Name: Kathrine Leannan
Age: Old enough to know and appreciate the wonders of the Universe
Where are you from:
I am a fifth generation very proud Australian. I live in a beautiful rural village on the outskirts of Sydney. I love this country and count myself most privileged to have been born here
A little about yourself i.e. your education Family life etc
In my non-author life, I am a four decade career Registered Nurse/Midwife. I value the company of women and value safe practice, safe birthing and good outcomes for women and their babies. I am married to the beat of my heart—eternity will never be long enough to be with him. I am a Mom and a Nanna to my four grandbabies. My latest tertiary qualification is a PhD. You can call me Doc!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have been offered a four book contract for the Katana Series by Grimoire Books. Warrior Born, the first book in the series was released in eBook on the 29th August this year and is due for release in print for Christmas. My biggest news is that on day 2 after the release Warrior Born was ranked 196 in Amazon Australia in the fantasy category. I was over the moon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
My family jokes that I was born with a pen in my hand. Writing to me, is as innate as breathing. I have always been a prolific professional writer. I guess writing works of fiction was a natural progression for me. My Dad was a great story teller. I am privileged to have had his love of the telling of tales passed on to me. I am very proud to realise, this trait has been passed on to my daughter.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
You know…I for as long as I can remember have considered myself a writer. I have always loved to write, be it academic argument or twists of fantasy.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
At the time I started writing Warrior Born, I was undergoing significant change and upheaval in my life. Words have always given me solace. I found writing Warrior Born gave me peace, distraction and a place to re-energise and refocus.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write as I think—conversational, like real people speak, not the stilted, perfect dialogue I see so many times in works of fiction. I write as if I am there, as if I am the character.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I come from a long line of warriors. My life experiences have taught me to be tough and resilient. I realised a long time ago, that I too am warrior born. This book was cathartic for me, hence the title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Dare to believe – anything is possible.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
There are bits that come from real life, two of the characters are named for members of my family and one of the characters is so named for a dear friend I lost many years ago. Primarily, the book is set in Australia with a local town and district the setting where the story unfolds. I believe anything is possible if you have the courage to believe. I am not constrained by reality. I create my own reality. This is a work of fantasy, the possibilities are endless.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There is a secondary character in this work who, is very like me. She was so influential she threatened to usurp the heroine. In order to keep her happy (and quiet) I gave her a story of her own which is book three of the Katana Series – Wrath of the Highlands. Horses have played a big part of my life, so it is hardly surprising that my Hades, a black gorgeous Friesian stallion plays a major part in Warrior Born.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Works of fantasy – JR Ward – The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Karen Maree Moning – The Highlander Series, the Fever Series, Kresley Cole – The Immortals After Dark Series, The Dacians Series, The Arcana Chronicles, Richelle Mead – The Vampire Academy Series, The Bloodlines Series and of course Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander— Every girl needs a Jamie Fraser in her life.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Without a doubt – Karen Maree Moning – she is a brilliant story teller.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon – Book 8 in the Outlander Series. Her characters are so visceral and amazing.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I recently read and enjoyed a time travel book called Love in Ruins by Erin Grace. It is fun, but he hero completely appealed to me – a Scot of course.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently editing Daughter of the Sword – Book 2 of the Katana Series as well as continuing with book 3.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My Critique Partner and dear friend author Erin Grace. She taught me to firstly not be precious about making changes to strengthen the work. Of course this only comes with the confidence to write better and show the reader what you are trying to say rather than telling them in narrative. This was quite a challenge for me as an academic writer, which of course is presented in the narrative.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
My dream is to be a full time author.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not at all. I am completely satisfied with the story that is Warrior Born.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always loved to write. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed writing assignments, stories and even a Masters, then a PhD thesis.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Daughter of the Sword – Book 2 of the Katana Series – due for release 2015.
“Hmmmmp!” Connor muttered as she walked down the front steps from the large rambling house towards her bike. Reaching across the black leather seat, she grasped the strap of the twin saddlebags and slung them over her shoulder. The crunch of footsteps on the gravel behind her, made her turn around. The tall dark haired man who had earlier introduced himself and his brothers were following her.
Ewan fell into step beside her and pointed to the small white cottage. “It’ small, but it should be comfortable enough.”
Sighing, she groaned to herself. “Oh Jesus…this is going to be a very long year.” The pain of separation from her family lay like a dead weight in her chest—a constant reminder of the seven hundred miles between herself and Nimerlin, her clan home and Craig, her husband lying dead and cold holding James their son in the grave they shared.
Walking a little ahead of her, he fished deep in the front pocket of his jeans and extracted what she presumed was the key to the cottage located on the eastern side of the main house. The white wooden handrail was smooth under her hand as she followed him up six narrow wooden stairs to stand on the front porch. Holding the doorknob in his left hand, he inserted the key and jiggled the lock, twisting it left and right.
“Seems the bloody thing is a bit stiff.” He turned back to look at her and for just an instant, a shadow flitted across his features before he turned back to face the lock and twisted the key ninety degrees. “It’s been a while since…since…anyone has used this place.” The hinges squeaked as he pushed the door open into a tidy, freshly painted cabin. Standing to one side, he held the door open as she walked passed him into the room.
Her head shot up and her nostrils fared as the waft of…what was that…paint? spirit? No…it was sandalwood that teased her memory. Shrugging her right shoulder, she looked up to find him watching her. The strap of the saddlebags slid down her arm and into her grasp. Raising her hand, she dropped the satchel on the table in the centre of the room. The muffled sound confirmed the carry-alls had connected with wood. The leather band of a battered sword scabbard rested warm between her breasts. Reaching forward, she shrugged the casing over her head, placing it almost reverently alongside the saddlebags.
Standing in the doorway, he stared as he inclined his head towards the table. “What’s that?”
Leaning forward, she touched the ancient leather scabbard, moving it closer to the centre of the table. “It’s a scabbard.”
“A scabbard? For what?”
“A Katana—a Samurai sword.”
“Seriously Connor, I don’t think you will need any weapons here at Glen Rowan. What do you do with it?”
Looking first to him, then to the scabbard and back to him again, a wry smile painted her lips. “Piss me off and find out!”
Frowning, he gave a nervous chuckle then ran a hand through his hair. “I’ll consider myself warned then. Is there anything you need?”
She shook her head. “No…thanks. I can manage from here.”
Turning towards the stairs, he said over his shoulder. “Alright then. We eat at seven as a…”
“I’ll take my meals over here. Thanks anyway. I’ll do a grocery run a bit later. I’ve a bit to do over the next couple of days. The removal truck will be here tomorrow and my horse arrives the day after. I’m fine.” Shrugging off her leather jacket, she slung it over the back of one of the kitchen chairs. “Tell your father thanks, but I prefer to keep my own company”.
He turned back round to face her. “As I said…we eat as a family at seven. I suggest you don’t be late, my da isn’t known for his good humour.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
It is important to take the reader along with you as the story evolves. The story in your head may not be the same as what is down on paper. Often we assume the reader knows as much as the writer does. Not so. This is a trap for the unwary that is for sure. This is why it is good to have a Critique Partner who can read the work and go — huh? Is something missing here? Or worse still — what are you trying to say here? This doesn’t make sense.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Diana Gabaldon. I adore everything Scottish. All of my works of fiction have a Scottish slant.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet. But as the promotions continue and the books become better known, I imagine travel will be inevitable.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed the cover with a graphic artist from an Australian company CleverLink. I gave her a set of words and a passage from the book so she could get a feel for what I wanted to create. To me, a great cover is a must. I intend to work with the same company again for all of my book covers and banners.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Having to participate in life when the muse is in residence is really challenging. Stopping to cook or go to work can be really exasperating when all I want to do is sit at the keyboard and type. Writing for me is pure pleasure. Editing is hard because you have to be brutal. My mantra is “Does it move the story forward? Yes? Keep it. No? Cry later.
Speaking of my muse, her name is Mimi and she is a 1000 year old dragon. No, I am neither mad, nor am I medicated. She came to me about two years ago, making her first appearance while I was driving and almost had an accident. People think I am kidding. I am not. She is very real, cantankerous and a handful. I love her to bits. I hope she stays with me forever, even though she does sulk and get snooty if she doesn’t get her own way.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned what I already knew, that I am a weaver of tales and that I love to write.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just get the words down and don’t look back. Don’t be tempted to edit as you write, this will sap your energy and progress. Listen to the advice of others and then take what works for you. Don’t become a slave to the ‘rules’ of writing. Dare to be different. I find a good deal of modern books are edited to death and are so sanitized that the story suffers.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Enjoy reading and read widely. If you enjoy a book, leave a review for the author. This not only helps the author with sales, but also, encourages others to read as well. Conversely, if you don’t like a book, don’t be one of those horrible, insulting people who say terrible things on review sites. As a reader, you are entitled to your opinion—please…be constructive.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Thunderhead by Mary O’Hara.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I love Australian and English Comedy. Cruelty to animals makes me so incredibly sad. Racism, sexism and violence are abhorrent to me. It makes me very sad that my
Dad did not live long enough to see my children grow up.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would like to meet and why?
My Dad—because I miss him and admired him so much. He was always so proud of my achievements.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I am creative, so I enjoy seeing projects come to fruition. We have three horses. They have always been a big part of my life, so they don’t leave a whole lot of time for other hobbies. I love to cook and do huge tapestries. I love to study and research. I also love to do lead-light—making lamps and windows.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch a great deal of television. Having said that, I do enjoy a good series such as The Big Bang Theory—I can easily identify with Sheldon. The Outlander Series is the best television I have seen in years. I enjoyed The Tomorrow People and The 100.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Thai food, seafood, vegetables. Purple is my favourite colour. I have eclectic tastes in music. However I loathe loud head banging music or music with offensive lyrics.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would like to have been a full time creator of lead-light glass features and windows.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes I have a website: Kathrineleannan.com I invite everyone to pop over and visit.
I smell rain before clouds gather across the sky. I feel the dawn before the sun paints my world the colours of the earth. It is the flit of gossamer wings above my head as I walk through the garden that warms my soul and makes me glad that faeries exist. The universe is my mistress and my strength. Things that growl in the shadows or snap at my ankles in the night are my dark friends—the source of my creativity. I, am Kathrine Leannan.