Leona Bushman / LJ Bushman
USA Today bestselling author Leona Bushman is a crazy writer taught by dragons and known as Dragon Queen of the North. She loves to write and paint, even when her muse tries to muck things up. She chases after the three out of the five children still at home, and sometimes after the other two and the grandbaby around her freelance editing jobs. She has many hobbies like SCA, painting, quilting, sewing, and gardening. Or, as one blogger succinctly put it, Leona Bushman is a whirlwind made of sheer will with a dash of clumsy to keep her grounded.
1. Will you tell us about your most recent published work?
Yes. *beat* Oh. Now? Of course.
Darkest Valentine, a dark romance set in early Victorian/late Regency era, is one of my best works. Ever. It was a huge stretch creatively for me. I am writing the sequel…after I write the others which I’ve committed to a group project. Slow Fever is out this month, a re-edited/written horror story. It’s a dark romance…turns out I’ve been writing dark romance longer than it’s been popular. LOL My first work, Ulfric’s Mate, which is now self-published, is also dark by some standards. LOL
I have one in the Enduring Legacy series, written by multiple, extremely talented authors, called A Hunter, a Witch, and a Shrew, on preorder now, due out October. It’s set in the 1600s, and I am adoring the story. I love doing medieval stories. And I have a pre-order box set I’m in, Wings of the Wicked, which is available on pre-order now to be released in January. And I have Darkest Death, sequel to Darkest Valentine, cover ready, which I hope to have out by Thanksgiving. Um… yeah. Sorry, went off on a tangent. I also am supposed to be writing short sequels to Demons and Wraiths and sequels for my publisher…
2. What personal challenges do you face as a writer?
Working around my day job and my family and keeping my sanity. And the marketing process, getting my name out there. I SUCK at marketing myself.
3. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Getting enough time to write.
4. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I have given up my sanity to be a better writer. LOL What little I had left after having 5 kids…
5. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Forced me to look at what I wanted out of writing. If I’d make it a career or hobby. As a career, I’m pushing to make myself better.
6. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Erm, I don’t have time to count them all. I love to write all the things, just like I read all of them. All the genres from non-fiction to Stephen King and everything in between.
Will you tell us about them?
As my first accepted book was romance, that’s where a lot of my focus hit. But I lurv Sci fi. I have one sci-fi romance, but I have quite a few sci fi stories started. LOL Seriously, about 20 or 30 actually started, more with ideas written, 15 more just in the War of the Weres series, and 15 more in the War of the Weres Chronicles planned……….*whimpers*
7. Do you read your book reviews?
Yes. LOL I’ve not had too many yet.
How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I try to apply them as necessary. So far, I’ve only had one on an old book that I just didn’t know what to do with. Otherwise, I lap up the good, learn from the bad if there is something to learn, and ignore the rest.
8. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yes. And a couple of Easter Eggs. *grins* and no… I am not telling you which where. :D I hope to go down in history as “Did you know…”
9. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Holy… Authors are some of my best friends. They all help me because they help me realize my goals are achievable and encourage me when I’d rather drop into depression. One of the first authors, though, that I met and had a connection with (many years ago now…She may remember me because I’m friends with her brother…) is Linda Lael Miller. I can type insanely fast when I’m in the groove. I mean insanely. I only test out like 79 wpm on a test when I’m copying words that I don’t know for work tests. But when I’m writing on my own? I’ve written around 3k words in one hour when hyper focused on a story. I kept getting told that writing fast means no quality. Linda wrote at least 5k words a day every day, minimum 5 days a week. No one can accuse her of writing bad quality. It made my writing stretch and grow as I lost that fear of not being a good writer just because I can type fast.
10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
DON’T STOP WRITING.
11. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Believing the sort of “advice” like that above. People’s abilities are so vast and completely dependent on life experiences and schooling and natural talent, that falling into the trap of you must do x or must not do x can be debilitating. Ie marketing. I’ve seen people tell others if you can’t market, then you shouldn’t be a writer. I call bull.
Just because someone can write, doesn’t mean they can read market trends. (Doesn’t mean you can’t, either. As I said, people’s talents are vast and varied.) Don’t listen. Don’t listen when it’s all negative. Find constructive people who will tell you what’s wrong without killing your dream. Find constructive people who will encourage and teach, not slam and abuse, tear you down. That is the worst trap.
We believe the lies, the negative because it feeds our fears. That is the trap in a nutshell.
12. What’s the best way to market your books?
Erm… *shifty eyes* With help? LOL For me, I just…keep helping other authors and hope for the same. I have recently hired someone to take care of my websites and other stuff related. Why? Because I suck at marketing. LOL She *just* put my USA Today bestselling author status on my website. (I just hired her and gave her the passwords lol). It has been almost a month, and I still hadn’t done it. That’s how much I suck at it.
13. What is your favorite childhood book?
Hmmm It’s a toss up between Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey books, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple books, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Dune. They have all had continuing and profound influences on my writing. And yes, that’s what I was reading as a child. 10 years old. By the time I was 12, I’d read all of my mother’s Agatha Christie books (loved Hercule Peroit as well. LOL) all of the Narnia books, as many of the Dune series as I could get my hands on and moved on to Isaac Asimov and RA Salvatore etc.
Leona Bushman can be found solving mysteries, exploring space, making art, and loving dragons and other creatures of the supernatural at these places:
Facebook artist page: https://www.facebook.com/LeonaBushmanArtisteExtraordinaire/
Blog: www.lbushman.blogspot.com and www.lbushman.wordpress.com
Complete list of books:
Murder by Succubus
Luck of the Draw
Winds of Fire
Death’s Car, a serial
The Ulfric’s Mate: War of the Weres, Book One
The Midwife’s Moon: War of the Weres, Book Two
Magic and Weres
Bearly There, War of the Weres Chronicles, Book One
Fox in the Wolf Den, War of the Weres Chronicles, Book Two
Darkest Valentine, Darkest Series, Book One
Demons and Wraiths
Cerisa’s Quest, Quest for Riverhand, Book 1
Fight of the Sorceress
Over a Dead Body
A Hunter, a Witch, and a Shrew, Enduring Legacy
Darkest Death, Darkest Series, Book two
Panther’s Hunter, War of the Weres, Book Three