Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and artist with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry in 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales. His newest publications are the novella, The View from Here, a continuation of one of his short stories, which is now the first book of a trilogy, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Writing for me was therapeutic. I began to write songs and lyrics to get through a difficult time. Some of the lyrics became shorter poems and the beginnings of others. I had other story ideas that I jotted down which became my short story collection, then I decided to continue one of those stories and it became a novella. I was hoping for a novel, but I’ll settle for a trilogy.
2. What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?
I love it when readers enjoy my writing. That’s why I write—to entertain. I can speak for most indie authors that marketing is the least favorite.
3. Do you play music while you write — and, if so, what’s your favorite?
I do play guitar, although it’s not very easy to do that and type at the same time. I have written guitar music to accompany some of my written creations. I put some of my poetry to music, and I am working on a piece to celebrate the final book of my sci-fi trilogy—
Oh, you meant listen to music. No. I can’t do that. It’s too distracting. Some writers will listen to orchestral music because there are no words. Me? Silence.
4. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
One of the most gratifying things about being a writer is when readers tell you how much they enjoy your writing, sometimes in reviews, other times through email. With my poetry, often it connects with the reader, and they tell me that what I wrote is what they needed to hear at that point in their lives. My sci-fi writing is pure entertainment, and when a reader says they wish there was more, well, I suppose I need to grant that request.
5. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
When I received my first 1-star review, it felt like I got punched in the gut, but as a writer, you have to realize you can’t please everybody. Sometimes I’ll read a poor review and wonder why the reader felt a need to post it.
Reading is very subjective, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. If they want to write a scathing review, that’s a choice. For me, if I don’t enjoy a book, I usually won’t write a review—especially if it is another indie author. It’s not beneficial to their success. If someone asks me my opinion, that’s another matter.
As for that 1-star review? I used it in a couple of social media posts. It was for my science fiction short story collection and the reviewer said, “Boring stories. Nothing interesting happens.” Yet, they read the entire book (I could tell they read it with Kindle Unlimited on my KDP stats). Hmmm.
6. Have you ever killed off a character your readers loved?
Shhh. I can’t talk about that.
7. Have you ever tried to write a novel for a genre you rarely or never read?
I have a couple of short romance stories that might go into a collection. Or not. I don’t know why I started to write them. I had a couple ideas that came to mind and started to write. They are not done yet—maybe never.
8. If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?
I am, and nope. ”Nope” isn’t copyrighted now, is it?
9. How do you use social media as an author?
I’d like to be better at using it, but I do find it frustrating at times, like how a new Tweet can rapidly disappear down a feed or how to balance promoting and entertaining. It is an extension of the writing craft, so I try to keep it more to the entertaining side. My Instagram is mostly my cartoons, The Miniscules and The Untitled.
10. What books have you read more than once in your life?
The mark of a good book is its ability to draw the reader back again and again. You read the book, you know what happens, so where’s the intrigue? It’s in the writing. I hope that my books become one of those.
Klondike: Pierre Burton
Alive: Piers Paul Read
The Chronicles of Narnia: C.S.Lewis
Ringworld: Larry Niven
The Foundation Series: Isaac Asimov
Ready Player One: Ernest Cline
Amazon Author Page: Leon Stevens