Today I welcome Leigh M. Lane, author of Finding Poe and several other speculative fiction novels.
Q. According to your blog, you write “dark speculative fiction that often contains strong social and political commentary.” Let’s look at that statement more closely. First – “dark speculative fiction”. I prefer this term to describe my own work, and I have my reasons, but I’m curious to know yours.
A. For me, dark speculative fiction is an artistic reflection of the world as I see it. While I see great value in authors’ collective ability to entertain, I also see a duty to point out some of the grimmer reaches of reality, that it might somehow affect the way my readers look at a given issue and, as a result, effect important or necessary changes. I’ve always felt an inclination to make a difference in this world. Some people are able to do that thought the influence of money or power; it is my endeavor to do it through my writing.
Q. Secondly – “strong social and political commentary”. Tell me more.
A. Some of the darkest aspects to our world lie in the realm of accepted social mores and political policy. Sometimes I feel helpless to all the injustice I see occurring in our world, and so to feel just a little less helpless, I write about it. Some of my biggest literary influences wrote heavy social and political commentary, and reading their works had a profound effect on both the way I viewed the world and the way I approached my own writing.
Q. I think you need to be fearless to take a political or social stand in your writing. Away from your keyboard, how fearless are you in “real life”?
I’m actually a very timid person in “real life”. While I always do my best to stand up for what is right, I am not a very good public speaker and I do not like to attract attention to myself. I’m always afraid of putting my foot in my mouth—which, back as a young adult, I tended to do quite a bit. I express my opinions best through the written word, so I try to keep them restricted to that realm as much as possible.
Q. About your new gothic horror “Finding Poe” – who should read this, and why?
I wrote Finding Poe specifically for Edgar Allan Poe fans, as well as those who might enjoy a good, classic Gothic horror. I think readers will appreciate the pains I took to emulate Poe’s style, and the twenty-something “hidden” references to his most famous poems and short stories are sure to delight Poe fans of all degrees. When I was doing my initial research for the work, I noticed there were very few serious tributary works to Poe, with most of them being crude attempts at finishing his final (unfinished) work, “The Lighthouse”. I decided to take that to a level all its own, exploring Poe’s final days and speculating his influence not only on Gothic romance/horror, but the genre’s possible influences on him as a person and a writer.
Q. After Finding Poe, what comes next for Leigh M. Lane?
The muses are refusing to give me any new material until I’ve finished writing a screenplay adaptation for Finding Poe. With that said, I do hope to write a horror based on the Neighbors from Hell I recently moved away from, and I have also been entertaining sci-fi ideas that take a critical look at society from some type of pet’s very innocent, but equally jaded, point of view.
Q. What part does writing play in your life? Does it define you? Is it a profession, a calling, a hobby or a diversion? Who are you when you’re not writing?
Writing has been an important part of my life since adolescence. It definitely defines a big part of who I am and how I express myself. Above all, I consider it a calling, although I would be delighted if it also paid the bills. When I’m not writing, I’m doting over my cats, playing Chess or Playstation with my husband, sketching or painting, watching one of my favorite television shows (Fringe, Big Bang Theory, and Being Human are at the top of that list) or curling up with my latest read for review.
Q. I’ve just gone stalking…I mean, researching you on the Internet, and discovered a guest post on your blog from Melbourne comedy writer Jonathan Gould (which led me to purchase his e-book “Doodling”, so I guess these blog tour thingies really do work). How does a US-based dark specific writer team up with an Aussie self-described Dag-Lit writer? Or do you just have a thing for us Melbourne-dwellers?
I’m very eclectic about authors, and I like to expand my personal readership/blog space to authors of all backgrounds. I’m one of Goddess Fish’s (who organized the tour) go-to authors for expanded blog tours, and when they sent me information on Jonathan Gould, his fun and unusual writing style immediately caught my attention. With that said, I think my style meshes well with Australian, Canadian, and European writers—they tend to be more eclectic and less afraid to think outside the box compared to mainstream American writers, which describes my work well. Don’t get me wrong, I like many American writers too, but I think England, Canada, and Australia have an artful and fearless approach from which we Americans could learn a thing or two.
Click here to read an excerpt from Finding Poe.
Thanks so much for having me!
About the author:
Leigh M. Lane lives in the beautiful mountains of Montana. She writes dark speculative fiction that often contains strong social and political commentary.
Her novels span billions of years of science fantasy and historical thriller past to just decades into a dystopian future, while her shorter works offer readers a taste of her fast-paced and unique prose.