PYN welcomes Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the award-winning Magic Most Foul series of gothic historical paranormals! After the interview, we’ll be giving away one signed paperback copy of her book, Darker Still here, (US entrants only, please). But first, a blurb from THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART (Magic Most Foul book 2):
I’m coming for you.
The whispers haunt her dreams and fill her waking hours with dread. Something odd is happening. Something…unnatural.
Possession of the living. Resurrection of the dead. And Natalie Stewart is caught right in the middle. Jonathon, the one person she thought she could trust, has become a double agent for the dark side. But he plays the part so well, Natalie has to wonder just how much he’s really acting.
She can’t even see what it is she’s fighting. But the cost of losing her heart, her sanity…her soul.
Praise for Darker Still, an Indie Next Selection:
“Original, haunting, and romantic.” —YA Bound [Tweet this!]
“This chilling tale will draw you in and keep you guessing until the very last page.” —Seventeen.com
And now, onward to the interview!
PYN: What inspired Magic Most Foul?
LRH: My books are set in the Victorian era as that’s always been my great love. Spooky stuff too, so historical paranormal is my heart’s genre. I’ve always wanted to write a haunted painting, and one of my favourite novels is The Picture of Dorian Gray. A great deal of DARKER STILL is inspired by those facts, however the impetus of the book came from wanting to turn the Gothic novel on its head a bit. In traditional Gothic novels the women featured in the tales are often victims solely, damsels in distress entirely relegated to male rescue and rule. In this story, I wanted to give a young woman more agency and leave to be her own keeper, despite the restraints of Victorian society. Natalie is a feisty girl struggling with a disability, determined to save the day. I’ve turned the damsel in distress around and in this case it’s the girl who saves the guy. That’s what started book one. What keeps the series going is that Natalie and Jonathon become an awesome, indomitable team. And that’s what true love is really about. Teamwork.
Tell us about the world of the Magic Most Foul series. How would you describe it?
Intimate and eerie, ghostly and grand, sensual and spooky, vividly historical and yet accessible to modern audiences. [Tweet this!] I am a Victorian cipher, and I bring that world to life with lyrical prose and indomitable passion for the era.
What prompted you to serialize the finale of your novel?
I’ve always wanted to serialize considering all my heroes in Victorian fiction serialized novels at some point, I wanted to try it myself. Plus, considering my next full length release isn’t until next year, I wanted to make sure I had fresh content out all this year to keep people hooked and lead directly into THE ETERNA FILES, releasing summer 2014 from Tor, as there are crossover characters from both the Strangely Beautiful and Magic Most Foul sagas that end up in Eterna Files.
Do you consider your books character-driven or plot-driven?
I’d say character driven and setting driven. My books are very atmospheric, creating a gas lit New York City that I hope is as real for you as it is in my mind. The plot unfolds from these aspects, and the crux of the conflict.
What makes the Magic Most Foul series unique?
I’ve been told I truly channel the Victorian era, the speech, setting, mannerisms and specificity without alienating a modern audience. I try to write a lyrical, atmospheric narrative that draws the reader in and presents a multi-layered story that not only is entertaining, but laden with literary references that pay homage to my favorite classical texts. Gothic Victorian Fantasy is a very specific genre,
Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?
I am a notorious “pantser” (writing by the seat of one’s pants), so I let everything emerge. Maybe a bit too much so, my poor editors…
How did you decide on the setting?
The Victorian era chose me from a very early age, and I can’t really explain it other than perhaps past lives and an obsession with Edgar Allan Poe and the Phantom of the Opera. New York City is rich and fascinating, and considering it is my home town, and I used to be a tour guide, I’ve gained such an amazing appreciation for its history, so the Magic Most Foul saga simply had to be set there, in both the era and city I adore.
What’s the first paranormal you read?
At some point in my pre-teen years, I acquired a collection of ghost stories. I read it so often it became the most tattered paperback of all my books. I’ve never stopped telling or loving ghost stories.
I’ll continue serializing at http://leannareneebooks.blogspot.com , and as I’d mentioned, the Eterna Files will be launching next year, as will the re-issues of my Strangely Beautiful saga, all of it within my Gothic Gaslamp Fantasy style, and I’ll be appearing in several upcoming Steampunk / Gaslamp Fantasy anthologies. Please check out http://leannareneehieber.com, follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/leannarenee and on Facebook: http://facebook.com/lrhieber Cheers and happy haunting!
About the author:
Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber graduated with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era. She adapted works of 19th Century literature for the stage and her one-act plays have been produced around the country. Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in her Strangely Beautiful saga, landed on Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy Romance, Best First Book), and is currently in development as a musical theatre production and will be reissued in revised new editions via Tor / Macmillan. DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, first in the Magic Most Foul trilogy hit the INDIE NEXT List as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association and was a Scholastic “highly recommended” title.
She is currently serializing the finale of this series in the manner of the Victorians at http://leannareneebooks.blogspot.com . Her books have been chosen for national book club editions and have been translated into several languages. THE ETERNA FILES, her new Gaslamp Fantasy saga from Tor / Macmillan will release in 2014 alongside the Strangely Beautiful re-releases. Leanna’s short fiction has been featured in the anthologies Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal, Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells and on Tor.com.
She is a co-founder of Lady Jane’s Salon Reading Series in New York City and was named the 2010 RWA NYC Author of the Year. A member of performers unions AEA, SAG-AFTRA, Leanna works often in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire. When not writing or on set, she has a penchant for channeling Narcissa Malfoy, wandering graveyards or Goth clubs, ever in search of finely-tailored corsets. She lives in New York City with a charming gent and their beloved rescued lab rabbit. Visit her at http://leannareneehieber.com . Twitter: @LeannaRenee Facebook: http://facebook.com/lrhieber