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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Interview & Contest with Author Leanna Renee Hieber

Author Leanna Renee Hieber is no stranger to Amberkatze's Book Blog. I was lucky enough to read her debut book in The STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL Saga and now the second book in the series, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, is due out this month.

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!


Contest Time

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.

Good Luck!


Jamie said...

What do I find strangely beautiful?
My husband's hands. They're large and strong and I find myself thinking how lovely they are.

Jamie said...


Unknown said...

I find Hair strangely beautiful because I like how each difffferent color makes you feel different.Thats why I dye my hair every month a different color.
Brown makes me feel bold
Black makes me feel depressed
Red make me feel pretty
Blonde makes me feel like I could do anything

Unknown said...


Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I find strangely beautiful the face of my new borne grandchild. Now admit it, most new borne's look like little dried up old men but not MY grandchild
alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
(='.'=) Happy Easter from Bun!

Unknown said...

What I find strangely beautiful: storms! I just love how the air is filled with all that energy and tension, and I love the smell before the rain! If there is thunder and lightning even better! :-)

I tweeted here: http://twitter.com/Stella_ExLibris/status/11595116237

and I also spread the word on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?ref=profile&id=100000899165880

stella.exlibris (at) gmail DOT com

Vickie said...

What I find strangely beautiful are the cacti and succulents I collect and want to add to my collection. The variations of the different types, the fact that glorious blooms can grow from spiny spindly or bulbous plants never ceases to amaze me.

SiNn said...

awesome post I find alot of thingsstrangly beauiful the way babies laugh with that over abundance of joy and energy the way you smell the rain befor eyou feel it. that glint in your SO's eyes when they look at you and its like its the very first time they see you

how every color in a rainbow can fit in a crayon box inharmony those are just a few things i find strangly Beautiful

Martha Lawson said...


I am a follower.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

wanda f said...

Thunderstorms and hurricanes the weather going on in them just entrances me

booklover0226 said...

I find volcanoes strangly beautiful. Though they are destructive, just watching the hot lava bursting forth and flowing is fascinating.

I posted on Twitter http://twitter.com/bl0226/status/11632444591

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I find birth wether it's babies or animals, we don't always come out looking beautiful, but to the parents, there's nothing better or more beautiful.

cait045 said...

I love big tough guys being all loving with children. It beautiful they care so much.

E.J. Stevens said...

The color of the ocean during a storm.

I would love a chance to win! :)



Anonymous said...

I would have to say Men's hands. It is usually the first thing that I look for on a man, any man.



doreen lamoureux said...

Strangely beautiful is my belly.
Stretched and marked
And left with scars.
Yes, I know it looks like jelly.
But it was worth it,
To have Chase and Jessie.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have always been fascinated by a man's back muscles. The way they twist, turn, bunch up or stretch out...I love watching them. To me, that is beautiful.

doreen lamoureux said...

I emailed 2 friends and you were sent a copy.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Persephone said...

I find my mum's home cooking strangely beautiful. I had to live without if for a week and I was so happy to be home again and just eat her cooking. It may not look very good, but it is a combo of healthy and delicious.

patronus89013 at yahoo dot com

Benita said...

I find barren trees in a nighttime storm strangely beautiful; their glistening branches in the gloomy air present a strangely beautiful landscape.


Anonymous said...

I find tornadoes strangely beautiful. They can cause so much destruction, but they are full of energy and power. I'm really drawn to them.


Sue Brandes said...

I find waterfalls strangely beautiful. I don't care if they are tiny or huge.

Sue B

Anonymous said...

I find feet and freckles strangely beautiful.

wookieecookie7 at sbcglobal dot net

Llehn said...

I find the patterns made by the trickle of blood strangely beautiful.

Kimberly B. said...

I find the bare trees of winter strangely beautiful---so stark and barren and lovely against the grey sky.
Thanks for the great giveaway!

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

Wow - thanks for sharing all of these wonderful things you all find Strangely Beautiful - I'm very inspired by what you've chosen to share! Blessings!

Amy J Ramsey said...

I find black cats strangely beautiful. I love them, your blog and your interview. You have made me add another book to my tbr pile, which now is waste high, plus its a series, so i will have to start with book one...arrgg...pulling hair out now, but its a good thing.

Amy Ramsey
Ramsey's Reviews

Van Pham said...

I find child birth strangely beautiful. We see the baby covered in the sac fluid which is pretty gross, but seeing life is beautiful.

van p.

throuthehaze said...

I find pile of dead leaves in Fall strangely beautiful
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

heidi330 said...

I find strangely beautifulwatching my daughter raise her daughter. I sit back and watch how she deals with that 2 yr old additude and think how she was at that age. I guess that saying mothers use, " I can't wait until you have a child that acts just like you did" does come true.

heidi330 said...


heidi330 said...

I find strangely beautiful when you are driving at night and it is snowing and the snow is the only thing you can see in the headlights of your car. It can be scary but theres a beauty in watching it come down in sheets like that.

Giada M. said...

I find strangely beautiful my mother's laugh, that is always able to make me laugh too.
Thank you for this awesome contest!^O^

I tweeted @hatshepsut0011


Giada M

Anonymous said...

I find walking in the rain strangely beautiful.


k_sunshine1977 said...

i find my fiance's nose strangely beautiful. noses never did it for me, but his sure does!

please enter me in the contest!


doreen lamoureux said...

I sent 2 more friends the contest link and sent you a copy.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

vvb32 reads said...

i find fiddlehead ferns strangely beautiful.
vvb32 at yahoo.com

Deirdre said...

Twitted here: http://twitter.com/wyvernfriend/status/11885826991
I find a lot of architecture, particularly Art Nouveau strangely beautiful.

clynsg said...

I find the landscapes of the desert southwest strangely beautiful. I know I am not the only one, but even in that stark country, beauty can be found.

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I find mens feet strangely beautiful. Ever since I seen Tim Mcgraw in a video in jeans and bare feet. I thought how odd that I find his feet so sexy.

Posted on facebook:

Posted on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Romantic73

I emailed 7 people and sent it to you too.

Thank you, Christine

Curling up by the Fire said...

Rain. I love when the rain hits the window and it leaves these patterns on the window. I've always loved listening to and watching rainstorms against the glass.

icewoman96 at gmail dot com

D Q said...

What I find strangely beautiful is the color black and thunderstorms.

skyla11377 said...

I Find Rorschach Inkblot Tests Strangely Beautiful. They Look Like Different Things To Different People Which Makes Them Unique In Their Oddness.

I Tweeted About This Contest (@skyla11377).

I Posted This Contest On My Facebook Page.

I Posted This Contest On My Myspace Page Bulletin.

Anonymous said...

Spiders are strangely beautiful.

jellybelly82158 said...

I think animals of all kinds are strangely beautiful. It doesn't matter if it is a cute new puppy or a spider or a snake. I think all animals are beautiful

Unknown said...

tattoos. i guess lots of ppl does to since there are so many ppl getting them, but o well , me likes ,lol