Once Upon a Time, Princess Alethea traveled to a neighboring kingdom to have tea with her friends: Queen Quinn and the lady knight, Sir Bradley.
“This tea is lovely,” Princess Alethea complimented her guests, “and these cakes are quite divine.”
“They are made by a local fairy here,” said Queen Quinn. “Her name is Lesley. She does all sorts of wonderful things!”
“But you can’t have her,” said Sir Bradley. “So don’t go getting any ideas.”
“I would never do anything of the sort,” said Princess Alethea. “Perish the thought!” And so the ladies finished their lovely tea and, after a jovial time, parted ways.
But Princess Alethea grinned the whole time, for she knew the Chief of Her Royal Brute Squad had Lesley Fairy safely ensorceled to sleep in his saddle bag…
Alethea Kontis: What’s the best thing about writing?
Lesley Conner: Seeing the weird little scenes that play out in my head and the characters constantly chattering at me come alive on the page. It’s like being able to share some hidden part of myself with the world.
AK: What’s the worst thing about writing?
LC: Time. There’s never enough of it. Never.
AK: Finish this sentence: “Writing is like…”
LC: Therapy. It’s great way to work through all the thoughts and feelings that tumble around my mind with no fear of judgement or strange stares. Of course this only last up till the point where I have to let go of it and let someone else read it. Then the anxiety sets in.
AK: If you could write anywhere in the world, where would it be?
LC: My living room couch. I’m very much a creature of habit and that’s where I work now. I think if I tried to write somewhere else I’d spend just as much time looking around, taking in my new surroundings, as I’d spend writing. Many more words are written if I stay on my couch.
AK: Pick five words to describe your latest work.
LC: Alternative history, viciously heart-wrenching, supernatural, horror.
AK: Pick five words to describe you.
LC: Determined, continuously learning, creative, happy.
AK: What’s your favorite type of tree?
LC: Rhododendron. They grow everywhere in West Virginia, from the forests to my grandma’s front yard. Whenever I see one I feel like I’m home.
AK: What were you like in high school?
LC: A daydreamer. I spent a lot of time in my own head, making up stories, doodling on all of my assignments, and jotting down bits and pieces of dialogue. I definitely wasn’t one of the “cool” kids, but I had a close group of friends who may not have understood my obsession with serial killers and all things gory and gross, but they accepted it.
AK: If you could give one piece of advice (writing or otherwise), what would it be?
LC: Do what makes you happy. If writing makes you happy, do it. Comparing yourself to other writers and what works for them will only drive you crazy and suck the fun out of it. I used to beat myself up a lot because I could never stick to a writing everyday schedule (something I’ve been told repeatedly is the key to being a successful writer), telling myself that I must not want it enough, and I’m not a real writer. For a while I quit writing all together. Why take time away from my family if I wasn’t truly committed? It made me miserable. Finally, I slowly started working on The Weight of Chains again. I may not get to write every day, I may not be super prolific, but it makes me happy and my novel is close to being done. As far as I’m concerned, that makes me a success.
AK: The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: What are 3 things you’d like to do before you die?
LC: 1. Travel more. There are so many places I’d love to visit, both here in the US and around the world. It’s just a question of finding the time and money to do it all.
2. Get to the bottom of my to-read pile, which basically means I’d better live forever. I have a bad habit of adding books to it way faster than I can take them off.
3. Watch my girls grow into the amazing women I’m sure they will be. Being a mom is the greatest adventure and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.
Lesley Conner grew up in a small town in West Virginia, dividing her time between reading any book she could get her hands on and watching every horror movie available in the small video store in her hometown. She’s had a handful of short stories published in anthologies such as Dark Tales of Terror edited by Michael Knost and A Hacked-Up Holiday Massacre edited by Shane McKenzie. She’s currently working on her first novel, an alternative history horror novel set in 15th century France called The Weight of Chains. When she isn’t writing, Lesley spends her time as Apex Publications‘s social media editor and marketing leader, a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and Alethea Kontis’s sometimes Web Fairy. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their two daughters. To find out more about her, check out her website (www.lesleyconner.com) or follow her on Twitter at @LesleyConner.