Monday, March 29, 2010

Interviewing Fantasy Author Leona Wisoker

Today I am interviewing fantasy Author Leona Wisoker, whose first book comes out March 30th.
Book Blurb:
Idisio cuts the wrong purse and finds himself bound to serve a desert lord who just gave up his wealth, his lands, and his name to wander. His new master is the lone survivor of a massacred family and might be insane, but serving him is better than life on the streets.

Lady Alyea accepts the king’s mission to assume stewardship of the desert lord’s abandoned fortress. But the southern desert is a harsh world of violence, suspicion, and politically tangled family clans who worship the old gods. All her courtly manners are useless as she struggles to gain status in a deadly race for a prize she doesn’t fully understand.

Out on the sands, the harsh glare of the sun reveals more about the world―and themselves―than they ever wanted to know.
1.) -Please tell us about your latest book.
Secrets of the Sands, my debut novel, is set in a world that has never known King Arthur nor the concepts of Christianity. Throughout the series, the world--and characters--struggle to emerge from their own version of the Dark Ages; although, naturally, that isn’t what the characters have in mind when they start out! The main characters in this novel, Idisio and Alyea, are more concerned about getting what they want, without any thought to the larger consequences involved; it’s quite a shock to them when they realize they’re now part of a much larger game.

2.) -What can we expect from you in the future?
I have multiple other books in this setting already written; the publisher, Mercury Retrograde Press, has offered a contract for books two (already written) and three (just over halfway complete) of this first series (Children of the Desert). I have the first book of the next series already finished, and extensive notes for book two of that series, as well as two books for a prequel series already in finished draft form and resting. All of which is to say: I’ll be playing in this field for a while yet, after which I will probably pick up a couple of my languishing science-fiction novels and see if I can jump-start them again.

3.) -How do we find out about you and your books?
My web site is always a good resource, as I keep it updated with the latest news and events: I also have a blog that covers topics such as networking at conventions, my recent research results, and miscellaneous writing and creativity related items. My publisher, Mercury Retrograde Press, is also great about posting regular updates via their blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.

4.) -How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing? Realistic Fantasy, meaning no mages or faeries and a strong emphasis on political intrigue, world-building, and character development.

5.) What motivated you to start writing?
What motivates me to breathe? I have to write. I get moodier than a woman with permanent PMS if I can’t write every day. Just ask my husband – who, by the way, has EARNED a sainthood several times over!

6.) -What kind of research do you do?
I try to find supporting detail for specific questions, such as: when was hard liquor developed, and where, and how? How about corks? It’s no good having an early medieval setting with modern details—unless those items are deliberate and have a reason for existing. I also research the geographical areas I’m using as a guideline; for example, I used Africa as a rough guide for the southlands, Florida for the Bright Bay area, and in later books I used New England and Canada as a baseline for the northland settings. I also read lists that mock fantasy writing cliches to make sure I don’t fall into predictable patterns.
7.) -Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I try to write every morning, but that’s variable. A lot of times I wind up writing until one in the morning, just because I get an idea before bedtime and don’t want to wait to work it out. As long as I get some form of writing in every day, I’m happy. Even answering interview questions counts, on busy days!

8.) -Where do your ideas come from?
Oh boy, if I knew that well enough to bottle it, I’d be SO rich. . . . A few guesses: dreams. My own life observations. Watching people around me. Weak elements in other people’s work; alternately, reading something really excellent. (The last book to do that to me was Terry Dowling’s Amberjack, a fantastic collection of short horror stories that sent me straight to the keyboard.)

9.) -Who, if anyone, has influenced your writing?
Silverberg. Mary Gentle. Asimov. Heinlein. Herbert. Cherryh. Huff. I would probably go A to Z and find a dozen authors under each letter. I’m not a bookworm; I’m a book addict. Load me up, boys, there’s a strong vein left around here somewhere. . . .

10.) -Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I wrote two full novels in high school; they were dreadful. A few years back I went through my files and shredded every bit of my early writing that I could find, and felt vastly relieved, as though I’d started over fresh; I certainly reclaimed a lot of file cabinet and floor space!

11.) -What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Being able to get away with weird behavior and uncoordinated clothing styles.

12.) Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
I love two of the books that are written but not yet published: book two of this series and book one of the next. My favorite characters (I won’t say heroes) are Deiq, who is introduced in Secrets but comes into his own in later books, and Tanavin, who isn’t directly mentioned in Secrets but figures heavily in the rest of the series. They’re both men with strong internal conflicts and a sense of right vs. wrong that may not always line up with mine, but they fight passionately for what they believe in, and I always respect that.

13.) -Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I have a husband, two stepdaughters, and three grandchildren; my two dogs are an Irish Wolfhound mix and a lab-beagle mix. Most of my family lives in Florida, but I ran away from the cockroaches a few years ago and landed in Virginia, where I am very happy with the aid of a regular pest control program. I have two Associates Degrees from Indian River State College in Florida, one a general Arts and the other in Drafting and Design Technology. In spite of that, I quickly became a certified massage therapist and reiki master. The whole time, of course, I was writing, and when the writing finally began to take off, I dropped all the other stuff I was juggling and devoted myself to the keyboard. For a while. Then I started juggling multiple commitments again, but writing is primary for me at the moment, and I think that from now on, it always will be.

14.) -Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Two thoughts come to mind: First, be willing to admit you suck at writing. Go cry about it, then get over it, get up off your ass and get writing again. Everyone’s writing stinks at first. Keep writing anyway. You’ll only get better if you don’t give up. And second: For heaven’s sake, learn the rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling! These are not optional items for someone else to fix later; this is your work, your baby, your responsibility. Yeah, it’s boring. Learn it anyway (refer back to point one).

15.) Tell us your website, MySpace, Blog, any urls so the readers can find out more about you.
My web site is – updated once a week or so. I also have my longer articles and ebooks available on my web site, and try to keep the posts on my blog a lot shorter: ... I’m on Facebook more than anything else (I have a personal page for friends and an author page for fans); I pop in to make sure the world hasn’t ended lately and then go back to work. For information on my awesome publisher (and the sample first chapter of my debut novel) please visit:

16.) Now for something fun:

Chocolate or vanilla?

Erotic or inspirational?
Isn’t good erotica always inspirational?

Favorite color?

Favorite paranormal being?
Vampires, but only if they don’t glitter

Favorite mythological being?
It’s a tie between dragons and centaurs.

Do you like science fiction, fantasy or horror?

All time favorite actor?
Robin Williams

Julia Roberts

All time favorite book?
Oh, come on . . . ONE? you’re kidding, right? OK, OK . . . I’ll admit it: Jonathan Sebastian Seagull.

Favorite TV show?
Saving Grace, and I’m TICKED that it was canned.

Favorite Movie?
Pirates of the Caribbean; Jack Sparrow is AWESOME.

What makes you laugh out loud?
The world is full of absurdities, silliness, and wonders. There’s something to laugh about in almost every moment of life, if you know how to see it.

If you could go anywhere in the universe where would that be?
In the real universe? Probably a newly discovered inhabitable planet, so I can explore and see all sorts of new things. Failing that, any country I’ve never visited (there are quite a few of those), so I can explore and see all sorts of new things.

A secret fetish?
I’ll go with the definition of fetish as “an object of ... obsessive devotion” ( I actually change fetishes with every book. The second book in this series led me through several tubs of Ukrops buttercream frosting. (I’m still working that one off!) Then it was binder clips – I have dozens, all colors and sizes. And post-its, of course. I bought stacks of index cards at one point. Right now I seem to be between fetishes, but I’m sure something else will show up soon....
Author Bio:
Leona Wisoker got her start as a writer when she was eight, with a story about all the vacuum cleaners in the world breaking down at the same time. Ever since then she has successfully used the excuse of writing to avoid housework, even going so far as writing poetry (which is then safely locked away in a lead-lined box) when nothing else will save her from chores.

Leona’s work is fueled equally by coffee and conviction; she has been known to take over the entire dining room to deconstruct a difficult novel-in-progress. Addicted to eclectic research and reading since childhood, she often chooses reading material alphabetically rather than by subject or author. This has led her to read about aardvarks, birds, child-warriors, dragons, eggs, faeries, ghosts, horses, and many other random subjects.

Leona's short stories have appeared in Futures: Fire to Fly, Alienskin, and Anotherealm; she is a regular reviewer for Green Man Review. She has lived in Florida, Connecticut, Oregon, New Hampshire, Nevada, Alaska, California, and Virginia; has experienced the alternate realities of Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Long Island, and Italy; and believes that "home is wherever my coffee cup is filled."

She currently lives in Virginia with an extraordinarily patient husband and two large dogs, and she almost never vacuums.



Kris said...

Great Q&A. This is a new author for me and the book sounds fantastic! Thank Pam and Leona for the info!

Dawn Colclasure said...

Great interview! I enjoyed reading the answers and look forward to seeing her book. Many congrats to Leona!

Leona Wisoker said...

@Kris: You're welcome, and thanks for the kind words!
@Dawn: Thank you so much! This was a very fun interview for me ...

Rev. Chris said...

Thank you, Pamela, for this insight. What fun this series sounds like. When does it come out? Can I get it now?

Pamela K. Kinney said...

March 30th is what it says on Amazon, Rev. Chris.

Linda Andrews said...

Leona, your book sounds fantastic and I loved your answers to the questions.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing this link - but unfortunately it seems to be not working? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


Pamela K. Kinney said...

All the links are working. I tested them and went to the proper places.

Anonymous said...

Hello there,

I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at

Can I use some of the information from your post above if I provide a backlink back to your website?


Pamela K. Kinney said...

Jules, you may.

Anonymous said...

Gratitude is a sign of noble souls.