Posted on July 22, 2019 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Today we're interviewing author C.N. Lesley, who writes science fiction and fantasy.
Elizabeth Hull, writing under the byline of C.N. Lesley, lives in Alberta with her husband and cats. Her three daughters live close by.
When she isn't writing, she likes to read and to paint watercolors. She is also a keen gardener, despite the very short summers, and now has a mature shade garden.
Once a worker in the communications sector, mostly concentrating on local news and events, she now writes full time.
SADYE: How did you come to see yourself as a writer, and what inspired you to seek publication?
C.N.: I guess there is a fine line between liking to write and seeing oneself as a writer. One leads sometimes into the other, or it did in my case.
I’d say the start was in first grade at school where we were asked to write an expressive essay.
I got sort of carried away with visualizing the colors of the things I was describing and called something slime green as I was going for a creepy feeling.
Anyhow, I ended up winning the form prize, so then the bug was set.
I took English Lit in college and activated the bug all over again when we had to do a compare and contrast of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984.
That set off the sci-fi bug, and then I found Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, awakening the love of fantasy. Not long after this came Frank Herbert’s Dune so now I developed equal love of sci-fi and fantasy.
I guess this is the cause of my subsequent writing of both of those as cross genre.
Writing came as an escape from my kids watching their favorite TV show, Barney, which they loved. I desperately needed to tune out so started writing down my dreams and developing them into proper stories.
I sought publication after I had put a couple of books through the Online Writer’s Workshop for Fantasy and Science Fiction, which had just opened up.
SADYE: Tell us something about your writing process that’s unusual or that you haven’t revealed before.
C.N.: Mmm, I do a lot of research, going back to the roots of whatever subject I am pursuing.
This means that yes, I was digging about in old Welsh legends pertaining to King Arthur that preceded Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of England.
I also like to sink very deeply into my characters to make them real for me. If they don’t come alive for me, then how would the have any chance of coming alive for readers?
Good guys must have flaws and bad guys have to have redeeming features.
I’ll admit I once killed off a character I knew was popular when I was running the second Arthur book through the workshop. This resulted in a few death threats from my writer friends, so I figured a way to unkill him.
SADYE: What have been the most surprising, rewarding, and challenging parts of your writing career?
C.N.: That would be my first sale. It happened at a low point in my life when things were getting me down and I had all but given up on ever getting an acceptance.
It was a short story written in the point of view of a cat. Did I say I adore my cats?
Anyhow, I heard back with an acceptance the next day. This inspired me to keep trying.
Not long after this, my first novel was accepted by a small publisher. I haven’t looked back since.
Alongside this must rank the wonderful writer friends I have acquired throughout the years. In this age of computers and internet, I have friends all over the world.
SADYE: What period of history would you most like to travel back to and why?
C.N.: I’d rather like to go back to the time of the Druids just before the arrival of the Romans.
I’d really like to see who and what they were rather than relying on the propaganda of the victorious Romans after they eliminated the men of magic.
Aside from this, I’d love to dig around to see if there was a real King Arthur, which is something I happen to think might be true, if he was vastly changed and distorted in the retelling.
SADYE: What message or theme would you like readers to take away from your work?
C.N.: My aim is to entertain; to bring to life another world for others and in doing that, perhaps to show more of the human experience in all its rawness and complexity.
Perhaps my message is to care for those we love while this is still possible.
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Categories: Author Interview