06 October 2019

Interview with Leonora Meriel

About the Author:
Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm.
In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity.
During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development.
In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet.
Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

When did you decide to become a writer?
I think I decided to become a writer before I was born, because my very earliest memories are connected to that desire. I spent my childhood reading, writing, scribbling and experimenting, and I never had any inkling at all to go in a different direction. It’s truly amazing now to have two novels published and working on more – it is a dream come true in the most simple and wonderful sense.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’d like to write books that make a real contribution to literature, and also that have an impact on the world. This could be with new ideas, or it could be with new forms of writing, but I would like to think my words might truly influence the lives of people, as well as being entertaining. I might have to write 10 books before I can do this, but it’s my dream nonetheless.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
The main character of my most recent novel The Unity Game is an investment banker named David. He is intensely driven and has a scientific, logical mind. He is ambitious and a risk taker and determined to make it on Wall Street. The plot gets interesting when David has some strange experiences that he can’t explain – he sees weird lights and finds himself writing an unknown language. His logical mind and ambition have no way of coping with these events, and he starts to self-destruct, taking bigger and wilder risks to try to keep his career on track, whilst being less able to function. It was great fun exploring the breakdown of a logical mind after exposure to events he could not explain or control.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Writing is my full time job, and my day is divided into mornings, when I create – working on first drafts or re-writing, and afternoons, when I do marketing tasks and administration. As an independent author, I effectively run my own publishing business, which means there is always a large amount of work to cover. However, the early writing hours are sacred.

Where do the ideas come from?
I have a very creative mind and I am almost always turning several ideas round in my imagination at one time. I suppose it comes from being utterly fascinated with everything – with the planet Earth that we live on, with the mysteries of everything we don’t yet know, with the universe around us. I love to discover and delve into new areas. There are so many extraordinary things happening in the world at any one time, and so many stories to be told that should be known about. As a writer, it’s amazing to have the power to combine ideas and stories and “what if” scenarios endlessly in books. So, I’d say the ideas come from a combination of my insatiable curiosity, my vast fascination with everything around us, and a creative mind that likes to play with pieces of information and arrange them in interesting patterns.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I start off with many different ideas in my head, and I simply try writing about all of them. Some story threads fizzle out after a few thousand words and I understand that I didn't have a very deep interest in the themes behind them. Others expand and expand until a novel starts coming into shape. I often then integrate the smaller ideas as themes into the larger works. A novel has to have a question or a theme so burning, that it will carry you through up to five or even ten years of your life, and thousands of words.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I have never experienced writer’s block. I am the mother of two children and I have to fight hard to find writing time. I also have so many ideas in my head, that my main challenge is to find the minutes to scribble them down, or make them into a first draft. My suggestion for anyone with writer’s block would be – stop trying to write and go and do something exciting. Join the fire brigade. Go on a protest march. Get a job in your local café and learn about life from the other side of the coffee counter. After that, you’ll be fizzing to write about it!

What can we expect from you down the line?
I’m currently working on seven different projects, some of which are short term and some long-term (10 years or more). The piece that I plan to publish first is a literary fiction novella set in a meditation centre, that takes place inside the minds of the characters. My first two novels have been quite experimental regarding genre, and I am planning for this to be straight literary fiction – no magic, no other planets, no dead people. It’s my personal challenge to see if I can keep one novel solidly on the Earth.

About the Books:

A New York banker is descending into madness. 

A being from an advanced civilization is racing to stay alive. 

A dead man must unlock the secrets of an unknown dimension to save his loved ones. 

From the visions of Socrates in ancient Athens, to the birth of free will aboard a spaceship headed to Earth, The Unity Game tells a story of hope and redemption in a universe more ingenious and surprising than you ever thought possible. 

Metaphysical thriller and interstellar mystery, this is a 'complex, ambitious and thought-provoking novel' from an exciting and original new voice in fiction.

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village.

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.
All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother's fateful choices.
Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?
Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.

Book Links: