angel Hunter, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1992.
The Golden Spike, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Tender Is the Touch, Avon (New York, NY), 1994.
Forever, My Love, Avon (New York, NY), 1995.
The Law and Lady Justice, Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Clay ("The Frasers" series), Pocket Star Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Face of Deception ("Bishop's Heroes" series), Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Reconcilable Differences ("Bishop's Heroes" series), Silhouette Books (New York, NY), 2005.
The Lawman Said "I Do" ("The Frasers" series), Pocket Star Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to Frontier Christmas, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2003.
"KIRKLAND CHRONICLES" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS
A Question of Honor, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1986.
Oh, Promised Destiny, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1986.
A Kindled Flame, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1991.
These Hallowed Hills, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1991.
"THE MACKENZIES" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS
Luke, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Flint, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Cleve, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
David, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Peter, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Jared, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Josh, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Zach, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Cole, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Jake, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Ana Leigh's writing began as a hobby, but her pastime eventually turned into a career as a best-selling romance novelist built on the strength of family series such as "The MacKenzies" and "The Frasers." "The MacKenzies" was originally conceived as a trilogy, but the first three books proved so popular that it was extended to ten volumes, each named after a man somehow connected with the MacKenzie clan in the American West. She successfully used that setting again in "The Frasers," which centers on a family of brothers from Virginia who set out for California following the Civil War.
"The MacKenzies" series begins with Luke. The title character, Luke MacKenzie, is a sheriff whose wife and mother were killed. Luke struggles to raise his young son, Josh, but as the boy becomes increasingly sullen and withdrawn, Luke decides to send for a mailorder bride to help with his household, even though he has vowed he will never love a woman again. The woman he sends for is being replaced by a resourceful con woman, Honey, who agrees to work for Luke for a period of three months. Honey becomes fond of Josh and feels she has fallen in love with Luke. The story prompted a writer for A Romance Review to comment that "Ms. Leigh is one of the best American west writers on the scene today." The reviewer added, "If you love to read about the old west, then be sure to track down this series."
Leigh was able to cover many different situations and character types over the course of "The MacKenzies" series. For example, in David cultured Cynthia Mac-Kenzie is called home from Europe because her father is ill. She is picked up at the station by a country boy named David Kincaid, and there is an immediate mutual attraction between them. Both of them attempt to ignore it, but eventually they are fated to begin a new branch of the MacKenzie family tree. Another contributor to A Romance Review stated that Leigh "just keeps getting better with each new story."
In Cole, Cole MacKenzie is made the legal guardian of a young woman who had secretly loved him since she was fourteen years old. The story of Cole and Maggie's developing relationship also features appearances by many characters from previous books, prompting one writer for A Romance Reader to remark: "The MacKenzie family is like our own extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. When you pick up Cole it is like coming home once again. This is all due to the extraordinary writing talent of Ms. Leigh."
Leigh began another popular series with Clay, the first volume of "The Frasers." Clay Fraser and his brother Garth are headed to California following the Civil War, when Clay is tricked into marriage by a scheming Yankee woman named Rebecca. She has only married Clay to get passage west and intends to leave him as soon as possible. Yet as the difficult weeks of overland travel pass by, they come to rely on each other for support and survival. The author "paints a vivid picture of life on the Oregon Trail," wrote Shelley Mosley in Booklist. The family saga continues in The Lawman Said "I Do," a "fabulous tale" that focuses on the life of Colt Fraser and Cassie Braden, according to Harriet Klausner in Best Reviews. Reviewing the novel for Booklist, Shelley Mosley recommended it to fans of the Old West, romance lovers, and readers "who like books rich in humor."
Leigh proved she could handle contemporary fiction as well as historical romance with her publication of The Law and Lady Justice in 2003. Set in modern Milwaukee, it concerns Jessica Kirkland, a judge who is known for her support of victim's rights yet who must struggle with a police department that seems to take a more casual attitude toward justice. Jessica and police detective Doug McGuire clash repeatedly, even making a public spectacle in a confrontation engineered by a television newswoman. Jody Allen commented in Best Reviews that the book is "well written with just enough questions as to who is perpetuating the crime, taking the reader on a suspenseful ride to the final pages."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2004, Shelley Mosley, review of Clay, p. 1550; December 1, 2005, Shelley Mosley, review of The Lawman Said "I Do," p. 30.
Publishers Weekly, November 7, 2005, review of The Lawman Said "I Do," p. 59.
All about Romance, http://www.likesbooks.com/ (February 8, 1999), Ana Leigh, "The Allure of the Western"; (April 21, 2006) review of Jake, Marianne Stillings, review of Peter.
Best Reviews, http://thebestreviews.com/ (February 26, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Jared; (November 24, 2002), Harriet Klausner, review of Cole; (August 23, 2003), Jody Allen, review of The Law and Lady Justice; (December 28, 2003), Tami Sutton, review of Frontier Christmas; (April 14, 2004), Tammie Ard, review of Clay; (December 10, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of The Lawman Said "I Do."
Romance Club, http://www.theromanceclub.com/ (April 21, 2006), biographical information about Ana Leigh.
A Romance Review, http://www.aromancereview.com/ (June 1, 2001), review of Zach; (August 1, 2002), review of Jared; (November 1, 2002), reviews of David and Luke; (December 1, 2002), interview with Ana Leigh; (January 1, 2003), review of Cole; (July 1, 2004), review of Clay; (January 1, 2005), review of Peter; (November 1, 2005), review of The Lawman Said "I Do."