Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Writer Interview...Vanessa Leavitt

The following is first in the series of writers interviewed from my ‘Authors Tour.’ Should you have a question for the writer, please comment under this post. The writer will post their answers for everyone’s viewing within the week. Without further ado, I proudly introduce Vanessa Leavitt, thanks for doing the interview Vr....
So you’re a writer...what do you write about?
My current project is a historical fantasy called, "Shaping Fate." It starts off in plague ravaged London, 1349. William Bennett, a young chandler, is forced to make a decision; take his wife and child and flee the city in the hopes that they can outrun the scourge, or stay and take their chances.
  The instant he chooses to run, he is marked with a strange symbol and his wife and daughter fall ill. Upon their deaths, he is greeted by a foreigner, Gabriel, who tells William that he is to become one of the 'Amamri,' a group of immortals who are responsible for shaping and guiding humanity.
  As William learns more, he finds that the Amamri are in part responsible for the plague that killed his family. He is now faced with another decision; to join them or fight against them.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing seriously for almost 10 years now.
How do you combat times when you’re uninspired?
I read or see a movie. Something to fill the creative well. Lately I've also been taking Julia Cameron's "Artist's Way" course, which has helped immensely for those times I'm feeling blocked or uninspired.
Why is your genre more important or marketable than another?
This is a good question. I don't think fantasy is necessarily more important than any other genre. As far as marketability, it's enjoying an all time high which is great. Really though, I didn't wake up one day and say, "Hey, I'm going to be a fantasy writer." When I got the idea for "Shaping Fate," it was the characters that came to me first. Then as the ideas grew, it turned into a fantasy story. I never really set out to be a fantasy writer. My first attempts at writing and a new project I'm outlining are completely non-fantasy.
What interests you about this specific genre?
What I like most about fantasy is the ability to bend the rules. Eventhough my book is set here on earth, during a very real time in history, my characters are immortals and have certain magical abilities. Granted, they still have to play by certain rules, but it's nice to be able to write a scene that could never actually happen or give people certain powers that they could never really have. I like playing the "Wouldn't it be cool if..." game.
Where can reader sample some of your writing?
I have a blog at and will be launching a site for "Shaping Fate" in the next year. Stay tuned!

Again, Thank You very much for taking the time and doing the interview. Readers may ask questions of the writer if they like and answers will be posted within the week. Please check back frequently. Thanks, --gg


  1. Hi Garry!

    Thanks very much for this opportunity!! Hope yoru readers enjoy it. :-)

  2. I can't wait to read Shaping Fate Vanessa. Very exciting that you are so close to a finished product.

  3. Vanessa your story sounds incredible! I am really looking forward to the finished product.

    I have one question - Do you have an agent? If not, do you plan on looking for one or are you submitting on your own? Best of luck!

  4. Hi G.P. and Susan! :-) Thanks for your kind words. I don't have an agent, but I'm going to try and look for one. So, fingers crossed.


What are "The 5 Most Important--But Fleeting Virtures?"

Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion and Humility.

.....this is a portion of the "introduction" or prologue to the book (not yet completed) with your comments.

The books title; Character Happens! The 5 Most Important—But Fleeting Virtues, describes my belief these five important virtues (Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion, Humility), are sporadic in use and diminishing in personal character. The books message is in recognizing this “fleeting” nature and from that reinstitute a more virtuous choice in your decision making.

The paradox of the two words; Character Happens, with another two words: “S### Happens”* (decorum prevents use of actual word) is not without merit. My belief is that observed human character is much like, well...s###! This kind of observation can be disconcerting at times. So confusing that society can hardly make the distinction between the two words and there obvious different meaning. Individuals make virtuous and un-virtuous choices/decisions for innumerable reasons, both consciously and without deep thought. If we postulate; can an individual make a 'more' virtuous choice in life’s decisions should they want to do so? Answer—perhaps. How does one 'reinstitute a more virtuous choice' into their personal makeup...making the response more automatic? Answer—practice. With a concerted effort at 'practice' I individual might just develop a more 'repetitive' decent response...much like grooving a golf swing.

I love golf. I think the game is like no other. The five stories that make up Character Happens! have a golf storyline. Some readers may not be able to relate to the game of golf or its vernacular or for that matter, why people...a large number of golf. Too bad! You should try it sometime...because it’s more than a can be a life experience. The golf course environment alone is enough to put most people at ease.

Golf is a game played by the individual as opposed to being a member of a team, like baseball. Baseball has umpires who enforce the rules of the game. In golf you are the umpire. Because of this unique method of enforcing the games rules—golf is a “hotbed” for testing the players character...their honesty, their integrity, their courage and sometimes their compassion. And, because all golfers started from knowing nothing about the game; like how to swing, how to putt or chip... they also learn of humility. Now doesn’t it make perfect sense that a book about character would juxtaposition a storyline with the game of golf? Anyway, I thought so.

There are five stories, one for each virtue. The book has six main characters that make up a group of what I call 'golf buddies.' The storyteller, Spencer Madison, in reality is me. Well, somewhat like I have a better golf game than Spencer. The five others vary in age, gender, education, religious beliefs and definitely personality. The 'binder' of the group or what brings them together; golf.

The reader will hopefully discover in their own lives a similar incident with one of the story’s in Character Happens! If not, that’s okay the stories are earnest while humorous, carefree yet compelling. And, I believe each chapter or story makes a 'point' in this wonderful, wacky, dynamic world in the 21st century.

The stories are fictional as are the characters. Names, personalities or incidents are fictional and in no way resemble or refer to a living person. I’ve used paraphrasing of many authors’ ideas and concepts and have referenced them in a special section. Because of these references and the specific genre where the book is to be found, it’s categorized as a non-fictional, personal development book.

for the language but this word best describes the thought I want to convey. In Forrest Gump the term was used to describe situations that happen to all people for no particular reason.