I can’t tell you how excited I am to interview this author! Her book (more a collection of episodes) is currently my favorite book of 2013… AND, its definitely up there with my favorite books ever! Yes, that’s how much I loved it! Read my review HERE. Then let’s find out more about Leila, oh and she’s giving away two copies of Volume One!
Jessy: Welcome to Jessy’s Book Club Leila and please tell us a bit about yourself.
Leila: Thank you Jessy for welcoming me to your blog I’m honored to be here.
It’s odd, but I find talking about myself one of the most difficult things. I don’t know if it’s because I spend a lot of timing working on making fictional people come to life but I will do my best. : )
I’m Canadian and French is my native tongue. I’m often told I’m outrageous.
Let me tell you little secret, I favor Italian red wine. I know it’s shocking!
The love of my life anchored my wandering spirit. Not an easy task I might add. We have two amazing children.
I love seeing the summer Blockbusters but adore films too. I’m a popcorn fanatic. No, I mean its kind of not normal how into popcorn I am.
I have a confession to make. Promise to keep this between us. I’m a goodreads voyeur. I love reading review of books. I especially enjoy the quotes, visual aids and the raw reactions. The status updates are fascinating. I think I should join a support group.
Another factoid about me is I’d love to learn more languages. I seem to have an ear for them. For a while as child I’m told I spoke Cree and Italian, which sounds pretty amazing to me but I don’t remember. I’ve dabbled in Arabic and Punjabi. I know what you might be thinking. And I assure you I did learn more than swear words and inappropriate things to say. But it’s hard to keep them up when you don’t practice.
I’m fascinated by culture and heritage, and work to incorporate that into my characters down to their names.
This would be a good time to mention that from as young as I can remember I felt compelled to tell stories even when much of it didn’t make sense. I’ll give more context on this in another question I promise.
Jessy: Oh wow, ok, I’m a voyeur also, well I should clarify, Goodreads Voyeur! Ha! Also I’ve seen you attempting Dutch so I’m hoping that’s the next language you learn 🙂
How and when did you come up with the idea of the Confessions Collection?
Leila: I can’t pin point an exact date when but the earliest notes I have on the story are in 2o08.
The scene where London and Cade are face to face for the first time came to mind. Of course he doesn’t know that the person before him is a complete and total stranger. For him he is seeing the woman he loves for the first time in many years. The reasons for them being there kept unfolding in my mind.
But I just kept thinking, no way no how. No one would want to read this, at least not if I wrote it as dark as the story was coming to me. Maybe if I could remove the unpalatable aspects and pretty it up then I might have chance at publishing it.
Jessy: So glad you didn’t! It’s such an incredibly well written book. The scenes where the personalities change for example, are so well done. Not to mention how the book completely sucks you in. I can’t help but wonder if writing it came easy… what was your writing experience like?
Leila: Thank you, Jessy for saying it’s well written, writing has never come easy for me. I was diagnosed with dyslexia as child and I had poor writing skills in my native language of French and then learning a second seemed like torture.
But I had this great English teacher who saw a storyteller in me and was encouraging. Despite, the obstacle, I focused on being disciplined about growing that skill. I wrote stories for myself and my friends. They loved them, which pushed me to keep writing and learning about the craft. I took workshops and courses. I joined groups. And I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, until I couldn’t type, to the point of anger, to the point of bliss. I worked in different formats, short, novella and novel length trying to figure out where I fit. Because it requires different skill sets, each taught me something different.
We kind of have to go back to 2008 when the story started to come to me.
I had started this story called The Merger back in 2008, needing to get it onto paper so it would leave me alone. Because, I didn’t want to write it and I yet I felt compelled to. But strangely enough while preparing for this interview I found an earlier version called FORGIVE ME with only a few hundred words written down with a similar story line.
At that time I was writing in third person, and if anyone asked me I would tell them I don’t read first person and won’t write it. Lol. As you can see I’m stubborn and learn things the hard way. Now I can’t imagine this story written in third person.
I abandon the story concept and start writing Sins of the Father in 2009 which I realized was the same story but starting from another angle, which annoyed me.
Am I a one story kind of writer? I’m going to revisit this same thing from a bunch of entry points. Ugh! At that point, I became so frustrated with myself. So I tried to split the darker aspects of the story into one called London Brown.
In 2010 and 2011 I tried to make it something else, something happier more acceptable to society out of the Merger while feeding the seedy aspects into London Brown.
After fighting this story for over three years, just after my birthday in late 2011 I decided I’m going to write London Brown in the most honest raw way I could deliver.
Jessy: What made you decide to release it in episodes?
Leila: I’m lucky to be published in a time where I have options as a writer. Ten years ago, I would have had limited choice of how I would structure the story.
For me the medium is integral to the message. I knew it was risky.
I struggled with how the story begged me to write it and readers expectations.
This isn’t a genre that has traditionally been serialized. How will readers react to episodes?
I had to hope that readers would trust in my method because this is a part of the craft of presenting the story.
Each character’s voice needed to come in its own package. Each of the characters episodes comes in a way unique to them and how I connect with them on different levels.
I really feel freed by writing this way and I hope it comes through in the characters.
Jessy: How long do you envision the series?
Leila: I believe the arch of this storyline will require no less than four volumes of at least nine episodes each.
I have the major plot events plotted for the series. In each volume I take those and place them into a spread sheet beside the episode number and then I allow the characters to react as they would.
Sometimes that brings new information or emotions to light that will effect past, current, and future events. What I will do my best to avoid or not do with intent is stretch something to keep it going or rush it.
I will apologies now to readers for the cliffhangers. I really am very sorry. You see usually, an event occurs or something is learned that changes the direction of the characters—a catalyst, which leads to the next phase in the development. This is why one part ends in one episode or volume and another begins in the next.
There might be a spin off series. But I can’t say for sure as of yet.
Jessy: Having read and loved this book, I’m still curious as to why both Rhys and Caleb seem to ‘accept’ that the two personalities exist as opposed to seeking help for Desniah. Can you tell us more about that?
Leila: I will admit that I’m not the kind of author that will draw conclusions for the reader. I rather the characters presents events and information then allow the reader to come to their own decision on the reason. Sometimes characters don’t know their own mind. For me that is reflective of our own actions in life sometimes. Other times they are very clear on why such and such is happening.
From episode 1 to 9 we have been privy to a span of nine days, Jan 2 to 13.
Rhys has yet to reveal specific details of what happened after Caden left and London reappeared. I believe in his coming confessions he will better answer his reasons.
Cade only found out recently, which leads me to believe he hasn’t gone through the array of understanding of what it means. I believe he has yet to truly express his understanding or views.
Jessy: I’ll wait and see how it all enfolds!
Which ‘character’ was easier to write, Desniah or London?
London is easier to write even fun as sick as that sounds. She goes to places most of us would never fathom to explore that as a writer is freeing.
Desniah is dissimilar to me so I am extremely attentive to who she is to remain true to her behavior and arch.
Jessy: I did wonder if Des will embrace ALL of Rhy’s sexual predilections, I’m excited to see 😉 Did you study any real cases of Multiple Personality Disorder?
Leila: The short answer is no.
I choose not to be overly influenced by actual experiences of those coping with Dissociative Identity Disorder DID previously known as multiple personality disorder.
I read a number of summation of studies done on DID some gave examples of commonalities. Since there is debate surrounding the condition, I’ve thread carefully.
I’m not passing judgment or putting into question what the individuals with DID cope with but rather exploring London/Desniah’s experiences.
Jessy: I absolutely can’t choose between Caden and Rhys. I kept waiting for one of them to do something irrevocably horrible to make my choice easier. Was it a conscious decision to make it hard for a reader to choose sides?
Leila: This is my own personal believe that a ‘triangle’ must make it difficult for the reader to favor one over the other that includes the heroines feeling being equally strong for both. The other factor is their faults need to be of equal disadvantage to them. A distinct individuality is also important. Otherwise I think the reader will lean toward one over the other.
There are of course matters out of my hands, personal experiences that would lead a reader to pick one over the other because such and such happened to them which makes this action of a character something they could never accept.
But for the most part, for me, they had to be strong in their own right.
And I think that because I don’t know which one will get the girl in the end I’m not writing it favoring one over the other. It’s possible that if I knew I would write one stronger. I waver back and forth with Desniah and London about who is the better match.
Jessy: I’m having the same problem! I have to say that I’m probably rooting for Rhys now, but that’s always until the next episode!
While reading, I couldn’t help but picture it on TV, like on HBO or the like. What plans do you have for the series?
Leila: If ever that were to happen, I’d be excited and fascinated by the process. I feel like what I control is the delivery of the story and characters that are as honest as I’m able to do. If people connect with that and someone decided they want to make a TV adaptation then great. I’m open to it. But it isn’t something I’m pursuing at this time.
Jessy: I really can’t wait to read Rapture and Violin in Darkness! The covers are absolutely gorgeous and I loved the blurbs.
Leila: That’s kind of you to say. I’m glad the blurbs intrigued you. Thank you, I’m thrilled that you like the covers.
Jessy: (Had to put the covers up!) They’re clearly both in the same genre as the confessions collection. Do you plan on venturing into any other genres?
Leila: I would love too. I think I learned my lesson about saying I wouldn’t do one thing or another. At this time, however I’ve nothing on the horizon in another genre.
Jessy: I loved interviewing you Leila! Thank you so much for joining us!
Leila: Het was me een genoegen (It was my pleasure), Jessy. Dank u wel (Thank you very much)! It was wonderful to chat with you about Confessions Collection Vol. 1 (London Brown).
Follow the author:
Descend into a world of deception, depravity, decadence, desire and desperation…
In the opulent setting of London’s aristocracy, lives a young woman fractured into two distinct individuals, one face with multiple facets.
One façade, a whore, London Brown, who will confess unfathomable truths, the other, a loving daughter, Desniah Williams will pull back the curtain to reveal what lurks in the shadows.
Caden Jacob Carrington V, a politician will do anything to reclaim the woman he lost, including dredging up pains of the past.
Rhys Christos Edward Stowell, a philanthropist will fight to win the woman he loves
while baring the darkness of his soul.
Two kindle copies of The Confessions Collection Volume One are up for grabs!
The giveaway is open internationally. All you have to do is comment below and tell me your favorite book of 2013 so far! While you’re at it, head over to Jessy’s Book Club on Facebook and like the page
Giveaway closes on Monday 15 April 2013 at 17:00 EST.