Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Interview with YA fantasy author Bisi Leyton

Today is a virtual book tour stop for young adult fantasy author Bisi Leyton and her novels Wisteria and Myopia (Book 1 and Book 2 in the Wisteria series).

Bisi will award a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. If you'd like a chance to win, make sure to leave an e-mail address with a comment below. And for more chances to win, comment at other tour stops. You can find the dates here.

Bisi Leyton was born in East London in 1978. She grew up in London, Nigeria and the States, listening to the stories life and love from aunts, cousins and big sisters. She lives in London, but has worked around Europe including France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. She has a fondness for reading graphic novels.

Welcome, Bisi. Please tell us about your current releases.
Here’s a blurb for Wisteria:
Sixteen year old Wisteria Kuti has two options—track the infected around the Isle of Smythe or leave the only known safe haven and face a world infested with flesh eating biters. But even with well-armed trackers, things go wrong and Wisteria ends up alone facing certain death, until she is rescued by the mysterious Bach. Uninfected, Bach is able to survive among the hordes of living dead.

Eighteen year old Bach, from a race known as The Family, has no interest in human affairs. He was sent here to complete his Great Walk and return home as a man—as a Sen Son. The Family regard humans as Dirt People, but Bach is drawn to this Terran girl, whom he has never seen before, but somehow knows.

Hunted by flesh eaters, cannibals, and the mysterious blood thirsty group called Red Phoenix, Wisteria and Bach make their way back to the Isle of Smythe, a community built on secrets and lies.

And here’s a blurb for Myopia:
Sixteen-year-old Wisteria has embraced her deep bond with eighteen-year-old Bach, a member of a supernatural race called the Family, despite the risk of his family finding out. Should Bach’s people discover his bond with a human, Wisteria will be guaranteed a painful and bloody death—but somehow, being together is more important.

Their bond is tested when empirics, an elite group of Family investigators, are sent to the Isle of Smythe under the orders of Bach’s father to find artifacts stolen by the humans. They’re to find the artifacts at any cost. Among the empirics is Bach’s old friend, the stunning Alba, who has learned about Bach and Wisteria’s secret relationship, and surprisingly accepts this. With no one else in the Family to turn to, she becomes Bach’s ally and confidant, but possibly more.

As the empirics start to take over the town, Wisteria is torn between trusting Bach and the safety of the humans on Smythe. She soon realizes that she and Bach are on opposite sides of the war between the Family and Humans, and there is no middle ground. One of them must choose a side.

What inspired you to write this series?
I wanted to write a story about a girl who was average or a little less than average. She’s not prettiest, skinniest, tallest, or most kick ass. She’s just a girl stuck in her situation and trying to make the best of it.

Excerpt from Wisteria:
Wrapping her arms around herself, she moved away from him. Once again, humiliated and feeling foolish. “Goodnight, Bach!” She strode angrily to the side of the roof in order to climb down.
He grabbed her and held her back
The guy came here just to tease her, yet again! Didn’t he know he was hurting her? Didn’t he care? “I’m tired of all this nonsense. I’m actually tired and need some sleep. I’m done with this. All of this!” She should’ve left the roof when she saw him appear. “Let go, so I can go.”
“Wisteria, it is not that.” Exhaling heavily, he released her. “My people could kill you if they knew I wanted you.”
This wasn’t at all what she’d expected him to say. “What?”
“I am in love with you. I do not know why, but I am. And it is selfish, because I just want you for myself.” Sadness filled his eyes as he spoke.
“Why would they do that to me?”
“Because you are human and because we see humans as Terran, or dirt people.”
“And you believe that too? So why are you here, living among us, if we’re so disgusting?”
“You are not disgusting. You are beautiful.” Rubbing his temples, he seemed troubled and bewildered. “I came to Terra as a rite of passage. To be considered a man, to take a journey and experience the wild.”
“The wild?”
“I chose Terra, or Earth, because I came here as a child. Your people treated me so badly in the past. When I learned about the Nero disease, I wanted to see your world.” He paused. “You were right when you said there was something wrong with me.”
“Bach, it cannot be that bad.” Stepping up to him, she stroked her fingers along his biceps.
The sweet motion made him smile at her, but he still looked distressed.
“Like about Garfield, you let him live with you. And now you’re here with me.”
“You are not like the rest.”
“Neither are you. You’re not so cold and cruel like Enric or patronizing like Felip. They think they’re better than us. You just hate people because you’re a jerk, Bach.”
“Ha.” Bach laughed. “A jerk?”
“You’re a big jerk.” As the final word rolled from her lips, he kissed her.
She was stunned for a second. His lips tasted like a strange, tantalizing spice.
He squeezed her against his larger frame and rested his right hand on the small of her back.
She fidgeted, unsure about what to do with her hands. She tried to kiss him back, but she struggled because she was so short.

Excerpt from Myopia:
“I promise when I know for certain what is going on, I will tell you and we will help Coles understand, but right now my father has gotten involved and that makes everything more complicated.”
“For one, if he finds out I am communing with a free human.” He shuddered. “I do not know what he would do.”
“Probably not any worse that my mum, if she finds out you’re here right now,” she joked and stopped playing. “She’ll kill you and your dad will murder me.”
Pulling the guitar out of her arms, he put his arms around her.
They’d spoken about the gravity of their relationship a few times, but they’ d never been able to figure a way out that would result with one of them walking away unharmed. The threat wasn’t her mother. Although she didn’t like Bach, since Major Coles had welcomed him into the island, the worst her mother could do was lock Wisteria away.
His father was a different story. Bach’s father was the Sen of the Third Pillar within the Family. He was a powerful leader who on more than one occasion had killed free humans for communing with members of the Family. There was no vice considered more heinous, disgusting, and malicious as willingly loving a human. The price of that was blood—human blood.
Both factors resulted in them meeting in secret for the last four months. They settled on the church clock tower, weeks before he’d left for Jarthan.
“Do you want me to tell Coles you’re back?” She stretched herself across the lush rug. “Did you get him a present too?”
“There is a lorry full of ammunition parked at the end of the bridge, leading to town. I am sure Major Coles knows I have returned. I also brought him some medicine he said the hospital needed.” He pointed at several white boxes which sat in the corner.
“Bullets and pills,” she murmured. “Nice. Anything for my mum?”
He looked at her as if she were insane. “She would shoot me in the face if she ever saw me. The only reason she would not torture me is because I saved her life.”
“So basically, you’re saying my mother isn’t good enough for a present?” She glared at him.
Rubbing his temple with his right hand, he tried to explain. “Listen—”
Laughing, she hugged him from behind and laid her head against his back. “I’m joking.”
“That is not funny.”
She kissed the back of his neck, and then lay back down.
“Your mother is…” He turned to talk to her and saw her adjusting her skirt over her legs.
He was taken aback by how beautiful she was. Many people, human or Family, couldn’t see it for some reason, but she was the most beautiful woman he knew.
She finally noticed his stare and bit her plump bottom lip. “What’s wrong?” Frowning, she sat up.
He shook his head. The thoughts he was having were not something he could share with her.
“Are you all right? You’re completely red and you never turn red.” She touched his face tenderly.
It seemed to burn him and he backed away. “I am fine.” The images in his mind changed to what he’d like to do with her. He wondered how many escorts she’d had and what it would be like for him to really love her.
More pictures flashed through his mind and some didn’t make any sense. The last one was of him and the Seven Elders standing over the cliffs overlooking the Astolat River, as his brothers tried to drown a tanned half-human half Famila baby—Their baby. Did this actually occur and he was just now remembering it, or was it a fear he had harbored, should they ever conceive a child? “I have no intention or interest in a physical relationship with you,” he abruptly blurted out. Nothing good could come of anything like that happening between them.
She gave him a blank stare. “Okay.”
“You mentioned earlier that we had not talked about something. I am guessing that is what you meant.”
“Um, yes,” she said quietly.
“It cannot happen between us,” he replied.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently editing the Aporia, the third book in the Wisteria series. Here is an excerpt:

Bach had never thought he would see her again. He never wanted to see her again. One thing he knew about Wisteria Kuti was that she was as complex, as she was self-centered and manipulative.
“Bach—” Wisteria started to say.
Bach was never going to let her in his head again.
“Enric, she does not talk to me.” He warned his friend. “Locate Lluc and get her out.” He hated her with everything in him. Seeing her again, just made him loath her more.
 “Nothing would make me happier,” Wisteria smirked coldly.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose when I was a teenager. I’d just watched First Knight and that inspired to write a novel, I’ve not finished that particular novel, but that was when I realized I wanted to be a writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full time, so I have to make time in the evenings and weekends to get in as much writing as I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I watch television or rather I have the television on while I’m writing. Generally, I like watching police procedurals, cartoons (Ben Ten, Johnny Test or Thundercats), and sometimes the Twilight Zone.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A brain surgeon

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want to thank them for all their support and I hope they enjoy Wisteria and Myopia

For a free copy of a Wisteria short story, you can join my mailing list: http://eepurl.com/o8zv1

Ways to connect with me:

Buy links:
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008XRI3BA
Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008XRI3BA
Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/rfS1J
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/257049
Kobo: http://goo.gl/3Sjkv
Paperback Lulu: http://goo.gl/90mIF

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A4Q4DSA
Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00A4Q4DSA
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/253371


Jibriel said...

Great premise! Who would you like to see play the role of your hero?


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Bisi Leyton said...

Jibrei, I'd see Graham Phillips playing Bach, but I don't have a person in mind for Wisteria.

Bisi Leyton said...

Thanks for hosting me on your blog.

Mary Preston said...

Thank you so much for the excerpts. How many books will there be in the series, or did I miss that?


Gala said...

Great excerpt!What was the best advice you were given about writing books?


Lana A said...

The book sounds fantastic! Who organizes your books promotion, the publisher?

anzuazura at yahoo dot de

Ami said...

Very intriguing excerpt. What does it mean to you, being a published writer?


Anzu said...

This sounds lovely, how do you come up with the names of your characters?

anzumerlin at mail dot ru

Leah said...

Was wondering the same thing as Anzu.. how do you come up with the names and foreign-sounding terms in the series? :P

Andra Lyn said...

I love the idea! And the cover looks a bit like Anna Dressed in Blood...which I loved :)

andralynn7 AT gmail.com

Bisi Leyton said...

First, shame on me for not getting back to you all;

Mary, There will be 4 books in the series.

Gala, The best advice for writing a book is to keep writing, no matter how you feel.

Lana, I organise all my own promotions. I do use book tour companies, but aside from that I do it all.

Amy, I wish it meant all I could do all day was write, but that isn't the case :(. But it does mean I do spend a lot of time doing something I love.

Anzu & Leah, I used Andorran names for the Family. I wanted something that sounded authentic, but a bit unusual. For my name next series I'm considering using Egyptian names

Andra, Thanks.