Howdy everyone! Wednesday’s author interview is here! And with me today I have the lovely Lea Williamson. She is a 25 year old indie author, currently living in the city Norwich, England. She lives with her husband and two small children. Her profession alongside writing is a studio & wedding photographer. She began writing her first series, Units, in early 2012 and has big plans for her future writing YA fiction. Her preferred genre is dystopian. She is fascinated with the mechanics behind society and likes to let her daydreams on this topic be explored by others through her writing. As well as writing and photography, Lea enjoys all aspects of design (including book cover art) and networking with like-minded people through her blog, Paper Dreams.
Hi Lea, it’s great to have you here, welcome to my blog.
Thank you Miranda for taking the time to have me. You have a fantastic blog and I’m very excited to be talking to you today.
You see, no-one ever compliments my blog! *Looks around and raises an eyebrow* Thank you, Lea. Random-ness first as always in my interviews! You say you are a true book-aholic. What is the largest number of books you’ve bought at once, and what was the silliest purchase you’ve ever made, book-wise?
*laughs* Well, it’s not unlike me to grab a handful each time. I have a three shelf book case in my spare room full of books I’ve not got around to reading yet. It has become a horrible habit of mine to buy a new book after finishing one but that new book often ends up being several. My poor husband can’t keep up with me and my shelves are dipping in the middle.
I’ve got a solution-buy a bookstore! Then there will always be plenty of bookshelves! 😀 When did you realise you wanted to be a writer? Do you remember what inspired you?
Oh, absolutely. Virginia Andrews and her talent for prose was what pushed me into the world of literacy and then I discovered Margaret Atwood. I wasn’t a natural born writer. I never dreamed of publishing my own books like many authors do. I just enjoyed the way words could form pictures in my mind and I began experimenting with my own writing skills in my late teens. My first pieces were based heavily on the books I’d read by V.C Andrews. But through becoming a mother and becoming too busy in the real world, I stopped writing and delved into other projects. We moved last year away from our friends and family and with my new found free time my book obsession increased and once again the writing started.
As well as writing, you always do book covers, don’t you? You have some beautiful book covers that you have made yourself on your blog; when did you start to make these, and what would be your favourite one?
Thank you. I am at one when I’m lost in Photoshop *laughs*. My nerdiness is never-ending it seems. I guess it started when I was around 14. I’m 25 now so that’s a lot of years experimenting with digital art and I guess one thing led to another and soon I was able to combine my love for books with my love for photoshop. My favourite would be a hard one to call, but one of my newest covers has received a lot of attention.
The actual cover is not a real book. There’s something freeing about creating the window into a book without actually writing the story. Others can then make up their own, much like one of my blog followers did for this cover. She came up with the title Raven and a wonderful backstory for the girl on the cover. It was interesting to read and I hope she continues exploring her ideas.
It is a beautiful cover, and it’s not nerdy at all to play around in photoshop-I hope not, because I do my covers too! *I dare anyone to call me a nerd* Your novel, Units, sounds very interesting and unusual. Can you tell us more about it?
I would love to share more about Units with you. It’s a dystopian/horror fiction aimed at young adults and will take you on a journey into a world set in the future where money is no longer a useful currency and freedom is something of the past.
An organisation, the Authority Project, is now in control and their main concern is that people work hard and stay out of trouble. In return they keep their lives. The Authorities are much like the government and the police rolled into one. Alongside the Authorities there are the Units and the older generations. The newest generation of Units are biogenetical, known as the test tube Units. With currency long gone, the Authorities have created a system in which Units are just a statistic and each of them is given a ticket that contains all their information. They earn points by keeping in-line and working hard and these points can be used towards food and other items they may need. The Authorities have strict rules in place, limiting most of a Unit’s freedom. Their only reason for existence is to work. The older generations are Units who have been placed into Partnerships with wealthy Authorities. Older generations become the parents of the next generation of test tube Units and the cycle continues.
The book follows the journey of Pearl and it is written from her POV. Pearl is a test tube Unit and is working in the city of Maineport. For the most part, Pearl follows the rules but occasionally takes a risk here and there – developing a crush on moody Tee, for instance. I won’t reveal too much but Pearl’s work position is kind of creepy and through it, she attracts the interest of a sinister and disturbed artist. Pearl’s suddenly on the Authorities radar which eventually lands her in a nightmarish situation. The rest of Pearl’s journey takes many twists and turns and she may discover a few sinister and disturbing things about herself along the way.
Creepy…*shudders* So what inspired this novel?
My husband and I share a keen interest in the Zeitgeist films – a collection of movies and documents that delve into conspiracy theories around the world. The documentations are interesting, to say the least, and explore the secrets behind our societies – mainly America. It focuses a lot on money control, debt and power behind the government which I guess became the foundation of the Authority Project in Units.
The inspiration came after a long wait in our city’s town hall. We were waiting to be seen and given this ticket with big numbers on it. The numbers would be called on a screen and then we were able to speak to somebody behind one of the 15 kiosks that ran along the width of the room. We waited an hour and had grown increasingly bored. Eavesdropping on those around us (shameful, I know) I heard a woman complaining that they were not getting their benefits anymore and they insisted, with not very nice language, that the poor woman behind the kiosk paid her at once. My imagination got the better of me and I started jotting down the beginning of Units into the notes section of my iPhone. My husband joined me on my adventure and from there the story elaborated. I’d actually forgotten about it until I read my emails the next day back home. The notes section of my iPhone is synced with my email account and there it was, staring at me. This ridiculous idea of a story begging to be written.
Not ridiculous at all; I love hearing where people get their ideas from. 🙂 Where can we find your novels?
Units will be available via Amazon this summer in paperback and ebook formats. I’m self publishing using CreateSpace, which is thrilling and scary all at the same time.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Hopefully a second and possibly third book in the Units series. I’m not finished delving into this world but it all depends on the success of Units. I’d be interested to try my hand at something more adult orientated and a little more saucy but for now i’m sticking with dystopian young adult fiction.
Last random question…what would you rather do without, books or tea?
*laughs* What is reading if it is without a good cup of tea?
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me. I have truly enjoyed sharing Units with you and hope that your readers have not fallen asleep at their keyboards. It’s so far been a thrilling experience and I’m so happy to have been able to share it with you all.
Not at all, it’s been great having you here.
Make sure to look out for Lea’s book when it comes out this summer!
After years of debt spiralling out of control, bankers conspired together and decided to withdraw their money from the public. Businesses were lost, welfare was no longer available and people began to struggle. Over time, not a single penny was left to be spent and an underground organisation, the Authority Project, conformed together to dominate the world.
Pearl is one of the first generations of ‘Test Tube Units’. Her duty in life is to work until she reaches the age of Partnership. A Unit doesn’t work for money. They work for their right to live. They are stronger, faster and healthier than the average human and their life span extends well into the hundreds.
Things take a sinister turn for Pearl when she catches the interest of a twisted artist, an Authority who is known for breaking a rule here and there.
Will she be able to keep out of trouble or will she be subjected to torturous punishments, possibly execution?
It’s dangerous when you don’t follow the rules. It’s even more dangerous to fall in love.