Catherine Cruzan

A New Realm of Fantasy

A Tangle of Fates

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It has been a terrific year for books, I think.  In celebration of that fact, I charmed my friend Leslie Ann Moore into answering a few questions about life, writing, and her latest release, A Tangle of Fates.

pubphotoLeslie Ann is an award-winning SF/F author and international speaker.  She currently serves as the Vice President of the largest Writers group in Southern California, the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (GLAWS). Last summer, she appeared as a panelist at the 72nd Annual World Science Fiction Convention–home to the celebrated Hugo Awards— in London, U.K.

In 2008, her debut fantasy novel Griffin’s Daughter won the prestigious IBPA Ben Franklin Award for Best First Fiction. Her short stories appear in Literary Landscapes, the official magazine of GLAWS, and on the ClonePod SF/F podcast. In 2011, her short story Invisible won Honorary Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. A practicing veterinarian since 1988, in her spare time, she studies the ancient and beautiful art of belly dance.

 

Who is Leslie Ann Moore in a nutshell?

A teller of stories and inconvenient truths.

Why do you write?

Because the voices in my head make me. Seriously, though…Writing for me is like breathing or eating. Essential to my existence. I’ve been creating stories for as long as I can remember, and the sharing of those stories satisfies a deep-seated need in me to connect to other human beings in a way that involves my creativity.

My brain is always churning up ideas in the forms of snippets of conversation, plot points, character names, partial scenes, one-liners, faces, place names. Most of these bits are akin to flotsam on a heaving sea. I strain them out with my mental net, examine them, and if they’re worth keeping, I make a note and put them in a computer file for future reference.

What is it you love most about what you do?

Making a connection to a reader through my words. Eliciting an emotional response, so that s/he cares just as deeply for my characters as I do. There’s nothing like the thrill of having a discussion with a reader about my work, and listening to that reader talk about my characters as if they are real people. It’s a total rush!

What and/or who inspires you most?

The thing that inspires me the most is my passion for social justice. It influences virtually everything I’ve ever written. We live in a world where so many people suffer needlessly because of greed, racism, sexism, bigotry of all kinds. As a woman of color, I will always use my writing as a platform to rail against injustice. My fervor may not be overt in every story, but it will always BE in every story.

As for who…that’s easy. My soulmate and biggest fan is my husband. He gives me all that I need emotionally and his own amazing talents as a writer are truly inspirational.

As a local LA author, how are you influenced by the City of Angels?

L.A. is my hometown. I was born here and have lived all but 14 years of my life here. L.A. is essentially a Latin city now. Spanish is the unofficial second language. It’s everywhere. Place names, street names, billboards. Everyone who lives here, whatever their ethnic heritage, is influenced in some way by Latin culture. So, it only made sense to me, when I was first thinking about and planning my latest book, to create a society based on what I imagined Latin culture would evolve into on an alien world, several hundred years into the future.

Do you have any favorite LA hot spots and/or things you like to do in LA?

My husband and I love the L.A. Zoo. The zoo has really come a long way in terms of how it houses its residents since I was a kid. We also love the beach, of course! One of our all-time favorite pastimes is walking along the shore in the late morning, stopping for lunch, then finishing up the rest of the day at a locally owned coffee house, working on our latest writing projects.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write every day, if possible, even if it’s only a few paragraphs. Study writers you admire, learn how they do things, then emulate them. Know proper grammar, in whatever language(s) you write in. Then, when you break the rules, you’re doing it as a stylistic choice and not out of ignorance. Learn how to critically analyze other people’s criticism of your work. Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone who reads your stuff will have the necessary insight and abilities to offer useful advice. It’s OK to reject suggestions as crap, even if it’s from someone you trust. In the end, you are the boss. Write what you want to write.

Your last award-winning Fantasy book series also published in a Young Adult release, and this first in your new series of books crosses a few genres as well.  How does this affect your process?  Does it impact your story, your characters, or even how you market your books?

I didn’t purposefully set out to cross any genres with Tangle. I built a world based on what I decided was plausible given a certain set of parameters. It so happens that the story could be shoehorned into the steampunk subgenre, though it’s not hardcore by any means. There are steam-powered cars, airships, and gaslit interiors, but there’s also electricity, radio, fuel cells and energy weapons! Seems a hodgepodge, but it’s all very logical, based on the parameters I’ve set up. As for how the book is marketed, because it does contain enough of the right elements, my publisher is aiming it more toward the fantasy/steampunk audience, rather than a straight-up sci-fi audience.

What can you tell us about your current project?

007-Cover-test2A Tangle of Fates is the first installment of a new trilogy, the overall title of which is Vox Machina. Genre-wise, it’s soft sci-fi, with steampunk flavorings, a lot of politics, adventure, some mysticism, and a dash of romance. For those familiar with screenwriting terms, the log-line would be ‘Snow White as revolutionary.’ Another log-line could be ‘Snow White meets The Terminator’. Both of those should give you a good idea about the general plot.

My heroine is born into the elite class of her oligarchic society, but she feels very keenly the injustices suffered by others to make her life comfortable. She wonders why she has so much, while so many, including her best friend, have so little. Yet, she believes herself to be powerless to change things. During the course of her personal journey, she is forced to face many truths about herself that she’d rather not face, but in doing so, she discovers that she, indeed, has the power to literally transform her entire world.

This series is different from my Griffin’s Daughter trilogy, which was a romantic fantasy very much in the epic fantasy tradition; however, it is similar in that both series address social justice issues that are so important to me.

The book has already gotten glowing reviews from, among others, Howard Hendrix, a Hugo and Nebula Award nominee, and Emma Bull, one of the inventors of the urban fantasy genre back in the ’80’s.

It’s available in both trade paperback and both e-formats from Amazon, Barnes&Noble and direct from Muse Harbor(e-version only).

For more information about Leslie Ann Moore:

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Author: ccruzan14

Engineer, Author, Speaker www.CatherineCruzan.com

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