Leon Stevens Interview Published on: 02, Apr 2020

Who introduced you to the world of books?

I don’t recall being a voracious reader as a child, but I do remember that my father would always read to me or make up stories. My earliest memories of being fascinated by a book was when my teacher (I forget which grade) read “A Wrinkle in Time” to the class.

Why did you choose to write poetry? Do you wish to explore other genres?

Poetry seemed natural to me as I also wrote song lyrics. I am currently working on some science fiction short stories and some post-apocalyptic tales and poems.

What are your hobbies apart from writing?

When I’m not writing (which is often… darn writer’s block), I fill my time being active, reading, playing classical guitar, doing crosswords, and thinking that I should be writing again.

What inspired you to start writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I never thought that I would be a writer. I started to write poems, song lyrics, and guitar music as a therapeutic way to make sense of a rough time in my life. I’ve always been one to try to entertain others through my odd sense of humor, and a lot of my poems have a humorous touch to them. This was also a good avenue to pursue. I thought that others might be able to relate to what I had written as well as being entertained.

Your thoughts on conventional vs. self-publishing? What route did you choose and why?

I could have spent a lot of time shopping my manuscript around. With self-publishing being as accessible as it is, it seemed like the quickest way for me to achieve my goal of being an author and to share my creations with people.

What was the highlight of writing the book, "Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures"?

Finally being published. Having a copy in my hands is a great feeling.

What are a few things to keep in mind while writing poetry?

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…

Tell us about your book, New Music for Classical Guitar?

I began to compose guitar music during my college/university studies. I had them written down and I had forgotten them for a while. When I finally picked up my guitar again after many years of neglect, I relearned them and began to write more. I decided that they should be shared, otherwise they would disappear again.

When was the last time you listened to a new artist, band or guitar player?

I always have music playing, so I’m constantly finding new and exciting artists. I have wide range of interests, from Classical to Folk to Rock.

What do you feel like when you play one of your songs and people applaud?

I don’t perform very much, although I am hoping to try my hand at it again. I wasn’t able to perfect a piece to performance standards which was frustrating. My fear of forgetting (and the inevitable forgetting…) turned my focus to composing.

How does your book, "Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures" differ from your other book titled "Excerpts from the book: Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures"?

I decided to put some selected pieces into a book that I could make available to readers who might be interested in reading my writing. Not everybody likes poetry, and this was a way for people to try before they buy.

How do your poems develop? Please guide us through the stages of a poem.

I wrote a quote that reads: I do my best writing when I am running or hurting. Often, that is the same time… Other than that, it usually starts with a line that makes an emotional impact, and I craft the poem around that.

What are some common traps that new authors tend to fall into? Any advice on how to avoid these traps?

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.
3. Edit
4. Promote yourself without being too aggressive. It is very competitive, but you need to be respectful.
5. Did I say edit?
6. Don’t be disappointed. You are up against a multitude of authors. That being said, reach out to other authors, most are willing to help in one way or another.

When did you join AllAuthor? How has your experience been?

I joined in November of 2019 and I have over 1000 views on my author page, which is pretty cool, and I have been able to follow some authors that I have never heard of before. That’s what it’s all about right?

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