Lea is an author, intuitive medium, energy healing practitioner, and autism advocate. As a child who could not and/or would not express her feelings, Lea has an empathic connection with those on the autism spectrum. She dedicates her life to giving voice to those who need to be heard, whether they have verbal capabilities or not. She also hosts a web site for kids where anyone from ages 5-18 can share their fantasy artwork and stories at SylphSociety.com.
Lea holds a B.S. in marketing and an MBA from Northeastern University. She is also a Reiki Master, Certified Angel Healing Practitioner©, and a Vortex Healing® Energy Healing Practitioner.
Thank you for joining us at Scribbler’s today, Lea.
Describe yourself in five words.
Pleasant, creative, emotional, organized, spiritual.
What is your book about?
How a nonverbal autistic boy and a mystical being find their voices through human tragedy.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was sitting on the dock at the wharf in Salem, MA, watching the clouds on a beautiful day and a large storm cloud mass moved in from behind me darkened everything at once. As I watched the two atmospheric conditions converge, in my mind’s eye, I saw sylphs flying around in the sky. Then I got the idea to write a story about sylphs.
What genre do you consider A Society of Sylphs?
Young adult or middle grade fiction, although many adults in the special needs community read the book and have found it helpful in understanding the behaviors of someone on the autism spectrum and/or someone who is nonverbal.
How deeply do you flesh out your characters before sitting down to write?
Not very much. They grew and evolved as I wrote.
Did you know the end of the story before you began?
No, it was fun to discover it as I progressed through the writing process.
Is there a secondary character in Society of Sylphs you think should have their own story?
There are two main characters, Eddie, the nonverbal autistic boy, and Luranna, the sylph. But I think Estelle, Eddie’s grandmother, definitely has a story of her own that could fill volumes.
Can we have an excerpt from Sylphs?
Roger flinched at the loud thud in the hallway and jumped forward in his seat. “What on Earth was that?!” he yelled.
Just my books, Eddie said in his mind.
“Eddie dropped his books,” Cheryl yelled back, crossing the kitchen to help Eddie pick up the heavy volumes.
Eddie didn’t like it when his father was grumpy. It made him anxious. And when Eddie got anxious, his autistic behaviors seemed to flare up like a bad rash.
“Why’s he carrying around all those books anyway?” Roger growled from the living room. “He can’t read.”
Yes I can! Eddie contested. As he became more agitated his hands began to wave back and forth swiftly.
“You know he can,” Eddie’s mother defended. Cheryl bent over and picked up a heavy, hardcover book with a lightning bolt on the cover. “He was learning to read before his fourth birthday. He was very advanced for his age when the symptoms began.”
Are you an outliner or panster?
Panster but as I am formulating the sequel to The Society of Sylphs, I am trying out an outline to see if that helps move things along.
If you were to describe your writing process in one word what would it be?
Do you always write in the same place?
Yes, typically on the computer.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring writer?
If you get writer’s block, meditate on questions such as “Why am I afraid to write this scene?” Or “What part of me isn’t willing to write this?” I found that every time I hit a block, it wasn’t about needing to figure out the story line, but the block was something in me that was holding it back. Asking those questions helped me to name my fears and write some of the most emotional scenes in my book.
How do you balance the need for self promotion vs your writing time?
I’m not the type of writer who can sit down for 8 hours and just write, so I break it up into blocks of time, usually 2-3 hours of each.
Why self publish vs. traditional publishing?
I wanted the control of publishing it according to my vision.
What are your thoughts on the expense of self-publishing?
It was difficult for me to justify the expense at first but I was compelled to just publish it and let go of what I expected or wanted the outcome to be. After spending so much time (3 years writing the book), it was time get the book printed. Procrastinating wasn’t going to make it better.
What was the largest obstacle on your journey from first draft to published?
My biggest obstacle was letting it go. I’m a very private writer and it was very difficult for me to let everyone read it. I feared criticism and people saying they just didn’t like it but it was a good experience for me to work through and forced me to let go of judgments of myself.
Are you a one-genre writer or would you like to attempt another and what would it be?
If you could sit down to dinner with any of your favorite fictional character/s who would it be and why?
My favorite books since childhood are The Chronicles of Narnia. I’d be fascinated to have a conversation with Lucy, the main character. She’s portrayed as young and innocent but I think there’s a wise woman inside her that would have a lot to share.
If you could meet any author dead or alive whom would it be?
Stephen King. I’ve learned a lot from the way he writes suspense.
What kind of music do you listen to while you write?
Chopin: The Nocturnes
What sound or noise to do you love?
The ocean surf.
What sound or noise do you hate?
Those loud booms during a fireworks show.
Cat or Dog person?
Go to snack when writing?
Favorite curse word?
I typically don’t curse but I have been known to mutter a few words through gritted teeth when someone cuts me off on the highway.
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