Author Interview: Leandra Vane

Hello, dear readers! Today I’d like to introduce you to Leandra Vane, a queer disabled erotica author!

Hello, Leandra, and welcome to the blog! Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Writing has always been a part of my life. But this era began when I started blogging in 2013 as The Unlaced Librarian, reviewing non-fiction sexuality books and writing about my experiences with sex and disability, open relationships, and kink. I have since self-published a couple non-fiction sexuality books and my erotic romance has been both traditionally and self-published. I’m focusing more on my fiction writing, though I continue to blog and do some sex education speaking every once in a while.

What is your favorite description of your books?

Though it is a broad description, I’ve had a few people describe my writing as “realistic” and even as an erotic romance writer, I take that as a compliment. My personal goal in life is to sew reality with fantasy in ways that help us cope with the hardships of life in healthy ways, and to explore taboo or fantastic thoughts in ways that can make our reality better. Even if I have zombies or ghosts in my stories, I want there to be ties to real world struggles and the emotions we experience in our everyday lives.

What is one of your biggest strengths in writing?

I am still learning and growing, but I feel having a sense of place is really important and something I always bring into my work. I set most of my stories in the Midwest and I feel a real connection to the history and themes of this place I call home. I feel it gives my characters more complexity, being in touch with where they were grown, if that makes sense. And small town politics can be hilarious or heartbreaking. I enjoy exploring that.

What was your last five star read? What made it a five star read?

I’m reading a lot of non-fiction right now. I gave five stars to “Write Naked: A Bestseller’s Secrets to Writing Romance & Navigating the Path to Success” by Jennifer Probst. I thought there was a lot of good advice, down-to-earth philosophy, and helpful tips. I’m always so disappointed when I read a bad writing book, but this one has a permanent home on my bookshelf!

Is your writing process the same for each book? What differences did you notice in each book?

In general, my process is the same. I handwrite a majority of my first draft, put things together in the word processor, and then do a bulk of my editing and polishing line by line. I also keep outlines on paper that I update as books go along. I usually end up with four or five outlines and the final usually looks a lot different than the first, a good sign that the story has unfolded organically. But every book is different. I love exploring different themes and conflicts. I love recovering snippets of emotions or glimpses from my life that I can add to my stories. I love having a song on repeat that gives me the vibe I want to convey in my writing. Every book is something new and different.

What’s the first book you remember falling in love with?

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” The children’s department at my local library had the Oz series in hardbacks. I remember the canvas covers were so worn you had to open the books to see the titles. I checked out the first book over and over and over.

What should readers know about you before reading your work?

I believe pain and magic can co-exist. I’m all about fantasy and escape and happy endings. I’m at a point now where pretty much everything I write gets a happy ending. But on the way, the graze of teeth that is the real world is also in my work. Bodies, sex, and love can be both messy and beautiful at the same time. However, most of that mess does not come from angst. Overall, I’m a low angst writer. My character’s conflicts take the shape of body battles or uniting against an unjust society (Or… you know… zombies). As an erotic romance writer I’ve taken some heat for not writing angst. But I know there are readers who appreciate low angst.

What do you like to do when you aren’t reading, writing or editing?

My Day Job and books/writing take up most of my time! But I do enjoy cooking and I’m trying to keep to my goal of practicing ASL every day to improve my Sign Language skills.

I understand your books are very diverse! Tell me a little bit about each of them!

“Cast From the Earth” (Amazon) is an Old West zombie apocalypse polyamorous romance. It opens on a poor farm in Nebraska in 1897 and the zombies hit soon after. I have three disabled main characters: Sarah, an amputee, Dan who is Deaf and uses a form of Sign Language, and Grace who has a sensory processing disability. I also have a prominent bisexual character. As the story goes along, my five main characters learn to survive together. The book features a F/F and M/M/F pairing.

In “Booked: A BDSM Romance” (Amazon) my main character Nate has nerve damage and can’t feel most of his body. Though his disability is invisible, it plays a prominent role in his identity as a kinky submissive. He gets involved with a librarian named James who has kept his own sexuality on lock down for so long that bringing it into his life poses a real challenge for him. Nate is also bisexual and some of that identity is also explored in the book.

My short story collection “A Bloom in Cursive” (Amazon) is my earliest published work as an erotic romance writer. There are mostly M/F pairings in the book, but I do feature characters with disabilities in some of the stories as well as aspects of kinks and sexual fluidity.

As for my non-fiction work, I have published two sexuality memoirs. “Trophy Wife: Sexuality. Disability. Femininity.” (Amazon) And “Thinking Myself Off: Fetish, Fantasy, and My Erotic Imagination.” (Amazon)

What does your writing space look like?

What are your favorite writing tools?

Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but a pen and a piece of paper are my favorite, and most used. Every day I fold up a piece of paper and keep it in my pocket. I write on it when I get the chance throughout the day. My goal is to fill that page. When I get home, I cut the page up and tape the paragraphs into the notebooks I’m using for my various manuscripts until I have time to type it up. This is the only method I’ve found for myself that keeps me writing consistently.

What is your favorite emoji?

The clinking beer mugs. It works for so many situations: Cheers, congratulations, I agree, I love it, etc. I use it all the time!

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