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Stix by Breanna Leslie

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Breanna Leslie

An Authors’ Journey Through Appalachia

AJ: What was the first story that you read, which made you go, “Yeah, I think I’d like to write the story in my head”?

BL: So there was this ghost storybook when I was little, but I can’t remember the title. But there was a closet in an old farmhouse which led to the life of the ghost in her house–almost like a time jump. It must have been a middle-grade chapter book, but I remember thinking how fun it would have been to exist between worlds and time.

AJ: Tell me the journey that STIX took to go from an idea in your head to a printed book sitting on my table.

BL: Stix was born from a drive in the country and bluegrass on the radio. My husband was talking about his family history and how they built a large portion of the Cowen/Marlinton region of WV. He said, “What if you make the lumber camp scary?” And that was it. I had to write it.

AJ: What was the hardest part of finishing this story?

BL: The ending for sure. I had no idea where it was going, but I’m a pantser, so it’s almost always the hardest part.

AJ: What bit of this story still excites you every time you think about writing it?

BL: The scene with “Judith” in the woods. I scared myself writing it.

** AJ: Can confirm creepiness

AJ: What should readers who take the STIX journey be on the lookout for? Or, put another way, what advice would you give readers of your novel?

BL: Look for the subtle connections between timelines. There are parallels almost the entire way through.

AJ: Last question, what did writing STIX teach you that you hope will aid you on your next project’s journey?

BL: I went back and forth about the tense and POV. Also, the first time around, I feel like I didn’t give certain characters enough love. For my next project, I want to dive deeper into every aspect of the story. I want to get better at polishing the details.

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