Tuesday 20 December 2011


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?

My name is KaSonndra Leigh and I was born in Charlotte, NC (race car capital). My parents moved to the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina when I was young so I don’t remember living there.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always had some idea that I wanted to be a writer. It was the getting it started part I didn’t know how to do. At first, I thought I wanted to be a journalist. But then, I enrolled in a few of those classes and wound up getting taught by one of the meanest professors ever. I mean, one undotted “I” meant 10pts down the drain. So I moved out of that program and enrolled in radio, television, and motion pics. LOL

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
Probably only recently. I know. I know. You should practice calling yourself a writer the moment you start. And I did, sort of. I considered myself a storyteller, a little girl who always had something fantastical to add to any assignment. Only shortly after we found Copper Suns’ editor did I really begin to realize my “writer’s” status.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
To sum it up in 20 words or less (b/c I’m kinda good at these mini pitches now, haha) I would say it’s about a fifteen-year-old girl trying to use her memory power to face rival demon slayers and save her brother.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
My publisher is TriGate Press, an imprint of the TriGate Group which is a communications company headed up by my sister and a group of local readers who were enthusiastic enough about the book to angel invest in my cause. They have been a blessing. Our ultimate goal is to assist other writers with underrepresented voices in getting a chance to be recognized. The publishing business is tough and critical. It is very difficult to break the cultural barrier, especially in young adult. But it is happening. More small presses such as ours are bringing talent of all ethnicities to the forefront. Want even more good news? Readers are responding in a super positive way.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It all depends on the plot & storyline. I write both adult and young adult. One is plot-driven the other character-driven. Translation: choice (a) is quick, fun, and less challenging for me, and choice (b) takes me a good while. For example, When Copper Suns Fall is both plot & character driven. It took me almost seven years to get the voice right. I wanted to offer something unique for a teenage voice, considering the world is 55 years into the future. I still can’t believe I pulled it off. But reviewers who don’t know you from Adam, won’t lie. They’ll let you know when something just is not working.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The easiest one so far has been the adult paranormal novel called Hacienda Moon. It was written in a cross between my two fav genres: paranormal and horror. I can’t wait to see what the readers think of it. I also am finishing up my longest project ever…an upper young-adult historical novel about Cleopatra’s daughter, Selene. It has been the hardest one yet because of all the research involved. Plus, it has taken me almost 10 years to get it ready for final editing.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
See the previous answers. But know that all of my novels will have an element of the strange, odd, unusual, no matter the genre.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
When Copper Suns Fall is part of a trilogy. The second book is called When Silver Moons Rise. Yes, I’ve already begun writing it. We’ve learned from marketing Copper Suns that we need to stick with a timeline. That way reviews trickle in before the release versus during the release like what has happened with Book 1.

What genre would you place your books into?
Urban Fantasy with a dystopian twist. Does it intrigue you? :-D

Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I love all of my books. I do have favorite characters though so I’ll answer the next question in this one. Seth from the Copper Suns series and Jade from the historical novel I’m working on. They both represent an intriguing mix of good and evil. I never know what either of them will do as the story unfolds. I never thought I’d ever be saying that to an interviewer either. But now that I have several novels under my belt, I see what people mean by that statement.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
Elizabeth Kostova’s the Historian, Alice Walker’s the Color Purple, and Stephen King’s the Stand. (I know, a pot of multi-cultural soup, right) All three of those authors have had the most impact on my decision to pursue a full-time writing career. Each one represents someone who is truly at the top of their game. But (there’s always the ‘but’ factor) they struggled to overcome many obstacles to get there. Elizabeth’s literary novel brought strong criticism from male critics. Alice Walker was a black woman struggling in an industry that sometimes stifles ethnic voices. And Stephen King struggled with an alcohol addiction while trying to keep his family together. All very inspiring, very real stories that make you want to not only buy these people’s books, but cheer them all the way to the top.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?
Always. A LOT of people read When Copper Suns Fall in its original and final stages. Even after my fabulous editor had worked her magic. I’d never trust dumping something read only by me on my readers.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes. I believe every author does these days. In fact, I’m looking for readers to get a first glimpse at When Silver Moons Rise.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes. Even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones. That’s how I was able to tweak the book in the first place. If you don’t have alligator skin, or at least an armor suit, then writing is probably not the best place to be.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Oh fun! Fun! I was hoping many people ask about the cover. My story is a cross-genre, and not just your typical one. I created an urban fantasy inside of a dystopian world. The urban fantasy doesn’t have vampires, either.  I chose two very different genres so the cover had to reflect the flavor of both while pulling the story into it too. Phew! What a task. Enter super graphic designer extraordinaire, Shy3 (a nickname) and the world was saved. The result?—A dystopian style cover that clearly tells the reader about the supernatural element present in the book as well. Pretty clever, right? Big grin. :-D

How do you market/promote your books?
All fun, fun questions. Copper Suns’ marketing plan has been a two-part deal. At first, it was only going to be in ebook form. But then, the powers that be decided to place it in the stores based on requests from reviewers and potential readers. So for part one, we decided to do virtual tours to reach the booming online market. For part 2, we’re reaching out into the indie brick and mortars, libraries, and eventually (hopefully) the Barnes & Noble southeastern region. Hopefully by Valentine’s Day, Barnes & Noble will have accepted our proposal.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
Strong writing. And that means the essential elements of fiction are all there: plot, voice, characters that seem real, emotion, and the little quirks and ticks inside the world that makes it all feel so real as we read. Speaking to your target audience is up there too. But if they don’t know you exist, then it doesn’t do much good to know them.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
It’s a constant battle for me. Usually it means stress has robbed my muse of her housing and she’s ticked about that. So I find ways to eliminate the stress and the muse comes back home.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
Home renovation and gardening. Yes, I do the HGTV thing. In fact, if you snoop around the Internet, you might find an article or two on how to fix things written by me. These days, I don’t have as much time to do those things. I wonder why, right? LoL

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Of course, our writing always is based on the events, people, and places that most shaped our lives. I’d say the characters, themes, and overall tone of Copper Suns’ message is based on the way I feel about losing my grandmother. She was the one who told me to learn how to talk to the flowers. They hold the secrets hidden by the angels. So that’s what I did.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
If there are, I didn’t intend it to be that way. But I will say that my stories are based on strong characters who are usually faced with tough choices. But then, possibilities are endless. Making those choices moves us to the next level in our lives. Sometimes the outcome is good, sometimes bad. Okay, so I guess that was pretty much considered a message, right? :-D

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
All of the above. It’s voice, characters, and writing style that hook me first.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
The Last Unicorn. It was the original motivation for When Copper Suns Fall. That was almost 20 years ago when I first read it. I heard my calling, but wasn’t ready to pursue it just yet. I’ve only read it one time.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
No in my humble opinion. Every movie I’ve ever seen after reading the book has been a disappointment. Especially when it’s a well-written book. The one exception was Memoirs of a Geisha. Although I still loved the book more than the movie version. There was quite a bit they left out of the film, but the translation of the book’s highlights went over well. Worst movie to book transfer? I’ll plead the fifth on that one. :-D

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I am reading Shatter Me in hardback.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Nah. Although I love ebooks dearly. But I still love the feel and smell of a real book in my hands.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
No. I have children in school and reading is viewed as a task, an assignment, something kids need for getting to the next level in school. It’s very sad. I think schools need more motivational speakers and author visits to show kids how they can enjoy reading & writing, even over the video games.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
**Groan** Always a double-loaded question for a writer. At the end of the day, I’m a perfectionist. My editor told me to stop reading through and picking out sore spots. So, I did. That was hard. But I’m pretty sure if I would’ve kept on reading through, I would’ve found something I just ‘had’ to change.

What do you think about book trailers?
I love book trailers. The outcomes vary according to the author, though. Case in point. Before I released my novel, we developed a trailer for the book. That generated interest A LOT of interest. When the book came out on December 6th, I had almost 1000 hits in that one day. For me, the book trailer idea worked in favor of generating sales.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Read, read, read, and critique the writing of others. You can learn so much that way.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name? Not that famous yet. So, no. LoL

Where can readers follow you? 
I have many, many online homes, hangouts, etc.

Your blog details? www.kasonndraleigh.com
Your facebook page? Facebook.com/kasonndraleighbooks
Your Goodreads author page? http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12387007-when-copper-suns-fall
Your Twitter details? Twitter.com/kasonndraleigh

And any other information you wish to supply? 

Thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity to reach out to my readers. Bloggers rock! I hope everyone will continue to support all of you. 

Thankyou KaSonndra for taking the time from your writing schedule to take part in this Interview.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeanz,

    Thanks so much for having me here today. I hope everyone enjoyed reading about the story behind my debut novel. I'd love to come back and visit again soon.

    KaSonndra Leigh