Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Author Interview with Leanna Renee Hieber & A Giveaway!

I want to welcome one of my favorite historical fantasy/paranormal/romance writers, and former Ohioan, Leanna Renee Hieber, author of Dark Nest, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, and most recently A Christmas Carroll, to A Buckeye Girl Reads for an interview and a Giveaway of 2 copies of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker to catch everyone up for the next book in the series, which is:


Strangely Beautiful #2.5: Join Headmistress Rebecca Thompson and Vicar Michael Carroll as they star in "A Christmas Carroll" This novella features Percy, Alexi and the entire Guard coterie. Rebecca and Michael are put through harrowing spectral paces, as familiar Athens Academy spirits take them dangerously through their pasts to make a better "Christmas yet to come..."(from

Now, before you read these questions, I want you to close your eyes, and picture yourself at Athens Academy in Victorian London right after Alexi, Percy and the Guard have defeated the evil forces at hand, and while everything seems perfect, there are still questions burning in your mind about all the weird changes that took place at the doors appearing out of nowhere, yet no one noticing them appearing right away, and what will happen to the guard now they their lives are seemingly back to normal? Are you there? I know it's been awhile since we've been in Percy & Alexi's  world, but try  picturing Headmistress Rebecca in her office with her cat Marlowe, yelling at Alexi for pushing Percy too hard and that should transport you back...

Have it now?, you can open your eyes and read the interview with the amazing and talented Leanna Renne Hieber. We decided to wait to post the questions I had for her about Darkly Luminous  until the release of her newest novella because it deals with the actions and events that took place in the second book in the Strangely Beautiful Series, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. So here were the burning questions I had for Leanna after reading Darkly Luminous:

1. One of the things I thought was cool in  Darkly Luminous was when doors started appearing, how was it that only one person noticed this?

I believe that in our real life, in past and in modern reality, some people are attuned to many things the average world cannot register. I mention at one point in the books that some mortals, even those who are not the guard, have the ability to see or to sense spirits, but none could control them like the Guard. I truly love Mina Wilberforce and think she would be one of those attentive and attuned souls, with no extra ‘powers’ – just an otherworldly sense. She then becomes a good barometer of how much force is pressing in between the worlds, and the Guard knows they can’t sit back and wait. If it runs unchecked then not only will sensitive persons be able to see the changes, but everyone.

2. How was it that it took Alexi and Rebecca so long to notice other changes going on at the Academy? 

Well, to be perfectly honest they’re both so damn distracted and into themselves and their own romantic plots. (Alexi’s preoccupation happier than Rebecca’s, of course). And also to be fair to them, the doors really don’t start appearing until after the wedding and Beatrice is really getting to work. Beatrice warns Percy the worlds are going to be knit before the actual evidence begins to appear. Once Rebecca comes out of her haze of pain, and Michael directs her attention to it, she’s on alert. At first it seems no one else can see them, so they proceed with slow caution. Once Mina brings it up, though, they know they have to do something about it or it will only get worse.

3. Are the changes still there now that the battle is over?

The new doors, no. All the Whisper-world transformation of Athens is gone. But the building still houses the power of the Phoenix power, deep in the bricks, patient and dormant. His ghost is there in the bricks, there with his Muse friends, should someone call upon them in need.

4.  Are the Guard’s powers really gone for good?

No. They are indeed called upon, in need, in Strangely Beautiful #4.  (They are present in Strangely Beautiful #3, of course, as it is a prequel and we’ll see how the powers came to be focused on Athens in the first place).

5. Will Percy still be transparent like the spirits she talks to now that the goddess is no longer in her? ?

Percy is the only one whose powers didn’t actually go anywhere. She’s as gifted as ever, and proves so in the “A Christmas Carroll”.

6. Will Percy still  be able to talk to the spirits?
Absolutely. The rest of the Guard can also still see them, though they never could and still cannot hear them. For the time being, they’ve no power over them.

7. What happened to all the powers that the guards had?

When the battle with Darkness was won, in effect canceling out the vendetta that started the Guard in the first place in ancient times, the Phoenix fire in Alexi and the Muses in the rest of the Guard take a break, offer the Guard ‘retirement’ to live a bit of a ‘normal’ mortal life. The powers lie resting too, in the bricks of Athens.

8. Will Athens Academy still be needed now that the battle has been won?

Absolutely. It was a school before Prophecy and it will always be one hence.  And education is the most important power of all. And with the divinities resting there and all, its like a power station just waiting to be tapped.

9. At the end of Darkly Luminous, you gave such a great teaser for Michael and Rebecca's romance in the next book, A Midwinter Fantasy when Percy mentions that their romance was divine intervention and Rebecca mentions that she'd been blessed by the bricks of Athens Academy. Does this perhaps have anything to do with the Goddess in Percy? Or the spirits in the Whisper World?

Yes, and yes. J And both Percy and the Spirits (a few familiar friends) make the divine intervention happen. A la A Christmas Carol.

10. I loved the name Marlowe for Rebecca's cat-how did you decide what animals the guard had as pets?

I chose the two most lonely / isolated women to have the familiars. This was totally chosen on instinct and each familiar fills a need with their powers that wouldn’t be suited for the others. Also, single women in Victorian society were at a disadvantage, they needed all the help they could get in staying connected to their peers and support network. I love Marlowe’s “Faust” and one of my favourite 19th Century composers is Frederic Chopin, hence the name for Frederic. Chopin is Alexi’s favourite composer and I used to have a scene in which Alexi commented on the namesake but that was cut. The name remains in homage, nonetheless.

Thanks, Colette, for your burning questions and for all your support!

Th release day for Strangely Beautiful #2.5, “A Christmas Carroll” in A Midwinter Fantasy has been changed to October 1st.  Dorechester is going through a lot of changes, so please be patient! For more information please go to: Also, please be aware that due to changes in the way Dorchester Publishing is moving from mass market into Trade Paperback, that A MIDWINTER FANTASY will be an eBook ONLY. Even if it’s listed as Mass Market, it won’t be coming out as such. eBook only. As for the next Strangely Beautiful books, they should be moving into electronic and Trade Paperback next year.

The Giveaway:
Leanna is being kind enough to give away two paperback copies of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker! I'm really sorry, but this giveaway only open to US Residents. To enter the giveaway please state that you want to be entered in it and be a blog follower.

For extra entries:
Follow Leanna on Twitter  (2 extra entries)
Become a fan The Strangely Beautiful Series on Facebook (3 extra entries)

If your email is not on your blogger profile page, please leave it so I can let you know that you won. If there is no response from the winners after 3 days, then new winners will be chosen.  The contest is open until  8:00pm Wednesday October 6th.

Where to find Leanna: