About Leslie Swartz:
I'm a forty-year-old poet turned novelist with three kids and a pretty serious Dr. Pepper addiction. I write urban fantasy and horror with plans to jump into sci-fi at some point. I'm loud, funny, and I prefer the term "eccentric".
What inspires you to write?
I've been writing since I was four, so I can't tell you why I write. I just always have. It's a compulsion like if I don't get the characters and their stories out of my head, I'll go insane. That being said, music plays a huge role in how I write. Certain songs get me in the right headspace to write specific scenes or act as a character's theme. I make playlists for all of my books during the outlining process so I can quickly get my mind right when needed.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Shakespeare, Poe, Dickens, Anne Rice, and Stephen King.
Tell us about your writing process.
I start with a brainstorming session where I just write down in a notebook all the ideas I can think of for a potential book. I'll then put those in order of what should happen first, second, etc. That becomes the basis of an outline. Once the ideas are sorted, I'll write up, still in a notebook, a chapter by chapter, scene by scene outline. My handwriting is abysmal, so once I have the outline done, I'll type it into a Word document and print it out. Printing makes it easier for me later to scribble new ideas down in the margins in the correct chapters/scenes without having to go between files while I'm writing. I write in Word and when I've gotten the first draft done, I print it out and read it, marking in red pen things that need to be changed, deleted, or added. Sometimes, I just write next to entire paragraphs, "better" so I know I need to punch those up. Then, I'll make those changed in the Word document. When I think it's done, I'll run it through Grammarly and fix any errors I missed before sending it off to the editor. When she gets it back to me, I make more changes until I think it's perfect.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I have dreams about them, and daydreams. I see scenes play out in my head like a movie before scribbling down what I can remember. But, no, I don't speak to them. I talk to myself a lot, though, lol.
What advice would you give other writers?
Edit like it's your job because it is. Believe me, because I speak from experience, you don't want negative reviews because of a few typos. And, write what you want. An agent or a publisher may want you to make changes to your manuscript later and you'll have to decide whether it's worth it (and it very well could be) but don't muzzle your own voice before anyone else has had the chance to hear it.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I queried my first novel for six months in which time I was contacted by several agents who said they'd love to represent me "if". If I made the MC's much older (in their 50's) and took out key aspects of the plot. If I took out the violence and made the plot simpler. If I turned it into a paranormal romance novel. The one I rolled my eyes the hardest at was, "I could sell this as the new Vampire Diaries if you took out the graphic language, sex, and most of the violence. And, obviously, you'd have to make the characters fifteen years younger." I had six more books planned out for the series, none of which would have made sense if the MC's were nineteen, so, eventually, I decided creative freedom and control was more important to me than getting a contract with one of the big five. Had Seraphim been a stand-alone, I might have considered making the changes IF I thought they made the story better. My advice to new authors would be to give querying a chance, see if there's an agent out there that loves your book as much as you do. If there's not, or if they want you to compromise your vision to a point where you wouldn't love it anymore, self-publish and throw everything you have into marketing. And, no matter what someone says, avoid vanity publishers at all costs. You NEVER pay a publisher.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think as far as traditional publishers go, the big five will continue to dominate the print market just because they can. They have the money and the established relationships with retailers to keep their titles at the top of any bestsellers list they want to. Indie authors have more of a chance to get in that coveted bestseller spot with ebooks, especially if they've opted to have their work available to read "free" on Kindle Unlimited. As we know, like it or not, Amazon rules when it comes to book sales, and a lot of readers will only read ebooks that are free on Kindle Unlimited. They pay a monthly fee to read as many books as they want and many of them don't want to pay more. Indies have a real shot at cornering the market there but it's going to take a lot of really good marketing on their part to make it happen.
What genres do you write?: Urban fantasy and horror
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
Link To Leslie Swartz Page On Amazon
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.