Interview with Leon Stevens
Author of Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures
Leon Stevens is a writer, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry: Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020 and a book of original classical guitar compositions. Visit his website at: www.linesbyleon.com
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How would you describe <Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures > to a new reader?
- It is a little bit of everything. Some of the poems were written as a way to deal with certain situations in my life, and I thought that they might resonate with other people as well. There are observations of life - from the environment to human nature. I have an odd sense of humor, so there are humorous aspects to many of the pieces. I decided to add some of my illustrations to add another element to the book, and I think that it worked. I came up with this tagline while working on my marketing strategy:
"This book has words to encourage you, to make you laugh, and to invite you to reflect. With each chapter, a lens opens, revealing a different observation."
How have readers responded to <Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures >?
- I have had a lot of positive feedback, which is exciting. It pleases me when people enjoy my creations. The book has garnered mostly 4 and 5 star reviews (with a few 3's), and no one has said that they disliked it.
What's your writing process?
- I have a notebook (I do like the physical feel of writing), and I jot things down, otherwise I will forget them. I also started a blog which gets me thinking about many topics. Some of my sketches have turned into poems/stories . I will often write while exercising. I find it frees my mind. I’ll quote myself:
“I do my best writing when I am running or hurting. Often, that is the same time…”
What are a few things to keep in mind while writing poetry?
- Great question, and every poet will probably answer differently. When I write, I just write from the heart and mind. I’m not thinking too much about form or style, it’s about what flows the best and can do justice to the subject. Some of my rhyme schemes are erratic, but a rhyme put into the correct place can make an impact. I also try not to make things too complicated. As one reviewer put it, “The ideas are straightforward with an understandable simplicity”. What turns people away from poetry, I believe, is that they think they will have to work to understand it. In some cases, this is true, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes a rose is just a rose…
What other things do you like to do?
- Along with my poetry, I also published a book of my classical guitar compositions. I then began to blog, for much the same reasons, but has since turned into an avenue for my odd sense of humor. I enjoy making people laugh, chuckle, or at least smile a bit (it's always hard to make someone actually laugh when they are alone). I created the cartoon "The Miniscules" ( Instagram @lines_by_leon), which is is a low res (very) avenue for my weird ideas.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
- I grew up reading science fiction from the early pioneers- Asimov, Bradbury, Wells, Verne, etc. and they definitely have an impact on my science fiction stories. There are a few books that I read during my college days: Breakfast of Champions, The Foundation Series, Catcher in the Rye, and the Lord of the Rings. I found all of these books so brilliantly written. If I had to pick one author it would be Vonnegut for his humor.
What do you want to accomplish with your writing?
- Writers are entertainers and informers. I hope that my writing can help people, but I also enjoy making people laugh, so much of my writing has a humorous aspect to it.
Do you like doing inteviews?
- Of course! It makes authors more real than just being about the books they write. I have done a few interviews on some book blogs in the last few months and have always enjoyed it. But then I thought, what would I say in an interview as a reader? Solution? Interview myself!
<a href="https://www.linesbyleon.com/interviews">Authors Interviewing Readers</a>
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- I’m still learning the ropes, and after a lot of trial and error (which I don’t think can be completely avoided), I can give some advice:
1. Writing is the easy part. Research and plan out your marketing strategy well in advance so you can hit the ground running.
2. Try to have a readership to draw on. This starts with friends and family who can help spread the word.
4. Promote yourself without being too aggressive. It is very competitive, but you need to be respectful.
5. Did I say edit?
Where next? What are you working on now?
- I am currently writing a series of short science-fiction/post-apocalyptic tales/poems called, "The Knot at the End of the Rope".
Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures is the debut book by Leon Stevens. Published in January 2020, it is an eclectic mix of poetry, prose, and short stories that address the subjects of loss, struggle, human behavior, and environment in both humorous and thought-provoking ways. The author invites his readers to laugh, think, cry, and meditate on the wide variety of topics. Scattered throughout the book are sketches of various subjects, many that relate to the poems and stories they illustrate; others speak for themselves.