Interview with Leona R Wisoker

Who are your favorite authors?
I love writers who can turn words into magic: Mary Gentle, Patricia McKillip, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Elizabeth Bear. I also enjoy the more straightforward style of writers like Dick Francis, Allen L. Wold, and Tanya Huff. I read a lot of nonfiction these days, and my favorite authors in that arena are those who can turn dry information into an intensely real, personal, and fascinating story: Mark Kurlansky, Bud Webster, and Andrew Barr come to mind on that front. Finally, I love reading (and re-reading) children's books and YA; my absolute top favorite there is Tove Jannson, whose Moominvalley series I grab whenever I'm particularly in need of something to lift my spirits.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have an alarm clock that can't be shut off any other way than by getting up. His name is Shadow and he is a lab-beagle mix with the most piercing whine imaginable and an uncanny ability to sense just when I'm in the middle of a really good dream. Once I'm on my feet, making coffee is almost an automatic action, and once I have coffee in hand, well....I may as well get started on the day's to-do list!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Preferably sleeping, reading, cooking, or playing Hearthstone. Less ideal but more frequent: checking Facebook and Twitter, answering the phone, running errands, cleaning the house, sorting through the most crucial emails, and battling to keep up with the flood of paperwork that opening an LLC has landed in my lap.
What is your writing process?
That's a really hard question to answer. It varies wildly from day to day and from project to project. I've written while ill in bed, while waiting in an airport, in a convention hotel room between panels; I've written stories on my smart phone at 1 am when I woke up from a weird dream and the opening lines came together in my mind. Some days I avoid writing entirely, consciously or not, in part because the very act of writing often pushes me into a very fragile headspace--woo-woo as that may sound--where I'm hypersensitive to all the thousands of tiny cues people give off every minute of every day. When there are pragmatic tasks to handle, like paying bills or dealing with a family crisis, I can't always switch modes rapidly enough, so I have unpleasant anxiety attacks. When I can, I shove everything and everyone else aside and dive into writing until I stall out and have to take a break.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't read a lot of e-books, but when I do I tend to use my iPad these days. We have a Kindle, and it's nice, but I like the way I can switch from one application to another to another with the iPad. I use the iPad for e-cookbooks a lot--I just wrap the device in plastic wrap and set it on the counter. It's actually easier to do that than to lay out a print book, given my limited counter space!
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. No question. One person at a time. I'm genuinely interested in who my readers are as people, not in what they can buy from me. I want to know what they care about, what makes them laugh or cry, not how much spending money they have in their wallet today. I write stories because I have to write, I read because I can't /not/ read. I write for people who operate under the same sense of imperative: we have to read. Reading isn't a choice. It's an addictive passion and a continual quest. I get along with folks who feel the same way; even if a given reader doesn't like my books, they're liable to respect me enough to pass my name along to someone else who might get more out of my style of writing. That's a win all around, in my opinion.
Describe your desk
Right now my desk is fairly clean. I've just tidied up all of the receipts and bills and miscellaneous paperwork; I can see the glass surface for the first time in weeks. I have two monitors, a setup I /highly/ recommend for anyone who can afford the space. There is a stack of books to my left that I need to add into The Scribbling Lion catalog, a half-full cup of coffee to my right, an empty plate at my left elbow, and my smartphone at my right elbow. I have Pandora playing my easy shuffle mix--music that ranges from the Ditty Bops to Paul Simon, and easily fades into the background.

As I said in another question, this is not always the case. I write wherever I am. My desk is my favorite spot to work at, because it offers me access to the widest range of resources, from the bookshelves of reference material to the task-management software on my main computer. I have workarounds for almost every on the road situation by this point, though, so while a given task may take longer if I'm not at my desk, I can generally get it done regardless.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wrote the Children of the Desert series with an eye to straight traditional publication. I was lucky enough to land a contract with Mercury Retrograde Press, and had some very good times while signed there; but in the end, MRx closed the doors to trad-pub and went into self-publishing the owner's books. (If anyone wants the details, step over this-a-way: http://www.leonawisoker.com/a-new-adventure/)

In the year between getting my rights back from MRx and finding another publisher (ReAnimus Press) to take over the series, I took a real hard look at my assumptions and priorities, and made some scary decisions. I'd been watching the hybrid model evolve, and I decided this was as good a time as any to take a chance on self-publishing. I have dozens of supplementary short stories and novellas that readers of Children of the Desert would enjoy, but a traditional market wouldn't touch because they're simply too niche. You really have to have read the series to understand the point of these tales. So self-publishing was the obvious way to go.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I absolutely love facing off with the questions "what if?" and "what happens next?". That's what drives me to my keyboard, every time: finding out the answers to those two questions. I'm almost always surprised by what turns up!
Published 2015-01-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Feeding The Muse: Recipes For Authors, Recipes By Authors
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 19,880. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » General cookbooks
Step behind the scenes and into the kitchens of nine talented writers as they share their tips, tricks, and favorite meals! A variety of approaches form the backbone of this eclectic collection, designed to showcase the personality of each contributor. From Hapa Home Cooking to "dump cooking", there's a recipe here for every diet and experience level.
Salt City
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 60,980. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Moir's promotion to junior priest should have been the best day of his life. He'd worked hard to earn that title... too hard. As the northern kingdom spirals into that dark time later named "The Purge", Moir's choices set him on a uniquely perilous road, binding his future to the whim of creatures that were old before humanity was born.
A Small Price To Pay
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 8,140. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » Dark
Cuna, an ambitious young woman, breaks with tradition and risks her life to become an assassin-spy, but the cost of her choices is far higher than even she expected.
Fallen City
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,850. Language: American English. Published: January 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
Demigod or demon? It's a tough call, some days, as to which is the more effective mask to wear when dealing with humans....