[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Anne! Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Anne Leonard] Quiet, wry, smart, argumentative, curious.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Moth and Spark?
[Anne Leonard] It’s a character-driven standalone fantasy with fairly traditional elements and a romance between the two main characters, who share the stage equally. The plot is centered around a power struggle between several countries and about enslaved dragons finding their moment to break the spell on them. The magical elements are mysterious and a little spooky.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Anne Leonard] I had a love story that was hijacking my other fiction, so I decided it was time to just write it. I stole some of the basic elements from Jane Austen novels. I knew I wanted dragons and a war. I started writing, and then it took on its own life and become something I never expected. The plot that didn’t have to do with the romance went through a lot of changes before settling into what it is, so I can’t pinpoint any particular inspirational source for that.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
[Anne Leonard] It’s fun living in the heads of people who aren’t me, and I also really like getting to make up the details of the world.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?
[Anne Leonard] The plot and the ending. Endings have always been the hardest thing for me. I like opening up and creating possibilities, which makes it hard to close things down and also creates a lot of unnecessary tangles.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?
[Anne Leonard] That’s the hardest question anyone has asked me yet. My favorite songs are all grim and depressing, but my life is mostly sane and quiet, and no one writes songs about that. I guess I’ll go with Bruce Springsteen’s “No Surrender.”
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
[Anne Leonard] My iPhone, which I take even on solitary walks so I can take a picture if I see anything interesting.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Anne Leonard] Liddell and Scott’s Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, 7th edition
This year’s tax returns
Black cat hairs
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name some books that you enjoyed recently.
[Anne Leonard] In no particular order, The Magicians (Lev Grossman), Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clark), No Country for Old Men (Cormac McCarthy), In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods (Matt Bell), and White is for Witching (Helen Oyeyemi). It’s a bit of a stretch to say that I “enjoyed” the McCarthy, but I love his work even when it’s tough to read.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Anne Leonard] I spend time with my family, of course, but the things I like to do alone are taking walks, often with my camera, and reading. I also like to listen to baseball games and nap.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
About the book:
A Prince with a quest.
A commoner with mysterious powers.
And dragons who demand to be free—at any cost.
By Anne Leonard
Set in the land of Caithen, a country on the brink of invasion by vicious Tyrekh, this breathtakingly imaginative fantasy packs every punch the genre requires—intrigue, war, sorcery and magic, dragons, and forbidden romance. For fans of the Games of Thrones series, Diana Gabaldon, and Anne McCaffrey, MOTH AND SPARK is an elegant and compelling read.
Recruited by the Firekeepers, Prince Corin has been given an impossible task—to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, though no one, not even the dragons or their riders, understand the bonds which hold them. Given their power, but none of the knowledge to use it, Corin is torn between his new quest and his royal duty to defend his country from the Sarian invasion.
Before arriving in Caithen for Summer Court, Tam, the unassuming daughter of a well-respected doctor, has no idea she was born a Seer, someone gifted with visions. After a rainy afternoon leads Prince Corin and Tam to a chance encounter in the palace library, they meet for dinner where sparks fly, but it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner, Caithen is falling to the Sarians. When an attack on the capital forces the lovers to flee, Corin and Tam must figure out how to master their newly discovered powers in order to save Caithen and themselves. With the help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they might just pull it off.
At last readers will be introduced to the deadly harsh steppe lands of Sarian, to the white-barked tree-lined streets of Caithenor. Every last element of Leonard’s lush, extraordinary world carries the heft of cinematic detail with pitch-perfect vision.
Anne Leonard lives in Northern California. She has degrees from St. John’s College, the University of Pittsburgh, Kent State University, and University of California-Hastings College of Law. Leonard began MOTH AND SPARK while attending the University of California-Hastings College of Law (where she graduated cum laude) eking out a few hours on weekends or a half hour on the bus, or wherever she had the chance. After 3 years, she had a draft, but ultimately decided to practice law first. At last readers will be introduced to the deadly harsh steppe lands of Sarian, to the white-barked tree-lined streets of Caithenor.