What’s Jack up to? Well, I’m watching him closely today after he’s gone and gotten into the DD’s pockets yesterday and into a pack of gum. Oh, Jack.
Today I’m please to be interviewing a friend and fellow RWA/NYC Chapter member, Leanna Renee Heiber on the release of her futuristic/psychic/fantasy book: DARK NEST!
Hi, Leanna, Major Congrats on the release of DARK NEST. Thanks so much for doing this interview. I’m so happy to have you here at my little blog.
Leanna: Thank you so much. I’m thrilled to be here, Kwana, major thanks for letting me chat with you!
1. Let’s start with my traditional question. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Leanna: I was writing as an outlet before I was doing anything else, so it was something I just did out of obsessive love, not something I thought to make a career of. I was scared I’d stop loving writing if I focused on it as a career. Pursuing it professionally didn’t occur to me until after college when I started realizing that, all my other artistic pursuits such as theatre aside, writing was what I cared most about and I had to take it more seriously.
2. Tell us the story of your “overnight” success. This is my favorite question.
Leanna: *chuckle* Well, nothing feels overnight (it took me almost four years just to get an agent) and just the fact that I haven’t walked away from this often brutally painful business would be my only claim to being a “success”. That goes for any of us that can face the notepad or computer and keep writing week in and week out.
— Sidebar to this question: did your agent sell this book for you?
Leanna: No, this is a novella and he only represents my traditional book length work.
3. How do you feel about being an eBook author? Where do you see the future of eBooks going and your future in it?
Leanna: I believe it’s a great opportunity. I’m still learning a lot about the marketing aspects of being a writer. But I do know that the eBook industry is invaluable in taking temperatures. EBooks can respond to what the public is reading and can attend to trends and tastes almost immediately. The advantage of the electronic market is the turnaround time. I had my book accepted, contracted, cover art created, copy and line edited and released within 4 months. Due to the nature of New York houses, that sort of turnaround time just isn’t possible. So while my agent is trying to swing the bigger stuff in NY, I can get my feet wet and hit the ground running with a short work that will hopefully start building me an audience. The future of eBooks will only get bigger. All major houses are now offering downloads and with the electronic readers on the market, I know they’re here to stay. However, if I have a choice, I confess that I like tactile books best. And many publishers, big and small, will do both eBook and print runs. (In fact, I just found out that my book will be going into a print run as well!) I will say it’s true that with smaller, new or electronic companies you accept some risks. Crescent Moon Press is very new and doesn’t have the benefit of being a familiar, ‘tried and true’ company yet. But sometimes you make choices because of the type of work you create. I specifically accepted a contract from Crescent Moon Press because of their interest in and commitment to Cross-Genre fiction (all my work is very cross-genre, DARK NEST is a futuristic/paranormal/fantasy/romance) and I believe in their mission to produce quality fiction that lives and breathes outside of the traditional genre boxes. I can get behind that. Electronic presses like Crescent Moon, while still adhering to quality standards (my editor was exceedingly thorough with me, which I loved), can give an author a great deal of artistic freedom and that’s exhilarating.
4. Have you always wanted to write in the Fantasy market? What draws you there? The possibilities of the imagination seem endless.
Leanna: Yes, always Fantasy. It was my second skin growing up and to me, no other genre holds such potent magic. There has to be a love story too, to keep me bound and loyal to the work. Blending large, sweeping, fantastical and supernatural realms with the lushly intimate human experience of love is my favorite combination.
5. Tell us a little about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Leanna: Full-blooded pantser. People with spreadsheets scare me. I need a notebook filled with unintelligible scrawls paired with a blank computer screen and a lot of time on my hands. Eventually I come out on the other end with a book. I can’t really tell you how I get there. It’s cosmic every time.
6. What’s next for you, Leanna?
Leanna: I recently sent off a YA proposal to my agent; a magical time-travel series set in and around Central Park . I need to work on finishing the first manuscript in the series.
Thanks again for hanging with us.
Leanna: Kwana, you’re wonderful, thank you.
Please check out Leanna at her website (http://www.leannareneehieber.com/) or at her fun blog (http://www.leannareneebooks.blogspot.com/) and don’t forget to check out DARK NEST! (www.crescentmoonpress.com/catalog)
Leanna grew up in rural Ohio and began her first novel in grade school. It was many years later that she thought about doing something with one of her books. Choosing to pursue BFA degree in theatre performance, Leanna continued writing in the midst of arduous rehearsal and performance schedules. Hopping around the country performing in the theatre circuit, her first publications came in the form of short plays and essays for Dramatics Magazine. Her short plays won awards and garnered productions. This gave her the confidence to begin publishing longer works of fiction. Leanna is a proud member of the actors’ union Actors Equity and a certified Actor-Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors. She is represented by New York literary agent Nicholas Roman Lewis
A selection of her favourite things include: stained glass windows, social justice, Central Park, the Muppets, vegetarian restaurants, ghost stories, classy sword-fights, a finely tailored corset and ridiculously cute furry animals. Leanna lives in New York City with a wonderful gentleman and a fuzzy white bunny.
PS- Scroll down to yesterday’s post if you’re a fan of Survivor!