Angel Leya Interview

Angel Leya began writing as a child, but only within the past decade has become serious, about trying to perfect and share her craft, creating clean young adult fiction with a touch of magic and romance. Current books include Skye's Lure, a contemporary romance for lovers of the Little Mermaid, Raven, a short story about a winged siren, and Poetry in Composition, a collection of poems and photos to move the heart.

What inspired you to write?
A friend. I've always wanted to write, and she encouraged me to follow that dream, citing my writing style. It's been a slow start, but I feel I'm finally beginning to achieve that dream.

Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
I've always loved writing and reading. When pressed, one time I said I wanted to write books that rivaled Harry Potter (oh, how naive I was!). But the love of the written word was always there. I began by writing poetry as a teen, as well as lyrics and short stories.

How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
I'm still looking for my style of creation. My first book was written purely by the seat of my pants. I just went for it. But as time has gone on, I've learned a lot about storytelling that has led me deeper and deeper into outlining. My latest story was loosely outlined, but I keep going back to the structure as I edit to make sure everything flows right.

Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
My family has always encouraged me, and I've made some great writing friends along the way that have helped as well. Writing entirely alone can be a very discouraging thing, for me. As introverted as I am, I need that bit of encouragement and push to keep going. In the end, writing, while done alone, is always a community thing for me.

What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Editing. Writing a book is one thing. Making sure it doesn't suck is an entirely different process. I struggle with editing, but I'm finding different techniques all the time to help with that process. I believe that's reflected in my writing.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
Publishing. It's both freeing and frightening. How is it going to be received? Is it good or crap? But knowing that it's done, that it's the best it can be, that I've finished it and edited it and fleshed it out until it shines, that's a great feeling. It's done (sort of...sigh, marketing).

What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
I walk away. If it comes by way of a review, I'll read it, and then walk away. Forget about it for a while. Maybe complain about it, but in the end, it helps me grow, so I wouldn't ask for anything different. If it comes by way of feedback, a lot of times I'll delay looking at it, so I can get away from my initial emotional response. When I send it out, I always hope it's perfect. When I find out it's not, it can be disappointing, but again, it always helps me grow. I can tighten my writing and fix problems and really make my stories sing. It's not easy, pouring your heart out on the page only to have it ripped apart, but for every tear, there's a chance to improve, and that's what I want for my writing more than anything.

Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
I grew up in upstate New York (NOT the city). It was so rural, we had to plan our trips into town. Once a month we'd head out to get groceries and supplies, but my favorite stop was the library. I would come home with an armful of giant books, ready to devour. And I'd read them all the time, staying up late into the night, reading by the dim light of my nightlight when the story was too good to put down at bedtime.

Do you have a favorite quote?
I love the bit for The Lord of the Rings movie where Samwise tells Frodo that one step more and he'll have gone further than he'd ever gone before. I love that. We so often stay in our own safe zones. The bit of insight, of knowing he's stepping out of his comfort zone for the first time, is so beautiful.

What is your favorite show on TV?
Once Upon a Time. I'm a sucker for fairy tale retellings, but the way they weave stories together, adding back story to enhance the feuds and feelings of the present is so phenomenal. I just love it.

Favorite movie?
Ever After, right now, though I think the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake might give Ever After a run for its money.

Favorite book?
Besides mine? :) I love The Lord of the Rings series and the Harry Potter series, but recent authors I'm loving are Chrys Cymri and her Penny White series, and the P.S.S. Chronicles series by Ripley Patton. If you like fantasy and paranormal stuff, you'll LOVE those!

Describe yourself in 3 words!
Creative, whimsical, sparkly.