Interview with Leah Reise, Author of The Beauty in Darkness: A New Race
21 Jan 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, The Beauty in Darkness: A New Race?
The Beauty in Darkness: A New Race is the second book in The Beauty in Darkness trilogy. To give you a brief introduction, the first book, The Beauty in Darkness: A Vampire Story, encompasses the story of two estranged sisters that are torn between the immortal and mortal realms after a power-seeking vampire of a rival coven murders one of the sisters in order to use her latent mind powers. The sisters can inherit these clairvoyant powers after turning, which makes them both desirable to malicious immortals. A New Race is the continuation of the sisters’ interconnected journeys through the worlds of the living and undead as they fight to save each other and humanity from a new threat, which brews under the land of the living.
Like the first book, which was my debut, it wasn’t something I planned to write. To make a long story as short as possible, the first book just sort of began out of nowhere one day when I was sitting in bed. After I published it, I wasn’t sure about writing a sequel until fans of Book One convinced me to continue the story. When I realize how the story affected people, I couldn’t just stop. The special sisterhood that the two main characters share is actually based on real sisters, as are some of the events and characters in the story, so the story truly means a lot to me too, as does the message behind it.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
When it comes to what inspired me to become an author, I have to say it was the power of the written word. Since I was a young girl, writing gave me an outlet I didn’t have anywhere else, an inner sanctuary and place of self-discovery. I used this place to express myself, enabling myself to face my deepest fears, and also to discover a sense of inner peace. Writing allowed me to dream, and also to connect to my fellow humanity and the universe around me. It was a place to create stories and worlds I could run away to, beautiful places I could visit and enjoy where I felt safe. Writing was also a way I found I could reach others, as I always had trouble expressing myself otherwise. I think I became an author to connect with people, to show them new worlds and ways of thinking, and if possible to ease their sorrows and bring them a little more joy and peace of mind, as that is the most rewarding thing for me in life.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Since I was young my ADD has made it difficult to have much of an attention span for reading, but as of now, these are my top 5 favorite books or works of literature that stayed with me:
The Andalusian Spanish literary works and Gypsy Ballads by Federico Garcia Lorca. Lorca’s eerie and melancholy poetry and literature was an influence in much of my writing and brought out the secret Gypsy hiding inside of me.
The Active Side of Infinity by Carlos Castañeda. This story sparked my natural existential draw to learning about the meaning of life and the experiences we carry as we get closer to our death day by day.
Free Will by Sam Harris. This book is the embodiment of the conversation I have inside my mind every single day. It’s just something I love to contemplate and which helps me understand the behaviors of people around me.
The Mind Readers series by Lori Brighton. This is my all time favorite guilty pleasure, but maybe not so guilty. Brighton somehow speaks right to my heart and mind with this series. I’m reading this series for the third time. I think it also influenced my own writing.
The Marked series by Bianca Scardoni. It’s hard for me to get into a series, but this is one of the ones that kept me hooked. Scardoni has a beautiful way with words, and I enjoy melancholy and spicy vampire stories.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
If I was the host of a literary talk show, Federico Garcia Lorca would have to be my first guest! I have always fantasized about traveling to the past to meet him. I would probably ask him if he would have done anything differently. To me he was a legend and a beautiful person.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
My favorite thing about writing is the way it enables one to more easily articulate one’s thoughts in the most effective manner so that it is easier to convey the meaning one wants to express.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me is pretty systematic. I wake up and make my coffee with coconut milk, honey and cinnamon and have the same breakfast almost every single morning. During the week, I go to work at the hospital where I’ve worked the last 15 years in admitting and more recently in surgery scheduling and billing. I have an 8-hour work day, but 10 if you count the driving in traffic! When I get home, I try to do as little as possible while I relax with my needy cat and new husband who was a firefighter now turned nursing student. Sometimes I get some writing in. We usually watch shows like Buffy or Doctor Who during dinner and go to bed by 9! On the weekends, we mostly hang out at home. That’s when I write the most. Otherwise, we sometimes do dinner and a movie. We almost always do a 2.5-mile walk to the nearby golf course and back. I recently bought an elliptical machine that he’s putting together for me as I write this. As I live with severe rheumatoid arthritis, convenience and easy workouts are important to me. It stresses me out to have to drive somewhere!
What scene in The Beauty in Darkness: A New Race was your favorite to write?
I think my favorite scene in A New Race is the one that takes place in the down town cafe in Windsor, CA when the younger sister builds up the courage to go meet the young immortal man that is following her. I can’t say much more without giving away too much, but it’s an important turning point in the book.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I do have a philosophy I live by. Putting oneself in someone else’s shoes. I think that’s the best way to understand other people and in hand oneself. I think if people lived that way more often, they would be a lot kinder to each other, and maybe a little more empathetic.
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