Today’s I’m happy host Leslie Ann Moore, author of A Tangle of Fates and The Griffin Daughter’s Trilogy. Leslie was born in California and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy for a long time. She loves Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Andre Norton and J.R.R. Tolkien. An encounter with Terry Brooks set her on the path to pursue her dream of writing.
What inspired you to write
A Tangle of Fates?
I wanted to write a story based on a traditional fairy tale, but turn it on its head. In so many fairy tales, the female is passive. She’s there only as a prop for the male hero to rescue. Or, if she is the center of the tale, she’s the victim of manipulative, malign forces, and still ends up needing a male savior. The Vox Machina Trilogy, of which AToF is the first book, takes the story of Snow White and transforms it from a tale of a helpless girl needing rescue by eight men—the seven dwarves, plus the Prince— to one of a strong young woman rising up from the ashes of her former life. She becomes a vital player in the battle to overthrow the repressive regime that enslaves two nations.
I was also inspired by my passion for social justice. One of the central themes in AToF is a critique of oligarchy and racism. In Nue Bayona, the elites control almost all the resources and the city is ruled by a dictator. My heroine, Deanna, is born into the elite class. Over the course of the story, she has her eyes opened to the inherent unfairness of the system. She is also forced to confront how her own privileged life came at the expense of another people’s suffering. It profoundly affects her and helps to set her feet on the path to becoming instrumental in social change.
Women who write science fiction seem to be somewhat in the minority. Who or what inspired you to write science fiction? What stereotypes do you encounter/have to overcome?
I started reading sci-fi/fantasy in middle school, and since then, about 90% of what I still read for pleasure is in the spec fiction genre. So, naturally, when I discovered my talent for making up stories, I emulated what I’d been reading. My favorite sci-fi/fantasy author as a young girl was Andre Norton. She was one of only a handful of women getting consistently published in the genre during the mid-20th century. I wish I could say that reading Andre Norton’s books inspired me to write sci-fi, that she showed me a woman could be successful in the genre, but I can’t. At that time, back in the 70’s, I had no idea she was a woman, which is really sad. She had to write under a male pseudonym in order to have the industry take her work seriously. There existed the belief that male genre readers wouldn’t read stories written by women and that women wouldn’t read sci-fi.
Sadly, both of these stereotypes did have some truth to them, but I think a lot of that had to do with the general sexism of the times. There always existed an audience, both men and women, who just wanted to read great sci-fi, and the sex of the author didn’t matter. But then, as now, the ultimate goal of the publishing industry was to make money, so they had no interest in challenging the stereotypes.
Thankfully, those ideas of what people will and won’t read don’t hold as much sway as they did back then, but there is still a very real glass ceiling in the industry that women writers must face, particularly in the sub genres of hard and military sci-fi. I’m excluding fantasy here, because there seems to be much less of a sex bias in that genre. Nowadays, most authors depend on word of mouth to get their books noticed. One of the most important ways of doing that is through reviews, particularly from genre bloggers. The majority of sci-fi bloggers are men. There is a very real statistical bias on the part of male sci-fi bloggers against works by women authors. Many talented women sci-fi authors find it nearly impossible to get any attention from male bloggers. I, myself have run up against this.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I would’ve listened to my instincts and written the novel that I wanted to, rather than the novel I was advised to write. There are times when an author should listen to an advisor, particularly an agent who is telling her to go in a certain direction. But not all advice is good, even that coming from a source who purports to know what is best. Ultimately, the advice I was given was wrong, plain and simple, even though the person who gave it to me did so with good intentions. It cost me many many months of rewrites that could’ve been avoided and delayed the release of the book by nearly a year. That original manuscript was a pale, weak creation compared to the novel as it is now.
What do we have to look forward to in future books of the Vox Machina Trilogy?
Book 2 will see Deanna and her allies embark upon a quest to find what can only be described as a ‘giant killer robot’! It sounds very kitschy but in reality, this machine they seek is so much more than that. It’s the key to winning the battle they must fight in Book 3. Their journey gives me, the author a chance to immerse the reader in the natural world of Nuetierra outside the city.
Also, in Book 2, the reader will see how surviving adversity plants the first seeds of change in some of the characters, who until then, seemed as if they’d never get past their deep-seated animosity toward one another. In the final book, Deanna finds herself faced with a terrible choice. Both options lead to profound loss, but yet, she must choose one.
What else would you like to say to your readers and fans?
I’ve been creating stories for as long as I can remember, and the sharing of those stories satisfies a deep-seated need in me to connect to other human beings in a way that involves my creativity. Thanks for coming along on this wonderful journey with me. There are many more stories I want to share, and I hope I can bring the best of them to all of you.
Thank you for time, Leslie. I hope all my fans will soon become fans of yours. Please head over to my review of A Tangle of Fates to learn more about the book and The Vox Machina trilogy. And don’t forget to drop by the other tour stops to read additional reviews, interviews and excerpts.
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