Friday, March 21, 2014

Feature Friday: Leah Cypess

Regulars: There's a change in entry requirements, make sure you read them! 

Leah Cypess used to be an attorney living in New York City, and is now a writer living in Boston. She much prefers her current situation. When she is not writing or chasing her kids around (or doing both simultaneously), she is usually... well, let's be honest; sleeping. But in her rare moments of spare time, she enjoys reading, biking, hiking, and drawing.

Interview:

A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Leah:
Primarily, to read and write. A lot. I know that's old, standard advice, but it's standard for a reason! Also: don't allow your hopes and ambitions to get too tied up in any one manuscript. As soon as you're sending a book out for publication, start something new.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Leah:
I can't say I have a favorite book, but if I was going to pick the favorite book I've read recently, it would be Tandem by Anna Jarzab, a really original parallel-worlds story with both a high fantasy and a science fictional feel. I can't wait for the next book in the trilogy!

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Death Sworn?

Leah:
I got it while reading The Elenium by David Eddings, which featured a sorceress who served as tutor to a military order. I started wondering what would happen if the sorceress and the knights didn't get along as well as they did in Edding's book, and several twists or turns later, I had the basic idea for Death Sworn.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Death Sworn?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Leah:
Several! Writing the master, in particular, was very difficult - it was hard for me to get the right balance of omniscient plotter, charismatic leader, and utterly terrifying puppet-master. I ended up asking my facebook friends to recommend books and movies with terrifying villains, and that - along with my editor's insightful comments - helped me finally get the character onto the page.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Death Sworn is your favorite and why?

Leah:
Ileni is absolutely my favorite! (Which isn't always the case - sometimes, a secondary character is more interesting - but in this case, I really felt for Ileni every step of the way in writing this book.)

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Leah:
I've always known I wanted to be an author - I have it on record that I informed my grandmother of this fact when I was 8 years old. I got my first short story professionally published when I was 15 (in a long-gone magazine called Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine). But it wasn't until 15 years after I sent my first book to a publisher that I managed to get a book deal. My first book, Mistwood, was actually the fifth manuscript I had completed and submitted to publishers.

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Leah:
Primarily on the sequel to Death Sworn, yes! Though in between revision deadlines, I do have a few secret projects I'm really excited about. :)

A.L.:
Why do you chose to write fantasy over other genres?

Leah:
I don't think I've made that choice, actually - I am completely open to writing other genres. But the ideas that appeal to me, and that stick with me long enough for me to turn them into books, have so far all been fantasy ideas.

A.L.:
If you could only pick one of your main female protags to be your best friend would it be Isabel, Derri, or Ileni?

Leah:
Interesting question! I'd have to go with Isabel - she'd be a fantastic person to have in your corner. As long as there was no potential for a friend-breakup, which would be terrifying.

A.L.:
If you had to be an ice cream cone, what flavor ice cream and what kind of cone would you be?

Leah:
In my household, I think I'd have to be pistachio... that way I would never get eaten. (My husband and I like vanilla, and my kids would never touch green ice cream!)

The Giveaway:
Leah is giving away a personalized hardcover of DEATH SWORN to one lucky winner (US).

Death Sworn:  When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.




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How to Enter:
Enter the giveaway using Rafflecopter. Hit the arrow buttons, follow the prompts, and hit the enter buttons when you're done. (You may have to log in using Facebook to do this). There will be one winner (selected by Rafflecopter). US.  I will contact the winner via email.

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