Name Angel Leya
34 in body, 24 in spirit. 🙂
Where are you from
I’m a transplant from upstate New York, living in sunny South Carolina in the (currently highly turbulent) United States. I’m happily married with two young children and a new baby on the way (this is my first official announcement!). Baby’s due in October, so plenty of time to get some writing in before my life gets turned upside down—again.
I write clean young adult fiction with a touch of magic and romance. I have several books out, including Legend of the Mer, the legend that led to Skye’s Lure, short story Raven, a grim tale of the siren’s song, Banned, Part 1 of the high fantasy adventure, Running Toward Illumia, which originally appeared in the free, 42-story young adult anthology, That Moment When…. My nonfiction books include Poetry in Composition, and My Natural Birth Story.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Angel: Besides the baby? *smiles* I’ve been working on part two of Running Toward Illumia. It’s been slow going with the first trimester, but as I come into the second trimester and things start to settle down, I’ve been able to get back into it. I’m excited to immerse readers further into the land of Mist and Astrea’s struggle to find where she belongs.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Angel: Technically, I started writing when I was a kid. I wrote some short stories and poems, but didn’t really get serious about becoming a writer until about 10 years ago. And I’ve only gotten more proficient in the last 2-3 years. I’ve always loved words, reading long into the night (long after the lights were supposed to be out), and I’ve always had stories inside of me. It wasn’t until a friend encouraged me to explore that that I really started to take it seriously.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Angel: After I published my first book, Call Her Forth. Admittedly, it was awful, so I ended up pulling it last year, but I have plans to revamp it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Angel: Call Her Forth was inspired by my own dreams of meeting my “true love.” The recurring dream gave me the idea that it would be fun for a couple to actually meet in their dreams, not knowing if the other was real. I still love the story and am excited for the plans I have to fix the “real life” side of the story.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Angel: I like my prose lean and easy to read. I guess what people call “accessible.” I also prefer the content to be “clean,” by which I mean little to no profanity and nothing sexual. Not that the characters don’t curse or have sex, but the reader doesn’t have to wade through all that to get to the story.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Angel: My process differs from book to book. I like to start with a title before I begin writing, even if I end up changing it. I try to take inspiration from the story, but have recently come across a book that encouraged looking at the book’s theme and motif in order to create resonance with the reader. I love that idea, and am looking to do more of that in the future.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Angel: For my current book, Running Toward Illumia (which I’m publishing in parts), the message is trying to find that place to belong. Astea looks for that sense of belonging in her tribe, and in her newfound friends. She’ll have to do a bit more looking, though.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Angel: The theme of Running Toward Illumia is heavily based on my own experience as a teenager. I felt out of place most of the time, a struggle that left me feeling alone and unwanted. Rehashing those feelings for this book just made sense.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Angel: I’ve read so many books throughout my life, it’s hard to pinpoint one (which is why it’s a good thing you said “books”). As a young girl, I loved J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series had a large impact later in my life. I also find that seeing independent authors do well encourages me that it can be done. Worth mentioning are Chrys Cymri (her stories almost always include dragons), Olivia Folmar Ard, who writes women’s fiction with emotional impact. I don’t exactly have mentors, but I’ve been fortunate to connect with editors and fellow authors, Gwen Weiler, Sea Chapman, and Laine Cunningham, who have all had a large impact on my journey as a writer.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Angel: Besides the ones I’ve already mentioned, I’ve recently been hooked by Ripley Patton’s PSS Chronicles series, which has a strong female lead I loved and a group of ragtag misfits all with the same condition – a missing body part has been replaced by a ghost of that part (the first book, Ghost Hand gives you an idea). Humor, mystery, a strong plot and incredible characters really made that a winner.
Timewaves is the other series I’ve gotten hooked on. It’s written by writing duo, Sophie Davis (the pen name they’ve adopted). Let’s just say time travel, humor, romance, 1920’s Paris, a serial killer, a mystery necklace, and a heist of historic impact. The story was riveting, and I loved how all the moving parts worked together. Plus, as a reader, I loved getting all the little clues so I could try to work out all the mysterious parts and bits of the story.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Angel: I’m a part of a few writer’s groups on Facebook that have been amazing. 10 Minute Novelists, Writers United – Author’s Club, and An Alliance of Young Adult Authors definitely lead the pack. I’m also a part of some smaller groups, one being my critique group, and the other being the BooksGoSocial author team I’m a part of.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Angel: Not yet for me, though I want it to be. For now, I’m content to make money helping other authors by creating covers and formatting book interiors. But every book I publish brings me a little closer to my goal of making writing my career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Angel: I’ll dip into my latest completed book, which is Skye’s Lure for this question. I wish I had thought through the kidnapping a little more. Readers have not been too impressed with that, and looking back, I can’t blame them. I still think the story has merit, but if I could have cinched the motives, I think the story would have gotten better reviews. But every story is a learning process. I hope what I’ve learned helps me strengthen future stories, like my current Running Toward Illumia.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Angel: Really, it started with reading. I mean, after traveling to so many worlds and living through so many adventures, I couldn’t go back to life as usual.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Angel: My favorite line from my current book comes from the kid who picks on Astrea incessantly about her differences:
A smile slid up one side of Mavin’s face. “My skin is a galaxy of freckles. You? You’ve barely enough for a constellation.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Angel: Editing. Ugh! I can do the little stuff, but when it comes to big picture stuff – where elements of the story don’t quite fit or there’s not enough tension or detail in a scene, finding and fixing that is so abstract it drives me nuts. That’s why I’ve decided to start breaking up the story into bits and chunks. Editing 15,000 words is a lot less daunting than editing 60,000 words.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Angel: I’d love to do more traveling, but with a homebody for a husband and two small children, getting out of the house is next to impossible. Thankfully, I have the internet and a very active imagination.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Angel: I do all my own designs, and have branched out and begun offering my design services to other authors. My best client is Laine Cunningham – visit her page and you’ll see about a dozen books. I’ve designed all but one of those. I also work with G.B. Brulte, who goes to great lengths to find exquisite images for his covers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Angel: I can’t say it enough. Editing. Editing. Editing. Ugh.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Angel: With Running Toward Illumia I’m really focusing on story structure and creating a fulfilling story that readers will rave about (I hope!).
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Angel: I’m most in love with my Running Toward Illumia book at the moment, so I’d have to cast Astrea as Maya Hart. With two young kids, I watch a lot of Disney, and she’d be perfect for the part of the strong huntress.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Angel: I think my favorite advice is if you love it, keep going, but if you don’t, drop it now. It’s not an easy thing, so there really has to be passion behind what you do. There’s a lot of rejection in the writing industry, and if you don’t have passion backing you up, it’s easy to get disheartened and drop it at the first sign of resistance. And that works with what you write as well. You really have to love what you’re writing as well as loving the job of story creation.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Angel: Thank you! Seriously, a writer writes to be read, and so for every set of eyeballs that takes the time to immerse themselves in the stories I create, I feel an incredible sense of gratitude.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Angel: I’m currently reading Gazore! by William Hallewell. He’s part of my BooksGoSocial author group, and I like getting familiar with the works of those I plan on helping to promote.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Angel: My earliest memory of a book has to be We Keep a Pig in the Parlor by Suzanne Bloom. She came and read it to us at school, and gave us signed copies of the book when she was done. That kind of thing sticks with a young mind.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Angel: These days, I’m all over the place (pregnancy will do that to you). Usually I’m a tough sell on crying. It really has to pull those heart strings to make me tear up. Laughing is another story. I love some good snarky humor, which I’m employing Running Toward Illumia with my unicorn, Windmane. He’s a riot.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would meet and why?
Angel: Probably Neil Gaiman at the moment, just because he seems so incredibly cool, I’d love for a little of that to rub off on me.
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?
Angel: I hope my headstone says that I was kind and died happy, because it would mean that I had lived my life well.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Angel: Digital art, particularly photo manipulation, is always fun. I also love to draw, though my youngest is in the grab-everything-out-of-your-hand phase, which means holding anything long enough to create a picture is a challenge.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Angel: I love Once Upon a Time on television, and I’m anxious to go see the new Beauty and the Beast movie. As you can tell, I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings.
Fiona: Favorite foods/Colors/Music?
Angel: Strawberries and ice cream (together or separately), blue and purple, and upbeat and uplifting music that makes you want to dance (like U2’s Beautiful Day).
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Angel: I’m doing it – being a mother. It’s not an easy job, but the clients sure are cute.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Angel: Yes! You can go to www.AngeLeya.com to see my books and what I’ve been reading. I also occasionally post content relevant to my books, but that’s only as I find time (which unfortunately is not often).
Creating stories with a touch of magic and romance.
Author of Banned, Part 1 of the YA fantasy adventure, Running Toward Illumia, Raven, a dark fantasy short story, Legend of the Mer, the prequel to Skye’s Lure, a contemporary fantasy mermaid romance, and contributor to the young adult anthology, That Moment When….
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/angelleya
Legend of the Mer: http://www.angeleya.com/books/legend-of-the-mer/
That Moment When…: http://www.angeleya.com/books/that-moment-when/