Author Chat with Cory Leonardo (The Simple Art Of Flying), Plus Giveaway!
Today we're excited to chat with Cory Leonardo author of The Simple Art Of Flying.
Read on for more about Cory, an interview, plus an giveaway!
Meet Cory Leonardo!
Cory Leonardo grew up believing she’d replace Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune, but when that didn’t work out, she decided she’d turn letters and phrases in a different way (but minus the glittery dresses, sadly.) A born and bred upstate New Yorker, she currently lives in the Syracuse area with her husband and three plucky children. Cory was selected and mentored in Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars 2016, and has been an active SCBWI member for the past five years. This is her first novel.
Meet The Art Of Flying!
Quirky characters, plucky humor, and a heartwarming message come together in this big-hearted debut novel about friendship and the true meaning of family.
Sometimes flying means keeping your feet on the ground…
Born in a dismal room in a pet store, Alastair the African grey parrot dreams of escape to bluer skies. He’d like nothing more than to fly away to a palm tree with his beloved sister, Aggie. But when Aggie is purchased by twelve-year-old Fritz, and Alastair is adopted by elderly dance-enthusiast and pie-baker Albertina Plopky, the future looks ready to crash-land.
In-between anxiously plucking his feathers, eating a few books, and finding his own poetic voice, Alastair plots his way to a family reunion. But soon he’s forced to choose between the life he’s always dreamed of and admitting the truth: that sometimes, the bravest adventure is in letting go.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Alastair's story came like a bolt of lightning early one morning as I was making a valiant attempt to ignore my alarm clock. His peevish voice barreled into my head, and his sister Aggie, anxious Fritz, and stubborn old gal Bertie were right on his heels. I knew The Norton Anthology of Poetry would make an appearance, and I knew it had to be eaten and, well, regurgitatedby that poetry-loving, feather-picking pill of a parrot. And there it was, almost the entire story, beginning to end. For someone whose plot-writing is usually a grueling, years-long affair, I knew right away this was no small miracle. It felt very much like taking delicious dictation, and I raced my way through the writing of it.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Oh, this isn’t fair! I’ll side-step this a bit by not choosing between the three main characters, and instead, I’ll pick a secondary character. And that choice is easy: Porky. He’s a guinea pig, and he’s sort of the pet shop president, if you will. Porky’s got a husky voice. Hates pellets. Loves zucchini and trips to “the spa” (it’s an incubator in the infirmary). He’s hilarious but also wise and the kindest guinea pig you’ll ever meet.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
Great question. There’s definitely one scene that sticks out to me because I see it so clearly, and it breaks my heart still. It’s a scene with elderly, feisty-but-lonely Bertie. She’s started a social group for senior citizens and their pets, and on this particular day, no one shows up. Hearing the sound of the rain as it slaps against the tall windows of the gymnasium, seeing her sitting there, alone on that metal folding chair in the dark of the empty stage—I just want to rush in and give her a hug.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Drafting! (As long as I know where the story’s leading.) There’s an incredible honeymoon period you have with each new book idea. It’s sticking around and committing to the long, pretty unromantic years of revision until death do you part that’s the trouble.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Follow your heart and do your homework. On the homework end, getting a book out there in the world isn’t just the act of writing (though, how I wish it were sometimes!). It’s about learning the craft, understanding the business, knowing the market, networking, and reading, reading, reading. On the other hand, business and knowledge only get you so far. Write the book you can’t not write. Write the book that begs for every piece of you. When I set out to write this book, the “business” said writing an anthropomorphic story was a shot in the dark, talking animal stories don’t sell. I knew it, but I had to write this story. It wouldn’t let me go. When you’ve got an overwhelming passion wrapped into something, I wonder if it doesn’t leave traces. I think the heart behind your writing tends to work itself out onto the page.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
As much as I’ve learned, there’s so much I’m still learning as a writer. One artist’s process is different from another’s. One person’s ability to juggle writing and life looks very different than the writer next to them. And I think this goes for anyone with an ounce of creative juice in their veins. Understanding, giving voice to, and making time for the things that feed the artistic passion is something I’d like to work on. I want to take more walks and read more poetry this year.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2018?
Oh my. Well, if I only get one, I will have to say that Kate DiCamillo’s LOUISIANA’S WAY HOME was my favorite. Every sentence was a heart-breaking delight.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m almost finished with the draft of another animal story right now! (I know. I couldn’t help it.) There was a homeless hedgehog mentioned in THE SIMPLE ART OF FLYING that was begging to have his story told. This next book is a retelling of THE WIZARD OF OZ with a new cast of furry and feathered creatures, and I’m smitten. Absolutely smitten.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I have an incredibly sensitive nose. I’m not sure if this is a superpower or a super pain as it often leads to me running around the house yelling, “What’s that smell?!!” or complaining about the molecule of dog poop I’m CERTAIN is on someone’s shoe.
The Simple Art Of Flying
By: Corey Leonardo
Publisher: Simon & Schuster - Alladin
Release Date: February 2019
One winner will receive a copy of The Simple Art Of Flying (Corey Leonardo) ~ US Only
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*