Author Leslie Soule joins to today to talk about her book Fallenwood, as well as the very interesting historical places within her stories.
Charleston Paranormal Fiction Examiner (CPFE): When did you start writing?
Leslie Soule (LS): I’ve been writing crazy stories since I was a little kid. I used to have this really old word processor that was pretty much just a step up from a typewriter and I’d save my stories onto those hard disks. I used to just write and write and write on that old thing, about just anything that came to mind. Back then when I wrote, though, it was all action and no description – “Leslie went to the store. Then she took out her sword and fought ten bad guys. Then she ran across town. Then she swam across a lake and found a big tree and climbed all the way up.” Whew! My characters must have been exhausted after I was through with them!
CPFE: When did you realize that you wanted to become an author?
LS: Well, I’ve wanted to be an author for a very long time, but what really made me yearn to be one is when I finished writing Fallenwood. I wanted other people to be able to read it and to hopefully take from it an important message about life and grief.
CPFE: What is your advice for aspiring authors?
LS: Don’t give up! Writing is a difficult business to break into, but it’s a lot of fun and well-worth the effort.
CPFE: Do you do research for your books/stories? What kind of research do you do?
LS: I love to do research for the books and stories I write. That’s what makes writing into an exciting adventure. For example, when I was writing Fallenwood, I decided to try writing with a quill pen and ink, on parchment. I wanted to get the feel of it, in order to be able to properly write about it. It’s not as easy as it looks!
CPFE: Do you outline before you start writing?
LS: I start with a rough outline and then fill in the details as I write. That way it keeps the practice of writing from feeling too restrictive.
CPFE: Do you plan ahead before you sit down to write, or do you let the story take you where it wants to go?
LS: It depends on the story. For Fallenwood, I had an idea of where I wanted the story to end up, and it was all about working out the “kinks” and problems in my plot, to get my characters to where I wanted them to be.
CPFE: Do you write at a desk, or do you have a laptop that you drag around the house with you?
LS: Neither. I have scraps of paper, small notebooks, etc. In order for me to write, I have to physically sit down and write the words on paper. Then I record them onto my mini-laptop afterwards.
CPFE: Besides a pen/pencil/notepad/computer, what is a must-have while writing?
LS: Tea! I don’t drink coffee, but I do drink tea in great abundance. I even have an electric double-burner set up in my bedroom, so I can barricade myself up in there, brew a pot of tea, and be as happy as a hobbit in his hole.
CPFE: How did it feel to sign your first publishing contract?
LS: It felt great, like I’d finally “made it”, even though I also realized that getting a contract would only be the beginning of things.
CPFE: What is your favorite genre to write? Your least favorite?
LS: My favorite genre to write is fantasy. My least favorite would be romance, because I’ve been in a few long-term relationships and have acquired a somewhat cynical view of love.
CPFE: Is there a genre that you haven’t written yet, but you want to try?
LS: I’ve never tried writing comedy, but a friend of mine and I have been talking for some time about writing a short story trilogy based on a couple of very old tea-drinking ladies, who go on adventures. The first story will be called “The Quest for Bling”. The second short story will be called “The Search for the Hood” (and no, we don’t mean Robin Hood), and the third will be called “Return to Tea”. We crack ourselves up every time we talk about our two heroines and their future adventures.
CPFE: Tell me a bit about your books? What do you think makes them stand out from the rest?
LS: I’ve been hearing a lot that Fallenwood is “a different kind of fantasy”. It originated from me trying to work through the pain of losing my stepfather to diabetes when I was nineteen years old. It’s definitely a coming-of-age novel and it’s about dealing with loss and depression. It has a dark undercurrent because the theme of Fallenwood is death.
CPFE: There are many fascinating historical places in Charleston, South Carolina. Are there any within your books? Yes!
LS: Actually, in my short Steampunk story “Birds of a Feather: The Search for the Universal Solvent” I wrote about a sealed-off section of the Paris catacombs. Here in Sacramento, we’ve got Old Sacramento, with all of these closed-off underground sections where the city used to be before the roads were raised.
CPFE: And, for fun, if you could be anyone for a day – real or fictional – who would you be?
LS: I would want to be Ash so I could see Fallenwood with my own eyes.
Visit Leslie Soule at her website: http://www.lesliesoule.com/