Fantasy-Related Video of the Moment
Zero Gravity - Kerli

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Featured Author - Leslie Soule! - Part 4

BLURB: Fallenwood—a land where magic is the life force, dragons are sages, and wizards good and evil battle for supremacy.

When 23-year-old Ash is thrust into the middle of Fallenwood’s power struggles, she is also forced to face her own inner battles. Life on Earth was hard enough on Ash, who is locked in grief for her stepfather. Now, the fate of Fallenwood rests on her shoulders. She must destroy the Great Crystal—the catalyst for all the land’s magic. As the kingdoms prepare for war, Ash must look inside to find the power to save the world, and herself.

Ashley looked around and realized that she was standing in a clearing. Her heart raced, and she breathed slowly, trying to calm her frazzled nerves. Glancing around, she wondered how far off the road she‘d wandered. She looked up into a sky full of stars. She knew it had been mid-day when she‘d started running, and now looking up into the star-filled sky, it had to be late into the night.

A rush of air greeted her the moment she reached this strange part of the forest, before her eyes had temporarily forsaken her. The wind whipped around her from all sides. She backed away from the spot where she stood, because her eyes had yet to adjust to the night, and the wind felt like it was whooshing up from a precipice. Ashley paused to allow her eyes to adjust to the dark. When her sight returned, she realized that she was standing nowhere near a cliff—it was just an unfamiliar area of forest.

Suddenly, a ball of fire hurtled overhead in an arc toward her. Her mind screamed at her to run, but she found that her legs wouldn‘t move. The flaming orb continued its descent, burrowing itself into the soft ground only inches away from Ashley‘s boots.

For more information on Leslie or Fallenwood checkout her website:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Featured Author - Leslie Soule! - Part 3

MLM: Why Fantasy? What was the draw for you?

LESLIE: I love writing about mythical creatures and magic. It makes writing a lot of fun. Also, I’ve read a lot of fantasy and that’s what first got me interested in writing it.

MLM: All of us are influenced and impacted by TV, movies, books and/or authors at different times in our lives. Who, what and which TV, movies, books and/or authors influenced you? When in your life did you discover them and why were they so influential for you? (Don’t be afraid to give us more than one of each kind!)

LESLIE: I have definitely been influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and Brian Jacques’s Redwall series. As far as movies, I absolutely love older fantasy/mythology movies like Ladyhawke, Legend, and The Labyrinth. I discovered these books and movies in my teen years and I still think they’re great.

MLM: Considering the TV, movies, books and/or authors mentioned, is there one TV, movie, book and/or author in particular that you try to emulate in your writing? Which one(s) and why? Please be as specific as you can! J

LESLIE: I try to just borrow themes or ideas instead of emulating certain writers in their style. In my latest fantasy novel, Fallenwood, the dream chapter where Ash sees the Wolf King for the first time, was one I worked on in a creative writing class. The assignment was that we were supposed to take a scene from someone else’s work and adapt it to fit our own story. So I took the scene from Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” where Oberon and Titania are arguing, and that’s what became that little scene.

MLM: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please look beyond words like mysterious, suspenseful, creative, unique etc., and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

LESLIE: I intended to write Fallenwood as a way for me to sort of “go home” to someplace familiar and comfortable after my stepfather’s death. So that’s how my writing ended up for me, is it talks a lot about comfort and friendship and homely things. So I would say that my writing style is “like going home”.

MLM: In Part 2 we asked if you believe in mystical Irish lore such as Leprechauns. Have you ever used any type of Irish lore in one of your stories? If so, which lore and what was the situation?

LESLIE: I haven’t yet, but that would be great! New story idea! Woo Hoo!

MLM: Also in Part 2 we asked you about your views on March. Does this show through in your writing? If so, give some examples how, please!

LESLIE: When I finished reading this question, the scene that instantly came to mind was a scene where Ash and Prince Edward wake up in a field of wildflowers. I definitely want to write about spring scenes more, but it’s been a bit difficult up to this point, since my writing has focused on dark ideas and themes.

MLM: Who decides what characters/creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over their actions and the plot, or is the muse always the one deciding the adventure the characters take?

LESLIE: I would say it’s half and half. I wanted to write about Ash and Will, but the other characters definitely came from my muse for Fallenwood. As for how the adventure goes, I never know the path it’s going to take. I know where I want it to end up, and my muse fills in the rest.

MLM: Of all the stories you’ve written please tell us:
a.) Which character/creature did you have the most fun creating and why? What about this character/creature makes it stand out above all the others?

LESLIE: I really like Greymalkin from Fallenwood. He’s a talking cat who was once a man and he’s got these white paws. I love animals, so that’s what does it for me, I think.

b.) If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters/creatures in real life, who would it be and why?

LESLIE: I think I would actually want to meet Will Everett. He’s Ash’s mentor and I imagine that he’s got this huge library of magical texts. One of my reviewers said that he’s the unsung hero of the novel, and I definitely agree.

c.) Which of your characters/creatures would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

LESLIE: I would say Akaji, but I’ve already met his real-life counterpart. He’s dead now (I didn’t kill him – cancer did). But even writing him into Fallenwood was very difficult for me because the memory of him still scares me. I recall my critique partner saying that every time he showed up in the story, I didn’t want to touch the relationship between him and Ash with a ten foot pole. So that’s one of the things that I had to work through in creating Fallenwood.

d.) If you could choose to visit one setting/world you’ve created which one is it, where is it and why this destination over all the others? What makes it stand out over all the others?

LESLIE: I would want to make a visit to the Pan-Experiential, which is this place where you’re tested through your dreams. I think I would want to go there mainly out of curiosity, to see what sort of tests there would be.

MLM: On that note, we’ll end our interview for this week. Thank you so much for joining us this week!

LESLIE: Thank you for having me!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Featured Author - Leslie Soule! - Part 2

MLM: Mardi Gras is Tuesday March 8th this year. Will you be celebrating it this year? Why or why not? If so, what are your plans this year? Care to share any stories of past Mardi Gras celebrations?

LESLIE: I didn’t end up doing anything for Mardi Gras this year. I usually don’t celebrate it. I was scheduled for Jury Duty and then went to martial arts. I’ve been leading grappling classes lately on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any cool Mardi Gras stories. Never been to New Orleans or anything. Mardi Gras seems to be a very quiet holiday here on the West coast.

MLM: Are you Irish? Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day…why or why not?

LESLIE: Kiss Me! I am an eighth Irish. My Irish ancestry is the only line I can trace all the way back to the country of origin clearly. I usually celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by seeing who’s making corned beef and cabbage and partaking. For the past several years, I’ve wanted to get green beer. I tried making it myself once by just adding food coloring to beer and I added too much – I stained my teeth green!

MLM: In some areas, St. Patty’s Day is celebrated with green beer and all sorts of other green things, like green eggs and ham, have even been given a spotlight this time of year. What kind of activities will be going on in your area?

LESLIE: Umm…I think there are going to be a lot of places offering green beer out here. Also, I know in Old Sacramento there’s always a big St. Patrick’s Day parade.

MLM: One of the greatest things about the Internet is that we can connect with writers of all kinds from all over the globe so we want to know:
a.)What area of the country/world are you from?

LESLIE: I am from Sacramento, California, USA.

b.)What are the average temperatures of your area?

LESLIE: It stays pretty warm most of the time here. We never have snow. It’s awesome.

c.)What type of clothing would most residents be wearing today?

LESLIE: Well, it’s still a bit chilly, so they’d be wearing pants, t-shirt, and probably a light jacket of some kind.

d.)What tips do you have for people to “survive” the weather where you are?

LESLIE: Survive? Ha ha ha ha ha! This is California. It’s so great.

MLM: March has strong connections with Ireland, which is steeped in mysticism. What about you, are you steeped in mysticism? Do you believe in leprechauns and the like, or at least enjoy the tales of them? Why or why not? Are there any mystical beings with ties to Ireland that you really enjoy?

LESLIE: I like to think I’m steeped in mysticism. Maybe a little too much. I think it freaks people out sometimes. I love leprechaun lore. When I was in elementary school, we had to make leprechaun traps and it was so fun. I took one of those little baskets you get strawberries in and tied it to a string and tied that to a big stick so it was like a fishing pole. Then I put lettuce underneath. For some reason, I figured leprechauns would want to eat green things. As for mystical beings with ties to Ireland, I just love Irish mythology in general. What I really love is that the bards of Ireland would lie about their histories on purpose, and make these awesome, elaborate stories. They understood that it doesn’t matter whether these things are literally true, as long as we believe them in our hearts.

MLM: What is your view on March? Does it come in like a lion and exit like a lamb? Do you feel that March is really the time of rebirth, even though many flowers and trees might not start budding until April in northern parts of the world? Why or why not?

LESLIE: I’ve never really thought about how I feel about March before. The month’s only begun and it certainly seems like with everything going on for me, it’s come in like a lion. I guess we’ll see whether it exits like a lamb or not.

MLM: If you could go anywhere in Ireland, where would you go and why?

LESLIE: I would go to County Mayo in Ireland, since that’s where my ancestors were from.

MLM: On that note, we’ll end our interview for this week. Thank you so much for joining us this week! Please check back for the next installment of our feature!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Featured Author - Leslie Soule! - Part 1

Writing begins with reading. My father used to read to my sisters and I when we were little. We insisted on my father reading us bedtime stories. Eventually though, it came time for us to learn to read. From what I’ve heard, with my sisters, the process was gradual. With me, though, it was like I learned to read over night. Ever since I first started reading, books have been fascinating to me. Contained within their pages is the power to transcend time and distance and to send messages to the entire world. That’s why I’ve realized that as writers and consumers, we have to be careful about the kinds of messages we create and also about the kinds of messages we take in. That is because cultural phenomena does not just happen out of thin air. The cultural ideas and values we encounter in our everyday lives are reinforced by the various forms of media that we constantly encounter, whether it’s the words in a book, the lyrics in a song, or the plots of television dramas.

That being said, I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I benefit from (I wouldn’t say “I suffer from”) the effects of an extremely over-active muse. My muse did need some help and encouragement along the way, though. That’s what my stepfather provided for the ten years that I knew him. My stepfather Richard A. Anderson, author of the novel The Temple of the Heart, was my literary mentor. Although I began writing my first novel, Fallenwood, after his death, I could not have written it without his gentle wisdom and patient guidance.

My stepfather died in 2002, the year I graduated from high school. I was devastated, and I had absolutely no idea what to do with my life. My twin sister enrolled me in community college classes at the same time she signed up and my aunt was kind enough to give us the money for textbooks that first semester. I figured that taking General Education courses would give me time to think of what direction I wanted to go in. After taking two years of General Ed., I realized that I’d come to the point where I had to choose. I liked to write and was good at English, so I became an English major. This was a great decision for me, because it exposed me to a lot of the literature that is out there. I think it is important for a person to be well-read, if for no other reason than that you’ll pick up on the myriad literary references that are made in news stories, comics, television shows and video games.