Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with graphic and prose novelist Leonardo Ramirez. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Leonardo. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Leonardo: First of all, thanks so much for having me on. It’s a real honor. There is so much valuable information for authors on your website that I hope as many writers as possible are taking advantage of it. As for me, I started writing over 20 years ago and what got me hooked on the process were short story assignments that I received in college. My professor was impressed with my work and she was very encouraging. From there I wrote my first book (which was never published) called Fables of Pangaea. This was a long time before self-publishing was as rampant as it is today. I still have the drawer full of rejection letters from that time. I keep it in a file that has my contract with my first traditionally published graphic novel, Haven in the back. I keep that file so that I can encourage my daughter never to give up on her dreams. I just used it for the first time (for this purpose) about a month ago. I live in a suburb of Nashville now with my wife and daughter who I love to spend time with.
Morgen: You’re very welcome, Leonardo. I’m delighted you could join me today. What genre do you generally write and what have you had published to-date?
Leonardo: My first traditionally published book was the aforementioned graphic novel, Haven which picks up where Dante’s Inferno left off. Using what I learned from that experience I moved to publish the first in a Children’s Steampunk series, The Jupiter Chronicles. I’m also in the editing phase for Haven of Dante which is a prose version of the graphic novel and fills in the gaps. I’m currently working on The Jupiter Chronicles: The Ice Orphan of Ganymede.
Morgen: You’ve traditionally published – have you also self-published? If so, what lead to you going your own way?
Leonardo: My first traditional route was very disappointing. The artist and I had put our lives on hold for this project but after three years we have yet to see a dime from it. The publisher did not invest any time at all in marketing it save to list it on their website which is tantamount to nothing. I did all of the marketing and being a newbie with a full time job just doesn’t cut it. I asked myself why the publisher would keep so much and add so little so I ventured out on my own. I know this sounds bitter but please believe me when I say that I’m not. Not every publisher is the same. Others have a bigger platform and I do believe that authors should assume responsibility for the marketing. It’s a learning experience. You take that and move on to the next thing and hope that things will even out later.
Morgen: Many authors have had the same experience, and I’ve self-published having been rejected by agents and turned down two traditional publishing deals (which weren’t right for me) so I don’t blame you at all for going that route. Do you have a favourite of your stories or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Leonardo: This is a fun question!
Morgen: Thank you. 🙂
Leonardo: I think Callie is my favourite because she’s modelled after my daughter. She fun and adventurous but above all she’s fearless. She also likes to crack a joke in the midst of sheer chaos. My daughter is 11 now and she’s said that she wants to be an actress so I’d have to pick her to play the part. I’ll always think of her as Callie. Haven would be my second favourite. She’s bold and truthful but also hurting on the inside. Jessica Lowndes bares a likeness, as does Felicity Jones.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or research?
Leonardo: Tons! John Lassiter once said, “You can never have too much research.” That’s a mantra I live by. I love to explore the setting exactly as it should be for the time period. Even though I write Science Fiction I like to keep it as if these things could actually happen so they’re all as realistic as I can make them.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites?
Leonardo: Yes! Here’s a list!
- Jupiter Chronicles can be found at http://www.facebook.com/jupiterchronicles, http://www.amazon.com/Jupiter-Chronicles-Secret-Great-Spot/dp/0615633331 and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jupiter-Chronicles-Secret-Great-Spot/dp/0615633331
- Haven of Dante can be found at http://www.facebook.com/armyofhaven, http://www.amazon.com/Haven-Leonardo-Ramirez/dp/1905692404 and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Haven-Leonardo-Ramirez/dp/1905692404
- Leonardoverse can be found at http://www.facebook.com/leonardoverse
- Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Leonardo-Ramirez/e/B004TZGCD6
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/leonardoverse
- Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/leonardoverse
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/leonardoverse.
- Stumbleupon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/Leonardoverse/likes
- Book Blogs: http://bookblogs.ning.com/profile/LeonardoRamirez
Morgen: You’re definitely out there. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Leonardo: Right now I’m working on the second book of The Jupiter Chronicles titled, The Ice Orphan of Ganymede which I hope we can release in the fall. Haven of Dante is in the editing phase and I’ll have more information on that release on my website.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Leonardo: You can find me at http://Leonardoverse.com. I blog often and have a forum there as well. I encourage your readers to stop in and please subscribe to the blog where we’ll have interesting discussion as we travel this road together. As for my books…
- Jupiter Chronicles can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Jupiter-Chronicles-Secret-Great-Spot/dp/0615633331 and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jupiter-Chronicles-Secret-Great-Spot/dp/0615633331
- Haven of Dante can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Haven-Leonardo-Ramirez/dp/1905692404 and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Haven-Leonardo-Ramirez/dp/1905692404
- And I have an Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Leonardo-Ramirez/e/B004TZGCD6
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Leonardo: My website bears the theme, Science Fiction for the Human Condition. What I mean by that is that I like exploring who we are and why we do the things that we do through the written word as well as how Science Fiction has impacted the human race.
Morgen: Science fiction’s a hugely popular genre. I write very little of it although one reader of my Story a Day May 2011 collection said the one sci-fi story in it was his favourite so maybe I should write more. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Leonardo: Yes! Do you update your website on your own or do you have a staff of people that help with your efforts? If so, how do you structure this?
Morgen: Oh, how I wish. No, it’s just me. Or rather, yes, it’s just me. I’d love to have an assistant as it’s lots of copying and pasting but I can only just afford to live (apart from the occasional £10 / £15 full interview, I don’t earn any money from it) by renting out two rooms in my house, but I am living the dream because this is my day ‘job’ and even though I’m on my computer all day every day (other than dog walks, Red Cross volunteering, the cinema and catching up with friends) it doesn’t feel like ‘work’. It’s how everyone should feel. From January I’ll also be teaching creative writing for my local council so it’ll be even better. 🙂 Thank you, Leonardo.
I then invited Leonardo to include a synopsis…
A war has been fought and lost by the Jovians. Now the answer to their freedom lies within the Great Red Spot and it’s up to Ian and Callie to uncover its secret.
It is the year 1892 and Ian and Callie Castillo have had to suffer the hardships of a single parent family since their father went missing five years ago. Since then Ian has refused to use the last gift that his father left the wounded boy; a telescope that sits collecting dust in the attic. When Callie decides to peer through its murky lens it activates the device and sends the Castillo’s to the steam-powered floating cities of Jupiter to rescue their father and free the Jovians before the Martians launch their final attack.
What follows is the beginning of an era that will forever be known by its strange name… Steampunk.
The Jupiter Chronicles series takes flight with the first book in the series… The Secret of the Great Red Spot.
Leonardo’s work includes a graphic novel titled, Haven as well as the Steampunk Children’s series, The Jupiter Chronicles and the upcoming prose novel, Haven of Dante published through his newly created self-publishing entity, Leonardoverse.
His heart and motive have always been for people who are hurting. These can be kids who have had to suffer through child abuse or neglect or an absent parent which can be equally torturous as was the case in The Jupiter Chronicles. It can also be young girls who have suffered an assault like Haven did in Haven of Dante. Young or old it doesn’t matter. Those are the kids and adults Leonardo Ramirez wants to speak to because he’s been there.
It’s not just Science Fiction. It’s Science Fiction for the Human Condition.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on the mixed blog but everything else (see Opportunities on the main blog) is free.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have this blog, https://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com, on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
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