interview with leesa wallace
When it came to editing, I had always thought that was something between me and my delete key. However, all that changed once I was signed by Kensington Gore Publishing. One half the team then running the company was to be my editor. I was a little apprehensive at first, until I really understood just what an editor could do for a story.
The editor in question was Leesa Wallace. Since that first story, I’ve been lucky enough to work with Leesa on all my novellas. As well as the collections that followed them and my first novel. By the time Leesa was looking over my fledgling attempt to write a book, I was incredibly lucky to get her help. You see, by then she was also running her own publishing company. This was alongside writing her own stories and her own poetry at the same. Not forgetting that Leesa is also one hell of a marketing wizard as well.
Leesa is one of those people who have exactly the right set of talents to embrace the many changes that are resetting the indie side of the publishing world. This is not downplay her writing either. Leesa’s poetry is insightful and incredibly open, whilst her stories use modern themes and a spritz of genre to discuss the many problems she sees in the world around us. All the time with humour and occasional twist in the tail.
I suppose, what I’m trying to say is I’ve been incredibly lucky once again here, as Leesa has managed to find the time to answer a few questions for me.
CL: What first attracted you to writing horror and what was the first story you wrote?
LW: Well, to be honest I was not a horror writer to begin with and horror did not start off as my genre of choice. To begin with, I was writing poetry, sci-fi and odd short stories that were similar to the kind of thing you would find in The Twilight Zone. The first horror story came about when I met and collaborated with Graeme Parker. He inspired me to pursue the horror genre further and taught me that it could be fun to write about the really dark things in life. The first horror I wrote on my own was Squat, which is aimed at the YA market.
CL: Your stories have a great way of keeping themselves grounded by talking about real life issues using supernatural or paranormal themes. Does that come naturally or is a case of finding the horror to fit the issue?
LW: I think it comes pretty naturally. I like to intersperse real life issues and events into my stories to give them a sense of reality and to increase the audience’s connection with the characters and the environment. I feel it gives the spooky stuff a nice backdrop too!
CL: Your poetry feels incredibly personal. I’m trying to write my own, but I find the more personal poems harder to share. Is this a problem you’ve come across?
LW: My poetry is very much written from the heart and as such, it can be very personal. Some of the poems, especially the ones that deal with my personal relationships or with my regrets, can be very easy to write. The emotions come out easily and I guess they help me deal with things. Sharing them, however… Now that’s another story! I’m a very private person and it took me ages to decide whether I could share some of the more personal ones and whether I wanted to reveal that much of myself. In the end, I decided that I had to take the risk.
CL: Are there any other genres of story that you want to try out in the future?
LW: I want to try comedy. However, it’s so hard to write! I wouldn’t mind writing a dystopian fantasy too. I have the outline for this kind of story but haven’t got around to writing it yet. Contrasts, I know!
CL: What made you decide to start your own publishing company?
LW: It started out as a joint idea with Graeme Parker, who now runs KG Publishing. Sadly, for various reasons, the joint business venture became too complicated. However, I still had a passion to help other authors and to work in the industry, so I decided to pursue the idea anyway.
CL: Are there any particular things you look for in story when you’re considering publishing it?
LW: I look for original ideas and good writing ability. I always look out for books that keep me guessing and that make me care about what will happen next.
CL: Now that there are so many ways to get a story out into the world do you think it’s easier or harder to find them readers?
LW: Both. It’s easier in some ways because you can network via social media and you can reach out to potential readers via all kinds of digital means. You can also get books easily distributed by all kinds of online publishing platforms. However, there are now more authors and independent publishers out there and they are all trying the same thing. Perseverance is the key!
CL: Is there one classic or well known story that you wished you could have published and, if so, how would you have gone about selling it to the world?
LW: I love a lot of classics but singling out one would be very difficult. The Shining by Stephen King would have been a brilliant one though. However, I have no idea how I would have sold it differently to how it was already handled!
CL: This is a tricky one, but I was wondering which you find more satisfying; writing or publishing? They’re both such different challenges. I’m wondering how they compare.
LW: They give me different types of satisfaction. Writing is creatively satisfying and allows me to express emotions and all my weird, fanciful ideas! Helping an author achieve success with something they have laboured over for months or years of their lives, and seeing their happiness when a work does well, gives me an entirely different kind of satisfaction.
CL: Do you have new stories or poetry collections on the horizon for us to look forward to?
LW: I am about three-quarters of the way through a new poetry book. This should be out by the end of the year. I have a sci-fi fantasy in the making too… but that’s got quite a way to go yet and is just at the bare bones stage!
I want to thank Leesa for taking some time out of her incredibly busy schedule to give me some great answers for this interview. If you’re looking for somewhere to publish your novel, then you’ll find that Leesa is someone you really want to have in your corner. She’s determined, clever and has a great eye for strong writing.
Below you’ll find links to her writing and her website. If you don’t already own a book or two of Leesa’s, then I suggest you stop reading this and get one ordered already. After all, you want some time to digest that first volume of poetry before she unleashes the next one on us.
Twitter - https://twitter.com/leesa_wallace
Wallace Publishing - www.wallacepublishing.weebly.com