Book Country Member Q&A
“[W]riting is work. Hard work. You will love it, hate it, and bitch about it; but if you keep going, you truly love to write.” –LeeAnna Holt
Nevena: Thanks for joining me, LeeAnna. Tell me, when did you start writing? What keeps you going?
LeeAnna: According to my mother, I started writing before I could even hold a pencil properly. Is she a reliable source? I believe so since she waved one of my old spiral-bound notebooks filled with childish, fake-cursive lines under my nose. It’s written in Crayola.
When I was eighteen, I realized I wasn’t half bad at this writing thing and it could be a plausible career option. I love words. I love books. I love writing. Why not? It wasn’t like I hadn’t been doing it my whole life already.
Then I took a look at my novel I started in high school and said, “Maybe I should take some classes.”
Nevena: How do you fit writing into your life? What do you do when you’re not writing?
LeeAnna: I carry around a notebook so that I can write whenever I get the chance. Now that I’m married and home more often, I have more opportunities to actually sit down and do real work. I don’t have any kids (yet) and I don’t work full time, so I try to sit down for at least a half hour every day to work on writing, editing, or research.
Okay, I lied about not having kids. My hound thinks he’s a seventy-pound furry toddler.
Nevena: Aww. In your bio, you write that “the sci-fi vein has influenced” your work even though you mostly write fantasy. Tell us more about that.
LeeAnna: Ah, science fiction. It becomes engrained in your DNA when you’re raised by a Trekkie whether you like it or not. Before the History Channel, it was always the Sci Fi Channel. Pair that with Disney princess movies and non-fiction historical texts, and at some point I began to wonder what the effect of technology would have on a fairy land, or a land where magic is the major tool. I had yet to find any fantasy that really addressed these issues. So, instead of using planets and spaceships, I decided to place my book in a swords-and-sorcery realm to play with this theme.
As my reading tastes developed, so did the influences on my book. One thing that is consistent is that I’m drawn to writers who have their own distinct voices. It’s what has influenced my writing the most.
Nevena: What are you working on right now?
LeeAnna: My current WIP, Hands of Ash, is taking up all my time because I want to query it soon. I’ve also started making an outline of its sequel, Ties of Blood and Ink. So far, I’ve planned for my Descendants series to be six books, three installments of two volumes each. I have a vague idea of the main B-plot, the main characters, and the antagonist of each. Still trying to flesh out what the highs and lows will be to make sure I structure them properly.
Nevena: Wow. What have you learned as you’ve created the series?
LeeAnna: That writing is work. Hard work. You will love it, hate it, and bitch about it; but if you keep going, you truly love to write. Like all art, you must continue to learn to improve. You must do it often, every day if you can. I improve with every thousand words I put down. To get my book refined, I still have a lot of editing to do.
But I chug along because I am determined.
Nevena: That’s the spirit. Do you have any writing quirks?
LeeAnna: I use a typewriter and can only write and edit in a linear fashion. Bouncing around the story only confuses me, especially since I do a lot of pre-planning. And most of my pre-planning is in my head. I don’t keep a lot of notes. That is probably why I can only write linearly.
Nevena: What’s the hardest part about being a writer?
LeeAnna: Working for long hours with distractions like the internet, my dog, TV, and video games. I even procrastinate with chores. I know writing is work, but sometimes it feels like an indulgence since “nothing” is getting done. Eliminating distractions and unnecessary guilt is definitely hard.
Nevena: Why are you a Book Country member?
LeeAnna: I learned about Book Country from my writing professor when it went into open beta. He thought it would be good for those of us who use the crutch of genre in our writing. (Don’t worry. He was supportive of our efforts.) I’m glad I joined because it’s the one place I’ve found valuable advice for my work. No ego stroking, just what a writer looking to improve needs. Oh, and all the regulars are pretty nice.
Nevena: Hehe, I think so, too. What should the community know about you that they don’t already?
LeeAnna: My husband complains that I can’t turn off. Movies, TV, books, and video games are all subjected to my writerly brain. He says it’s a bit like living with Sherlock. I say the wrong thing and end up offending everyone because my powers of comprehension are just too strong. Like that time I went to see Avatar with him. Good times. Good times.
Nevena: LOL! Thank you for being part of the spotlight, LeeAnna. Happy writing.
Connect with LeeAnna on Book Country. Outside of the Book Country realm, you can find her at her blog, and read her hysterical reviews of the Mortal Instruments urban fantasy books. (Hint: she doesn’t hold them in high regard.) Say hi to her on Twitter, at @blewskymoon.