Hello, marvels! Today I’m thrilled to host an interview with author Kendra Leighton! Kendra Leighton is a YA author represented by Lutyens & Rubinstein Literary Agency. Her debut novel, Glimpse, will be published in 2014 by Much-in-Little.
Kendra has a BA in English Literature from Durham University. Her first ‘grown-up’ job was teaching English in China, Spain, and the UK. She discovered her love for YA fiction while working as a middle-school English teacher.
In 2008, she left teaching to start a raw chocolate company in Cambridge. These days, when she’s not making chocolate, she can usually be found writing, reading, taste-testing chocolate (far more than necessary), or trying to steal other people’s cats.
✖ Thank you for agreeing to this interview. After reading the bio, we’d like to know more about you! What’s the quirkiest thing about you?
Thanks for having me! Hmm, the quirkiest thing about me… Before I started writing, I used to spend my free time painting copies of Pre-Raphaelite art.
I also have a place on my neck that, if you touch it, tickles an entirely unconnected place on my back. Weird!
✖ Tell us a bit about your book! What inspired Glimpse or drove you to tell this particular story? What sets it apart from others in its genre?
Glimpse is a ghost story and a love story. I’ve always loved romantic Gothic fiction, so my first novel was always going to be Gothic or paranormal. What makes Glimpse different is that it’s inspired by Alfred Noyes’ poem ‘The Highwayman’. The story wouldn’t exist without Noyes’ poem, but it also isn’t a retelling. I can’t reveal much more than that!
✖ Do you think you could share your favorite excerpt or tease us with a single quote even?
My book’s still being edited, so I don’t have an excerpt, but here’s the blurb:
✖ What was your process for writing Glimpse? Did you make a story outline, map out scenes with index cards, or did you just go with the flow?
I didn’t plan anything before writing Glimpse. I knew the beginning and ending and let the story go where it wanted! However, it turns out I’m really more of a planner than a pantster, so I created a lot of work for myself in needing to go back and fix things.
I’m working on another book now, planned in much more detail—characters as well as plot—and have needed a lot fewer drafts to get where I want to. It’s all part of growing as a writer though! Always learning.
✖ What advice have you most benefited from? Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to impart to all the writers still on their journey toward publication?
Write because you enjoy it. Even if you’re lucky enough to get your first book published, novels take a long time to write well, and there’s always more to learn. It takes real dedication and doesn’t have a guaranteed pay-off, so enjoy the process.
Also, it’s an obvious one, but read writing craft books and keep an eye out for good online classes. You can find my favorite writing books here.
✖ If you could visit a fictional setting, what would it be and why? Also, who would you most likely get into a fight with?
I’d love to visit the world of Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy, where everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts, including animals’. It would quickly get claustrophobic, but a day or two’s visit would be fascinating.
As for fighting someone, I’d fight Willy Wonka for his Oompa-Loompas. I make chocolate for my day job, and an Oompa-Loompa or two would come in very handy!