by Leslie D. Soule
Fallenwood – where your dreams and nightmares are only a portal away…
Fallenwood—a land where magic is the life force, dragons are sages, and wizards good and evil battle for supremacy. When 23-year-old Ash is thrust into the middle of Fallenwood’s power struggles, she is also forced to face her own inner battles. Life on Earth was hard enough on Ash, who is locked in grief for her stepfather. Now, the fate of Fallenwood rests on her shoulders. She must destroy the Great Crystal—the catalyst for all the land’s magic. As the kingdoms prepare for war, Ash must look inside to find the power to save the world, and herself.
Ah, that feels better. He yawned. Over the years, he’d become accustomed to the particulars of being a cat. He had not always been one. Once known as a man named Alexander Dorrin in a former life, he had been a royal messenger for the Kingdom of Evendown, and he always wore his favorite white boots trimmed with gold thread—a masterwork. In his messenger days, Alexander knew he just had to own them for himself. They made him feel like a king, and he had been transformed when wearing them. Now, as a cat, he still wore them. He sported other clothes, too, during his transformation, but his boots were the only item that seemed to transfer their colors. Having white paws was one of the only consolations to his change, as they reminded him of his boots and made him feel less naked.
How completely heartbreaking and humiliating his transformation had been! The thought of it still brought tears to his eyes.
Today I’m pleased to be interviewing Leslie D. Soule, author of Fallenwood.
Hi Leslie, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Sure! Well, I have an M.A. in English, and I’ve always had an interest in fantasy. I have family who live up in Crescent City, California, and although I’m in the city here in Sacramento, I’ve always loved it up in Crescent City, by the beach and the old-growth redwoods. I feel right at home in the woods, and I think that shows up in Fallenwood.
What were you like at school?
I’ve always been painfully shy and introverted, though I did take drama once, and found that I’m not much of one for dramatic roles. I try to be funny a lot, so everything turns into an SNL skit. I’ve always been a good student, and I think that’s helped me to finish college up so quickly.
Were you good at English?
Yes, although I barely skated by with getting my M.A. in English and it was just about the hardest thing in my life to accomplish. I got a tattoo afterwards, even, and it says “Life’s a battle”. I felt like it was that hard.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’d like to do more in-person promotion of my writing. I’ve done a few blog tours and some online stuff, but I’d really like to venture out into the world more and go to more conventions, maybe some Ren Faires and things.
Which writers inspire you?
Neil Gaiman, Brenda Novak (my local hero – she’s the best), Maureen O. Betita and Robert Roman, who are just a riot, and Stephen King for pushing the status quo and refusing to be put into a genre box.
Give us an insight into Ash, your main character. What does she do that is so special?
Ash is special not so much because of who she is, but what she does. No matter what, she keeps going. She. Keeps. Going. She’s the definition of perseverance, or at least I’d like her to be.
What are you working on currently?
At the moment, I’m working on a sci-fi novel called Hybrid Space, which is the first sci-fi I’ve ever written (I keep needing my friend to remind me that low-tech and sci-fi do not go together. I’m old-school like that.) It’s a story I originally wrote back in my high school days and it’s about human-animal hybrids that are trying to escape the clutches of an evil empire.
Which actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Well, my most recent book would be the Fallenwood sequel, called Forgetting Fallenwood. I think Ashley Greene would make a fantastic Ash Kensington. For those who don’t know who she is, she played Alice Cullen in the Twilight movies, if that helps.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I was standing up, when I first started writing Fallenwood – for hours, in the same place. I was cashiering in an empty store, with nothing to do for hours on end, and I started writing on scraps of paper, just whatever would come to mind. It was very liberating.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
My days are very busy. I work a full-time job for the state and a part-time job to bring in extra income and help with the student loans. So I really have to squeeze in time for writing whenever I can.
Where do your ideas come from?
They come from a lot of different sources – something that someone said, or I try and capture a certain look, or I’ll remember a person from my past who was interesting, or see a magazine ad that catches my attention. My ideas seem to stem from a lot of sources, really.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I try and outline once I’ve got the basic flow of the novel down, just to keep things in some kind of orderly pattern.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing is knowing when you’re done editing. There’s always room for improvement, with any work of writing, so it’s really hard to tell sometimes.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.
I do read extensively, and have many favorite authors: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George R.R. Martin, Dante, Shakespeare, Brian Jacques, Jared Diamond, Stephen King, etc. etc.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer paper/hardback books. There’s something satisfying about turning the page and seeing how far you’ve come.
What book have you been reading?
I’m currently reading Joyland, by Stephen King. It’s excellent.
Tell us about the covers and how they came about.
Well, the original cover was done for the first release by Decadent, and I really liked how it turned out. But for the re-release, I wanted to try something different. Yes, the story is about Ash, but it’s also about the black unicorn and what it symbolizes, so I wanted to go with that. When I saw the cover, I was thrilled.
Who designed your book covers?
Stephanie Flint designed the cover for both Fallenwood books, and she’s done a great job.
Do you have a trailer for Fallenwood?
Yep! It’s up on YouTube and here it is:
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I’m not opposed to the idea, but I do think that people tend to de-value something that they can get for free, so there’s that, I suppose. We authors really do put our hearts and a lot of work into these novels, so whether money is involved or not, we just want someone to appreciate our efforts I think.
How do you relax?
My way of relaxing is a little different than most, I think. I like to do martial arts, or get outside and do some yard work, or work on a project I’m interested in. That kind of stuff is relaxing to me.
What is your favorite quote?
It’s by Professor Cornel West. I was watching a video for one of my M.A. courses and he said something profound. He said, “You should never confuse your success with your greatness.”
What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is a martial arts movie called The Last Dragon.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Visit me on the web, like the Fallenwood Facebook page, or add me on Twitter!
Any final words?
Yes! Be good. Keep writing. Don’t give up!
Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview.
My name is Leslie Soule (pronounced “soul” like that part of you that is innate). I am an author who loves to try new genres and Sacramento, California is my hometown. I have an M.A. in English from National University and am a member of the English Chapter of the Sac State Almuni Association, and the Sacramento branch of the California Writers Club (as of June 2014).
Leslie will be awarding $25 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
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