Author Interview: Leslie Conzatti
Synopsis: Two kingdoms—one towering over the water, the other deep beneath the waves—balance on the edge of calamity. King Theodore of Overcliff withers in the wake of hardship, while King Davor of Undersea rallies his people for war.
When Princess Ylaine gives up her most precious gift, in order to prove to her father that not all humans are evil, she doesn’t intend to fall in love—not at first. That changes when she meets Prince Nathan, but no sooner do they meet than forces conspire to keep them apart forever. Desperate for help, and finding none from their fathers, the two young royals turn to their mentors. Ylaine has Nayidia, her doting godmother, who has the power to grant her deepest wish. Nathan has Giles, his father’s steward, who not only knows who Nathan is, but also the man and king he may become. But will their help be enough? Can Ylaine and Nathan learn the meaning of true power, true leadership, and true love before it’s too late? Can two worlds, two lives, two hearts, truly become one?
Publish date: December 7, 2016
Publisher: Endless Press
Ylaine left a trail of silvery bubbles as she sped through the water like a shining black harpoon. Let them talk! Until Davor could figure out how to enable the merfolk breathe out of the water, the human kingdom was far enough away from the shore to be safe. Ylaine swam out to the open water. She could see the King's Boundary from here: a thin silver shimmer barely visible, but watched keenly at every moment, along every inch by rotating squads of soldiers.
"It might as well have been a net!" Ylaine huffed, yanking out the seaweed ropes so that her [violet] hair floated outward, free of its restraints. She swam downward, toward the shadowy cave system below the mainland side.
There was a massive ship embedded in the sand and coral down there—half of it, anyway. The stern of a large warship lay among the rock, crusted with barnacles and home to all sorts of shallow life that enjoyed the soft wood as an alternative to impenetrable stone. Ylaine swam over to the mast. Placing her hands around the top, she traced lazy patterns in the algae as she drifted in circles all the way down to the deck. There were only a few casks and chests left with anything in them. There had been divers who tried to recover the cargo, long before Ylaine was born, but the wreck was too deep—and besides, there were the sharks. They circled the deck as Ylaine watched, big, stupid grey things that paid no attention to anything that wasn't swimming right in front of them and small enough to eat. They seemed to find humans delectable enough. Ylaine let her fingers trail over the back of a passing nurse shark as she wondered if perhaps it was because human blood carried a stronger scent in the water than thatnof any other animal. A tiger shark swam over her, and Ylaine giggled; with the markings on its back and head, it almost looked the spitting image of her father!
"Now there's music I would know anywhere!" Cried a voice from the depths of the hull. With a flip of her tail, Ylaine twisted around and swam down to what used to be the captain's quarters.
An older Merwoman sat upon the tarnished brass bed frame. Her deep-blue tail spread out before her, as she wound her dark-red braids around her like long, thick sashes.
"Hello Nayidia!" said Ylaine, drawing near to the mermaid with skin so pale-blue it was almost white.
Nayidia's blue eyes gleamed as she smiled. "Ylaine, my little Kelpling! Do you know, you crossed my mind several times this morning as I was out searching the shipyards."
Ylaine relished the thrill that ran from her shoulders to the tip of her tail whenever Nayidia mentioned the shipyards: a vast underwater valley just beyond the Boundary filled with the wrecks of warships, cruise ships and merchant ships that had all been lost to the humans over the ages.
"Ooh!" She gushed, "What did you find this time?"
Nayidia smiled and gestured to a trunk in the corner. "Open that, my dear. I found many things to show you."
High up on the top of the stone cliffs that formed the boundary for Undersea stood the royal palace of the island kingdom of Overcliff.
Within the palace, a dark-haired young man with sharp features crouched in the shadows, curled up as small as he could make his lanky frame. He waited, counting silently to himself.
“Five… four… three… two… one!” He slipped out just as the guards were changing. Hugging the wall and keeping well below any windows, the grey-clad young man crept toward his goal. One more corner, one more hallway—
At last! The mischievous rogue squeezed into an alcove and surveyed his quarry: a fresh berry tart on the windowsill. He would have to slip past the pastry chef, the cook, the cellar-maid, the baker, and the footmen traipsing in and out of the kitchen as they readied luncheon for His Majesty—
“Your Highness!” The cry hurt his pride almost as much as the fierce grip hurt his ear.
“Aww, Giles!” he whined, gripping the servant’s wrist in a vain attempt at getting him to relax his grip.
Giles never relented. “Prince Nathan, what do you think you’re doing?” His eyes immediately went for the tart. “Devising plans of insubordination, I see. And tell me, Prince—would it really have tasted as sweet to gulp it down in the last few minutes before luncheon so that you would not get caught, or to wait until you had finished your meal, at which time you would be able to call for it and consume at your leisure?” Giles laughed and hauled the prince ignominiously out to the hallway. Only then did he release him.
“Ow, Giles,” Nathan rubbed his tender lobe. “I could have you whipped for that, you know.”
“I am fulfilling the duties laid down by your father, of looking after you, Prince,” Giles replied soberly. He snorted, “Besides, if you whipped everyone who dared speak against you, Prince, what sort of king would that make you?”
“One with less bruises, that is certain,” Nathan muttered. “Now go and fetch my boots!”
Giles glanced at his stocking feet and shook his head. “Ah, nay, My Prince. You and I both will return to your chambers. It would not do to stuff those sorry, dusty scraps into your nice clean boots that I’ve just shined, now would it?”
Nathan groaned and followed Giles back to his room.
Author Interview Questions:
What was the defining event that made you start writing?
The event that made me start writing also happens to be my earliest memory: I didn't know how to read yet, but I had a penchant for looking at pictures and making up stories in my head about what I saw. I did it for this one book, making up a story that really got me going, and I liked just thinking about it over and over again. Fast forward a couple years later, I picked up that same book again, thinking I'd read it--and the story inside was not the same one that I remembered "reading" before... and it was much more boring. I remember being confused--Was there another book with the same title and cover that I had read? Where did this other story come from? I figured out that the story I remembered was the story I had made up, myself, and I started typing out these story ideas that I had floating through my head, so that I could actually read them for myself. I haven't stopped since... Just nowadays I'm making stories available for others to read and enjoy too!
What other writing have you done?
Besides my novella Princess of Undersea, I've done several short stories in various anthologies: The short story "Arthur and The Egg" appears in the anthology titled Dreamtime Dragons. It's about a young man about to lose his home because his mom can't keep up with the bills, and his fortunes take a drastic turn when he unwittingly hatches a dragon's egg.
Then there is the story "Heartsong" which appears in Cracks in The Tapestry. A woman cast overboard by superstitious pirates transforms into a siren with enough power in her voice to control sea creatures and convince men to dive into the sea and drown themselves... until she encounters a young man who doesn't succumb to the sound of her voice. Why won't he drown? Why can't she just kill him in another fashion?
Lastly, I have the story "Red, The Wolf" appearing in the newest anthology, Dreamtime Damsels and Fatal Femmes. It's a twist on Little Red Riding Hood, but instead of being threatened by the wolf or hunting wolves, Red is the lycanthrope guardian of a small mountain village, and she takes it upon herself to defend it from everything from wolves who attack the village flock, to an unscrupulous peddler who wants to swindle the villagers out of their handmade goods, just so he can turn a profit.
I also have many more stories on Wattpad, and just last week I finished the first draft of a full-length fantasy novel--so I'm still writing plenty!
What’s the basic plot of your book?
The basic plot of Princess of Undersea focuses on Ylaine: she's a mermaid and the daughter of the King of Undersea, and she's always had this special magical Gift of an enchanted singing voice, which she received from the fairies. Her mother disappeared when she was very young, and the King somehow blames the humans, and he's been using Ylaine's enchanted voice to lull the royal convention of merpeople into complacency, so that he can launch a war against the humans and subjugate them. All that changes when Ylaine saves the life of a human young man, who turns out to be Prince Nathan of the human kingdom of Overcliff. She decides that becoming human and seeing for herself what the humans are like is the best way to convince her father to call off the war--but once she is in Overcliff, Ylaine finds out that the humans are not only the furthest thing from a threat to the merpeople, but that they are themselves victims of much darker forces that threaten not only the two young royals, but the future of their kingdoms as well.
What makes this version unique compared to other fairy-tale re-tellings?
I endeavored to tweak the story in ways that I hadn't heard of anyone else doing. One of the biggest points that I knew I wanted to include in this story was to allow the mermaid character to still have a voice outside the water. I made Ylaine's enchanted singing voice something separate from her "natural voice", so that even without the Gift, she can still speak, only her voice is flat and dull and she has a very bad stutter that she can't really overcome.
There is a "fairy godmother" type character in the story--but she's not just there to make the innocent heroine's "wishes come true."
I also wanted to make Merfolk their own creatures, not merely "humans with fish tails" but actually a hybrid creature "too fish-like to pass for human, and too human-like to be dismissed as a mere fish." No seashell bras (or, on the other end of the spectrum, blatant nudity) here!
Which is your favourite character and why?
My favorite character in Princess of Undersea would have to be Giles. He's the King's Steward, and while the King is too absorbed with the grief over his late wife, Giles steps up to try and do his best to groom Prince Nathan for the inevitable eventuality of taking the throne, in spite of the young man's earnest desire to allow the Royal Council to just run the kingdom, while he does whatever pleases him.
The reason I like him so much is that he was originally going to be a snobbish, vain, elitist fellow, kind of a combination of the two characters from the Disney movie (since this did start out as a fanfiction for a certain TV show that made a habit of "rewriting" the fairy tales we all knew and loved!)--namely Sebastian the nervous, timid crab, and Grimsby, the aloof, disdainful butler. Anyway, I was going to write this character... when Giles just "showed up" in my imagination and after his first introduction to Ylaine he ends up being so kind to her, treating her so patiently and being so all-around noble and likeable--I didn't have the heart to try and rewrite it to fit my original plan! So Giles stayed as he was, and I think the story is all the better for it!
Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yes, unfortunately--I can't afford not to just yet! Fortunately though, it's a job I really enjoy: I'm a staff assistant in an elementary school. I get to help small groups of students with reading and math (but nothing too complicated that I can't explain it!) while also doing cafeteria and recess supervision and crossing guard duties--so I get to know lots of kids across all six grade levels (kindergarten through fifth grade) and I think that's a lot of fun!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?
My advice would be to start writing down the ideas--and then keep writing them down. Your first idea may not be your best one. Your first story is always going to be "absolute trash" compared to everything you will write after it... but you won't get to writing stories you can actually be proud of if you don't slog through the "garbage mistakes" first. The practice of writing is how you learn to write better.Write a lot. Write often. Never be afraid to rewrite--it's tough, but it's going to take about fifteen "first drafts" to actually reach a point where your first draft is actually "passable." So the more you keep on going and refuse to give up, the better chance you'll have of achieving the writing level you want.
What song would you choose as the theme song of your book?
Interesting you should ask! The story started out as a fanfiction "episode" for a TV show I really enjoyed (that I stopped watching around the third season when it went, in my opinion, completely off the rails... but that's another story), and in that "fanisode" (the colloquial term) the song that is featured is A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. The lyrics just seemed to embody the relationship I envisioned for a timid young mermaid slowly falling for a human, and learning to "stand" for what she believed in. Lines like "How to be brave/how can I love when I'm afraid to fall?" The idea of "I have died every day waiting for you... I have loved you for a thousand years" spoke of the dramatic difference between the lifespan of a merperson and that of a human--and all that Ylaine had to give up just to be with Nathan. "All along, I believed I would find you/Time has brought your heart to me".... I mean, seriously! It pretty much ran through my head all while I was writing it, and I always think of my story whenever I hear this song!
What are you working on now?
I recently finished my first full-length fantasy novel--the longest project I've written to date! It's called The Last Inkweaver and it tells the story of a young woman who has been raised in a society that values the scientific process and logic and knowledge over stories and imagination and "speculation"... but at the same time, she's come across many historical records that mention a group of craftsmen and women called Wordspinners, who supposedly could tell stories while working with raw materials (like wood, metal, stone, and thread) and make amazing and beautiful objects, imbued with powerful stories that kept the item as fresh and new as the day it was made (some say even gave the user/wearer certain enhancements) but no one seems interested in telling her more about it--until she discovers an unfinished Tapestry supposedly left behind by the "last Inkweaver" who used to live near her village--and her friend convinces her to seek out this Inkweaver and find out what happened to all the Wordspinners, why they are so hushed up and no one wants to talk about them. What she finds is so much more than she ever suspected, and it holds profound implications not only for her and her village, but the future of the entire kingdom as well!
I'm also turning the story I mentioned earlier, "Red, The Wolf", into a serial which I'll be posting on my blog. When I originally thought up the idea for the Dreamtime Damsels and Fatal Femmes anthology submission, I had a longer story arc in mind, but the full idea would have been much too long for the word count limit in the submission guidelines, so I created an "abridged" version for the anthology submission, with the intention of posting the longer serialized version on my blog, after the anthology released. Now that it has, the series is forthcoming!
What do you do when you have writers’ block?
It doesn't happen often that I have absolutely zero idea what to write... but when my story hits a snag, I do have a couple strategies for getting myself out of the hole! The first is to have multiple projects going at once. Sometimes, although I am "blocked" for one project, I still might feel like writing more, but perhaps in a different genre that more suits my mood. If I have multiple projects going, and one hits a snag, I can switch to another one and still make progress, until my brain works out how to solve the problem of the main project.
The other strategy is to just take a break from writing and read or watch a movie/TV show instead. I love the quote "Reading is like breathing in, writing is like breathing out." It speaks to the balance between consuming media and producing it! You don't want to hyperventilate (or "breathe out too much while not breathing in enough") by refusing to read enough while focusing too much on writing... But if you want to be a writer, you do actually have to do some writing, or it might feel like "holding your breath" ("breathing in" without "breathing out") which isn't healthy either. Both have to be in balance, and no matter what anybody says about "I don't read when I'm writing because I want my writing 'voice' to be my own, not influenced by anyone else, so I don't get accused of copying" because that's poppycock. Your "writer voice" will be as much your own as your real voice, and I think it's okay to be influenced by other writers--especially if they're the goodwriters who successfully create the kinds of books you want to write. Who wouldn't want to emulate the masters of any craft?
In summary, the two strategies for writer's block are: 1) Write a different story. 2) Read or watch something.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
The cover design was a recommendation from my publisher, Bill. Originally, Princess of Undersea was going to be a part of a larger anthology of works by other authors, along the theme of "fairy tales with our own personal twists to them." When the idea of the anthology fell through, we both still hoped that at some point it might still become a series, or a collection. Hence, when it came time to decide the cover artwork, he showed me his plan for the cover of one of the other stories, a sort of "minimalist" design. Of course, he also sent me another option that was far more "picture book" style--I didn't like that one at all! I went for the minimalist option, because it fit with the kind of classic, "leather-bound" style that I really liked. The aqua color was to represent the ocean, and the motif we chose was the cowrie-shell necklace that Ylaine wears, to represent her royal status. I've had some people say that they disliked the cover because it "gave no indication what to expect from the story", but others really liked the old-fashioned vibe it gave, which was exactly the feel I was going for!
List some great books you have recently read:
Okay, here are the last 5 books I've read and enjoyed: A Drop of Dream by Amy Hopkins. It's the first book in her Talented series, which I like to describe as "If Hermione Granger sold enchanted teas in a little tea shop in London." Completely endearing and the mysteries faced by the MC Emma are absolutely enthralling! Then there's Prideby Ibi Zoboi, which is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, but instead of the Bennetts you have the Afro-Latino Benitez family--but I am absolutely certain Miss Austen would heartily approve! Zoboi has captured the same kinds of prejudices and social issues in our day that Austen subtly protested against in hers. Glorious! I just finished the last book in the Firebird Fairy Tales trilogy by Amy Kuivalainen--mind-blowingly good! And I'm still working my way through the Chronicles of Lorrek series by Kelly Blanchard--her books are AMAZING and I would ALWAYS recommend them to fans of both sci-fi and fantasy! Last of all, I'm going to throw in a recommendation for David Baldacci--I haven't read a book of his that I didn't heartily enjoy! His name on the spine is pretty much a guarantee for a good time. He has a fantastic sense of pacing, his character development is on point, and the intrigue keeps you guessing till the very last page!
Who are your five favourite authors? Who’s your favourite indie author and why?
Well, I kind of gave that away in my answer to the last question! (sort of!) I am so widely read that I very often have a hard time answering a question like this--there are so many that I am driven to narrow them down by genre! But I'll answer off the top of my head: in addition to the authors I mentioned above, some of my favorite "mainstream" authors are Cornelia Funke, Naomi Novik, Mark Lawrence, Agatha Christie, and Pittacus Lore. As for Indie authors--I think, with over 100 featured reviews on my blog, I can afford to also list more than just one author I ardently follow and adore everything they write! Writers like R. R. Virdi, who writes paranormal fiction in the school of Jim Butcher. I've followed him since his very first book (which he was generous enough to send me to review, and I loved it!) and each one just gets better and better! Highly enjoyable. Patricia Loofbourrow writes steampunk-era dystopian "neo-noir" fiction that is glorious and thrilling and very detailed in its world-building! I'm a huge fan of Jeffrey Cook, who writes not only steampunk but urban fantasy also, with a flair for the endearing and fascinating! J. D. Cunegan's fiction will draw you in and keep you fixated, whether it's the cyborg cop Jill Andersen who moonlights as a crime-fighting vigilante, or a pair of archaeologists who make the discovery of a lifetime with the Gem of Notna--the weapon forged by gods in an attempt to gain the upper hand in a holy war of apocalyptic proportions! And finally, if you love a hearty, touching romance along with an engaging premise and fantastically vivid characters, look no further than Mary E. Twomey (or her romance penname, Tuesday Embers!) and her not-to-be-missed Volumes of the Vemreaux Trilogy!
What is your favourite quote?
My favorite quote is actually one that sort of kickstarted my love for books, after studying way too much of all the wrong sort of books for my tastes, for college.
I'd chosen to study the whole history of American Literature, you see... From the early days of Native American folklore, to the Postmodern Era, around the 80's or so. The way the course was set up, the assigned reading at the end were all real downers, the "social realism" truck that was basically novel after novel after poem after short story of everything and anything wrong with society, the government, and humanity. I was so despondent after finishing that course and finally graduating, that I didn't really want to pick up a book for three months straight!
About that much time later, though, I came across a copy of Fahrenheit 451 that was my brother's assigned reading for his high school class. I'd seen the title many times, and I'd read a few Ray Bradbury short stories that were quite entertaining, but I hadn't read this one. I did so, out of curiosity, and by the end of it, I was ready to tackle literature once more!
For starters, I was quite entertained by the fact that a book that functions on the whole premise of a society where books are banned and literally burned is itself littered with quotes from those very books, immortalized forever in this "cautionary tale."
Second, there was the quote near the end of the book: "Good writers touch Life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones ravage her and leave her for the flies."
It spoke such volumes to me. I realized in an instant that this was the very reason I enjoyed reading certain books so much: they touched life often. I could relate to the characters, the setting was described in such a way to be easily visualized, the scenarios and emotions were ones that resonated with me. I identified a few books that would have fallen under the "mediocre" definition: flat characters, feeling like you're being "dragged" through the plot, the "voices" you hear in your head all sound like a robot reading out the text. It just lacks that spark of life because the writer didn't bother to breathe Life into their story. And yes, I've also read some actual "bad" ones... that didn't care about presenting a good story, much less a decently-edited manuscript free of such basic errors as dropped punctuation, proper grammar, and not spelling a character's name three different ways! That quote had a powerful impact on me: I wanted to be a "good writer." I've endeavored ever since to "touch life often" whenever I write!
Do you have a blog?
I do! It's called "The Upstream Writer" and you can find the link below! I've had it for almost seven years, so there's quite a lot in there!
What do you write about in your blog?
I started it as a platform to share my writing and also some thoughts and theories I had on writing and reading in general. From there I added featuring reviews of indie books, lists of projects I want to write someday for added accountability, excerpts from old or current pieces, serialized stories, quite a few "audience participation" series, a handful of blog hops, and so much more!
What are your writing plans for this year?
This year, I've accomplished the Big One, which was actually reaching the end of my first full-length novel. With what's left of 2019, I plan on finishing the serial for my blog, and seeing how much I can add to another novella series I'm working on.
It started as a for-fun serial novel idea I cooked up for my second-ever attempt at the National Novel Writing Month challenge: 50,000 words in 30 days, over the month of November. I couldn't decide what I was going to write by the time September rolled around, so I figured, "If I can't pick any one genre to write in--why not write them all?" I made a super-simple story frame (a writer who discovers a portal into several different genre-themed "worlds" that she'd invented in the past, but abandoned... kind of a direct reference to all my abandoned half-projects, I suppose!) and I had about seven different genres, ranging from "high fantasy fairies and unicorns" and "alien battles in space" to "Wild Western shootout" and "superheroes", I had a plot arc that could be tweaked for each context, a group of five side characters whose archetypes would remain more or less the same, just the names and genders switching around--and before I knew it, I had the whole story slammed out!
Fast forward a couple years, and I decided that I wanted to turn the serial story into a whole series of novella-length adventures--which meant the seven-part story would turn into a series of seven books! I've completed two and I'm halfway through Book 3--I want to get that one and Book 4 written this year for National Novel Writing Month, so that will be fun!
I also want to finish up another short story I started but haven't finished, an alternate version of "Beauty and The Beast." And for 2020? Who knows? The creative process just never stops!
What’s your dream job and do you think you’ll do it one day?
My dream job is to be able to make a living off of my writing, enough to be able to do it full-time. I certainly hope I can crank out enough stuff with just "writing in my free time" while maintaining a full-time job, to be able to have that option--but for now I just have to keep plugging away when I can!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading. When I don't feel like doing much of either, I might pull out one of my "coloring therapy books" and spread pretty chunks of color over a geometric design!
Are there any writing styles or genres you dislike?
I am too squeamish for horror per se--"dark fantasy" is about as close as I can get, and "grimdark" only if the prose is just too good to pass up! But nothing violent... I take my romance in small doses, as more of a side plot to the main thrust that is more action-related. Drama for "its own sake" is not my cup of tea!
What is your experience of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Readers’ Lounge?
My experience has been a largely positive one! I loved getting in on the take-overs during the summer (when I had more free time available.... Not so much now that I'm back to work during the daylight hours!) and being able to support other writers, whether with their questions, or finding out more about their books, participating in their takeovers. It's been fun, and I am definitely keeping my eye out for more opportunities!
Favorite thing to cook: I make a mean Yorkshire pudding/German pancake. We eat it as a breakfast food... but I'm the only one in my family who can whip together eggs, milk, and flour, bake it in a mixture of bacon grease and butter, and have it come out crispy around the edges, and so light and fluffy in the middle that it's practically "inflated" to about 2 inches high!
Silliest saying:"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett
Most played song: Probably "High Hopes" by Panic! At The Disco. I love that song! Also The Greatest ShowmanSoundtrack. Lots of P!nk, Lauren Daigle, and Sheppard. Stuff like that.
With writing, are you a plotter or (seat-of-your) pantser?Oh definitely a planner!! The closest I can get to "pantsing" is if I just have a loose plan for a short flash fiction drabble piece, and I don't allow myself to overthink it, just get it all down in one go. The reason is that if I am going to write a piece over more than one session, I have a terrible memory and an attachment to making sure things stay smooth and consistent, and all the events connect--so if there is anything I don't want to forget, I have to write it down! I remember the one time I tried to go off on a whim, tried to just "write where the story takes me"... two days later, I absolutely could not write another word until I'd written out a full timeline/story arc for the rest of the project. Just to make sure I didn't forget how it all worked together. So I'm a planner, and I love it! That is not to say that I'm a hard-and-fast, stick-in-the-mud type of writer. The plan can change--and very often does, because the initial plan doesn't often include much dialogue, unless there is a specific line or exchange that must happen in the scene. But even then, it gets tricky when the characters start actuallyinteracting in the scene, because then I don't want the conversation to vary too far from the actual point, so that the required dialogue can still happen, without feeling forced or contrived! But if the plan changes between the initial conception and actually getting there in the draft, I don't mind readjusting my plan to fit the new direction!
Do you prefer to read SciFi or fantasy: Both! I'm an equal-opportunity reader, thank-you-very-much! It all depends who's writing/how well it's written. I end up reading more fantasy than sci-fi because it's a lot less "technical specifications" for fantasy world-building... but if the premise is alluring enough, and it doesn't get too bogged down with info-dumping and minutiae, I'd treat myself to some sci-fi! My favorite is when an author can successfully meld sci-fi and fantasy conventions, like tech-plus-magic sort of thing, that feels natural and "expected" in the world they've built.
Best superpower: Teleportation. I like to visit different places, but I don't like all the time and planning and logistical prowess it takes to get there. Sometimes I just want to be there. And then be back whenever I want to be, so I won't miss anything with just travel time. If teleportation existed, things like airplanes, trains, and even driving would become purely recreational. Sort of like how horse riding and bicycling were originally means of travel, but became recreational after we invented faster ways of getting from here to there.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: Tour Great Britain--Scotland, England, Ireland, and Wales. I've wanted to go there and just wander around to different places. It's just so novel a concept to be able to walk from one interesting location to another, instead of having to drive--I'd want to complete the tour seeing how long I could go without renting a car, even! I tend to be a little directionally challenged anyway, so it would be more fun to be able to go places without worrying about making a wrong turn or driving myself in general. I'd probably want to go along with somebody, too. But yeah. That's been Number One for a really long time.
Leslie Conzatti is an avid reader and prolific writer who lives in the Pacific Northwestern United States. Since publishing her first book— Princess of Undersea, a fantasy re-telling of “The Little Mermaid”— back in 2016, she has published short stories in several anthologies, including Dreamtime Dragons, Cracks in The Tapestry, and most recently, Dreamtime Damsels And Fatal Femmes. Leslie works full-time as an elementary school staff assistant, and spends her free time adding to all the full-length novels she fully intends to publish, as well as producing even more short stories for future anthology opportunities. Current project updates, old ideas, new motivation, and dozens of indie book reviews can be found on Leslie’s blog, “The Upstream Writer.”
Princess of Undersea: https://www.amazon.com/Princess-Undersea
Dreamtime Dragons: https://www.amazon.com/Dreamtime-Dragons-Tale-Fantasy
Cracks in The Tapestry: https://www.amazon.com/Cracks-Tapestry-Arthur-David
Dreamtime Damsels and Fatal Femmes: https://www.amazon.com/Dreamtime-Damsels-Fatal-Femmes