Interview with Author Leanna Renne Hieber
I was ecstatic when I found that Leanna had replied to my E-mail asking if she could answer a few questions and if I could put the interview up on my blog! So, here is my interview with the amazing Leanna. 😉
B: How did you come up with the story line for Darker Still?
L: I’ve always wanted to write a haunting painting story, ever since I read and loved Oscar Wilde’s THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, but I wanted to write a story where the female characters are much stronger than they are in Wilde’s classic. I wanted to write a story where the girl saves the guy.
B: Do you have a favorite scene or moment in Darker still? What is it?
L: Oh, it’s so hard to pick favorite moments. I love when the painting changes and Natalie notices the changes, I could imagine how exciting and terrifying that would be at the same time. I also love Natalie’s nightmares. I grew up reading a lot of scary stories so I enjoyed writing those scenes. I love her moments with Mrs. Northe, and the advice and interesting company she provides. And of course I love Natalie’s moments alone with Jonathon, particularly as they start problem-solving and becoming a team together, fighting to reverse the curse, this sets them up for the really wonderful team-work they do together in the sequel that comes out this November, THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART.
B: Is there a character in Darker Still that you especially like or connect with? Who?
L: I connect with Natalie’s feisty and opinionated nature. Though Natalie is far more brave than me. I connect with Mrs. Northe’s open-minded sense of faith and the paranormal.
B: How did you decide you wanted to start writing?
L: I was writing ever since I could hold a pen and finish a sentence, and before that I was babbling stories the moment I could form words, so you could say I was a born storyteller. I started writing my first novel around the age of 12, it was a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera because I’d fallen in love with the musical and I thought there was more to the story when the musical ended. My stories always come from wanting to examine people who are often outside the norm in one way or another and helping those characters find their purpose in life.
B: Any advice for aspiring authors?
L: A few very important things: 1. Don’t stop writing. Ever. Even if you hit a writing block, go write something else. Think past your problem scene and write something else that happens later, then go back and fix the problem. Often you’ll figure out how to fix the problem scene while you’re working past it. You don’t have to write sequentially, in your first drafts you can jump around, just make sure in later drafts you connect all the pieces together. Write what inspires you and keeps you going.
2. Consider your emails, Facebook posts and Text messages as practice for writing, strive to use correct spelling, capitalization and punctuation (I realize this is hard on Twitter and I do use abbreviations and some LOL-cats words on Twitter, so I’m not totally averse to having fun with the language) within your public posts because then you appear as you would hope a writer would, with a respect for words and their proper usages. Don’t let the speed of technology take away from using words well and formatting them correctly. It just gives you a polish that if you train yourself to do it now, you will appear more professional when you begin to submit your work to publishers and to the public.
3. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re “too young” to write a book. I started my first novel around the age of twelve, and while that novel won’t see the light of day, it did teach me the discipline of writing. If I hadn’t started then, I don’t think I’d have published 5 novels, 5 novellas and countless short stories, and just have signed another book deal if I didn’t have the discipline that I developed in my teenage years. That isn’t to say you have to start young to be a writer, you can start writing whenever so long as you write consistently, regularly, keep to the discipline and always keep making your craft better. Your books will never be perfect but you should strive to make them the best they can be and never stop learning. Learning is never wasted. If people scoff at you passionately following your art, it’s only because they wish they’d have done the same about something that they cared about. The biggest ‘haters’ are people who feel insecure about their own pursuits when they see others boldly pursue their own. Don’t be held back by other people displacing their own issues onto you, even if they think they are trying to protect you from harsh realities. Yes, this business is brutal. Rejection is hard and painful and it never gets easier. But nothing in this world is ever worth doing that it doesn’t hurt as much as it gives joy.
If you want to know more about me and my work, I’m online at http://leannareneehieber.com, on Twitter: http://twitter.com/leannarenee and on FB: http://facebook.com/lrhieber I hope everyone will enjoy DARKER STILL and the sequel when it comes out in November!
I can’t wait to read THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART when it comes out and for those of you who haven’t read DARKER STILL yet you really should. I promise you’ll love it.