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Interview with:

Leahsandra Powell [leahsandra] 

What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
Everything. Raced through kid's books and then through the classics. I typed my first 'book' at age 8. (Maybe 10 pages long. I was so excited!) My first reader was my father.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
Genre: Spirituality, though of a rather...eclectic non-mainstream sort. My website is: www.leahsandra.net where samples of my non-fiction, fiction, poetry and even some visions can be found.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
I start my waking day in a quiet, contemplative state. I have pre-dawn meditation time outside, my form of prayer-time, and then I go still. Usually, within about half an hour, my muse is musing and I get to work. Sometimes, when I'm really 'in the zone' on a long piece, a book, say... I can actually awaken with a few paragraphs or even a page already written in my mind. I still do my normal routine, but kind of put the words 'on hold' until I can get to my computer. Occasionally I'll jot a few notes, but usually I retain it all. Love when that happens!
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Quality writing! Either quality writing, or real-life wow experiences - no matter what the quality is... I try to read authors I admire, that I'd like to someday reach their level of excellence... I study as I read them, trying to learn how to make my own craft better. At the same time though, I enjoy internet groups of non-writers, just spiritual people sharing their lives, and I'm often totally inspired by them... So I find inspiration really, in all kinds of writing. (I just canceled out my first answer I guess!)
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
It would depend on the story.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I'm comfortable with both, though so far, my published work has all been first person. I want to get back to third person eventually.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Oh, so many! Off the top of my head, Jodi Piccoult, Marge Piercey, Starhawk, Anne Rice, Stephen King, William Horwood, Pam Houston, Annie Proulx, Pat Conroy, John Irving, Tolkien and a host of others.
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
I haven't written fiction in many years, though I look forward to getting back to it. With fiction... the characters just appear in my head. I guess my muse creates them. But they're entirely real to me, so I just need to study them, work with them, discover details of who they are and write them in.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
At times... not in groups. But one on one, around a campfire, or with a few close friends late at night around a kitchen table... I can be. I'm more comfortable though, with paper.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
Partially for myself. Partially to leave a part of myself behind. The last half decade of writing, it's been to try to touch, to warn, to maybe help another not to duplicate my mistakes. Especially my two books "Woman... Speak!" http://www.leahsandra.net/WomanSpeak.html and "Drug Winters." http://www.leahsandra.net/DrugWinters.html But also, with my book "Spirit Stories: True Tales of Divine Intervention, Inspiration and Healing," http://www.leahsandra.net/SpiritStories.html I published that one definitely for others, and for the Spirit That Lives In All Things, in deepest thanks.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
Therapy, for me, yes. It has been an avenue of a lot of healing. I don't know about internal conflicts being a creative source, but when I have internal conflicts raging, my writing has certainly been a way of letting off steam and smoothing some of the combatants down! For me it would be more of an outlet for some destructive forces.
Does reader feed-back help you?
In the last few years, absolutely. My pre-readers have kept me going when I probably wouldn't have had the guts to keep plodding on (due to the topics of my books) or the strength. I've been fortunate to have wonderful writer friends who have worked with enormous patience, trying to beef my work up. (I'm dyslexic, only have a high school education, and grammar and I don't see eye to eye!)
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
No, I've not entered any yet.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
My first draft I share with my husband, author Nicholas Powell, ("Twelve Years with a Wolfdog" - http://www.codythewolfdog.net/ ), and my 'constant reader', a gal from South Africa, who's been my number one fan for years. Then after I've gone through my work a few more times, I ask other writers, at least 3, more if I can find them, and one or two pre-readers to take a look. It's amazing the different insights and errors they all can find, and I value their input - it's golden to me.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I think my voice changes with every piece I write. But I certainly have found it!
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I work at something just about every day, usually putting in at least 6 to 8 hours, and rarely taking a day off. That always entails writing of some sort. It might involve researching.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Oh my. My computer desk looks like - well, the top of it is - an altar. With little gifts from friends from round the world... a red stuffed dragon from Wales, a batik cloth from S Africa... a gorgeous wolf painting hangs to the right of me... that sort of thing. A picture of my father and a beloved old boss (from a bookstore) both crossed now, sit right here and look at me... still believing in me, from that side. A picture of my mom and hubby Nick too, believing in me from this side... When I get stuck... I just glance around the area... Gaze at or pick up one of these things... pause, get clear, and keep going.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
Mostly computer these days, though I keep a clipboard handy at all times - especially for sitting on the porch. After 3 or 4 drafts on the computer, with edits and suggestions from others, I print one copy, do edits from there.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I've backed off the last year or so, from too many groups. I'm about ready to get back out onto the internet again, and I'm not sure where I'll end up.
What has been your experience with publishers?
My husband and I have been using the print on demand, self publishing system at Create Space. We have 6 books now between us, and have been very satisfied with the service.
What are you working on now?
I have two half completed books, a couple short stories rolling around, and a half-formed novel is incubating. But for the next couple months, I'll be focusing a lot of time and energy into marketing.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
SAVE them. I ended up losing much of my early work, including three finished novels I wrote while in high school. I mourn those! Not that they'd have ever been publishable, but probably I could have used them in some way, even as inspiration for the adult author. But then, that's me. I do know some people make bonfires, but maybe because I have lost so much, I grieve when I hear that.

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Leahsandra Powell

[leahsandra] Leahsandra Powell
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