Leslye Walton - Author Picture

Leslye Walton - Author

Leslye Walt on was born in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps because of this, the author has developed a strange kinship with the daffodil – she too can only achieve beauty after a long, cold sulk in the rain. Her debut novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, was inspired by a particularly long sulk in a particularly cold rainstorm spent pondering the logic, or rather, lack thereof, in love – the ways we coax ourselves to love, to continue loving, to leave love behind.

Leslye Walton has an MA in Writing and lives in Seattle. When she’s not writing, she teaches
middle-school students how to read and write and, most important, how to be kind to one another, even on days when they don’t really feel like it. She is currently working on her next novel.

Q&A with Leslye Walton

Please describe The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender in ten words or less. Love can make us such fools.

Describe the writing process for the novel. How long did this book take to fully form? What is your writing process like as an author? This novel was a learning process. I was in grad school at the time, earning an MA in Writing from
Portland State University. Though I’d written short stories before, I had no idea how to write a long piece of fiction, and the plot developed as I wrote. I lived and breathed this novel, these characters, for two years. It consumed my life, but again, I was spending as much time learning how to write as I did actually writing. My stories are always very character-driven. For me, the writing process starts with getting to know the characters. I need to understand them, who they are, and what they care about before I can begin to formulate the plot. And usually it’s the characters themselves who tell me where the story is going to go, and not the other way around.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a debut novel. What does it feel like now that the book is being published? It feels surreal. I was driving to work when I got the call from my agent telling me we’d sold the book. I pulled over and had my first phone conference with my editor in an alleyway behind a car dealership. I kept looking around, thinking, Is this really happening? But as surreal as this whole experience has been, I’m also a teacher – I teach middle-school language arts – and my students are very good at keeping me grounded.

What are your hopes for the book, and what do you hope readers take away from it? I hope it means something. Although that might not sound very original – don’t we all hope the things we create will mean something?– it still remains true. I bought my favourite book, How to Make an American Quilt by Whitney Otto, at a book fair when I was fourteen. That book sat on my bedside table throughout high school. I brought it with me to college and then later to grad school. The binding of the book is torn, and the pages are yellowed. I can speak some of the lines from that novel as naturally as if the words had derived from my own head. I’d love for Ava Lavender to mean that to a reader. I hope that it speaks some kind of truth for someone – that it makes someone feel less alone, or more alive. I want readers to fall in love with
Ava. I want them to love her like I do.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Leslye Walton

Reader ReviewedThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Leslye Walton
Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize Best Fiction for Teens Award 2015 - One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 Debut of the Month *** Suitable for 15+ as some explicit content An enormous family...
Lovereading Price: £6.39 - Saving £1.60 (20%) Featured in: YA readers
Format: Paperback | Released 02/10/2014
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Reader ReviewedThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Leslye Walton
Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Best Fiction for Teens Award 2015 - April 2014 Debut of the Month *** Suitable for 15+ as some explicit content An enormous family saga unfolds in this story shot through with magic that is helped...
Lovereading Price: £10.39 - Saving £2.60 (20%) Featured in: 13+ readers | YA readers
Format: Hardback | Released 27/03/2014
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