Make your Summer Reading SIZZLE with these hot reads from fresh new authors!
This week's featured author is Leslie Conzatti.
Leslie Conzatti is an avid reader, a passionate writer, and a committed lover of all things fantasy. A native of the Pacific Northwest, she has been running the blog “The Upstream Writer” since the beginning of 2013, to promote her own writing and as a medium for interacting with readers. In addition, “The Upstream Writer” is an “indie book blog” as well, since Leslie willingly uses it as an excuse to get free books. (to review, of course!) Leslie’s “day job” is a staff assistant at a local elementary school. She is currently in the process of getting a novella published, and hopes to be ready for release by the fall!
Coming Soon: Princess of Undersea, a Timeless Fairy Tale
This is a tale of two realms: one above the sea, one far below.
A tale of two kings: King Davor watches his people grow ever stronger, while the might of King Theodore wanes and withers in the wake of hardship.
Two young royals, set to inherit the throne of their fathers: Princess Ylaine wants to convince her father not to declare war on a species no one has ever seen; Prince Nathan wants his father to see that a loveless marriage will only compound the problems their kingdom faces, not answer them.
Two minds, learning the principles of true leadership; two souls, seeking the full extent of true power; two hearts discovering the meaning of true love--
Before two enemies conspire to destroy their worlds forever.
"Ylaine," Davor continued evenly, "You know I like to hear you sing."
Ylaine pressed her lips in a smile. "Then why don't you listen, father?"
"Such a gift as yours is only fitting for an event like this one."
"I am quite sure the fairy did not give it to me to be used in such a manner."
"I told you," Ylaine twisted so her hair concealed her face again. "I'm not well. I need to rest."
Davor folded his muscled arms across his smooth torso. "This wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that I'm sure the guards found you trying to slip through the boundaries in a school of barracuda, would it?"
A single flicker of the aqua eye among the purple haze confirmed his suspicion.
"I just wanted to see the surface, just once!" she complained.
At last! The mischievous rogue squeezed into an alcove and surveyed his quarry: a fresh berry tart on the windowsill. He would have to slip past the pastry chef, the cook, the cellar-maid, the baker, and the footmen traipsing in and out of the kitchen as they readied luncheon for His Majesty—
“Your Highness!” The cry hurt his pride almost as much as the fierce grip hurt his ear.
“Aww, Giles!” he whined, gripping the servant’s wrist in a vain attempt at getting him to relax his grip.
Carol Ann: What genre would you say the book falls into?
Leslie: Princess of Undersea is a fantasy fairy tale.
Carol Ann: Are there any trigger warnings and/or explicit content readers should know about?
Leslie: No. I made this one kid-friendly! A few scenes might be intense for little ears, but anybody old enough to read stories like the Chronicles of Narnia would absolutely be good with this book!
Carol Ann: Do you have any upcoming events?
Leslie: None yet, but once I move beyond the editing process and onto producing and marketing, I am certain I will, so stay tuned!
Carol Ann: What is next for you? Anything in the works?
Leslie: I always have something in the works... As far as publishing, I will probably be looking over what I have, in search of something else that I can feel good about publishing. Who knows?
Carol Ann: Do you have any special mentions? (Editor, cover art etc...)
Leslie: Well, at this point there's only two of us that I know of, so shout out to Bill Beck of Endless Press [http://www.endlesspress.org/about/]! He's been a great publisher-cum-editor so far!
Carol Ann: What was your favourite book when you were growing up?
Leslie: Peter Pan was always my favorite fairy tale. And then there was also the Chronicles of Narnia which I read almost to the point of memorization.
Carol Ann: If you could meet any character from any book, who would it be? Why?
Leslie: Oh my goodness! There are so many different characters from so many books, it's really hard to choose! The main reason I would want to meet a fictional character at all would be to see what they actually look like, rather than having to configure an image in my mind, which is easy to forget. That's why I love a good film adaptation too, whether it exactly follows the book or not... Often, the casting is done well, so that way I have an image of the character to carry with me while I read the book.
Carol Ann: When did you realize you were meant to be a writer?
Leslie: I always enjoyed making up stories, even since before I could read. My earliest memory is of flipping through a kids' novel, not recognizing any of the words, but the pictures gave me clear ideas of what might be happening, so I told myself that story—one I made up by myself. From there, I just never stopped making up stories.
Carol Ann: If your life was a book, what would be the tag line?
Leslie: "Even the quiet ones get their moment to shine."
Carol Ann: What advice would you give new writers?
Leslie: Just write. It's awkward, you feel all confused and anxious—but the best and most important thing you can begin with that has helped me be able to write so much, is the skill of just writing down what comes to mind—and with practice, you might even find yourself thinking in complete sentences, which really helps!
Carol Ann: What has been the worst mistake you have made in your writing career?
Leslie: My worst mistake at this point is probably not developing my network of like-minded people soon enough. Growing up in a very close, conservative setting did give me a great foundation to be able to choose my tastes wisely, reading and writing high-quality, productive literature instead of what writers call "fluff and smut"—but at the same time, the ability to develop my skills in writing were limited in the circles I stayed in. The best "writer" I knew didn't have the same tastes I had, and didn't have enough experience with my prospective audience, to be able to help me in what I needed. If the advances in networking that I've experienced in the last couple years had only happened sooner, I probably would have been published long ago.
Also, a huge problem that I am only just now finding the answer to is overthinking. Not having friends or family who had the same tastes as I did, and being the "only one" who was so incredibly passionate about literature (and desperately introverted to boot), caused me to write because I loved it—then overthink it to the point of reluctance, or get so caught up in imagining how it might be received that I just never did anything with it or told anybody about it, for fear that I was wrong, and people actually might not like it.
Carol Ann: What is the best moment you have had with a fan?
Leslie: I am going to answer this because I do have fans, even though I am not yet published!
During my last year of college, my imagination (as it often does) went on revolt against all the writing assignments I was doing (I majored in English), and I started writing a "fanfiction spinoff" of the Chronicles of Narnia, entitled "The Telmar Trilogy." I did everything I could to match C. S. Lewis' writing style, bringing in elements of Bible stories and teachings to lend credence to my trilogy, even though it was only fan-made. When it was done, I gave it to a friend because she and all her siblings were very much fans of the Narnia series as well. She came back later and told me about one night, when she and a few of her younger siblings were talking about the Chronicles of Narnia, and she had expressed regret that Lewis had never continued the series.
Her little brother pipes up and says, "Yes he did! Remember that story about the girl who goes to Telmar and stuff?"
She had some difficulty convincing him that the author of the story was in fact me, not C. S. Lewis! That was when I knew I was ready to start branching away from fanfiction and writing my own stuff.
("The Telmar Trilogy" is available to read on Leslie's blog, The Upstream Writer, by following this link: http://upstreamwriter.blogspot.com/20... )
I can honestly say I am looking forward to reading Leslie's book when it is released later this year!