Say hello to Leah! She responded to my call for speculative fiction interview participants a few weeks ago. I hope you all enjoy reading her answers to these questions as much as I did.
What was the first speculative story you ever remember reading?
I clearly remember going to my elementary school library and checking out Stephen Cosgrove’s story books. They were standalone stories featuring talking animals like cats, birds, and rabbits, but Cosgrove also wrote about dragons, unicorns, and winged horses.
Who is your favourite author? Why?
Can I cheat and mention more than one? Neil Gaiman, because of his worlds and his championing of writing of all sorts. Laini Taylor for her skill with words and her imagination. Peter S. Beagle, because he wrote the story that turned into a movie that made me fall in love with fantasy.
What do you like most about the genre(s) you read?
The possibility. There is so much possibility to be found in speculative fiction it makes my head spin. A friend of mine told me he has no patience for fiction because it’s all made up, and while that is true, there’s much more that goes into it: world building, creating the characters, research, For me, it’s like reading someone’s dream.
More and more authors seem to be writing cross-genre stories these days. How do you feel about this trend?
I think it’s great! When an author can successfully blend genres together, creating something you never considered before, that’s an admirable skill. It’s also a good way to find new readers.
If you could name a pet after one character, which character would you choose? Why?
I’ve grown up with cats so I have cat names. Bagheera from The Jungle Book is one I want to use one day. I heard about a cat called Mister Kindly in a popular series. I’m keeping that name in mind as well. Growing up, sister and I had a cat called Dinah, inspired from Alice in Wonderland. I named my parents’ cat Pouncequick, after a character from Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams.
What fictional world would you never want to visit?
Panem from The Hunger Games series. I wouldn’t last one day.
What fictional world would you want to visit?
There are so many! I was reading through one of the past interviews and the person said they would not want to go to any high-fantasy worlds, and I want to visit those ones the most. Narnia. Middle-Earth. The Night Bazaar from The Star-Touched Queen.
Sharing spoilers with people who haven’t read the book or seen the film/show is a hot topic on Twitter and across many fandoms. How do you feel about sharing or overhearing spoilers?
I love spoilers, but I do understand that announcing a major plot point ruins the fun of finding it out for yourself. I don’t reveal unless someone asks.
Which series do you think should be made into a TV show or film next?
Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales would be a feast for the eyes if it were ever to be adapted for the screen. Libba Bray’s The Diviners series would be atmospheric, and it with its large cast of characters, would make an excellent TV show.
Which TV show or film do you think should be turned into a book?
I’d like to see Penny Dreadful as a series of books. That was a dark, engaging show.
What is the most unusual or interesting way you’ve come up with an idea for one of your creative works?
I’d say the novel I’m working on now. It’s a retelling of a children’s story and a central event that happens to several characters. The idea came to me from a comment someone made on a blog post I wrote. That got me thinking, and it brought back the feelings I had about it as a kid. I started writing it in November of last year and finished the first draft this past April. I’m working on the second draft right now.
Sometimes characters don’t do what their creators want them to do. If this has ever happened to you, how did you deal with it?
I let it happen. I’m a combination planner/panster in my writing. I have the bones for the idea, and if other things reveal themselves while I’m writing, including a character doing something I didn’t think they would, I write it out.
What is your favourite trope?
Enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorites. The characters have to be fleshed out for it to work for me, and if there’s snappy banter involved as well, I’m sold.
What tropes do you try to avoid in your stories?
Instalove, since I’m on the subject of romance. I don’t like reading it, so I’m not going to write it. Also, fridging. That’s when a character the protagonist is connected to is killed off to motivate them into action. I think it’s a little lazy.
Leah has always been a bibliophile. An avid fantasy fan, she has been countless hours dreaming of magical worlds. An aspiring author of standalone fantasies, she enjoys traveling, photography, movies, and good chocolate. She lives in California.