Sunday, January 29, 2012

Interview with Leanna Renee Hieber

Give a warm welcome to guest author 
Leanna Renee Hieber
Do you outline? If so how closely do you follow it?
Leanna: "PANTSER" FOR LIFE! While I have to write some sort of outline to turn in to my editor, I hate outlining and my books never turn out like the outline, exactly. The sense and basic trajectory of a book remains the same, but how I get there is totally different. But, if you want to be a professional writer, you still have to give your editor something to work with, so I try to make sure I am keeping her in the loop with what I'm doing and providing her with some cover copy or basic points whenever she needs.

Has being a novelist changed the way you read and appreciate novels?

Leanna: Yes. I read far less for pleasure than I used to, and that makes me sad. Just because I don't have much time, not because I don't want to.

How much do you draw from your own life when constructing your main character?

Leanna: Elements of me are in all my characters, and some more than others. It's a composite. No one is ever directly taken from myself or someone I know, but a mixture of inspiration and my own creation. Then, when they become their distinct own character, they take on a life of their own and even those external influences become owned by the character itself.

How do you get to know your characters? Do you write out a bio, they just come to you or do you have certain facts you always decide on first?

Leanna: They come to me, like visions or dreams, usually with certain traits and characteristics in hand from the start. Sometimes they come because there are ideas I want to play with, in certain settings, and the characters evolve as the messengers and torch-bearers of those ideas. It's a bit mystical, really. They're like a collage, I dream up bits of them and they just become more complex as I write, more and more layers and pieces. One writer said that it's like making mosaics, and that's very true.

Do you tend to reach the word count you want exactly, overshoot or undershoot? How does it effect your editing?

Leanna: I have a general, industry-standard target and somehow I end up around that target, give or take a few thousand. That the story line is served to the best of it's ability, with the best words, is the important part and I'll do whatever I have to do to make that possible. The more books I write, the less wildly my word count varies, I've become a bit more efficient. But my editor is the most important part of my editing, my relationship with both of my editors is very fundamental, like the relationship between an actor and a director. My years in theatre really influence how I think about the artistic process, and I find that perspective very helpful.

About Leanna Renee Hieber:
Leanna is an actress, playwright and the award winning, bestselling author of the Strangely Beautiful series of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels. Her next novel DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul released 11/8/11 from Sourcebooks Fire. DARKER STILL is a YA Gothic tale about a haunted painting and a terrible curse that threatens an unexpected romance in the lush, atmospheric, eerie setting of New York City in 1880. 

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