Part One can be read here.
Part Two can be read here.
Part Three can be read here.
Part Four can be read here.
Part Five can be read here.
Airship Ambassador: Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered begin a published writer?
Leanna Renee Hieber: Publishing for me has been so up and down that while it might be nice to call it my only job, I’m a bit too restless and momentum-driven to solely write. I have about 5 rotating freelance jobs, this allows for the flexibility I need to put my book deadlines first and be able to travel at least once a month to a Steampunk, Sci-Fi/Fantasy and/or Book convention to promote my work and the genre. Due to my extensive work on stage, I came away with a lot of theatrical contacts and union memberships that helped me keep my hand in the entertainment industry in some capacity and that’s been really wonderful.
I’ve done background work in television and film, been featured on shows like Boardwalk Empire. I do some stage management / floor director work at a small Manhattan TV studio, I’m a ghost tour guide, I craft jewelry I sell at conventions and on Etsy, I am a guest lecturer, I travel tons for writers groups and institutions like NYU, and my schedule is never ever the same from one week to the next and I’d really never have it any other way.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?
LHR: I’m basically a work-a-holic who can’t sit still or not have at least 3 projects on burners, so I pretty much have found a way to make any of my interests part of one of my jobs. My favorite thing to do is to wander graveyards (I know, how Goth), historic sites and sacred spaces. But that always leads to new story ideas, so that’s a beautiful, cyclical thing.
AA: There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?
LRH: I really love birds and there was a time in which I wanted to be an ornithologist, so I wish I had more time to take to wildernesses with a pair of binoculars and a field-guide and go birding.
AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
LRH: Besides the critique partners and collaborators I’ve mentioned, I follow a ton of extremely talented writers on Twitter and every day they say things that inspire and motivate me. Just today I tweeted release-day excitement about my favorite novel of the year, Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal, who I’m honored to call a friend, someone who I always feel makes me a better writer and person by being in her orbit. The list is so long of those I love and admire. In particular for Steampunk audiences, if you don’t know Diana Pho, @writersyndrome and BeyondVictoriana.com, she is one of the most valuable and important people in the industry and I’m very glad to also call her a colleague and friend, as well as her wife and talented playwright Ashley Rodgers.
One of my best friends from youthful Ohio years is Kelley Hensing, a gifted dark fantasy artist whose work will truly appeal to Steampunk enthusiasts and she’s a vital font of inspiration and camaraderie, check out her work at http://wickiearts.com . If not for the incredible, generous, prolific Isabo Kelly http://isabokelly.com I’d not have found my way to my first resources or contract and she continues to help my career, same with my beloved Alethea Kontis. I’m so grateful the extraordinarily talented N. K. Jemisin is not only writing gorgeous, powerful books but helping Sci-Fi and Fantasy reach a wider audience via the NY Times.
The awesome, artistic and darkly fashion savvy folks of Wormwood and Gall https://m.etsy.com/shop/WormwoodandGall have created clothing and accessory lines for my books and that helps them live in a whole new light and tactile expression, and that’s a wonderful and fruitful business partnership. I am very blessed to know a seemingly endless list of wonderful, diverse, talented, incredible people out there making awesome work and striving for better.
AA: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
LRH: Persevere, don’t compare your path to others, hold to good news and celebration, and never lose the love for the craft, do whatever you can to tend that light. Be good to yourselves and your community. Positive, supportive presences will always lead better and more fruitful artistic lives.
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
LRH: I’m so blessed by the opportunity to share my work and story with you, I’m very active on social media so please follow me, I am most active on Twitter @leannarenee, but I’m also on FB facebook.com/lrhieber and please join my mailing list at http://leannareneehieber.com in addition, please check out my Free Reads page there for links to several free reads and audio excerpts, the Eterna Files prequel novella “The Spark” is a great free way to get hooked on my series, and I hope you’ll join me as the action continues presently in Eterna & Omega, now available from Tor Books. Please keep up the beautiful work of being an imaginative and supportive community! I hope to see you all at a convention or event!
Thanks, Leanna, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!
LRH: Thanks again, so very much!