We are delighted to welcome Anne Leonard to the Saucy Wenches Book Club to talk to us about her brand, spanking new release, Moth and Spark: a novel (release date 24th Feb.) We are so excited to add a new author to our reading lists! You can read the review here. Wench Angela and Wench Zee were eager to read a new fantasy novel by a female author, so we jumped at a chance to host a giveaway and chat with the author herself.
Click through to read the interview with Ms.Leonard and to participate in the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Moth and Spark!
Anne Leonard lives in Northern California. She has degrees from St. John’s College, the University of Pittsburgh, Kent State University, and University of California-Hastings College of Law. Leonard began MOTH AND SPARK while attending the University of California-Hastings College of Law (where she graduated cum laude) eking out a few hours on weekends or a half hour on the bus, or wherever she had the chance. After 3 years, she had a draft, but ultimately decided to practice law first. At last readers will be introduced to the deadly harsh steppe lands of Sarian, to the white-barked tree-lined streets of Caithenor.
Welcome Anne, we are so excited that you could join us at The Saucy Wenches Book Club!
Moth and Spark is your debut novel. We're sure you are excited and nervous to see how it all goes. What made you decide to sit down one day and write a novel?
Well, I wrote my first novel when I was somewhere around 13 (of course it was dreadful) and I just kept chugging along ever since. This one came about because I had a love story wanting to be told that kept getting in the way of other stuff I was writing, so I finally decided just to write it and be done. At first it was just for me, but then it morphed.
We always love a good map in a book, and were so delighted to see you had included one. How did you come up with the names of the places in your book?
Map credit goes to my amazing artist friend Rachel Smith. The place names are a combination of real places twisted a little and things out of my own imagination, mostly the latter. I did spend time doing a little research about place names generally but I don’t think that actually influenced anything in the book. I knew I wanted short place names, not something like K’rrafhgharthod that would be a pain to read (and to write), but that was about the only restriction I set on myself.
What was one of the hardest things you came across while writing Moth & Spark?
It took a long time to find the right ending. Once I got all the characters in the right place it was pretty easy, but there were a lot of drafts on the way there.
We absolutely LOVE the cover for your book? What kind of cover did you have in mind and did it live up to your expectations?
I had no idea what it was going to be. I kind of wanted something without people (which I got!) but I really had no expectations, because the book is kind of hard to reduce to one scene. The Viking Art Department did this cover without any input from me, and I am so pleased with it. One of my favorite things about the cover is that it really belongs to and is about this book, and couldn’t be popped onto 20 other fantasy novels out there.
Who are your favourite fantasy authors? Anyone in particular who inspired you?
I had favorite authors when I was younger, but I’ve become more of a pick it by the book person. Ursula K. Le Guin is probably the only fantasy author I would buy a book by on account of the name. There was a long period when I wasn’t doing much reading, and I’m really enjoying getting to see the new writers who have emerged in that time.
On that same note, do you have a favourite book or series that you would recommend to us and our readers?
Le Guin’s Earthsea series (all 5 books) is high on my list, also Susan Cooper’s series The Dark is Rising and Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Among books for adults I’ve liked The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Gunslinger by Stephen King. (Before you rush out to buy it, know that the Clarke book really needs you to have a love of 19th c. British literature too.)
Why did you want to write about dragons? We love them!
Dragons are the classic fantasy beast, yet have the potential to be written in so many ways, so that was part of what made them interesting. Also, I wanted something that was a dramatic contrast to polite conversations, and dragons was the best thing I could think of. I haven’t planned anything else specifically with mythical beasts, but at some point I want to write more about the darker creatures of Greek mythology.
The book is a standalone, which we confess was kind of refreshing. Standalones seem to be very unusual in today's fantasy landscape, with many authors wanting to end books with a cliffhanger. This seems to be a phenomena across genres. Was it your intent to write a standalone?
LOTS of people have appreciated that it’s a standalone – series fatigue may be setting in across the genre. Since I was writing this for myself initially, I never thought of it as anything other than one book. As a writer, I don’t want to do the same thing over and over, so even any other books set in the same world will have a different flavor to them.
Tell us a little about Moth and Spark and what readers can look forward to!
It is a love story. Not a bodice-ripper sort of thing, but definitely about relationships. It also has politics, spooky magic, and traditional fantasy elements – dragons, princes, wizards, wars. The lead female character is smart and practical and has an equal role in saving the world.
What do you want readers to be thinking and/or feeling once they've turned the last page of Moth & Spark?
Satisfied with having read a good story and eager to read something else by me! A little more seriously, I want readers to walk away from it with a positive view of self-actualized women and also with a desire to start looking at the world more closely and see things they’ve been missing.
Thank you so much for your time Anne! We've loved having you here! Good
luck with release day! We know it'll be great!
Thanks for having me! It was fun.
A prince with a quest. A commoner with mysterious powers. And dragons that demand to be freed—at any cost.
Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren’t big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire’s control. Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen. Torn between Corin’s quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.
For a chance to win a copy of this gorgeous book, take part in the giveaway below! (US entries only please. Sorry!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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