Goodreads Stuff

For various reasons, I’ve decided to pull my Goodreads presence. I’m transferring the Q&A here.

Ask the Author: Leona Wisoker

“Ask me anything writing related! I’ll answer as quickly as possible.”

Answered Questions (7)

What was your inspiration for writing the Children of the Desert series?

Hi! Good question.

So, a couple of years before I started on what would become Secrets of the Sands, I wrote a big, sprawling book called Kingdom of Salt (still unpublished, still under reconstruction to match the published series), which took place primarily in the northern part of the kingdom and featured only one character that overlaps with the current series: Tank. Beta readers for KoS had mixed reactions, rightly so: it was a messy book with a lot of problems.

One reader, however, utterly hated Tank (a character that I was, and remain, quite fond of). Her comments got me so angry that I decided to write Tank’s backstory to show her what for. Never underestimate the productivity invoked by angering a writer!

So I sat down to create that story….and wound up writing about a street thief instead. After that first chapter, I decided I was going to write my version of an “Oliver Twist” story. I even pulled out and reread a bunch of Charles Dickens books to see how to do that.

Well… as you can see in the books, THAT didn’t work out as planned either. And Tank didn’t even properly show up in the series until two, three books in.

So my inspiration got the words started, but the characters and the story decided quite willfully where to go from there!

Thanks for asking! I always love questions like this. 🙂

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Pick up something else creative–drawing, walking, poetry, reading, cooking, even cleaning house. Or sleeping. I do a lot of sleeping. It helps reset my brain when I’m stuck.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Working whatever hours I please. Also, working in my pajamas.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Be comfortable with failure. Be okay with not being any damn good at all. Keep trying and keep fighting and keep learning and keep fixing. What separates the successful from the washouts isn’t some mythical born talent. It’s a stubborn refusal to give up no matter how often you get mocked. Learn from your mistakes. Get hold of your voice and hang on to your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you to give up.

What are you currently working on? (answer updated 2021)

I’m done with the Children of the Desert series. I’m overhauling the first book in the sequel series. I’m taking on editing and formatting jobs. I’m pulling together a collection of short stories and poems for a self-published experiment. I’m focusing a lot on the household and garden right now, and making sure I and my loved ones survive the pandemic. I’m trying not to focus too much on politics, but it’s kind of like trying not to breathe…

How do you get inspired to write?

Generally, sheer panic at the sound of a deadline whooshing past…

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book? (Answer updated 2021)

The book I’m currently working on, tentatively titled “Kingdom of Salt”, is the book that started the entire Children of the Desert series in the first place. I’ve told that story elsewhere. So it’s a very long running project that is finally getting its chance to really shine.

I’m also working through several short stories, both overhauling old ones and writing new ones. I currently have about four writing projects shuffling around that I work on as I have the focus and interest.


And that’s all that was really worth saving from Goodreads. It’s kind of a shame to lose that huge record of the books I’ve read; I put hours and hours into building that up. But honestly, I haven’t logged in to the site in months, I don’t see any real traffic coming from there, and their issues with poisonous reviews and toxic community have just gotten too severe for me to ignore. Here’s a blog post summarizing the latest problems. And another one. And a third. That should get you started, if you’re interested.

I have no idea if leaving Goodreads will actually hurt my visibility. If it does, it does. I’m tired of accepting problematic connections for the sake of exposure. There has to be a better way, and that better way won’t show up if we all keep trotting along with the status quo.