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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Author Interview & Contest with Leanna Renee Hieber

This week my guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog is Award-Winning author Leanna Renee Hieber. Her new book, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, is out in print later this month and I can't wait to read it.

So get to know the author and enter this weeks contest for the chance of winning a signed copy of her new release!

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Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you as a guest here and I hope you will enjoy your time here ;) Maybe you can start things off for us by telling my readers a bit about your books?

Leanna - Thanks for the opportunity join you, Amberkatze! I'm thrilled to introduce my debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, releasing August 25th from Leisure Books / Dorchester Publishing. It's the first in the Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels. I'm honored to report that my novella Dark Nest recently won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in the genres of Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Amber - What is your process for writing a book? Do you get an idea and expand on it? Or do you brainstorm?

Leanna - Characters appear in my mind, their setting and circumstance almost immediately evident. It’s like watching film stills or movie trailers. I start writing down this movie in my mind, catching snippets of dialogue, trying to set the dramatic stage I see before me. I love intense characters and intense settings. Plot begins to fall in line once I’m hooked on the characters or a particularly compelling place/setting. Stories unfold before me piece by piece, it's very hard for me to plot a novel before hand, I can try but it will always change. Knowing an overarching idea and trajectory is good, lest I write myself up against a wall or down a dead end, but new twists and turns keep surprising me along the way.

Amber - Are you anything like your characters? Are any of them based on people you know?

Leanna - *grin* One of my favourite moments in the offices at Dorchester was when the director of sales sat me down and asked: "How autobiographical is this book?" I blinked. "I didn't live in the 19th century, Tim...." I replied. We laughed. "There's so much of you, your sparkle, your drama and your energy in this book," he clarified. I took his sense that there was a synchronicity between artist and art as a great compliment. Truly, I'd love to live this novel, though I'd hate to go through everything I put my characters through! I have a flair for the dramatic, having come from a professional theatre background that deeply informs the book, as does my kinship with genre fiction.. This book is my 'love letter to the world' - blending what I love about Gothic novels into fantasy, historical, horror, suspense, gaslight, paranormal and romance novels- all into one book. This genre-mix made the novel hard to sell, but in the end, my publisher and I believe in the cross-genre appeal of the book.

I think we all have to start with characters that we can relate to personally. However, Percy Parker became a legitimate heroine and an interesting character only when she became her own being rather than my alter ego. Marianna is a composite of many high-school and college friends I remain close with to this day. The Guard are archetype characters that took on unique lives of their own inside the nine year journey from idea to publication. Alexi is the culmination of all my literary love affairs (I have this habit of falling in love with literary characters) all wrapped into one character and because of this, I'm not sure I'll ever love a hero as much as I love him.

Amber - What projects are you working on at the moment? What releases can your fans expect in upcoming year?

Leanna - I'm thrilled that the next book in the Strangely Beautiful series, picking up exactly where The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker leaves off, is scheduled for 2/24/2010. I'm keeping the sequel title quiet until the series launches. The plan is to have all four books in the quartet out by 2011, one every 6 months. That means I have to be very disciplined! That’s daunting. But there isn't a single artistic project that I love more than this series. I'm currently a third of the way through my rough draft of Strangely Beautiful III, a prequel novel, and enjoying the paces my characters are putting me through.

Amber - How did you end up being a writer? Was it something you always wanted to do? What other jobs have you had?

Leanna – I was a storyteller as soon as I could form a sentence. I started writing short stories as soon as I could hold a pen. I loved writing, art, music and theatre. I went to school for theatre but never stopped writing. As a ‘starving artist’ I’ve had so many different jobs. I had the blessing of a good run of professional theatre gigs out of college but between shows I’ve been any number of the following; Starbucks barista, paralegal, freelance writer, playwright, the Pillsbury Doughboy (in the suit and everything), promoter, tour-guide, administrative assistant, stage manager, stand-in and a background extra for film and television. I still work in television and remain a proud member of the performers’ unions AEA, SAG and AFTRA.

Amber - How did you end up writing paranormal genre books? Was it a genre that always interested you?

Leanna - I often say "Para" is my "Normal." Some of my earliest childhood memories are of inventing my own ghost stories. Before I ever knew what "genre" was, paranormal and fantasy subjects were a part of my identity. There’s simply no substitute for the magical, mythic and supernatural.

Amber - What books do you like to read when you have time? Do you have any must read authors/series?

Leanna - I support books written by friends and I try to keep up on my genre(s), but I admit my reading pace is not keeping up with my expanding TBR pile. At the moment I'm switching between research books for upcoming Strangely Beautiful books and picking up my go-to Mystery writers; Anne Perry and Elizabeth Peters and their 19th century set books. They help keep the period vernacular in my head while still attending to a modern audience. I find if I'm in the thick of writing I don't want to read anything too fantastical because I'll get so wrapped up in another author's world that it becomes hard to attend to my own.

Amber - What do you like to do to relax?

Leanna - Adventure about my grand, adopted hometown of NYC, dance at various Goth clubs, dine and drink with friends and watch episodes of Dr. Who with my sweetheart.

Amber - Lots of authors have playlists for their books. Do you have any specific music/artists that you like to listen to when you are writing?

Leanna - I must have music on while I write. I listen to Philip Glass soundtracks, (Particularly The Hours, The Illusionist and Dracula as well as his symphonies) Linford Detweiler's gorgeous piano music, classical music from composers like Dvorak and Tchaikovsky (contemporaries to the Strangely Beautiful setting). I can’t have music with lyrics playing while I'm writing but bands/lyrics influence and inspire me. On the subway I listen to my favourite Goth/Electronica band, VNV Nation, and dream up new moments for my characters.

Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature what would you be and why?

Leanna - A Sorceress like Galadriel. Because she's an elf and a witch and the coolest ever.

Amber - You are stranded on a desert island. What 5 things do you hope to have with you?

Leanna - 1. Some sort of writing device (endless pads of paper? Computer with generator?) 2. The Oxford English Dictionary - all the time in the world to learn new words, plus the magnifying glass is useful in capturing the sun to start a fire! 3. My iTunes playlists 4. All the Harry Potter books. 5. Hacking code to get into the entire archives of the BBC. (This would require the computer, I suppose, and some fancy wireless that could eventually track me as not stranded but in fact just on vacation and enjoying the quiet...)

Amber - Thank you so much for being a guest on Amberkatze's Book Blog. I hope you will pop by again sometime!

Leanna - Thanks for the opportunity, Amber, most certainly!





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Contest Time!

Leanna has kindly said she will send the winner of this weeks contest a signed copy of her book!

All you have to do to enter is name her series and a series you can't live without!

No Series = No entry!

The usual rules apply!

Earn another entry for each place you link this contest on the net. Make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries!

You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

I will offer more prizes if my Amazon Associates account gets more money!! So please make sure you order at Amazon.com through the links around the site and help keep the contest coming!



The contest will stay open until Sunday 16th of August 2009 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.

If you are claiming a prize, have emailed me and have not heard back before the 7 day limit is up then post a comment here on the blog. Your email may get sucked into my spam filter.

62 comments:

tawnda said...

Strangely Beautiful! I so want to read this!

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Percy and Alexi had me hooked. Now I know what the true meaning of swooing is, thanks to Percy.

ColleenFL said...

The Strangely Beautiful series sounds interesting. I'll have to add it to all the other series I read like Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series. I love paranormal books.

Vickie said...

STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL quartet is exactly the kind of series I want to read!
A series I can't live without would the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series. It is one I have in audio format and I can listen to it any given time.
The other series would be Harry Potter, also in audio format on my keeper shelf so I can listen any time.

elaing8 said...

Great interview,this sounds like something I'd definately read.

Leanna's series is called the Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels.

series I can't live without-the morganville vampire series by rachel caine.

elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

Kytaira said...

Leanna's Strangely Beautiful quartet series sounds wonderful! I'm a big fan of series one of the top is Christine Feehan's Carpathians. My current read is Emma Holly's Upyr books. Love them!

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

Hi Amber! Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of this lovely blog!

Hey guests!

I just wanted to stop in, say hello, thank you for commenting and your interest in my books!

I avail myself to any questions you may have about my books, the genre, writing in general, etc. I'll be stopping by periodically throughout the week so don't be shy! Blessings!

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

Oh, and I forgot to answer the series question too...

I cannot live without Harry Potter! :)

*high five to Vickie*

Kathy said...

The Strangely Beautiful series sounds wonderful!! There are a couple of series I love. These are Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" and "Harry Potter" by JK Rowling. I posted the contest on my blog at http://kathyschaos.blogspot.com/2009/08/contest-time-at-amberkatzes.html

Sweeter the berry said...

STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL quartet

I cannot live without The Bourne series by Robert Ludlum

RubyD said...

Leanna's series is the Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels

Can't live without: The Harry Potter series...it ended too soon.

elnice said...

Her series is called The Strangely Beautiful quartet. I could not live without Kim Harrison's Hollows series (or Charlaine Harris or Harry Potter or Rachel Caine, Ooooh too hard to choose).

This sounds great. It is exciting that you will complete it by 2011.

elnice said...

I posted your an announcement on my blog. It really sounds like a great series.

http://ellzreadz.blogspot.com/

Brandy said...

Leanna's series is The Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels

I can't live without Anita Blake series by LKH.
(and Harry Dresden, and Miles Vorkosigan (Space opera) and...) :P

Pam said...

The Strangely Beautiful series sounds intriguing to me...A series I've always loved is the Chronicles of Narnia though I have to admit that I also adore Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy and the Harry Potter series...

melacan at hotmail dot com

Amber said...

The Strangely Beautiful series sounds great - another series I can't live without was the original Gossip Girl series. I hate the TV show, but the books were great!
Thank you for the giveaway :)
hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

Sue said...

The Strangely Beautiful series looks so good! The series I couldn't live without... Harry Potter. I love, LoVe them.
Thanks for the fun giveaway.

smickelson1993 at yahoo dot com

Rita M said...

Leanna's series is called the Strangely Beautiful (a quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels). The series I can't live without is James Patterson's Women's Murder Club.

Christina said...

The Strangely Beautiful series sounds great. Hmmmm, the series I can't live without (there are so many)- Morganville vampire series, Vampire Academy series, Signs of the Zodiac series by Vicki Petersson.

shylaloulou@gmail.com

Shawna said...

Shawna lewis
weloveourdogs@juno.com


I could not live with out The Hunger games Series!!
Thanks for the chance to win this book it looks so good I'm so glad you did a review & review of this Author & book I can't wait to see if I won ;o)

Shawna said...

Shawna Lewis
weloveourdogs@juno.com

Oh Dear I forgot to put that this is
The Strangely Beautiful series!!! Sorry about that and again I could not live without The Hunger Games Series!!! (Or of course Harry Potter)

Thanks for this chance to win this book ;o)

Karen W. said...

Great interview, and the book souds awesome! I love the cover!

Leanna's series is called The Strangely Beautiful Quartet.

A series I couldn't live without is Carrie Vaughn's "Kitty" series.

karenwitkowski AT aol.com

mverno said...

wonderfully mverno@roadrunner.com

bridget3420 said...

Strangely Beautiful is her series. I couldn't live without Kim Harrison's Hollows series.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

bridget3420 said...

tweet

http://twitter.com/bridget3420/status/3238624662

bridget3420 said...

Blogged

http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/2009/08/810-book-giveaway-list-2.html

Carol EL said...

Leanna's series is The Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels

I can't live without Anita Blake series by LKH.
jelly15301@gmail.com

Deborah Wellenstein said...

Her series is Strangely Beautiful. I am reading the Southern Vampire (Sookie Stackhouse) books by Charlaine Harris right now. Great fun!

Sunnyvale said...

Strangely Beautiful and last year I went through "The Cat Who---" series

Pissenlit said...

Oooh, a Philip Glass fan! I have one or more of his soundtracks for the Qatsi trilogy somewhere around here that I've been forever meaning to turn into MP3s.

The series is Strangely Beautiful.

One series I can't live without is Naomi Novik's Temeraire series.

tetewa said...

Strangely Beautiful sounds great and I enjoy The Dark-Hunter series!

LuAnn said...

The name of her series is Strangely Beautiful. A series I couldn't do without is Stephen King's Gunslinger/Dark Tower books.

donnas said...

Her series is Strangely Beautiful and it sounds great, cant wait to start it. And I series I cant live without is the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong.

SiNn said...

Leanna's series is called the Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels


Id have to say i have a few seris i cant live with out first off id have to say the Doomsday series with liz pheonix by Lori Handland along with her moon series

the stackhouse series

faith hunters

rachel caines


list goes on and on and on

Debbie F said...

Strangely Beautiful! Thanks

The one series I can't live without is the In Death series by JD Robb! Love it!

thanks!
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Gwen said...

Strangely Beautiful quartet and it sounds very good! Can't wait to read.

Series I can't live without...Sherrilyn Kenyons Dark Hunters.

Thank you!

Gwen

yarnedy(at)hotmail(dot)com

emjay79 said...

Leanna's Strangely Beautiful series look absolutely wonderful! I can't wait to read them all! They combine all of my favorite genres into one!

I absolutely cannot live without Harry Potter, both the written and the audio:)

katayoun said...

the strangely beautiful series sounds really good. i love books set in victorian era and series ummm harry potter yes and dwj's chrestomanci books, oh megan whalen turner's the thief ones (and she's got another one coming up this year, can't wait, can't wait)

Llehn said...

The series is called Strangely Beautiful. One series I cannot live without is Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver trilogy! I can't wait to read them all!

gaby317 said...

The Strangely Beautiful series. The series that I can't live without is the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher, and the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Thanks so much!

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

gaby317 said...

I've posted a link to your contest on my blog's sidebar

http://startingfresh-gaby317.blogspot.com/

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

turboterp said...

Strangely Beautiful sounds right up my alley! Thank you!

erma said...

The Strangely Beautiful series sounds good and I read the Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series.
erma.hurtt@sbcglobal.net

Audra said...

I can't wait to read your "Strangely Beautiful" Series. My fav series is Diane Gabaldon's OutLander Series.
audie@wickerness.com

Vickie said...

Leanna: *grin*
*high five* back at ya!!!
I love that series. I have it in HB and audio. Love listening to Jim Dale tell me the story.

kngmckellar said...

Leanna's series is the Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels

Can't live without Harry Potter!


kngmckellar@hotmail.com

Valeen said...

Leanna's series is The Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels.

The series I love is the Harry Potter series and also the Odd Thomas Series by Koontz.

Aisling said...

Leann's series is called Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy. Another series that I enjoy is the Women's Murder Club books by James Patterson.

Ed said...

"Strangley Beautiful"; the Armistead Maupin "Tales from the City' series!

edgenemmers@gmail.com

iggysaysno said...

Strangely Beautiful.

I can't live without the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card.

chromiumman said...

the strangely beautiful series
can't live without the belgariad series

K said...

Leanna's Strangely Beautiful quartet series sounds like something I would definitely enjoy!

Thanks!

ksweeper21@gmail.com

Candie said...

The name of this series is Strangely Beautiful. The series I could not live without is the Lord of the Rings series. Thank you

candieluster(at)gmail(dot)com

purango said...

The name of her series is The Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels. I love Charlean Harris' Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series. garrettsambo@aol.com

Gabriel J. said...

Great read!

demmi said...

The Strangely Beautiful quartet and the series I can not live with out is the Lester the vampire series by Anne Rice con5459(at)gmail(dot) com

lilyk said...

Her series is the Strangely Beautiful quartet. I love the Lord of the Rings series!

Kathy said...

Leanna Renee Hieber's series is called the Strangely Beautiful quartet of Gothic Victorian Fantasy. I am new to gothic books so the only series I am familiar with is the Harry Potter series. I have read part of The Women's Murder Club by James patterson.

Meg said...

Her series is the Strangely Beautiful quartet. I am also a big fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.

ladycat713 said...

The Hiotchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. It's a great rearead.

ladycat713@yahoo.com

Maja said...

strangely beautiful

HODGEPODGESPV said...

i think to be a good actor you need a good imagination. i have noticed that many actor are also good at art or writing or music or something that requires imagination. haven't you found that also? you wee ghosty who is still trying to catch up.
spvaughan yahoo com