Hello readers! We’re here today with an interview from Leah Vernom regarding her new book Impure. Let’s get started!
What is your writing process like?
It differs depending on if I’m writing fiction or nonfiction. Starting off a fictional story, I have to be completely rested and open to new ideas and inspirations. Writing nonfiction, I usually have some kind of emotion going on: anger, sadness, or pride. I harness those attributes and start to write in a stream of consciousness. Then I go back and edit for clarity and typos.
Are your characters based off of people you know?
Actually, not really. I feel like my characters are usually bits of myself at different points in my life. At one point, I was very naïve so I’ll create a character based of that. Now, I’m very sassy, so I’ll make another from that characteristic.
Regarding your characters, do you relate to any of them?
Oh, yes. With each of the characters I create, they must be relatable. I create characters that even though they are the ‘bad guy’ you still can understand why they might have fallen into a trap of bad decision making. Because, I believe, that in every bad person there is good and in every good person there is bad. I keep that in mind when I’m plotting characters. I want them to be life-like and complex.
Did you have to do any specific research for your book?
I did a lot of research. Some stuff I used and others I didn’t. The most research I did was for the world-building. I looked up so many photos to kind of etch these ideas in my head. I could no longer think of this world as the one we live in now, but one far, far into the future where the world was very so dissimilar and dark.
How did you come up with your book’s plot?
This may sound weird, but it just came to me. When I listen to music, sometimes story ideas form in my head. It starts with a voice, then a character pops up, then a situation that the character has to face comes into fruition. That’s how Impure began. I had this idea: what if the world in the future was like the world of the past and slavery was reversed.
What was your favorite scene to write?
My favorite scene was the war scene. I wanted the reader to feel the plates exploding, the carnage of war firsthand as if they were standing smack dab in the middle of it.
Why is diversity in books important to you?
It is important because this world is not black and white. And representation of ‘all’ people is needed more than ever. To see a Latino superhero or a fat heroine who isn’t the sidekick is important. We are not all straight, white males. Those aren’t the only people who enjoy speculative fiction or comic books. We need books to represent the world we live in today. And unfortunately, we have some ways to go.
Is there anything you would change about your book?
I’d not so much change the story line, but it could probably be tightened up sentence structure-wise. I went over the beginning thirteen times and the end about four times. I think I ended up with what I wanted it to be.
Can you share any plans for a new novel with us?
Right now, I’m working on a memoir about my life growing up fat, black, Muslim, and poor. So, all the other installments are on hold…for now.
How can we keep up with you?
You can see me everywhere!
Facebook: Beauty and the Muse
About The Book
Author: Leah Vernon
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Young Adult
Publication Date: July 21st, 2016
Inclusion of Diversity: Features a biracial protagonist
Under the rule of a tyrant, Americans were divided by race and class. Hate and inequality reigned. Hispanics and Blacks had no choice but to overthrow the government and exterminate the Caucasian “Europe” race. The few Europes who managed to survive are now classified as Lower Residents and are used as slaves to rebuild the New America—The Southern Region.
Sixteen-year-old Saige, whose parents broke the “purity clause”, pays for their mistake far after their publicized executions. As an Impure, she now must escape the tyranny and sneak over the Border to freedom. Avi, who is destined to succeed her father as General, is conflicted by her loyalty to her authoritarian Elite family and her love for a Europe rebel. Leo, a Lower Resident worker who rebels believe God has sent, will lead them to salvation against the Union. These three teenage adversaries from different castes are forced to rely on one another to thwart a dictator’s plans for mass genocide.
And they’re about to start a revolution.
About The Author
Leah Vernon is a twenty-something African-American and a proud Muslim from Metro Detroit. She loves Sailor Moon and X-Men and always tries to incorporate mystical elements into her fictional worlds. Her main focus is bringing diversity to commercial YA/NA fiction. Well, because it’s needed. Badly. She also has a B.S. in management, an M.A. in creative writing/fiction, and an MFA in publishing from Wilkes University. When she isn’t writing or eating tasty foods, she’s modeling and tending to her body positive style blog.
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