Wednesday, June 13, 2012

2 WOW Wednesday: Leanna Heiber Musing on Scholastic

Today's WOW guest, Leanna Renee Hieber, is an actress, playwright and the award winning, best-selling author of the Magic Most Foul saga beginning with DARKER STILL. She loves ghost stories, the 19th century, finely tailored corsets and Goth clubs. She will be playing Deputy Kellion in the upcoming web-series The Auror's Tale and can be found blogging at http://leannareneebooks.blogspot.com, Tweeting at http://twitter.com/leannarenee and on her website: http://leannareneehieber.com

Musing on Scholastic: Guest Post with Author, Actress and Playwright Leanna Renee Hieber
 

A lot of us fondly remember our Scholastic catalogues from our kid and teen years. The fairs and catalogues were like Christmas. First we picked out something we longed for, then the long-suffering thrill of waiting for it to come in, then finally unpacking those boxes of treasures that would transport us to countless worlds.

I started writing my first novel at around the age of 12, when I was still got those catalogues at school. I never admitted the thought of "what would it be like if one of my books was in there...?" That was too far-fetched a thought for me to conceive, too precious and sacred and daunting of a thought. I had no concept of the publishing industry, or how long it might take to become a part of it. Those catalogues and fairs passed out of my life and I hadn't thought much about them until I moved to New York City, torn between being an actress and an author, and gave tours around the city on the red buses as my day job. We'd pass the Scholastic headquarters and I'd fondly rhapsodize for the tourists about those catalogues, about my beloved Harry Potter, I'd tell the story of a struggling J. K. Rowling and her quest for publication to make me feel better and then secretly I'd yearn for a day that fond familiar logo might just be on one of my books too.

You know that moment when you don't realize just how much something means to you until it's staring you in the face? That happened when I was sent an author copy of the Scholastic edition of DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul. The book is my Young Adult debut and it begins the Magic Most Foul saga of Gothic historical paranormal novels full of dark magic, curses, hauntings, fated love and dangerous nightmares set in New York City in 1880. My spooky novel of love against all odds has become a part of those highly anticipated Scholastic fairs.

I admit, when I opened the package that contained my author copies of the edition it was like Christmas all over again, like opening those boxes from Scholastic all over again, only this time my name was next to that familiar red logo. And then I cried a little. Amazed. Grateful. I could hear twelve-year old me go: "Really?! Is this for real?". And while a world of experience separates me from that girl, the love of writing born at that age remains as vibrant as ever, more vibrant, perhaps, for all the struggle its endured.

The love and need to write only intensified during the trial towards publishing, rejection letter after rejection letter, I was too stubborn not to fight to see my work in the world, improving my manuscript every chance I could. But my mix of historical fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery and horror elements made me too "cross-genre" for many houses and so it was a struggle to find a home for my fiction. But I wrote what I wanted to read; a book that blended myriad tastes and genres into one paranormal escape. Thankfully, a few people along the way thought others would want to read my work too. And now, finally, it lives in the world, will be translated into several languages, and it will continue to grace those beloved book fairs.

To everyone who has held a dream like mine, the dream of someday creating the magic yourself that was once only created by others, to someday be a part of that grand storytelling tradition of feeding youthful imaginations, I encourage you to hold that candle-flame close to your heart and tend its precious fire. You never know when you're going to become a part of something that was once sacred to you, and join that circle of age-old tales told anew. Hold tight. Persevere. Your dreams want to meet you. Especially the childhood ones. Because those dreams are the most powerful.



2 comments:

  1. Oh, what a wonderful story! To hear the dreams of other authors come true make the rest of us smile and hope that one day, that will be us. :-)

    ~JD

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  2. Because of my two kids, I still get the little Scholastic flyers coming home in their backpacks all the time. They love to look through them and we pick out some of their favorites. It is a thrill for them when their books arrive and I LOVE to see that. How wonderful to have your book in a place where you hold such fond memories. Great story about your bus days, too! Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your success.

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