Author Spotlight: Leslie Vedder
Dec. 31, 2021
We are excited to feature author Leslie Vedder and her young adult novel, THE BONE SPINDLE (Penguin/Razorbill), coming out on January 11, 2022. Enter to win a copy!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.
My love of writing started as a love of reading. My father read me and my sister The Hobbit when we were little, and a wonderful librarian changed my life by introducing me to the Alanna books by Tamora Pierce. Those books were the first books I ever really fell in love with. They set the bar for me for girl heroes. Alanna has a temper, she has drive, and she is a total kickass warrior. Tamora Pierce is the author who made me want to be an author!
Congrats on your debut young adult novel, The Bone Spindle! Tell us about the book and what inspired you to write it.
The Bone Spindle is a genderflipped Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones fantasy starring two girl treasure hunters who take on traps, ruins, and riddles to break the curse on a sleeping prince.
One of my biggest inspirations for this book is the fierce friendship between the girls. Fi and Shane are reluctant partners whose relationship grows over the course of the story. (Think classic shounen anime hero and rival!) I’ve always loved these kinds of partnerships, and I wanted the chance to imagine one with two girls who are total opposites!
Fi is a brilliant, no-nonsense bookworm and dedicated skeptic, while Shane is a loud, brash warrior who likes pretty girls and cracking skulls. They’re vinegar and baking soda and the interactions between them are full of sizzle.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
My road to publishing was definitely more of the long and winding variety! I got serious about writing after college, though the first book I ever finished was pretty rough and didn’t get me anywhere! I had another project that got me an agent and went all the way to submission before ultimately winding up shelved.
I learned a lot from those experiences—especially being on submission. So when I queried The Bone Spindle, I actually felt like I knew what I doing. That’s the book that got me my current (amazing!) agents and then my book deal.
What projects are you working on now?
The Bone Spindle is a trilogy, and I’ve been working on editing book two! Book one closely follows the Sleeping Beauty story—with the girl partners out to wake the sleeping prince—so it’s been fun with the sequel to get into some of the other lore of the world. No spoilers, but there are more fractured fairytales that come in, as well as a chance to dig into the enemies-to-lovers f/f romance I’ve been waiting for!
What advice would you give to your younger self? Is this the same that you'd give to aspiring authors?
I would tell my younger self to stop focusing on getting the beginnings of my projects perfect and concentrate on finishing them instead. I can’t count the number of times I would start a project and then rewrite the beginning over and over and never get anywhere at all.
For aspiring authors, I would add: I often find that it’s only when I get to the end of a project that I realize what kind of changes the beginning really needs. (Definitely do what works for you, but something to consider if you find yourself constantly rewriting the start.)
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I actually met my girlfriend (now wife!) in high school choir. They lined us all up by height to assign our seats, and through sheer luck we ended up folder partners sharing music. (We’re exactly one inch apart.) We bonded over anime, fanfiction, and horror at the pink taffeta choir dresses!
Where can people find you online?
Leslie Vedder is a YA author who subsists primarily on coffee and cat snuggles! She grew up on fantasy books, anime, fanfiction, and the Lord of the Rings movies, and met her true love in high school. She always collects all the Skulltulas in Zelda and all the Dalmatian puppies in Kingdom Hearts. She currently lives in Colorado with her wife and two ultra-spoiled house cats.
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