Interview with Leanna Renee Hieber

The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee HieberThe Eterna Files, the latest novel by author Leanna Renee Hieber, goes on sale February 10. We had the chance to ask Leanna a few questions about her exciting new novel.

Will you tell us a little about The Eterna Files and what inspired you to write it?

I had been watching (binge-watching) every season of the BBC’s spy show MI-6. All 10 seasons. I was doing this while my fabulous editor Melissa Singer and I were first discussing what kind of Gaslamp Fantasy I wanted to write for Tor. I fell in love with a lot of the dynamics on MI-6 and thought, what if I could ‘paranormal’ and ‘Victorian’ that?

Because I’m me, the idea then proceeded to explode in radical proportions. I take an inspiration/idea and it fans out into a thousand things and avenues I didn’t expect. ‎Chiefly, I didn’t initially expect the American side of this parallel narrative would take up as much space as they ended up demanding. But as I allow my characters to be who they determine they are, I had to allow for just as feisty and quirky a team to take up half the pages as much as my darkly odd British team.

What did you enjoy most about writing it, and what was most challenging?

What I loved about it and what’s most challenging is the very same thing; tracking the dual narrative of the two teams. That’s also been the chief challenge for some readers too. But I truly promise you that if you’re patient and let the story unfold around you and sink yourself into the tale, there’s a lot for you to engage with; there in the murky gas-lit shadows of two worlds trapped in eerie, compelling intricacies of other-worldly life and death.

What’s your favorite word?

Liminal: of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process; occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

I would like to think if my books had to be described in one word, as they are constantly hovering on the threshold between life and death, emotion and action, disbelief and magic, they are indeed liminal books.

What’s your favorite thing about being a writer?

It is at the core of my identity and understanding of the world. Writing was the first thing I have any memory of doing. ‎So it’s hard to say the favorite thing about being alive, as being alive is a whole state of being, and I do live to write.

If you could only recommend one book, what would it be?

Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet—the most inspiring work I can imagine; an achingly honest, richly and elegantly soulful insight into life, art, love and spirituality.

Who are your literary heroes?

Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, Edith Wharton, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ray Bradbury, David Levithan, J.K. Rowling.

What’s next for you?

More Eterna Files and Strangely Beautiful! On the Eterna front we’ve got a prequel novella detailing Louis Dupris’ first involvement with Clara and the Eterna Commission and I am SO THRILLED about the revised, re-edited, new and shiny, author’s preferred, finally back-in-print resurrection of my acclaimed debut novels, formative works in the modern iteration of Gaslamp Fantasy: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker into one edition called Strangely Beautiful. The prequel will also be re-issued and the fourth and final installment, known previously as Miss Violet and The Great War will finally also be completed and released in the coming years.

I’m very active at a great deal of Steampunk and SF/Fantasy conventions (and especially on Twitter) so be sure to say hello!

Buy The Eterna Files today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | iBooks | IndieBound | Powell's