Lee’ah D.B. Giaquinto, author of The Least of These
Excerpt of Interview with Lee’ah D.B. Giaquinto:
ZHP: Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
LDBG: I grew up on the northwest side of Detroit, Michigan.
Detroit is a very real, gritty, urban city. It has a lot of textures, colors, and flavors that color my writing.
ZHP: Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
LDBG: I do not remember the first story I read or a story that had an impact on me. I grew up in a family full of readers. I remember being a young girl simply wanting to read a story that transported me somewhere I knew nothing about. From “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Dr. Maya Angelou to “Wuthering Heights,” by Emily Bronte, I have always savored getting lost in a good story.
ZHP: What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
LDBG: My husband and son. I simply want to experience life with them everyday.
ZHP: When did you first start writing?
LDBG: I have been writing off and on for the last 10 years.
ZHP: What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
LDBG: The greatest joy of writing for me is being able to create and being able to express myself through writing.
ZHP: Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
LDBG: Yes. It was a mystery story.
ZHP: What advice would you give a new writer?
LDBG: If a person believes that he/she has a story to tell, my advice for the writer is to set an intention that it is important to write the story and then honor that intention.
ZHP: When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
LDBG: I spend the majority of my time with my husband and son. Doing things that families do, including watching movies, going to baseball games and enjoy family vacations. We also enjoying taking our pug, Pepper out for walks when the weather is good for being out and about.
ZHP: What do you read for pleasure?
LDBG: I love to read fiction about women written by women.
ZHP: Who are your favorite authors?
LDBG: Toni Morrison, Sue Monk Kidd, and Gail Tsukiyama.
ZHP: What are your five favorite books, and why?
LDBG: “Song of Solomon,” Toni Morrison.
The characters in “Song of Solomon” had characters with unusual names and were living under circumstances I had never read before. Ms. Morrison has strong character development. Her writing styles draws in the reader. However, her writing style requires the reader to be totally focus on the story.
“The Invention of Wings,” Sue Monk-Kidd.
Sue Monk-Kidd grabbed my attention in the “Secret Life of Bees.” In “The Invention of Wings,” Ms. Monk-Kidd took a story regarding real life historical figures and embellished it and filled in gaps to make the story her own. She is also an exceptional writer.
“The Street of a Thousand Blossoms,” Gail Tsukiyama. Ms. Tsukiyama’s writing is verbose in a good way. Her description of characters and scenes are captivating. She took me to Japan before and after World War II. Ms. Tsukiyama brought Japanese culture and ancient traditions to life. Its was also an interesting view of the war from the other side of the Pacific.
“The Poisonwood Bible,” Barbara Kingsolver.
A story about a Southern Baptist family, who moved to the Congo to do missionary work. The story is told through the eyes of four daughters as they watch their zealot father try to convert the Congoles people to Christianity without any understanding of the their culture and beliefs. The backstory featured the Congo and its political turmoil during the 1960’s.
“The Begger King and the Secret of Happiness,” Joel Ben Izzy.
Its a short read that has a powerful message.
ZHP: What is your e-reading device of choice?
LDBG: I read on my tablet. I began reading books electronically on a Nook. My tablet has both a Kindle app and Nook app as I have books stored through both apps.
Excerpt of Interview with Lee’ah D.B. Giaquinto about her process:
ZHP: Describe your desk or writing space.
LDBG: I do not have a dedicated writing space as I do not want to be tethered to one place. I sometimes feel tethered in my professional life, so I do not want that same environment for my writing.
Where I write depends upon how I feel. If I am writing after a long day of work, I will simply sit on my side of the bed in something comfy and relax into my writing. On cold winter days I may sit in my kitchen or in the living room, with a steaming cup of coffee and write. The Spring and Summer may find me in my dining room, looking out into the back garden with trees, flowers, and shrubbery blooming and letting my writing take place.
I also carry a writing journal so that when ideas or characters come to life, I can capture it immediately.
ZHP: What is your writing process?
LDBG: I try to write daily. At least a half hour a day. I find that the half hour usually turns into writing for over an hour.
ZHP: How do you connect with your muse?
LDBG: Before writing, I meditate in an attempt to release the stress of the day and allow myself to relax into my writing.
ZHP: Is procrastination an issue for you?
ZHP: What motivated you to become an indie author?
LDBG: I have always admired artists who are brave enough to put forth their art themselves without seeking a mainstream path. A lot of time, thought, and a part of oneself goes into writing. I decided to become an indie author so that my creation and self expression adequately comes forth.
ZHP: What advice would you give about writer’s block?
LDBG: I believe in meditation. It is an excellent stress reliever and can allow a person to get to the root of an issue. If a writer is experiencing writer’s block, I recommend that he/she get still, breath deeply, clear the mind, and get to the root of the issue.
ZHP: What’s the story behind your latest book?
LDBG: There is an antique desk that we refer to as a ‘secretary’ that has been cherished by the women in my family. The secretary and its history was my starting point in The Least of These. The story began to develop due to all of the negativity in the world today. We, as a society, are better together, than separate. Sometimes we need to reach out and help and/or support one another. This can be difficult to do, but if we put forth the effort, we may find that not only is another’s life changed, our lives may be enriched as well.
ZHP: What are you working on next?
LDBG: I’ve returned to Cranford Lane, which is a unique street of condominiums in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. On Cranford Lane there are a variety of people living closely together. The closeness in living always bring about conflict or/and revelations that causes people to seek some type of resolution.
ZHP: Do your fans impact your process?
LDBG: I can only write from a space that I know. I hope that my stories touch the reader in some way.