Leslie Van Zwol and Megan Fennell are a co-writing team from Lethbridge, Alberta, publishing under the pseudonym ‘V. F. LeSann’. We are both individually published authors in our own right, but find that teaming up leads to truly impressive results. Kind of like Power Rangers.
Leslie Van Zwol is an avid genre writer who enjoys adding a dash of grit to mystical worlds. She spends her days working for justice to support her nighttime writing habit, and is always on the lookout for her next adventure or inspiration. She also attributes the accuracy of this story to the noisy magpies that were constantly squawking outside of her window during the writing process. (Although the crows continually voiced their objection to the subject matter.)
Megan Fennell is a court clerk, cat owner, and writer of strange tales, currently living and working in Lethbridge, Alberta. Although loving magpies to the point of having two of them tattooed on her, it was the Danish myth of the Valravn that held her corvid-like attention span for this anthology. Her stories can also be found in Wrestling with Gods: Tesseracts 18, Tesseracts 17, OnSpec Magazine, and the charity anthology Help: Twelve Tales of Healing.
What inspired you to write your first story?
Cherry beer, sunshine on the patio, and chicken wings. But seriously though, that was where the plot-storming started. It was a very casual, natural situation. We had helped each other with independent projects before this and it seemed like a logical step we both wanted to try. It turned out so well, we’ve kept with it!
How did you come up with the title of your first project?
As a joke. We were bantering about titles once the project was done and things weren’t going well. Leslie got up and stalked away, and suggested a title in jest as she left. She stopped and came back in the room and the two of us knew we had our title.
Is this your first story? How many stories have you written (published or unpublished)?
As a combined unit we have three and a half. But a few more plots/projects are on the horizon for us.
Is there a message in any of your stories that you want readers to grasp?
There is always an underlying message or theme in our stories. There is a purpose to all of them. It’s always interesting to hear what readers take out of a story versus what we intend them to take away from the experience.
How much of the story is realistic?
We strive for realistic human emotion and interaction even when the world is unrecognizable.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not very often. Most are born at the same time as the plot and each piece fits into the other, like a puzzle!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest story?
Nope. It’s a winner. (It is our favourite so far!)
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Hi! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to tip your waitress!
What is your favorite part of your story?
It’s a toss-up: we love the whimsical moments and the punch-in-the-gut parts the best. It’s all part of a balanced breakfast!
What is your favourite theme/genre to write?
I don’t think we narrow ourselves to anything, I think we actually step outside of our comfort zones and try to attempt something new with each story. That said, we both love a good monster or underdog character any day.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Something boring. If we find it boring to write about, the reader will be snoring too.
What book are you reading now?
Leslie: “The Diabolical Miss. Hyde” by Viola Carr.
Megan: “The Arrivals” by Melissa Marr.
… those authors rhyme! (We didn’t plan that!)
Do you see writing as a career?
A career in which we do what we love and remain broke, yeah. Much like Peter Parker, we also need a day job.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
“Not dead?” – Leslie. “Don’t say that! Too morbid.” – Megan. “Well, we won’t see ourselves if we’re dead.” – Leslie. “This works as the answer…. Write it as a conversation.” – Megan.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Editing. So much editing. And editing as a unit is pretty painstaking. But we still make it out in one piece, and wine helps!
Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Oh yeah. Daily. Luckily, we tend to like each other’s writing and hate our own. So it works out well. We champion each other’s words!
What book do you wish you had written?
(Instantaneous unanimous answer!) Anything by Neil Gaiman. Seriously.
What is your best marketing tip?
Hahaha…. Marketing? We don’t do marketing… We just make words pretty. (But we are getting better at advertising that we have stories out and people should buy them. Sadly, that’s pretty much the whole pitch right there.)
What genre is your next project? What is it about?
Sci-Fi. For an upcoming anthology. But all else is top secret!
Can you tell us about your upcoming stories?
We each have individual stories coming out in World Weaver Press’s Corvidae (July 2015) and Scarecrow (August 2015) anthologies. Check those out! They are fantastic! (See marketing question.)
How do we find your books, blog and bio?
Online is best. @fennellfiction and @bobbistylz on twitter. We are working on a combined ‘V. F. LeSann’ Facebook account to come out in the future!