October 19, 2014

Interview: Author Lesa Howard & Audio Review Opportunity for PHANTOM'S Dance

Today I have Author Lesa Howard on the blog participating in one of my fun interviews. Then stick around for a fabulous opportunity to review her book via audio book. 

*What would you be doing right now if you were not an author?
Librarian. Not only are there the lovely books to play with every day, but there's the interaction with readers, too. 

*5 years ago: what were you doing?
Working in a library! lol. Seriously I was. But I started teaching creative writing with a nonprofit organization that places writers in public school writing residencies. Gradually, it took up more and more of my time and I had to choose between it and the library. Writing won out.

*Do you have a certain writing ritual?
I worry about answering this because of possible backlash from better organized people, but no not really. I have a frenetic brain and could have been considered patient zero for ADD, so I'm totally scattered. Sometimes there's music involved, the scene and mood of the writing determine the music. Water, lots of water. And when I'm feeling particularly stuck, a dill pickle seems to reset my thoughts and I can get back on track. That's right, a dill pickle. But please don't read anything into that. It's just a Vlasic.

*What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
That I wasn't ready. And they were right. But it was so hard to hear. It takes time and practice and I'm not real big on the patience thing.

*Ever fangirled over another author? Who was it?
Usually whatever I'm reading at the time. :) 
Oddly, the most recent thing I wigged-out over was completely out of my usual read-zone, a fantasy series by Mark Lawrence called The Broken Empire. I'm not one for fantasy because I'm so analytical, but the main character Jorg really got to me. The books are said to be very dark, filled with violence, but they didn't strike me that way. The lives of the people throughout all three books were so compelling. It was all about Jorg for me, though. The character was amazing, smart, sarcastic. Super cool to read. And I think because I loved it so much, and had no one to talk to about it because no one I knew was reading them, I would gush like a middle-schooler when talking about them to anyone who would listen.

*Is there an author you'd like to meet?
An? An author? Just one?? At this moment in time, I would love to meet and pick Katie McGarry's brain. I have a lot of respect for her writing and would jump at the chance to learn about her process.

*Biggest writing pet peeve?
Politics. I know we all put ourselves on the page, so to a degree it can't be helped, but there's been more than one author I liked but stopped reading because their books became a platform for their politics. I read for entertainment and what someone thinks about global warming doesn't fit the category for me. There's a place for that kind of writing. It's called nonfiction.

* Do you read other's reviews of your books?
Guilty. Even though I've been told not to. But it's served a purpose. At first, I just wanted to know what people thought of PHANTOM'S DANCE, my modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. After a while, though, it brought things into perspective for me as a writer. One day there might be a review that wasn't so kind, but the next there would be a 5 star review that raved about it. It's a subjective business and everyone's entitled to their opinion. And since I'm happy with who I am as a writer, I'm okay with not pleasing all of the people all of the time. Plus, I never want to stop improving as a writer. To do that I have to be willing to listen to opinions that might be uncomfortable for me and sort through them to glean what I can to grow. 

Fun Five:
Fav Color Purple
Fictional Character you'd like to spend the day with? the Count of Monte Cristo
Fav food Mexican
Fav song and/or singer Boz Scaggs (I'm a child of the seventies)
Guilty pleasure historical romances

Here is some fabulous news: Lesa is offering up audio books for review. She has complimentary copies for reviewers in exchange for reviews posted on Audible and Amazon. If you are interested please get in touch with her at facebook or email her at lesaboutin@gmail.com 
Be sure to mention you heard about this awesome opportunity from my blog.

Christine Dadey's family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy's finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she's told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she's willing to do to cope with it. Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world's stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik's face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he's lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine. Drawn in by Erik's unwavering confidence, Christine allows herself to believe Erik's declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine's hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik's shadowy past jeopardizes Christine's unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.

Audible, where they can listen to a sample, and AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes, and Smashwords for ebook and paperback.

I took an online test once to determine what my design style was. The results said I was eclectic. Nailed it! It’s true for everything in my life. From home furnishings, to food, reading and writing, I can never choose only one of anything. And because of that this website is an attempt to wrangle my many interests into order; starting with the two names I write under (Did I mention I’m a Gemini?) Lesa Boutin and Lesa Howard. Under Lesa Boutin, I write middle grade and low YA, but my edgier pieces are under Lesa Howard.

The writer side of me is only one aspect of this site. I also teach creative writing to elementary and middle school children. I have the great fortune of working for a nonprofit organization in Houston called Writers in the Schools, aka WITS. Over the years with WITS, I’ve accumulated a slew of creative writing lessons and experiences. There’s been a lot of trial and error which led me to realize it might be a good thing to share some of it, especially for other authors looking to add something more to their Author School Visits. So the posts on this blog will reflect my multiple (or eclectic if you prefer the classier distinction) personalities, containing issues with my own writing, anecdotes from the classroom, book recommendations, and possibly some mini temper tantrums and/or breakdowns.

For books written as Lesa Howard in ebook and print
For books written as Lesa Boutin
If you’re interested in having me visit a school, library, or writers group checkout my Visits page.
More about Writers in the Schools:  WITS


  1. Loved the interview! I really liked this question: 'Ever fangirled over another author? Who was it?' because I fangirl about authors daily. (LOL) And it's nice to see that authors do the same thing. =D
    And pssst, the audiobook was awesome!

  2. Stephanie, authors were readers first. There will always be someone who writes better than I do! Therefore, my fangirling will never cease. :) Right now I'm reading Sway by Kat Spears and WOW can she say a lot with less. Totally fangirling on Sway.

  3. It's awesome to see the interview! I think her book has a lovely cover, and it's perfectly alright to not have a writing ritual set out. As long as it works for her, then it's fine! Being a librarian sounds like a great job, but I would much rather survive on being an author and blogger, if that is possible ^^