Friday, October 2, 2009

The Ohio Whirlwind

It’s appropriate that I’m again listening to "Ohio" by that beloved band of mine, hometown Cincinnati-grown Over the Rhine as I attemp to offer a meager recap on a whirlwind two weeks back home.

Firstly, let me share the good news. Because of your support, some great press, and the blessing of genuine interest in my debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker has gone into a second printing. It’s a dream come true to publish a book. To have it already going into a second printing is beyond thrilling. Wow. Wow. Thanks.

Oh, Ohio. What an action-packed trip. I always look forward to going home, because of the wonderful family and friends that never feel too far away, even though in so many ways New York City is a world away. But the welcome mat is always unfurled, and would be whether I did or did not publish a book. However, getting to go home with a sense of real accomplishment, to thank those who made it possible, and to share the excitement of a dream coming true with other dreamers, as I said in my earlier post, is a real blessing. And that’s what I was able to do, to say thanks, to value where I’ve come from, and to share the idea of never giving up on something you love.

I got to share this message at my grade school, (and the Oxford Press wrote about it). I got to share it at my High School (the Middletown Journal followed up with its earlier article and wrote a new print one focusing on Edgewood) and at my alma mater Miami University; for my dear Dr. Powell’s Victorian Literature class – what a thrill to be back in one of my favourite classes, this time reading from my own love-letter to the 19th Century Gothic! I did an alumni video interview for the Miami theatre department, spoke to classes in the department (where I was a major) and at the Howe Writing Center (where I was not a major but since I’m published they kindly had me over for a chat) and was taken to dinner by the most charming Fine Arts administrators ever.

I got to teach a theatre-meets-writing workshop at the Central Ohio Fiction Writers conference that went blessedly well and made some light-bulbs go off in amazing writers’ heads - what an honour! I love discussing the connective tissue between art forms; where theatrical concepts are a great way to think about forming the structure and characters of your novel. The way I write is entirely inspired by my actress half and I do have a lot to say about it. On that note...

I was interviewed by Rick Pender for Cincinnati Public Radio (listen to WVXU on October 18th for the “Around Cincinnati” feature!). He had interviewed me for CityBeat years before when I returned to play Lucy in Dracula for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Rich opened our interview this time with: "The last time I saw Leanna Renee Hieber she was a bloody mess." :) So I of course stopped by my dear Cincy Shakes to see friends and the new changes to the building and noted with great delight that indeed, this oh-so-bloody picture of me as Lucy in Dracula is up in the lobby in all its glory... – (photo by Rich Sofranko). I confess. I've missed the theatre, but doing readings and signing books quite puts the theatricality back into my art and I certainly feel in my element when reading from my novels. It's one of my favourite parts of this process.

I was able to connect with several aspiring writers, like Sammi and Hanna, who were two particular highlights of my trip. Thank you Hanna, for your kind and generous post about my signing at the West Chester Barnes & Noble – this signing in particular was such a joy as a hoard of friends, classmates, teachers, co-workers and family came out to support me in force! (Thanks, Marijo, for this photo).

I did five event signings, countless more stock signings (so if you didn't make it to a signing and you'd like an autographed copy of Miss Percy Parker, check your local Columbus and south to Cincinnati Barnes & Nobles!), all around Ohio, swinging down to Kentucky, reminded myself of all the southern Ohio back roads, spent as much quality time with my best friend Marijo as my madcap schedule permitted, wrote a bit on the Strangely Beautiful sequel (out May 2010) and on Rebecca and Michael’s novella (out Oct 2010), was well-fed and entertained by friends and family and was reminded of every blessing along my meandering artistic path. And I gratefully stand by the fact that no time was wasted along that complex path. I hope I can continue to feel that same, sure sense as I jump back into NYC with new deadlines, challenges, stresses, and excitements.

More pictures / and possibly video - to come! As soon as I get them, I must share some photos of The Stately Raven Bookstore in Findlay where I had some quality time with my darling Mr. Poe. -- I love you, Ohio! It's good to see you again, New York!

In case you were wondering, Persebunny aka "Percy" is enjoying a copy of her namesake and is quite truly tearing through the book. She impressively digests literature.


libritouches said...

Eeeeeeeeeeee! Sequel! And your on a second printing? Congratulations! That sounds like absolutely fantastic news!

And I'm glad to hear you had such a wonderful time on your tour!

OfficiallyInspired said...

I'm so glad that I was able to come to your signing! *And btw, I freaked out when I read my name in your post! O.M.A. (Oh my Alexi) ) Anyway, I still haven't read your letter--I'm saving it for when I really need it. But it just is sitting there, on my desk, looking at's so hard not to read it. lol. Thanks again! For everything. I seriously will never be able to repay you!

A fan,( :) )

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

Hello Shanra!!!
Thank you!! Yes, the sequel will be here before I know it... end of April 2010. Working on edits as we speak. Very excited.
Thanks so much. It's because of bloggers like you that the word got out on Strangely Beautiful so thanks for your part in getting me towards that second printing! Blessings!!

I was so glad you could come too! I really appreciated your lovely post about the signing. And that note is just a tiny something there for you to know I'm rooting for you. No repayment necessary, you keeping writing is a huge gift to me, to yourself, to the heavens and eventually the world!

OfficiallyInspired said...

I was happy to post about the signing--I'm going to force all of my friends to read "Strangely Beautiful". But seriously, that note meant so much to me. Your reply to my comment made my day. It's been a rough few days, and that totally made me feel a lot better. :) Thank you. =D