Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interview with Dawn Leslie Lenz

Briefly describe your journey in writing your book.  
I read about a contest where you were supposed to write about the last SOMETHING on earth.  Once I read that, I immediately had the tiny seed of an idea about what something I wanted to write about.  My writing ideas are funny that way; they always start with a spark and once I give them the space to grow, they just take off.  I wrote my short story, Zephyr of Ashes, in three days because I just couldn’t get it out of my mind and had to keep going until it was all out on paper! 

What genre are your books?  Do you write in more than one genre?
I write fantasy mostly now, but also have some literary work in my repertoire.

If you write in more than one genre, do you use a pen name?
I have never wanted a pen name.  Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be a writer and have always wanted to use my whole name for my writing.

What factors influenced your decision to sign with Untreed Reads?
I saw the editor speak at a workshop on publishing in San Francisco and I immediately liked Jay Hartman.  I decided to send him my fantasy story since I had not placed it elsewhere (i.e., traditional publishing in a journal or magazine).  Then, when I received Jay’s response to my query, I was overjoyed.  I had not had anything published as an e-book before and looked forward to getting to know the medium.

Do you plan to self-publish any other books or will you stay with Untreed Reads?
I have a novel, Winged Victory, for which I am currently seeking an agent to represent me.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
I use Twitter (dawnleslielenz) and Facebook to get the word out about my writing.  I’m currently working on a webpage that will keep readers up to date on my progress as a writer at  This site is still in the process of being developed.

How do you feel about the world of digital publishing?  Do you think it will replace traditional publishing one day?
I think it is a great medium for getting people reading as voraciously as possible.  Perhaps it is because this is such a new technology that I am still holding out for traditional publishing to stay around for the foreseeable future.  There is just something special about holding a real book with paper pages.  I cherish the time I spend with books.  I just read an article yesterday about the downside to e-readers and the enormous carbon footprint of these devices worries me.  However, I still want one, so I have to try to reconcile those feelings of worry with the desire to stay current and on top of the market.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned during your journey as an author?
Keep writing, no matter what.  I run into so many people who tell me they are writers, or were writers, but now they just don’t write anymore.  Their reasons vary, but I say to never stop that creative outlet flowing in your life.  If you are a writer, in whatever capacity, writing is essential to your well-being.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
A professor in graduate school told me to write every day and I have always tried to uphold that advice.  Writing every day allows us to practice, to hone our craft, and to explore our ideas on a consistent basis.  But most of all, writing every day allows us to practice.  You can only improve your writing ability if you are challenged by practicing.  I make it my goal to write every day, even if it is simply a journal entry.  Additionally, I would say to read blogs on writing, read books on writing, but above those things, read everything you can get your hands on because, guess what, you write what you read.  It is true.

What’s next for you?
I’m shopping around my novel, Winged Victory, to agents.  It is an urban fantasy dealing with art and Greek mythology.  The novel is about a young Greek-American photographer, Nicola Solakis, who sets out to unlock the secrets behind her newfound unearthly abilities.  Mysteriously connected with the Greek goddess statue, the Winged Nike, Nicola is catapulted into a dangerous quest, at which she must succeed before she loses her life.

I’m currently working on two projects.  The first is a sequel to my novel, Winged Victory.  The second is a sequel to my short story, Zephyr of Ashes with Untreed Reads.  I feel as though Chava Logan’s story is not quite finished being told.