May 16, 2014

Real Life Influences of the Fantastic: an interview with Leanne Waller, author of "Choice"

About CHOICE by Leanne WallerEscaping from a domineering relationship, Danni is glad to rekindle old friendships. But there’s something odd going on. Her best friend’s boyfriend is unbelievably strong and never eats with the others, and there’s something not quite right about her new landlady…

When Ella tells her about becoming a ghoul and using superhuman strength to fight evil, Danni thinks her friend has gone insane. But the more she finds out, the more she sees that they really are doing something vital.

Shocked at her own decision, she joins the group. Soon their town is the centre of a battle. The new recruits witness rough justice against informers, and are assailed by doubt. Are they doing the right thing? Do they still have a choice? Are they really fighting on the right side?

Gef: How 'bout you tell us a bit about Choice? Sounds like it might fit in the urban fantasy genre, yes?
Leanne: Choice is set in a town very close to reality with the only major difference being that ghouls do exist. It is about the main character who's called Danni coming out of an abusive relationship and rejoining her old group of friends only to find out that they are becoming ghouls and would like her to join them so that she can help protect others. It's written from her point of view as she finds out what is really going on with the ghouls whilst at the same time trying to find herself again.

Gef: Choice is your second novel, if I'm not mistaken, and quite a departure from your previous work, Life's Consequence. I take it you're not one to be pinned down by a specific genre?

Leanne: Choice was the first book I wrote but is the second one to come out. I couldn't have written Life's Consequence if I hadn't already written Choice as I had to much going through my head at all times. My mind has never been something that I can pin down as it wants to be fed all the time like Audrey, the plant in Little Shop of Horrors, but thankfully it likes different forms of information and not blood. I can't see myself ever sticking to one genre because of that but I would love to write more Fantasy in the future when whatever is going on in my mind fits.

Gef: Life' Consequence was inspired by real life events, at least its inception was, but what about Choice? Any real life influences there?

Leanne Waller
Leanne: Choice was written with a lot of real life influences. I have grown up in a life with a lot of problems and I have always felt the pull of it being easier to just sit back and look out for myself but that would never work for me and so I have spent my life trying to sort through problems in a way that allows me to understand why they are there and how I can at least try to change them. My choice has always been to try to be good but there have been a lot of times that my actions haven't solved the problems that I intended them to. Writing Choice was my way of making sense of the mayhem that comes from trying to do the right thing and helped me to understand things that I hadn't even thought were a problem for me anymore. The ghoulish element of it helped me to write what I wanted to in a shorter time span then things would normally happen and I like the idea of having this stronger species watching over us. Fantasy has always been my favourite genre due to how much one story can tell because of the otherness quality of it. When I started writing Choice I had no idea what it would turn out like other then it would be fantasy and I didn't think there would be so much of myself in there but it felt right when I wrote it and turned out to be very entertaining at the same time so I wouldn't change it.

Gef: Since becoming a published author, what has been the biggest preconception proven wrong for you?

Leanne: On a personal note I never believed that someone like me could be a published Author as I was too ill to go to college when I left school and so have no further education after my GCSEs and I have always been poor which tends to take away any hope of your dreams coming true. Once I did have a contract for my book to be published the biggest preconception to be proven wrong for me was the saying that the hardest part is to write the book, I had never thought of how much work there is in completing a book in order for it to be sold or what goes into publicising it.

Gef: We are inching our way towards Summer Reads season, when it apparently becomes fashionable among the general public to read books. Are you a proponent for summer reading, beach reads, and the like? If so, what are you looking forward to reading this summer?

Leanne: I have read all through the year since I was nine. I used to use books to help get through things and at some points would be reading twenty-seven at a time. Now I use them to relax but I still have eight on the go at the moment including one comic book. My daily read book for now is Night World by L. J. Smith which is a YA book. I only started to read young adult books again recently and have found that these books even when compared to the thousand page ones I have been reading for the past five to ten years can still be hugely entertaining even though I'm thirty and previously thought I was to old to be reading them. My travel book at the moment is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf which has been lent to me by a friend because she thought I would find it interesting and I do although it does makes me prone to rants whenever I read it. As far as my future reading goes I never know what mood I am going to be in so all I can say is I'm looking forward to buying new books when I have the chance to.

Gef: You're a bit of a comic book nerd if your blog is to be believed. Got any favourites you'd care to recommend?

Leanne: I wouldn't say I am a comic book nerd but if I had the money I would be as I do love them. Marvel Comics are my favourite at the moment but I am always up for reading something new. For now my second favourite comics are Thor because I love Thor and Loki's relationship and the issues that are dealt with within the story lines and my favourite is Deadpool because he is an extremely entertaining character. I can't say specific comics as I don't believe I've read enough to do that. I have bought Deadpool comic books when I didn't have the money for it really so I have been staying away from comic book shops for a while now due to needing to be able to eat but it will be my first stop once I have enough spare money again.

Gef: What projects do you have lined up for the future and where can folks keep up to date on your writing?
Leanne: I am working on a book based on depression at the moment which so far is being called Anita. I have dealt with depression for a long time so it is interesting for me to write about although what it will turn into by the end is not something I could say yet. I have ideas for a more choice based book going on in the back of my mind but very little has been written down on that idea as of yet. I would love to try out a high fantasy book one day but mainly I like tackling real world issues in whatever way they like to come out which doesn't seem to be up to me in a weird way.

As far as keeping up to date on my writing I have a blog called Life’s Ways, one on Goodreads on my author page and an author page on Amazon which I use to write what I'm up to, how I'm feeling and short stories when I have ideas or problems that don't fit but won't leave me alone whilst I'm writing a book.

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