CANNONBALL! Last big splash for summer!

Ladies and Gentleman, I've had a blast sharing all these great authors with you. They're such a fun, diverse group of storytellers, and it's been great to learn more about who they are (Not to mention, pick up some new books to read!)

Our last fantastic author is Leslie, and she's been waiting so long to introduce herself to you all. So without further to do, I pass the keyboard. Hi Leslie!

Tell me now; who are you?
I am Leslie Conzatti and I live in the Pacific Northwest!

What is it that you write?  
  Mostly fantasy, but I also enjoy writing cyberpunk.

So tell me a bit about yourself; What else do you like to do?
  I love to read or watch TV shows online, and I love working as an elementary school staff assistant.

What is your favorite way to story build and brainstorm?  
  Just about everything I've ever written started as a list of bullet points. I take the initial premise idea, and I add as many plot details as I can come up with; I give it a beginning and an end, thinking of story flow along the way. Then I start writing!

How do you create your characters?  
  Well, I start with my main character, and then I build a cast around that of people who would help or hinder him or her; ones with strength where they are weak, or weakness where they have strength. It usually just depends on what needs to happen in the story, and I have characters in place to get it done.

What was the best feedback you've ever gotten from a reader?  
  That one time when I wrote a Chronicles of Narnia fanfiction and somebody was convinced that Lewis himself wrote it!
Or another time, I posted a story excerpt on my blog, and almost immediately a total stranger shared the post and commented how much it compelled him to want to read more!

Tell me more about your writing: What was your first published work?  
  My first published work will be a novella called "Princess of Undersea," a fairy tale based on The Little Mermaid.

Do you have a favorite project so far? What makes it so?  
   Oh man, it's so hard to decide! I always have little things I absolutely adore about each project I write: there's my newest project, "TheWater-Man," which I am having a lot of fun with because the characters are performing wonderfully, and I am dealing with a fantasy concept I developed myself.
  Then there is also my current rewriting project, "AWriter's Tale," which was my NaNo project from 2012; I am taking the serial story and expanding it into a series of novellas, and I love it because I basically strung all my favorite genres together into one continuous story, so it's always changing and yet it's pretty simple to write!
  In addition, I have two adaptations in the works, which I am pretty proud of: a contemporary romance adaptation of my favorite Jane Austen novel, "Persuasion", called "Merely Meredith,"and a whole series of books that are contemporary/historical fiction/future dystopian adaptations of well-known bible stories, for which the working title is "The ReBible Series." Those are fun because the basic plot is essentially already there, I'm just tweaking it to fit the updated context!

What's next on your agenda? What can we look forward to in the coming year?
  Keep a lookout for more books from me! Based on this very positive experience I am having with publishing so far, I am very much inclined to see about publishing more. 
Of course there will be lots more blogging in the coming year, and more featured indie reviews!

Why did you decide to write and publish?
 I never really "decided" either one. I just looked at a picture in a book, way back when I was first learning to read, and the story just took shape in my mind! It has always been a habitual thing for me. As for publishing, to be honest I wasn't really pursuing it too much until this opportunity came along. It was a foiled attempt at putting together an anthology, but everyone else except me got too busy, so the publisher offered to produce my work as a solo, and I accepted!

What do you think is your driving force behind your writing? What keeps you going?
 The biggest factor is that I keep reading and watching movies and TV shows, seeing how other writers do it. That keeps me inspired to continue looking for the story in everything, even when I am stumped in any particular project. My imagination keeps going, and so it's either write out the ideas, or burst from all the words inside me! It's going to be a long time before I reach the absolute end of all the half-projects I have started or developed, so until that happens, of course I must keep writing!

The mother of all questions: Tell us about a favorite book?
  Oh holidame, you had to ask THAT one?? Well, okay—one of my absolute favorites is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. She takes her inspiration from fairy tales, but chooses a cyberpunk dystopia as her setting. Sci-fi and fantasy blend perfectly, with nods and references to the original tales liberally sprinkled throughout. I love the characters and I really love the thrill of it. It made me laugh, squeal, gasp, and giggle!

Anything else you'd like our adoring masses to know? 
 I love hearing from readers, so if you ever do stop by my blog, read a snippet, and enjoy it or have a question, drop a comment and ask! I love interacting over literature. It's like my favorite thing in the world.

-Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti is an avid reader, a passionate writer, and a committed lover of all things fantasy. A native of the Pacific Northwest, she has been running the blog “The Upstream Writer” since the beginning of 2013, to promote her own writing and as a medium for interacting with readers. In addition, “The Upstream Writer” is an “indie book blog” as well, since Leslie willingly uses it as an excuse to get free books. (to review, of course!) Leslie’s “day job” is a staff assistant at a local elementary school. She is currently in the process of getting a novella published, and hopes to be ready for release by the fall!