11 December, 2012

Guest Post: Classic Inspiration from Leanna Renee Hieber

I had to stop for a fangirl moment, when I received this post. I've had a few encounters with author Leanna Renee Hieber before and always came away feeling slightly awed and intellectually fulfilled. She is a great conversationalist, so when I had the chance to host her at Read My Mind, I jumped at it.

Leanna's newest release is THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART, which continues the story of Natalie and Denbury started in DARKER STILL. You can check out my review (along with a rafflecopter giveaway until 12.30, 11:59pm) at this link.

About The Author:
Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. She graduated with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era from Miami University. She began her theatrical career with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and began adapting works of 19th Century literature for the stage. Her one-act plays such as Favorite Lady have been published, awarded and produced around the country. Her novella Dark Nest won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in the genre of Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance.

Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in her Strangely Beautiful series, landed on Barnes and Noble's bestseller lists, was named a favourite of 2009 by 14 book blogs, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book), the 2010 Orange County Book Buyer's Best Award (Young Adult category) and is currently in development as a musical theatre production with Broadway talent on board. The Strangely Beautiful series has been translated into several languages and was selected for hardcover editions via Rhapsody and SciFi Book Clubs. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, the prequel in the series, won the 2012 Prism Award (Best Fantasy).

DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, first in Leanna's Gothic Historical Paranormal saga for teens (Sourcebooks Fire), hit the Kid's/YA INDIE NEXT LIST as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association. Seventeen Magazine said of DARKER STILL: "This chilling tale will draw you in and keep you guessing until the very last page!" The book has been praised by Shelf Awareness, The Chicago Tribune, Pixie Magazine and more. DARKER STILL will also be translated into several languages and has been selected for a SCHOLASTIC edition as a "highly recommended" title.

Leanna's short fiction has been featured in anthologies Candle In the Attic Window and the upcoming Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal, "Too Fond"; a forthcoming short for Tor.com and Queen Victoria's Book of Spells: Tales of Gaslight Fantasy (March 2013, Tor).

Represented by Nicholas Roman Lewis, Leanna is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She is proud to be a co-founder of the original Lady Jane's Salon Reading Series in New York. Leanna was named the 2010 RWA NYC Chapter Author of the Year.

A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Leanna works often in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire and is thrilled to be playing a principle role as Deputy Kellion in the forthcoming web-series Auror's Tale. When not writing or on set, she's busy telling ghost stories, frequenting Goth clubs, corset shopping, channeling Narcissa Malfoy, wandering graveyards and generally adventuring about her adopted hometown of New York City, where she resides with her real-life hero and their beloved rescued lab rabbit.

Website | Blog | Twitter | GoodReads

Leanna discusses where her interest in Gothic literature stems from and the importance of loving classic novels.


The first author I can recall having a profound effect on me as a pre-teen was Edgar Allan Poe. I was entranced by his stories, enraptured by his poetry. I felt like he and I saw stories with the same eyes; his ability to weave the macabre with the beautiful defined my earliest style. I’ve been a Goth girl ever since, at least in spirit. ;) And while being a Goth girl doesn’t necessarily correlate with being a Gothic novelist (Gothic literature having its own separate definition and trajectory than “Goth” culture), there are most certainly parallels.

Books like The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, Dracula, these books excited my keen flair for the dramatic, my interest in the supernatural and satisfied my craving for rich vocabulary. Big words are sexy. And the historical context of the classics allowed for another fantasy world to be taking place; delving into another time entirely.

You are what you read as a writer, and the most formative novels, the ones I connected to on the viscerally dramatic and soulful level in a way I found only Gothic fiction could really do, are what defines me today. My books all pay homage to classic novels in one way or another. My goal in life is to be a “gateway drug to 19th century literature”.

It’s my hope that sharing my love of the classics, using them as the building blocks of my storytelling as a modern Historical Fantasy author, keeps me tethered to my earliest inspirations, the closest fires to my muse.


Thanks so much Leanna! And thanks to Sourcebooks, who provided the book for review.

Darker Still:

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable... utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart:

I'm coming for you.

The whispers haunt her dreams and fill her waking hours with dread. Something odd is happening. Something... unnatural.

Possession of the living. Resurrection of the dead. And Natalie Stewart is caught right in the middle. Jonathon, the one person she thought she could trust, has become a double agent for the dark side. But he plays the part so well, Natalie has to wonder just how much he's really acting.

She can't even see what it is she's fighting. But the cost of losing her heart, her sanity... her soul.

1 comment:

  1. I love Leanna, she is so great to meet in person and full of energy !


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