Many authors surround me; although each of us does have different personalities (I mean we do hear voices but we’re completely normal people-swear it). I’m often surprised by how close we become after only meeting in person for a brief time.
Jennifer Leeper is one of those authors. Both of us were privileged enough to be awarded for our pieces by Spider Road Press for their 2016 Flash Fiction Contest
Our pieces might have been different, but I could see the glow coming through her as she spoke to me at the ceremony. It’s always amazing to see passion in another author’s eyes, the only thing better is seeing that look in a reader’s eyes.
Her novella, along with my flash fiction piece ‘Thomas’, will be released in mid November in the collection Approaching Footsteps from Spider Road Press. The collection will also feature pieces by other award winning authors like Andrea Barbosa and Holly Walrath be sure to check out the latest from http://spiderroadpress.com
20 Questions With…Jennifer Leeper
- Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? – Wow, that’s a hard question to answer because I admire so many writers and so many authors have influenced my writing career, but I’ll narrow it down to Jack London for this interview. London was a constant seeker in his life and his art and I think this perpetual curiosity really shaped his writing. As an outdoor adventure junkie, I relate to him as a person, but as a writer still struggling to find my place in the literary universe, he is a strong touchstone for me.
- How old where you when you started writing? I started writing poetry around the age of 11 or 12. Fiction writing came later in high school.
- Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, Tony Hillerman, and, of course, Jack London.
- What would you eat? In honor of Hemingway, we would drink Mojitos. For London, I would request Hawaiian Salad. Hemingway was a big fisherman, so maybe some trout to go with the salad and for Lewis, a Chocolate Water Cake.
- How do you plot out your work? Very roughly in my head and then I flesh it out on the page.
- Do you write in the morning or evening? I’m definitely a night owl so after dark seems to be my most productive time.
- Is there music on? No music, but definitely television. It’s my go-to source for white noise.
- What inspired your last story? A lot of my stories are born in my imagination and my last one was no different, but typically some experience subconsciously originates these stories, and much of the time I can see these experiences threaded through my pieces once they are finished. I adopted my son, and my last short story focused on adoption and my protagonist finding his “whole self” by finding his biological brother.
- Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. Elmer Gantry, The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and East of Eden
- What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? TV shows: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire, Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, Felicity, Justified Movies: The Godfather, The Best Years of Our Lives, Dances with Wolves, The Revenant, The Deer Hunter, It Happened One Night; Taxi Driver Albums: Keane: Under the Iron Sea; Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison; Kris Kristofferson: The Silver-Tongued Devil and I
- Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? Graham Greene
- Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? It’s always the one I’m currently writing. 😉
- Which was the easiest? The last one I finished. As a writer, it seems like everything looks easier in the rear view.
- Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? It’s funny because for me this is kind of a trick question as my readers always seems to have a different take on my works than I do. I’m still hoping for that “get” from a reader. 😉
- What are you working on now? I’m developing a crime/mystery novel that takes place on and off a Tohono O’odham reservation in southern Arizona.
- What story do you have to write before you die? I know a lot of writers shy away from writing about friends and family for fear of controversy, but I’ve always written about the foreign and exotic as it relates to my life, so for once I’d love to write about what and who I know intimately.
- What’s your best fan story? Probably my first longer work of fiction, Padre: The Narrowing Path. It seems to be the piece that engages fans the most.
- What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? This is more than one sentence, but for me as a writer, it’s one fluid thought that happens to be separated by punctuation, so here goes: He shook his head as he walked back toward the cave entrance. Maybe he wouldn’t let anyone else touch the body. It wouldn’t be right. He had killed the boy. He was a beat-up, old sicario, but he would move the body and bury the young man as he had always handled his bodies himself. (From The Reiger File)
- Have you ever based characters off of real people? Probably all of my characters are shaded with a degree of reality of the family and friends in my life, but in particular, I based a minor character in Padre: The Narrowing Path on a Catholic priest I know.
- Who’s your favorite character? That’s It’s like choosing a favorite among your children or pets. I’m really enjoying writing and getting to know Frank Acuna, the reservation detective’s character in The Poison of War, my in-progress project.