Link to Interview: Interview with Book Review Ninja
What’s your name? Heaven Leigh.
How many books have you written? I’ve written 3 books in this lifetime.
What’s your background? I began my writing career as a Promotions Manager for L.A. area comedy club, The Ice House. I wrote press releases for David Letterman, Ellen Degeneres, Jerry Seinfeld and many other comedians who got their start there. I got to look at Robin Williams pictures every day. The Ice House had been a favorite stomping ground for him as he exploded into the world of comedy. The comedic inspiration thrilled me and I began to cultivate my own personal brand of craziness there. It was a perfect job in many ways. Sadly, advice to leave my dream job came from someone I feared to ignore, but this long and painful detour led me to write my first novel, so it gives credibility to the old adage that “nothing in life is wasted.”
What’s the name of your book? My novel is Endymion Oracles: Nina’s Story. I love that the acronym is “EONS.”
What genre is it? It is a Spiritual Fantasy, YA and Adults
What’s it about? “Nina’s Story” takes you to an ancient land, a perfect world where love surrounds you. When a seductive leader enters, doing his best to force Nina and her people down a twisted path of lies and destruction, the seer does everything she can to save her family and friends. Who is the mesmerizing spirit who guides her? What is his true connection to Nina? The answers set your senses tingling. Before you know it, the story has woven itself into your life and Nina’s magical spirit guide has become your own.
How did you become a writer?
I had a really mean 3rd grade teacher. The whole class was terrified of her. I wrote the most interesting stories I could think of to cheer her up, to “ungrumpify” her. It didn’t help her overall demeanor too much, but she started being really nice to me. Writing made me feel like I could lift people’s spirits. It was like a magical power.
What inspires you as a writer? Life. Death. All of the things before, after and in-between are fascinating to me.
What made you want to write about the subject of your book? From childhood I belonged to this really controlling organization. Some people would call it a church. I thought it would be healing to me (and others who have belonged to really controlling organizations) to tell the tale within a fantasy theme. The abuser becomes an evil sorcerer. My kind grandmother becomes the loving goddess who rules the land. The most horrifying experiences you go through, when well-written, can help others avoid the same pain or know that they are not alone in it. It’s fun to take your imagination into another stratosphere where you can look at your life struggles through a story of danger and passion. It’s the same danger and passion in your real life, but it feels safer to deal with it in a fantasy. The beauty is that you can use it in your real life – live the things you learn while being entertained. It’s my favorite way to write.
Is this the usual thing you like to write about or is this something new for you?This is my passion. It’s always fresh and new while at the same time it feels like my soul’s purpose that has been driving me for “EONS.”
Do you write every day? If I don’t get something down on my blog or in a book I’m currently writing, I journal. Yep. Writing is an every day affair.
What keeps you writing all the time till you finish? I have a passion for my messages and I LOVE to get lost in my own stories. Imagine going into a movie and switching things around until it’s just the way YOU like it. It’s nice to stay in that world I’ve created. The thrill of it keeps me coming back. It’s an amazing drug with no bad side-effects, except there is a little re-entry anxiety at times. It’s tough to go from being locked in a mesmerizing embrace of a spirit lover to having to do your laundry.
What’s your favorite procrastination when you don’t feel like writing? Eating ice cream and watching a movie.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned from being a writer? Do it for you. Write from your own convictions, from your own heart. Don’t veer off into trying to cater to what you think sells. That’s a crazy trap that can keep you going in circles forever. If no one else gives a rat’s ass, you will always have at least one person who cares and respects your writing. You.
Why did you decide to self-publish? My writing coach suggested it. He said it would be a great way to get the book out there and seen by audiences and publishers.
How hard was it to self-publish? The process itself went very well. I wish I had known more about the marketing aspect though.
What advice would you share with new authors about self-publishing? Study writing. Don’t just throw a book together. There is an ocean of bad books out there already. It’s not fair to the few great writers who get lost in it. If you want to write for pleasure and see your book in print, there are many ways to self-publish. If you want to do this professionally, building a great marketing team is more important than writing the book. Without great marketing your genius will be buried in that sea of self-published authors tweeting about how AMAZING, ASTONISHING, RIVETING AND MAGICAL their books are. Readers are immune to this now.
What advice would you give to new writers? Write from your heart. Write about that which you deeply care. Write your PASSION. This is the only way you will be able to survive sticking with your book through thick and thin. You must believe with all your soul in its importance to the world.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as a writer? Plagiarism. Having someone steal my work and take credit for it. That’s hilarious, especially when the words are philosophical and spiritual in nature. I have to laugh at their thought process that would allow them to do it.
What is the strangest thing? It’s strange to put your heart, soul, sweat and tears into projects that don’t seem to get off the ground. It’s strange that people will gladly promise you things, take your money and then do nothing to help you. You learn so much about trust and coping with disappointment after disappointment. You either allow yourself to give up, or you realize all the more, how important and needed your writing is, especially if your story champions honesty and integrity.
What makes it all worthwhile? Books go on and on. You leave them to your children. I love that my kids love my work. I learn from them. They give wonderfully honest feedback that has improved my writing. You leave your books to future generations. A great story is something truly magical that will be found and appreciated. It is an entity in itself. When you realize this and put no time limits on anything, you realize you are succeeding no matter how long it seems to take. If your heart is in your writing and you’ve honed your craft well, the true success lies in birthing a magnificent book into being.
Do you have any new projects in the pipeline? Always. I’m working on a sequel to “EONS” (Endymion Oracles: Nina’s Story) and a children’s book.
Anything else you’d like our readers to know? When you’re done cursing the world, slamming your fists and throwing mental darts at the assholes in your life, keep writing. It is a way to make the world into what you wish it to be.
Link to Award Winning Article about my brush with Jerry Seinfeld: