This Writer Wednesday, the spotlight shines on YA Romance author Leia Faiga!
Just like Stephenie Meyer, who first dreamed of Edward and Bella lying in a flowery field before waking to write Twilight, Laurie Oknowsky, who goes by the pen name Leia Faiga, wrote her book Dreaming of Wilder after waking from a dream.
You can find Leia Faiga on Amazon, Wattpad, and Inkitt.
A quick note:
During this interview, you might note that many of the questions include the word “we” as if “we” asked them. Well, we did. This detail is meant to include you, my dear reader, and I do hope you enjoy each interview published to this blog!
Additionally, please note that each interview answer is the author's own words and the interviews in The Intuitive Storyteller blog are intended for informational and educational purposes only.
Laurie Oknowsky, the writer behind pen name Leia Faiga, began writing at a young age, mostly recording her life in a journal. Then, a couple years later she would write poetry and quotes. Not truly realizing where that would take her, at first she didn’t share her writing until her senior year in high school. She was surprised by how well her poetry was received.
Writing was always a secret passion; never thinking she’d be taken seriously, she kept it to herself until college. After failed majors, she settled on English, a coverup to what she really wanted to do: write professionally.
As she was a community writer on both Wattpad and Inkitt, she didn’t give much thought of getting published traditionally until she was starting to see she was trending and readers began to see themselves in her fictional characters.
The publishing process has been relatively painless with the constant support from the writers’ community on Instagram, not to mention the love and support from her family. Laurie continues writing on Wattpad and Inkitt. She wishes to continue her writing full-time, publishing her young adult romance books professionally.
About Dreaming of Wilder
Lady in my dream, I give you my everything.
Fantasy becomes reality when Delores Sweitzer starts dreaming of Dran Aiden Wilder Corretti—a singer with deeper intentions. One night, Delores discovers Dran is more than just a dream. While getting to know him, the dream becomes fate.
As their relationship deepens, the dream they live in becomes a nightmare when Dran's brother, Falcon, threatens Delores and steals her prized possession. Consumed by fear, Delores feels she is losing a piece of herself and decides the only thing she can do is flee the country.
Dran fights for the lady in his dream, doing anything to win her back. Only the traumatic past reaches out, leaving Del and Dran wounded. Their walls break down and Del realizes it was just a dream.
Leia Faiga’s book Dreaming of Wilder is available now on Amazon.
And now, the interview:
Laurie, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I was twelve and I just had this desire to project my voice without making a sound. The best way to do that was through writing. Whether it be in my journal or poetry, it was used as an outlet at first. I never thought I'd actually become an author.
Tell us about the person(s) or event(s) that inspired you to write your latest work.
My latest work had been written about five years ago after I had a dream. That dream became the first chapter of Dreaming of Wilder.
What is your favorite genre to write and why do these types of stories appeal to you?
For some reason, I was drawn to romance. Romance is a genre of vast sub-genres. It's filled with drama, suspense, danger, humor, and loss. I find the romance I write is emotional and worlds I wish I could reside in. It makes me hope for the possibilities of happy endings. Romance with an illusion of magic or mystery appeals to me.
Do you have a furry familiar? Tell us about them!
No, I do not. But, I am pulled to wolves or dogs. I like the mystique of wolves but the playfulness of dogs makes me feel the comfort of childhood.
Tell us about your writing schedule and/or a ritual that is necessary for establishing and sustaining your writing mood and endurance.
I tend to take prolonged breaks when I feel burnt out. I try to open my mind at night as I lie in bed to brainstorm. That's when the dreams come and I feel inspired again.
Why do you write? How does the act of storytelling affect you?
I write when I feel a calling to do so. I can't write when I feel stressed or anxious. That causes me to withdraw and internalize my creativity to a degree that nothing springs out of me. When I finally feel the inspiration and motivation, the voices tend to break out and the story flows. My stories are character-driven. So my stories can only be told when they want to tell them.
So many stories can only be told when [the characters] want to tell them.
Think about yourself back when you first started writing. If you could travel back in time, what would you say to that version of you (about the writing process, publishing, the world, etc.) that might help prepare them for today?
I would say, "You can do whatever you set your mind to do. If your heart is telling you to do something, but your mind is telling you something else, force it quiet and do what makes your heart happy. Don't listen to the [people] who tell you ‘No’ or the ones that say ‘You are talentless with no substance.’ Those are the ones who don't have [talent] and to make themselves feel better, they make you feel as poorly as they do about themselves. Publishing may be daunting and tedious, but it's so rewarding when the process is done."
What are your recommendations for fueling your writing energy and promoting inspiration?
Practice, practice, practice. Research, write, educate yourself on the Dos and Don'ts. If you feel like you need a break, take one. But don't give up.
How intuitive are you and does your intuition affect your writing?
I'm very intuitive. My intuition drives my writing. If I am not feeling something, I don't force it. Because I know if I force it, readers will know it was forced. That's why I write when I feel ready to.
Tell us about your long-term writing and publishing goals.
I plan to write and publish until I can't anymore.
For what or whom are you most grateful right now and why?
I'm grateful for my family. Especially my husband who sheds his feedback and wisdom on me. On how I should project a creative space to get myself back into a headspace that allows for the words to flow into a cohesive plot.
Besides writing, what activities bring you joy?
Being with my family, reading, and getting to know our new dog.
Which book are you reading right now?
Journey by D.D. Larsen
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
His Windflower by Temperance Dawn
Fill in the blank: Magic is...
Magic is fascinating and natural.
Stay connected with Laurie, AKA Leia Faiga! Here’s where you can find her:
My next blog post will be a continuation of the Tarot Stories series. Next up: The Lovers.
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself.
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.