Read the new interview with Leanna and then enter the contest to win some Leanna books! Enjoy!
Amber - Welcome back to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to see you here again! Your new book The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is due out soon. Maybe you can tell us a little about it?
Leanna - Great to be back, Amber, thanks as always for your wonderful hospitality! From the back cover of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker:
With radiant, snow white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun. Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of AthensAcademy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—may come.
Amber - How does your new book tie in with your previous release, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker?
Leanna – I’m very excited for the Strangely Beautiful series to continue, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker picks up exactly where The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker left off and pulls us towards a very epic, ghostly war between the Guard and the whole of the Whisper-world invades Athens Academy. What I love about this book is the growth of the characters, starting Percy off so meek in book one really gives her room to grow through this next book, and Alexi the same.
Percy only just experienced the tip of her power in book one, and was a more reactive character. In learning more about her power and duty, Percy becomes a more proactive character. Sweet, dear Percy and the brooding Alexi are such different people, and each of their difficult, sometimes maddening (and delicious) quirks remain throughout the series, but the potential for growth is striking between them, their differences balancing the other, and their journey has been the most delightful process to write. I can’t wait to share it with all of you, it’s available for pre-order now and releases on April 27th!
Amber - Will there be more books in the series? Do you know where you want to take the series?
Leanna – Yes! The Strangely Beautiful series continues this October with Strangely Beautiful #2.5 a novella included in Dorchester’s Christmas-themed Fantasy anthology, A MIDWINTER FANTASY. In this novella, titled “A Christmas Carroll”, Headmistress Rebecca Thompson and Vicar Michael Carroll, two of the Strangely Beautiful secondary characters, members of the ghost-busting “Guard” get the chance to have their starring roles and, at long last, get their happily-ever-after.
I recently was contracted for Strangely Beautiful books 3 and 4, book 3 will be a prequel, starring Beatrice Tipton (who we meet as a ghost in Darkly Luminous) and The Goddess herself, and how the previous Guard dangerously put Prophecy in place (We get to meet our current Guard as teenagers, which will be really fun). Book 4 continues forward in time from Strangely Beautiful 1 and 2, from the late 1800’s into the turn of the century, and a world at war, focusing on the Rychman family legacy.
Amber - How do you pick the names of your characters? Are they just names you like, people you know or do they have some other meaning?
Leanna – Many of the names are in homage to literary characters or actors that I envision in the roles. As for the last name of Parker, that has a very specific story behind it that I’ll be revealing exclusively on my Haunted London Blog Tour so stay tuned, I’ll be revealing it on True-Blood.Net the Official Fansite for HBO’s True Blood right around my release date! Other names are amalgamations of my friends, in honour of their presence in my life, others of family for the same reasons, and others simply because I love the names. I don’t have any one rule, but I do choose every name with great care and affection.
Amber - What kind of research have you had to do for the books so far? Anything interesting or is research boring?
Leanna – I love Victorian Era research. I had a great deal of base knowledge from my collegiate focus in the era, but I’ve done a lot of specific hunting relative to what the story needs. My favourite part is researching the ghosts. Outside of the ghosts inside my fictional AthensAcademy, all the ghosts I name are actual, documented London haunts. It gives me a sense of place and local flavour, and why make up new ghosts when there are SO many great ghost stories already in London? For my ghost stories, I turn to expert Richard Jones (www.haunted-britain.com). I showcase my ghost stories in my Haunted London Blog Tours. See my website for details, www.leannareneehieber.com, there’s always giveaways associated with the tour!
Amber - How much input do you get in the publication of your books? For example, do you have a say in what the covers look like?
Leanna – My editor, Chris Keeslar, is really wonderful about letting me have creative control over the story, he just guides me in terms of word count, basic questions that should be answered and points up areas that could be structurally more compelling. I respect his opinion a lot and he cares for these characters and the story, which I really appreciate. As for the covers, I LOVE them, I think they perfectly describe what the reader is going to get on the inside. I’ve had input on the basic color scheme of the books, and I’m so excited for the next ones. Generally, authors have very little say over the covers and even the titles of their books. I’m lucky in that I absolutely love what Dorchester has done with the look of the books and we’re trying now to just maintain the look and ‘brand’ of the series.
Amber - Are you working on any other projects you would like to tell us about?
Leanna - I’m focused in the Strangely Beautiful world and I’m very excited about the next books in the series, they’re each ‘big’ books in their own right and they’re keeping me very busy. I have a Historical Paranormal YA series in the works that my agent and I will be shopping around this spring.
Amber - There are so many online sites eg, Twitter, Face book, my space etc. to get in touch with fans. Which sites are you signed up with? Is it hard to keep up with them all? Do you think they are worth the time?
Leanna - Twitter and Facebook have been really wonderful and have created a great dialogue between readers, reviewers, fans and friends. Those two are my main sites, but I also have a Yahoo group for announcements. Come join me!
Yahoo Group Mailing list
It is hard to keep up with all the sites sometimes, which is why I just focus on a few, but these are wonderful ways to connect with readers, and my fans are very precious to me.
Amber - What books, films and TV series have you been enjoying lately?
Leanna – I’m a Dr. Who fanatic so I’ve been catching up on all the new seasons. (Oh David Tennant, how I love thee…) and I also think True Blood is genius. I love all the neo-Victorian movies out lately, from Sherlock Holmes (loved it) to The Wolfman, very excited to see The Picture of Dorian Gray as well – this bodes well for my Strangely Beautiful series as Victorian Paranormal is very popular.
In terms of books, I’ve been trying to catch up on two of my staples, Victorian mystery writers Elizabeth Peters and Anne Perry.
Amber - If you could be any famous person dead or alive, who would you be and why?
Leanna - The professional actress in me would love to know what it would have been like to have been a theatrical icon like Sarah Bernhardt, the author in me would love to have been Baroness Orczy who, in the early 1900s made a spectacular living off her Scarlet Pimpernel books.
Amber - Thank you for being a guest again on Amberkatze's Book Blog! Good luck with the new release and make sure you stop by again!
Leanna - Thanks Amber, for the opportunity!
Leanna is giving away a lovely package! One lucky winner will get a copy of "The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker" and a copy of her Prism Award winning novella, "Dark Nest".
How to Enter
Tell me what you find strangely beautiful! It can be anything and I am looking forward to seeing what answers you come up with :)
No Strangely Beautiful - No Entry
Earn more entries for each place you link this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but 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.
Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.
Keep the contests going by using the Amazon links below and around the site!
The contest will stay open until Sunday 11th of April 2010 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.