To celebrate the release of Broken Juliet, the second book in the Starcrossed series, I wanted to ask Australian author Leisa Rayven about her journey between writing Twilight fan fiction, to becoming a published author. Please welcome Leisa to Diva Booknerd.
Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet are published by Pan Macmillan and are available to purchase now.
Add the Starcrossed series to Goodreads
Add the Starcrossed series to Goodreads
HOW FANFICTION CHANGED MY LIFE
A few years ago, I was meandering around the internet when I stumbled upon Twilight fanfiction while googling pretty-boy British actor, Robert Pattinson. My first reaction was, "What the hell is this?" At the time, I didn't know much about Twilight, but I did know that Edward was a vampire and Bella was human; and yet, here were all these stories where Edward was human, and not only that, he was a CEO / veterinarian / tattoo artist / hockey player / billionaire playboy. Color me intrigued. That day, I read fanfiction for the better part of the day. To say I was hooked was an understatement. I soon came to realize that a lot of Twilight fanfiction writers didn't give a hoot about sparkly vampires and buff werewolves. The thing that hooked them about these books was the love story; a seemingly destined-to-be couple overcoming the odds to be together.
Upon closer inspection, I found out these stories were being written by (mostly) women from all walks of life – housewives, doctors, lawyers, actors, microbiologists. The simple but powerful concept of epic love had inspired all of these ladies to express their own creative visions, and let me tell you, a lot of the stories were amazing. Far better than some of the published books I'd read. Their courage and creativity inspired me, and so, one day, I decided to write my own version of epic love. It was tale about a rockstar and street kid, and it was the sort of Cinderella tale I loved to read. Apparently, a lot of other people liked those stories too, because it got a lot of positive attention. Buoyed by the response, I kept writing. Chapter by chapter. Story after story. I wrote every day, sometimes seven days a week. Hundreds of hours turned into millions of words, and eventually, I developed an extremely passionate and loyal fanbase who started yelling at me to publish a book that they could cuddle and add to their shelves. Until that point, I'd never considered writing as a profession. I was a classically trained actor and singer, and had a satisfying, if sporadic career. But my fans kept begging me, and so I put on my big girl panties and strode forth into the terrifying world of professional publishing. I spit-polished my manuscript and threw it at agents willy nilly, hoping against hope one of them would catch it.
Well, one did.
The day I got an email from a New York literary agent telling me she wanted to represent me, I screamed so loudly, the neighbors thought I was being murdered. A couple of months later when my agent told me Macmillan New York had offered me a three book publishing deal, I actually fell off my chair. No lie.
Now, my first two books, Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet, have been published all over the world, and have even been translated into eight foreign languages. Every day I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.
I know that I owe my current success to that random Google search years ago. If I hadn't stumbled upon fanfiction, I would never have had the courage to find my own literary voice. And without my amazing fans' support and encouragement, I'd never have considered writing as anything but a very satisfying hobby.
These days, best-seller lists everywhere are peppered with dozens of former fanfiction authors, and I'm honored to be counted among their ranks.
Talk about a Cinderella story, right?
ABOUT LEISA RAYVEN
Writing has always been a passion for Leisa, and even though she originally intended to be an actress, it wasn’t long into her time at drama school that she began writing plays.Those plays were bad. Very bad. Well, her friends thought they were good, but that’s because they were always cast in them and any opportunity to be on stage was met with an obnoxious amount of enthusiasm. Since then, she’s honed her craft, and several of her plays have been produced and toured throughout Australia.
Thank you to Leisa and the fabulous Lara at Pan Macmillan Australia