A series of interviews that I did with myself. Enjoy!
Today we sit down with Leon Stevens, the reader. We haven’t chatted for a while, how have you been?
-I’m doing well, thanks for asking!
-Oh, yes please.
When you want me to stop pouring.
-Can’t you tell when it’s full?
Well then, enough of the small talk. Let’s get started, shall we? First question:
What was the first book that you remember reading?
-Wow, that’s a great question.
I thought it was.
-I guess if I try to remember all the way back, I’d have to say, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
That’s the one with all the holes in the pages through the apples.
-Yup. I think that I got my finger stuck in one of them.
I think we all did.
Any others worth mentioning?
-I do recall reading Curious George, Pippi Longstocking, Hardy Boys, and I liked pop-up books. Oh, and the Highlights magazines.
Next Question: What was the first book that fascinated you?
-That’s an easy one, A Wrinkle in Time.
Why that one?
-My fifth-grade teacher read it to us. I looked forward to that time. He was a great reader, and I was sad when the book ended. It was a kind of a dark adventure for that age group.
Did you like reading?
-I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t a voracious reader.
Were you encouraged to read?
-I think so. My dad would read to me at bedtime. He would make space stories for me. I later found out, when I started reading science fiction on my own, that many of those stories were ones he had read before. I don’t fault him for it. It was funny reading a story and thinking, “Hey, Dad didn’t make that up!”
Do you have a favorite genre, or do you have a variety of interests?
– I usually read science fiction, and I prefer the older works over new. I do enjoy historical non-fiction, especially about explorers. I do enjoy some fantasy from time to time, as well as crime dramas.
What book have you re-read the most?
-I would have to say, Klondike by Pierre Burton, followed by Alive by Piers Paul Read, and The Chronicles of Narnia.
-Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.
Any newer books that I might know that you have enjoyed?
-Umm, you know the same books I do.
I suppose that’s true…Well?
–Ready Player One and The Martian would be the most recent. But again, you knew that.
Have you ever not finished a book?
Care to throw it under the bus?
-Nope. Not fair to the authors. Sometimes a book just doesn’t fit with the reader.
I understand. Well then, last question: What will you be reading next?
-I’m waiting for you to finish your science fiction book.
It’s getting there, don’t rush me.
-I’m just yankin’ your chain, I’ve liked what I have read so far.
Thanks. I appreciate that.
-I knew you would.
I knew that you knew that I would.
-I’m not playing that game.
I guess we are done then. It has been a pleasure interviewing you.
-Well, thank you. It was fun! We should do this again.
Interview, Part II: Leon Stevens, Reader, Interviews Leon Stevens, Author
I have done a few interviews on some book blogs this year and have always enjoyed it. But then I thought, what would I say in an interview as a reader? Solution? Interview myself! So I did. As you can see, this is Part II, where I interview myself as an author this time.
Today we have the pleasure [eyeroll] of sitting down with Leon Stevens, the author. How have you been?
– Considering all that has been happening, I have been OK. You?
You know the same as I do. We share a place, remember?
– Just being polite, you know.
Moving on. You have some exciting news to tell.
– I had some news. Like a month ago.
Would you like to share it?
– That’s why we are here, isn’t it?
Yes, indeed. Let me spill the proverbial beans then–
– I’m not going to clean those up.
Do you want me to say it or not?
– Go ahead.
You published your second book this year, a science fiction book, I believe?
– That is correct. It’s called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
Interesting title. How did you come up with that?
– It’s the first story in the book, and the rest tells you what is in it.
But what does it mean?
– You will have to read and find out.
I did. You know that.
– Then why are you asking?
I thought that other readers would like to know.
– Well, it’s all about how choices that life gives us are not always good things, I guess. It is the shortest story in the book.
You like writing short stories, don’t you?
– My stories always seem to come to a natural conclusion sooner rather than later. Say what you want about short attention spans…
Do you have a favori—Wait! Where are you going?
[from another room] – I thought we were done.
No. We are not.
– Want some coffee?
Sure. Are you using the press?
– Is there any other way?
[elapsed time: 15 minutes]
– Here you go.
Thank you. Shall we continue?
– Fire away.
Mmm, good coffee.
– Thank you. It’s one of my favorite things.
Before the break, I was asking if you have a favorite story?
– That’s tough. Each story has its charm in how it came about and what ideas I was trying to convey. But if I had to choose—
– As I was saying, if I had to choose, it would be Reasonable Hand-drawn Facsimile.
– Probably because it has elements of humor. It made me laugh when I thought about it. My editor said that she laughed out loud when she read it. Now, that’s the sign of good humor writing.
Do you consider yourself a humor writer?
– Quite a bit of my writing has elements of humor, so yes. I like to make people laugh.
There are quite a few post-apocalyptic stories in the book as well, along with poetry. Poetry? What’s up with that?
– I don’t know which came first, the stories or the poems, but I recall coming up with the idea that sometime in the future, writings from after an apocalyptic event would be found. So naturally, I named the series Found.
That sounds like the premise of the book, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr.
– That’s not far off. I didn’t mean it to be, but as I was coming up with the poems, it was a book that came to mind. It is the first post-apocalyptic book that I remember reading.
You write many different styles. Do you think that will limit your appeal by segmenting your readership?
– Well, I do now. Thanks a lot.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.
– Limiting my appeal? Or writing different styles?
I thought I was asking the questions here…
– Can’t we have a spirited discourse once and a while?
How long have you been waiting to throw in that word?
– Quite some time. Impressed?
Very. OK. Back to my point. I’m just worried that your poetry readers won’t like your science fiction stories and vice versa.
– I’ve thought about that. But if I am inspired to write something, I don’t want to limit myself. I still write poetry. It took me four years to publish my first book of poetry—I’m not going to be able to put out another right away. I hope my readership will embrace my eclectic writing. It is about entertaining and keeping readers engaged.
And how do you do that?
– I began to write a blog, which became more of a satirical/humorous take on life. Then when I started my newsletter to keep my readers updated on my writing journey—
Writing journey. I like that.
– Thank you. Anyhoo, I try to keep my weekly newsletters informative and entertaining. I hope that people read and appreciate them.
Ever thought of doing a podcast?
– I wouldn’t know where to start. Do you?
Not a clue. Last question: Who are The Miniscules I keep hearing about?
– You’ve heard about them from other people?
Not really. I just thought that we should mention them.
They are dear to your heart, are they not?
– No. Not really. I’d miss them if they went away, though.
But they’re not going anywhere, right?
– Nope. They still have lots to say.
Well, thank you for taking to time to answer some questions. Any final thoughts?
– You’re going to clean up those beans, right?
Yes. Not to worry…
– Don’t forget to take out the garbage when you go.
I’m not going anywhere. I live here.
– Oh, right. Another cup of coffee?
Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com