Leanne Howard

A Feast of Many Flavors, fiction, Issue 49, December 15, 2019

Leanne Howard writes stories about strange magic, strong women, and the people who fall in love with both. A nomad by nature, she has lived in Maryland, Nevada, France, Ireland, Chicago, and Oakland before settling back in her hometown of Reno, Nevada, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. When she needs to think out a story, she often wanders the paths of the beautiful Nevada desert, where two skies are never the same. She also occasionally tries this thing called “finding a hobby,” which for her involves hiking, biking, reading romance, and/or discussing Star Wars at length. When she's not doing those things, or writing, you can find her in the graduate program of the University of Nevada, Reno, where she is earning her MFA in fiction. Or you can find her deep in the dark forest, following a flicker of light she was told to ignore.

Get to know Leanne...


March 31, 1990

When did you start writing?

I started writing fiction when I was 10 or 11. My sixth grade masterpiece, "The Golden Dust," was basically Madeleine L'Engle fanfiction. After that, it was all about inventing my own worlds to play in.

When and what and where did you first get published?

My story in New Myths, "A Feast of Many Flavors," is my first professional publication! I'm very humbled and excited for my writing to make its entree into the wider world.

Why do you write?

Tough question! I suppose I write to make sense of the world. Perhaps a strange answer, since much of my writing is set in worlds other than our own. But those mirrors sometimes cast the most honest reflection of real life back to us.

Why do you write Science Fiction and/or Fantasy?

Like I mentioned above, I really believe that speculative fiction has a special power when it comes to reflecting on human existence. Even a story with no humans in it at all can make us feel things about our own humanity. Sometimes it takes that distance from the real and known to help us see parts of ourselves that we might otherwise never know. That's the beauty of other worlds, and that's what compels me to tell stories within them.

Who is your favorite author? Your favorite story?

I think my answer to this question changes every day. Today I love Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway, especially when Clarissa is walking through London and thinking how much she loves being alive in that particular moment. I also love Octavia Butler's Kindred and the short story by Veronica Schanoes called "Phosphorus" in the anthology Queen Victoria's Book of Spells. Ask me tomorrow and I might tell you something different.

What are you trying to say with your fiction?

I am interested in telling my version(s) of the female experience, the queer experience, or some combination of the two. But most importantly, I strive for fiction that speaks to the human heart - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the unexpectedly beautiful. 

If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?

"Make Tiny Changes." It's from one of my favorite songs and artists of all time, "Head Rolls Off" by the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit. 

Do you blog?

Never as often as I should. But I do try. There's a blog on my website, leannehoward.com. Come for the writing talk, stay for the bad jokes...

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