Lela Markham is the pen name of an Alaskan writer and blogger, author of The Willow Branch, the Daermad Cycle Book 1, a fantasy novel.
Born and raised in a rugged climate by a pair of voracious readers, Lela started writing when she was 12 and will, if pressed, scribble story details on the backs of grocery receipts.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I told stories (some parents called it lying) when I was very little, but the first story I actually wrote down was for my 5th grade teacher. It featured a cave man who was tired of eating raw meat, so figured out how fire worked when lightning set a bush on fire. I absolutely hated writing it because the topic and major elements were dictated by the teacher, but I got an A. I later found out that she called my mother because she thought I might have had help in writing the story. Not long after, some school friends and I wrote a fan fiction for the Partridge family (oh, how that dates me!) and they just kept asking me for more and more "episodes". By the time the school year ended, it seemed I couldn't stop writing. It's been a passion of mine ever since. When I look back at what I wrote then, however, it was awful.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the extreme Interior of Alaska in a house built of books. Long dark winters favor reading and writing and warm summers filled with the midnight sun encourages adventures. Most writers start out as readers and so this was the perfect environment for me and then the adventures gave me events and images with which to populate my fictional worlds.