Today we have another fantabulous 2012 debut author to introduce…
Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. As a makeup artist, she creates glamour and ghouls under the name L.B. Benson. Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone, a YA fantasy set in a world inspired by Tsarist Russia, will be published in June of 2012 by Holt Children’s/Macmillan. She is repped by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary. To learn more about Leigh and the Grisha Trilogy, please visit her blog or follow her antics on Twitter.
Shadow & Bone:
Inspired by Tsarist Russia, Shadow & Bone brings to life a fantasy world of superstition and science, saints and samovars, in which a lonely refugee must leave behind her best friend- and first love- to save her country from the growing darkness of the Unsea. But first she must contend with the dangerous and decadent world of the kingdom’s magical elite and their powerful leader, a creature of dark charm and deadly ambition.
1. So Leigh, we’d like to know what the biggest challenge in writing Shadow & Bone was.
The doubt. I’d never written a book before and periodically, this very convincing voice would blast over the loudspeaker in my head and say, “Who the hell are you kidding?” or “Everything you’re doing is wrong!” or “Those reruns of ANTM aren’t just going to watch themselves!”
2. Oh wow…I think we ALL know what doubt feels like. And it’s always so motivational to see people who managed to conquer it. 🙂 Do you have a critique partner or beta reader who helped you get where you are now?
Before I queried agents, Shadow & Bone went to Michelle Chihara and Josh Kamensky. Neither writes YA, but they’re both wonderful writers and, maybe more importantly, they’re fantastic readers. I think it’s important to choose your beta readers with great care. Some people don’t know how to give feedback without getting their egos involved. Both Michi and Josh know how to ask the right questions; they locate the weak spots without disturbing the integrity of the work. That’s a really remarkable skill and I’m lucky to have benefited from it.
3. And we, as readers, are lucky too! We get a great book to read because of those crit partners. Now tell us: if you were transported into your book, which scene would you most want to reenact?
I’m a sucker for great clothes and great food so I’d choose the Winter Fete at the Grand Palace. This is the
Ravkan court at its most decadent– choirs singing in the trees, men covered in gold leaf riding zebras, jeweled party favors, and lots of champagne. I’d love to walk the grounds, see the onion domes of the Little Palace, catch a glimpse of the Darkling or Alina.
4. Wow, Winter Fete? Can’t WAIT to read that!! Tell us about your typical writing day–what’s it involve?
When I’m in the early drafts, I like to write at LA Mill or a cafe close to home. In the evenings, I research. When the deadline looms, I go into the bunker and I don’t come out. I write from morning until late at night, and I rarely leave the house.
5. Hahaha–a bunker sounds about right. Do you have any final words of advice or inspiration–something you learned in your experiences on the front lines ;)?
Don’t let fear of the odds defeat you. Yes, it’s tough to get published and it’s important to understand the realities of the marketplace. Now forget all of that and just go write the best book you can.
6. AMEN! But…uh-oh! Pub Brawl! What weapon are you wielding?
A jeweled walking stick, but really, my bare hands will suffice. In fact, let’s keep this challenging– I’ll just use my thumbs.
7. Kapow–thumb war challenge it is! Okay final question: what would you name your literary Pub?
The Stag & Saint. Our specialty cocktail list includes the Dark Heart (made with muddled plums), the slightly medicinal Benediction, and of course, our take on a White Russian. We feature live music on Thursday nights, fortunetellers on Fridays, and black-eyed bartenders who get maudlin when the fiddle plays. Drop by, won’t you?
Um yes, we will definitely drop by! Black-eyed bartenders and fortunetellers are always a WIN in our books!
Now, since Leigh’s book is a wild ride of epic, EPIC fantasy (dark fantasy…and um, delicious romance), she wants to get you all excited about high fantasy and strong heroines–especially high fantasy and strong heroines in YA. As such, Leigh is giving away a copy of the wonderful (and very popular) The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.
You heard right–Leigh is giving away a copy of this epic fantasy, and she’s gonna pass it along to one of YOU. All you have to do is fill out the little raffle form below, and we’ll announce the winner NEXT WEEK (on Thursday)!
And, be sure to tune in tomorrow, when we introduce our next new member (and offer more fun swag!).