Interview with Angel Leya

Do you have any Halloween stories?
Though not specifically about the holiday, I recently released my short story, Raven. It's a dark fantasy set in an alternate earth. A tribesman happens upon a song-bird-woman while on a hunt to secure a bride and his family's position within the tribe. But the creature may not be the good fortune he thinks she is.

It's a little darker than my normal stuff, but I love the story - and it was a Finalist in the Neoverse Short Story Competition! I decided to publish it for Halloween, and thought it would be a special treat for my readers to make it free. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Stay tuned for my forthcoming novella, Running Toward Illumia! It's a high fantasy story about a girl who must escape her home in the land of Mist before she runs out of time.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Poetry in Composition is a compilation of all the angsty poems I wrote as a teenager, as well as a few that I wrote as an adult. I felt everything through my poems. Love. Hope. Disappointment. Depression. When writing in my journal wasn't quite enough, I'd put my feelings to rhyme or rhythm. Whatever came to mind. I've largely gotten away from poetry as an adult, but it still holds a special place in my heart.

I published the poems to my blog a couple times, and got some great response. So, I decided that it would be fun to create a book, and after I discovered Unsplash.com, I knew I had to pair the poems with photos. I'm pretty proud of the compilation. It's raw and real and it's my heart, in a way.
Can you tell us more about your inspiration for your mermaid novella, Skye's Lure?
Skye's Lure came about when I was watching Mermaid: The Body Found. I didn't realize at first that it was just a mockumentary (I told my husband that it was either the biggest hoax ever, or the coolest discovery ever). But it got the wheels turning all the same. I started wondering how a mermaid species would come about, so I wrote the legend. The story swelled from there, and I started thinking about why the Mer would remain hidden and how exposure could end up causing problems. So I lured Skye, a mermaid in a very secretive pod, to a beautiful party yacht, and then threw the owner in the ocean (in the story, not in real life, silly), and I was hooked. I blogged the story, then compiled it and rewrote parts to strengthen it, and then I published it. I'm pretty proud of how it came out, and I may create some more stories surrounding Skye and the Mer, if I can find the time. :)
What are you working on next?
Running Toward Illumia is my current project, and I'm super excited about it. It's a fantasy piece set in another world. There's unicorns and elves and dragons and ogres and fairies. My favorite creations are the moon elves, who have advanced mental powers, and a dragon fae, an outcast to both the dragons and the fairies, but powerful enough to give voice to the voiceless Mythics if she can get the moon elves out of the way. I'm feeling like it 's going to be a series, which is also a first for me. I've learned so much about creating stories, and I'm hoping that this book is my best yet!
Who are your favorite authors?
Chrys Cymri writes incredible fiction, and most include dragons. Olivia Folmar Ard writes women's fiction focused on characters with varying degrees of mental illness (anxiety, depression, rage, etc.). KB Hoyle and Quenby Olsen have also created enjoyable fiction. Dan Koboldt's new series, Rogue Retrieval is a parallel world contemporary fantasy with loads of humor.

Of the more mainstream, I love CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and JK Rowland.

I also work alongside the esteemed Laine Cunningham, so even though she writes outside of my preferred genres, she's still technically a favorite.
When did you first start writing?
I actually began writing when I was a kid. I would journal, write poetry or songs, and I even attempted to write two books as a teen. They were more like short stories. When as a young adult I was asked what I wanted to do with my life, my reply was to write books that rivaled Harry Potter. Big dreams, I know.

Despite all that, I didn't realize the passion I had for writing until a friend encouraged me to write a book I'd had on my mind for a while. It was a hot mess, and I've since unpublished that first foray into self-publishing. But once I started, the stories just kept coming.

I began in earnest a few years ago, writing and querying and learning and looking at all my options. It's been a long road, and I still have a long one ahead of me (especially if I can get around to writing all these dang stories!), but I'm so glad to have found my passion.
What do you read for pleasure?
I tend to read what I write, which are stories with fantasy or sci-fi elements and romance. I loved the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series. But I've also met a lot of great indie authors, and I love reading their books, too. I haven't found many who share my genre, but I've found that quality writing with all the feels transcends genre, so I've enjoyed a lot of different types of books recently. Some of my favorite indie authors include: Chrys Cymri (if you like my stuff, you'll love hers!), Olivia Folmar Ard (beautiful women's fiction), and Jackie Dana.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love creating stories that entertain, transport, and give you all the feels. I'm still working on that, but that's part of the fun. I love learning, and strange facts, and I love how my crazy little mind twists them to create whole stories and worlds and people.

My current project, Running Toward Illumia, follows a girl from a tribe of redheads as she seeks to save her life by traveling to Illumia. The redheads live in Mist, which means no sunlight. My inspiration came when I learned that redheads create their own vitamin D, so they don't really need sunlight like the rest of us crazy people. So then I created the Mist, and then I had to figure out how to create an eternal mist, and the Mist valley was suddenly bordered by the ocean and the Dragon Range. You can see how things developed.

That's joy. Bringing these worlds to life, and especially if readers enjoy them, is a complete joy. I hope I can do this for the rest of my life. :)
Describe your desk
Ah, I wish I had a desk. Right now, I'm using the kitchen counter. Later I'll use the arm of my couch. I've had my laptop in bed when it's bedtime for the kids, and in bedrooms while the children play with toys. My desk is as transient as my stories, and as hard to nail down as my kids. I sometimes wish I had a real desk with a view, like you'd see in a picture. I don't know if that will ever be the case. But I can still write, and I can still spend time with my kids, so if my desk is just the current surface that allows me to do both, then it's not such a bad desk after all.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Besides being a full-time mom, I tend to do book work. I can edit, format, create covers, and market. I also love reading books to my kids. When I get a free moment, I enjoy dancing, sketching, playing games, and taking walks.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are the difference between me writing stories for myself, and me writing stories that make a difference. I love my readers, and I'm so glad for every one that has taken the time to read my stories, or reviewed them, or recommended them. I am humbled to have that kind of support. And I love being able to connect with them. Without readers, without fans, I am not an author. So thank you!
Published 2016-10-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Running Toward Illumia (Illumia #1)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 71,520. Language: English. Published: April 12, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Astrea would do just about anything to feel like she belongs--even hunt a unicorn to feed her starving tribe. But when her guilt and the promise of a curse gets the better of her, she'll do everything in her power to free the unicorn. Now it's a race to escape and a struggle to put everything right. And Astrea is running out of time.
Marked (Running Toward Illumia #4)
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 16,080. Language: American English. Published: March 29, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Astrea is closer than ever to her destination of Illumia, but she's never felt further from what she wants. Can she make it out of the Mist in time, and what's waiting for on the other side of the dragon range? Or underneath, for that matter... Marked is part 4 of Running Toward Illumia (Banned - 1, Lost - 2, Drenched - 3).
Drenched, Part 3 of Running Toward Illumia
Series: Running Toward Illumia. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 22,960. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Unraveling secrets are unraveling Astrea, and with her new knowledge comes unforeseen obstacles. The mountains are within reach, their pursuer is still near, and everyone has something to hide. Astrea's hope of making it out of the Mist is quickly dwindling, along with the last of her strength. Continue Astrea's adventure today!
Lost, Part 2 of Running Toward Illumia
Series: Running Toward Illumia. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 26,180. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
Astrea's strength is waning, and as the lies surrounding her begin to unravel, she finds herself more and more entangled in the politics of Illumia. It’s everything Astrea never wanted.Though she longs for home, how can she ever go back?
Banned, Part 1 of Running Toward Illumia
Series: Running Toward Illumia. Price: Free! Words: 15,380. Language: English. Published: March 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Where do the Banned go when home's no longer home? The lyrics of the old village tune haunt Astrea, who wants nothing more than to feel like she belongs in the redhead Rudan tribe. To prove it, she captures a unicorn who has wandered into the Mist, the first hope of meat in their famine-ridden land. But unicorns are magical creatures, and anyone who kills or eats one will become cursed.
Legend of the Mer
Price: Free! Words: 3,240. Language: English. Published: March 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00)
Ever wonder if mermaids are real? Skye sure believes. She is one, and she's recounting their history for the young mermaids. It's a history full of heartache and bad choices, in which a tribe--once holders of the sea's secrets--become a part of her. Mermaids are real, but what Skye wants to know is if humans are everything she's dreamed of.
Raven: A Dark Fantasy Short Story
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,310. Language: English. Published: October 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
An unexpected encounter with a creature of song may have the power to change his fate. Fans of Chanda Hahn will enjoy this dark fantasy short story that transports YA readers to an enchanting alternate Earth where wonders are not always as fantastic as they seem.
Skye's Lure
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 26,530. Language: American English. Published: August 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
I should've let him drown. Now I have to decide. Is it worth risking everything I've ever known, everything I've ever believed, to follow my heart? How can I say yes? But how can I possibly say no? Readers of clean young adult fantasy will enjoy this contemporary sweet romance with all the charm of The Little Mermaid.