Leah Reise

 
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1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you now?

I definitely have East Coast roots, one side of my family having immigrated to New York from Sicily, and the other born and raised in New York with a past generation from Eastern Europe. I was born in Brooklyn and moved to California as a small child with my family, where I reside now.

2. What has been your greatest inspiration for writing your latest work in progress?

Truthfully, my main inspiration for writing my WIP (the sequel to my debut) is all the praise from readers. Seeing reviews from readers who loved my book and wanted more gave me that umph to continue the story, when I originally wasn’t sure if I should write the second book. Family and human connection also inspire my current project.

3. Are there any people you feel need a shout out for supporting you?

My boyfriend, Benjamin has been an amazing support system for me and my writing. He generously and thoroughly proofread my debut and continues to be that light in my life that gets me through any hardships. My family has also been very supportive of my writing, and even loved being the inspiration for some of the main characters in my debut!

4. Has self-publishing taught you any lessons that you feel will help you in life?

The answer to this question is a simple one, and requires only one word: patience!

5. What made you decide to become an author?

Becoming an author of a novel was not exactly something that I planned, or even something I dreamt about as a child. I loved writing stories since I can remember, but never thought I’d actually publish one! I did always love writing (for self-therapy mostly), but also because it was one of the only ways I could truly express myself and make more sense of the world, word by word.

6. What are some stories that changed your life or made a big impression on you and why?

Nothing affects me more than making someone feel at ease or at peace when they are in distress or pain. Helping to take someone’s pain away through empathy and compassion is something I live for. I work in a hospital and do volunteer work for people in need whenever I can. Seeing someone light up because of something I’ve said or done to comfort them is the best feeling in the world.

7. What message do you have for your fellow Indie Authors?

It’s quite the struggle to become recognized for most indie authors, even if you’re an excellent writer. Write for you, without fear of rejection. As long as your story means something to you, and it’s well-written, that’s all that matters. If only a few people enjoyed reading your book, then that’s still something. There’s always the next one! Never give up if writing is something you love. And never stop learning the craft! Most importantly, use beta readers. We can’t improve without honest opinions, even if critical ones.

8. What would you like your readers to take away from your work?

I always hope my work leaves readers feeling understood and human. If they take with them a sense of awe or find a greater connection with fellow human kind, then I couldn’t be happier. Even through fantasy, a writer can insert the human condition, and help the reader feel less alone in the world.

9. Tell us a little bit about your writing process. How do you get started? How do you know when you're done?

I’m not so sure I take the conventional approach to writing. When I get an idea for a book, I literally sit down and start writing. Sometimes this means the first chapter. Sometimes it means just jotting down quick-notes that later make little sense. Then an unorganized outline emerges, but usually after the first few chapters. I’m starting to realize, perhaps, that outlines truly help. It doesn’t have to be a fixed outline. I can always change things and restructure as the story evolves. But an outline gives me a slate to work from and add to when needed. When it comes to knowing when I’m done, I’m one of those authors that always has an itch to keep perfecting. So, forcing myself to be “done” is something I’m still learning.

10. What do you think your strengths are as a writer? What is it about your books that will draw your audience in?

I would say my strength as a writer is with description and creativity. I’m told I do a great job at painting the scene and making the reader feel like they’re experiencing what the character experiences. I’d also say my writing style has a poetic and honest flair that readers seem to appreciate. But every style isn’t for everybody, so I don’t expect everyone to love my writing. But I do enjoy reading both the positive and critical reviews of my work.

11. What components fit together to make a great book?

I think what makes a great book is an interesting impressionable story, well-written and well-edited content, and a clear and knowledgeable writing voice. It’s always a plus when the author does their research so that everything adds up. For example, even in fantasy worlds, most laws of physics would apply, unless of course you’re creating a completely pretend universe with its own laws of physics. Now that would be pretty creative! 

12.       What is your favorite genre to write?

This is a hard one. I always enjoyed writing articles that make a difference in the world, like my first article about social justice that was published in a local peace press. Recently, I’ve enjoyed writing inspiring articles for City To Country Magazine. But I may enjoy writing fantasy/paranormal books a little more. With fiction we have the power to paint the world in an “ideal” way. We can make dreams come true and realize fantasies. We can travel anywhere in the world with the stroke of a pen. Now, that’s freedom!

 
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