Friday, November 9, 2012

Feature Friday: Leanna Renee Hieber

As some of you know, I've already had Leanna Renee Hieber as a Featured Friday author in the past.  She's back because, well, she's a close friend and her new book, THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART, has just recently been released...So why wouldn't I have her again?  LOL.

That said, I didn't want to be boring and have a repeat of her last FF visit, so today's FF is a little different: longer bio, shorter interview questions, and...a podcast?  Yup.  Not only am I featuring Leanna, but I'm also plugging another one of my author friends today!  We'll get to that part further in the post.

Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. She graduated with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era from Miami University. She began her theatrical career with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and began adapting works of 19th Century literature for the stage. Her one-act plays such as Favorite Lady have been published, awarded and produced around the country. Her novella Dark Nest won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in the genre of Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance.

Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in her Strangely Beautiful series, landed on Barnes & Noble's bestseller lists, was named a favourite of 2009 by 14 book blogs, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book), the 2010 Orange County Book Buyer's Best Award (Young Adult category) and is currently in development as a musical theatre production with Broadway talent on board. The Strangely Beautiful series has been translated into several languages and was selected for hardcover editions via Rhapsody and SciFi Book Clubs. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, the prequel in the series, won the 2012 Prism Award (Best Fantasy).

DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, first in Leanna's Gothic Historical Paranormal saga for teens (Sourcebooks Fire), hit the Kid's/YA INDIE NEXT LIST as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association. Seventeen Magazine said of DARKER STILL: "This chilling tale will draw you in and keep you guessing until the very last page!" The book has been praised by Shelf Awareness, The Chicago Tribune, Pixie Magazine and more. DARKER STILL will also be translated into several languages and has been selected for a SCHOLASTIC edition as a "highly recommended" title.

Leanna's short fiction has been featured in anthologies Candle In the Attic Window and the upcoming Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal, "Too Fond";  a forthcoming short for Tor.com and Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: Tales of Gaslight Fantasy (March 2013, Tor).

Podcast:
So, it's not always easy coming up with happy fun time questions for FF authors...Especially if you've already interviewed them...So, I thought it might be interesting to try something a little different.  You readers know that I try to do some more "personal" questions for FF authors.  Much as that sometimes offers incite into an author's personality, it's not as encompassing as a video or a recording could be, so...I've decided to let you "hear" Leanna and get a peek at her personality...Probably cause I like her so much and want everyone else to like her too, LOL.

 Leanna recently did a podcast interview with another author friend, PJ Schnyder, and PJ's boyfriend, Matt.  Matt and PJ podcast about writerly/gamerly things and their podcast is called Mangos and White Rice.  If you click the link below you'll be able to listen to the podcast containing the interview with Leanna...There's also stuff about a "Women in Steampunk" panel at New York ComicCon, Steampunk Weddings, and of course the gamer bit at the end.  Enjoy!

http://mangorice.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Episode-3-MangoRice-Leanna-Renee-Hieber-Final-Version.mp3

Interview:
Since PJ and Matt asked Leanna about the most important details, I thought I'd still do some of my my own supplemental questions.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your new series with TOR?

Leanna:
Indeed! Here’s what I’ve whipped up to describe this insane adventure:

THE ETERNA FILES, coming from TOR Books / Macmillan; a new quirky, character-driven Gaslamp Fantasy saga set in 1882 following a paranormal arms race for immortality between New York City and London. A huge cast of larger-than-life characters fight for hearth, home and the cure for death. Including but not limited to: mediums, chemists, healers, spies, uncanny detectives, royalty, magicians, sword-fighters, robber barons, mutants, psychic vampires, visionaries, prophets, excellent book-keepers, fearsome civil servants, covert operatives, unorthodox espionage, one poor skeptic and a circus. And that's just book one.

A.L.:
You recently went to England to do some research for your new series.  Can you tell us some of the places you went to and why?

Leanna:
A few of my favourite places: 1. Kensington Palace, where Queen Victoria grew up. (Because she makes a few cameo appearances in The Eterna Files) 2. Parliament (Because several scenes will take place in Westminster Palace) 3. The Tate Britain to see the Pre-Raphaelite Exhibit (Because they were very influential Victorian artists and happen to be my favourites) 4. Wandering Knightsbridge, Temple/Aldwych, Whitehall and other areas as characters and offices within the story are set in those locations. 5. The BBC (Because my friend is awesome and gave me a tour and I hugged a TARDIS. Oh, yes, yes, I did.) 6. The Harry Potter Studio Tour (SO I COULD FREAK OUT WITH JOY… segue into next question…)

A.L.:
Since you’re channeling Narcissa Malfoy these days, we have to ask, if you (as her) were to get into a magical battle this very moment, what spell/curse would you use?

Leanna:
*Smiles a sly, prim smile* If Lucius or Draco were not present in said battle, I would simply apparate out and avoid it entirely. If they were engaged in the battle, I would have no problem using any/all of the Unforgivable curses in order to keep my family safe.

A.L.:
The cover and title for the second book in the Magic Most Foul series are very different than that of Darker Still.  While I know why, would you explain to *possible confused/disgruntled* readers why there was a change in the look of the series?

Leanna:
Darker Still is a beautiful cover but it sort of falls into the wash of “pretty girl in pretty dress” covers. Sourcebooks wanted to go with something darker and more Gothic for the sequel, as I do write Gothic historical novels and the tone of this second book cover really suits my work. Also, do keep in mind that at any of the big publishing houses, authors have no say over their book covers or titles. In this case, both the title of The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart and the cover were given to me and that was sort of that, thankfully I like them. This cover is actually my favourite of all my covers. Maybe I’m biased since I own several corsets that look like the one in the picture…

A.L.:
What can fans of Darker Still look forward to in the sequel, Twisted Tragedy?

Leanna:
In The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart you will find more action, more drama, a continuation of Natalie and Jonathon’s relationship as they grow into an absolutely wonderful and compelling team together. We’ve new characters, new nightmares, a new mystery, and what approximates to a Goth club in 1880 NYC. My editor says it’s the best book I’ve written and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

Cheers and Happy Haunting!
Please keep in touch via Twitter: http://twitter.com/leannarenee and FB: http://facebook.com/lrhieber and check out news and exclusive content via my site: http://leannareneehieber.com

The Giveaway:
Leanna is providing one lucky winner with a copy of DARKER STILL and signed book plates for THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART.
Darker Still: I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.


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