Friday, 12 August 2016

The Friday LiTerview: Leo deSouza

Hey everyone,
So a few days ago I had the opportunity of interviewing Leo deSouza, the author of The Red Fields (The Eastern Dwarfs Book #1)  Read the review here: a And he was just the sweetest most down-to-earth person ever. Though I must warn you, he is intensly protective of his privacy. Case in point: When we asked for a photo, he politely declined and sent us this instead:
I kid you not! He says it's what he uses as his official author photograph. Not to worry Leo, it doesn't put us off  at all. I mean over here at Up close and literal, there's nothing we love better than a little mystery. Right guys?
Ok, enough talk. The interview
1. Tell us about yourself, Leo
Before talking about myself, let me apologize for my english, it is not my main language, that is why my books had to be translated from portuguese.I'm a simple Brazilian guy, 29 years old, civil engineer, who likes to write when I have some free time. Real life can be pretty boring some times, that is why we need fiction.

2. Your latest series, the  red fields, is a fantasy tale of adventure with several magical lands and creatures, what was the inspiration behind it.

A reader who starts reading The Eastern dwarfs will soon notice a strong Tolkien/Lord of the Rings bias. It is for sure the main inspiration. The basic concepts are there, but I did my best to create a completly new history with completly new characters. My intention was to make the reader feel back in Middle Earth one more time, but not in the same plot. In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, much is told about the Western dwarf houses, but there is still four houses in the East of Middle Earth, and for them Tolkien never wrote a complete story. So I decided to take this task to myself, of course with all due respect to Tolkien and his original tale. I do not use any of his charaters or names. As I said, everything in my book is fresh.
3. I personally loved the elves' sky high tree houses with their furniture carved into the tree trunks, I couldn't stop imagining what it'd look like. Infact, I think I'd like my own treehouse one day so tell us 
about it, how did you come up with such a genius idea?

By observing carpenters! When you look at a finished furniture piece, you can't imagine all the skill necessary to craft such a thing. It is really a form of art. I like wood, it is warm and cozy, different from stone and metal.
3. How hard was it to get your first book published?

The publishing process was actually simple and comfortable. I would like to say that Amazon is really an amazing tool, indie authors can now publish their books from inside their own homes and wihout many risks. Thank you Amazon!

In the beggining I had some problems due to the fact that my book was firstly written in portuguese and then translated to english. That caused some problems for readers which main language is English. But the books are now in their third version and reaching a professional quality.

4. What are your favourite literary genres?
Religion, sci-fi and fantasy, as well as many things related with occultism and mysticism, I have a special interest in Eastern traditions.

As for fantasy, I'm an old school reader. Tolkien is for sure my main inspiration. He invented modern fantasy, all that came after him is based in his concepts, with a few exceptions.

5. Do you have a favourite character from the red fields series?

Rurur! He is me, and I am he. Somehow lazy, food and animal lover. But to be honest, the one I liked more when writting was Torag. He plays the tough guy and sometimes I like to think that we need to act like that in certain life situations.

6. If you were not a writer, what would you be?

As I said, I'm a civil engineer! But I could be anything else... maybe a cook, who knows...

7. What's the most valuable writing advise you ever reveived?

Not to hurry! That is essential in order to write a good plot. There must be no loose ends and inconsistences, and that demands much patience!

8. Should we be expecting a new book from you, soon?

Yes! I'm about to release a sci-fi book with a lot of philosophical content soon. Something different from the fantasy dwarfs, and a much more serious book. Besides, I have a lot of ideas in mind. Who knows, many things could come next.

9. What are your top five favourite female heroines of all time?

The new book I'm about to release has a female hero, and I'm now leaning to keep writting about woman. Why? Because women are the most fascinating creatures that God have ever put in this world.

I could not cite many heroines from fiction, but what about from reality?

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space and Mother Teresa by her work with poor people.
They are not fictional characters, but they are amazing sources of inspiration! 

10. Are there any other writers that you look up to? 

I'm currently reading The Name of the Wind by  Patrick Rothfuss, and the more I read it the more I admire his writting style. But, strange as it can sound, fiction is not my main inspiration! I prefeer to take inspiration from real life sources, as well as religion and myths.