Hey there everyone! I am so excited to be celebrating the release date of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, book #2 in the Strangely Beautiful series, by one of my favorite new authors, Leanna Renee Hieber, with an interview and a signed book giveaway =)
I have gain so much experience and learned so much since I started reviewing books a few months ago and being able to get to know about new authors and having the pleasure of reading their books is definitely an amazing honor for me.
I hope you guys enjoy the interview and enter the giveaway =) Deets at the end of the post.
Congrats to Leanna and I wish her an amazing Release day!!!
- When did you first start writing?
As soon as I could hold a pen and finish a sentence. I started my first book at age 12. It was nothing like Strangely Beautiful, however it was a Gothic novel set in 1888, so my themes have been a long standing love-affair.
- Have you always liked Fantasy?
Yes, for as long as I can remember. Things like Doctor Who shown on PBS, reading Edgar Allan Poe, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were influential from so early of an age that my writing has always been infused with dark, fantastical themes.
- Why writing Dark/Goth Fantasy?
I’ve always had a fierce dark side, no particular reason, it just came with my soul. Some of my earliest memories are of telling ghost stories. I fell in love early on with historical fiction, particularly Gothic fiction. There’s also a difference between the word “Goth” and the term Gothic. “Goth” is indeed short for the word “Gothic” however “Goth” is used more for the subculture, while “Gothic” in pure literary or architectural terms doesn’t necessarily denote the subculture. (Visit the Wiki definition of Gothic novel here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_fiction ).
I happen to identify with both the subculture and the literary term. I dress Goth, love Goth bands and Goth clubs, and I do write Gothic novels – though I wouldn’t call my characters “Goth” – well, I take that back, Alexi’s pretty Goth. I write Gothic Victorian Fantasy because it mixes all my favourite archetypes, themes, possibilities and conventions into one.
- Were there any Books, Movies or Writers that have inspired you?
All 19th century fiction and film adaptations of it have informed and inspired me. Gothic novels, adventure stories, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, graphic novels, every medium in these genres, be they book or film- the list is really, really long. J
- What is your favorite subject in the Fantasy Realm?
I love dealing with magic, ritual, symbology, mythology, history, spiritual and ghostly matters. Those are my main tenets in the Strangely Beautiful saga.
- Favorite Paranormal themed Movie?
The Muppet Christmas Carol (Come on, it’s Charles Dickens with regular AND ghost Muppets?! – my favourite things all in one movie!) Also The Nightmare Before Christmas. Tim Burton = Love.
- Favorite Paranormal themed TV Show?
- Favorite Paranormal themed Book?
Tie between Dracula and A Christmas Carol
- Favorite Fantasy Author?
Tie between J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling
- Favorite one of your Books?
It depends on my mood which of the Strangely Beautiful books I’ll say. The first book is a quieter, aching, timid, slow burn towards an explosion. The second book is a deeper, expansive, more passionate diving in towards an epic conclusion, where everything is higher stakes now that we know all the key players and can watch their lives unfold.
- Who is your favorite of your own characters? Why?
Percy and Alexi – I can’t pick one over the other because it’s when they’re together that I find them most interesting. They’re absolute opposites, and yet they begin to affect such a change in one another. A healthy change, rather than a co-dependent change. Percy’s growth over the course of the books from cringing to quietly powerful has been amazing to craft. Making her a stronger character who comes into her own, who goes from passive to proactive, has been the most critical part of this series and I knew it would be since I began it over 9 years ago. It’s a joy to give her what I always knew she needed; some spine, purpose and empowerment, while still maintaining her sweet, passionate nature. Her changes had to be subtle, grounded in herself and in the Strangely Beautiful world, otherwise her growth would be jarring. In terms of crafting Alexi’s character, trying to strike the right balance between loving and control-freak is delightful, because I adore toying with his dark, brooding Gothic archetype.
- Which was the hardest to write? Why?
Percy and Alexi – for all the reasons above. When you’re deeply invested in such different characters, and enjoy their dynamic together, making specific choices about how that dynamic is going to play out is really difficult, and sometimes stressful. You just have to make some tough decisions and pray it reads and plays well. But I love the challenge and love watching them try to figure each other out.
- What would you be if not a writer? Why?
I would have continued my professional stage career because I wouldn’t know what else to do with myself. But I was writing before I was ever on stage, so taking a break from theatre to pursue my novels was like coming home to an old flame. Going back to theatre would be fun, however I began to dislike the constant audition process and the nomadic lifestyle involved with theatre. I like my nest where I can write and travel to more dramatic, fantastical worlds than I ever could on stage.
- Coffee or Tea?
- Up or Down?
- Virtual or Real?
- Right or Left?
- Vampires or Werewolves?
- The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
- Friends or Seinfeld?
- Angels or Demons?
Both, and preferably fighting.
- Reading or Writing?
- What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Getting to know a character so well that they begin to take charge of their own story and their dialogue just flows onto the page. Also, building magical worlds that I want to escape into, time and again.
- What is your least favorite part?
Juggling the rigours of time-management. Balancing work, personal life, creative thought, production, deadlines, other freelance work, and the ton of self-promo and marketing that comes with the territory. It’s quite exhausting.
- The Strangely Beautiful Series in your own words?
It’s my dramatic, atmospheric, sweeping, fantastical love letter to the Gothic novel. The Strangely Beautiful saga is Victorian Ghostbusters with tender love stories and epic, Mythic, paranormal battles where the fates of mortals and divinities are all on the line. Strangely Beautiful is cross-genre and difficult to peg. Just dive in, leave your world behind and come along for the ghostly ride.
- What is coming up next for you?
The next in the Strangely Beautiful saga!
Strangely Beautiful #2.5 is a novella releasing in Dorchester’s A MIDWINTER FANTASY anthology (October). Then on to Strangely Beautiful #3 (a prequel) and #4 (continuing forward in time, crossing the 2oth Century).
- What are you working on right now?
Putting finishing touches on Strangely Beautiful #2.5. “A Christmas Carroll” is a novella starring Headmistress Thompson and Vicar Carroll. At the end of The Darkly Luminous Fight, the Headmistress and the Vicar are at an impasse. And in the final epilogue of Darkly Luminous, it shows a certain result that might seem like something is missing. And there is. There’s a whole story between the end and the seven-month-later epilogue of Darkly Luminous. That whole story is this novella, where I put the Headmistress and the Vicar through the ringer a la Dickens’A Christmas Carol.
- Do you have any advice or tip to those like me that want to become a published Author someday?
Persistence is the key. It took me about 9 years from inception to seeing my debut novel on the shelf. Along the way I got a drawer full of rejection letters. Strangely Beautiful saga is cross-genre and those books are more difficult to sell to editors and marketing departments. Don’t get discouraged, believe in your story but be flexible with it. While I didn’t change the cross-genre nature of the story, I did change the structure and pacing in order to sell the book. Even after my nearly twenty total rewrites, I had to do two ‘revise and resubmits’ on the novel before I was contracted either with my agent or my editor. Those changes made it a better book without changing the nature or tone of the book. Be strong, persistent and flexible. Know what you write, believe in it, and figure out the best way to pitch it in the marketplace. Don’t try and write to what the marketplace is doing, make what you do sell by believing in it and know why; good stories will always eventually sell, no matter what the market is doing. 9 years ago, no one thought ‘Victorian Ghostbusters’ would be “in” but now its great timing. The market will find you if you’ve got something unique and solid to offer. Just keep writing.
- Anything you would like to say to your fans out there?
Thank you for being fans, your support means the world to me. I hope you’ll have as much fun reading along with the Strangely Beautiful saga as it unfolds as I’m having fun writing it. I hop you’ll join me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/leannarenee, on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/sbsfan and my website http://www.leannareneehieber.com where I have lots of goodies, extras, links to events and specials and always have a contest going on! Blessings to you!
Thanks so much for being here Leanna!!
Now to the Giveaway!
You can win a SIGNED copy of either The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker or The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker!
It’s Your Choice!
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Ends on May 3rd!
Don’t Forget to enter my giveaways:
My Powerful Chicks Theme Prize Pack HERE!
My Paranormal YA Giveaway HERE!
My Heinous Villains Giveaway HERE!
For more info on the giveaway and links for each theme Click on the Image bellow!
All smaller giveaways end on May 16th!
Thanks so much for tuning in and I’ll see you soon!