Leigh Janzen

Beggar Moon, flash fiction, Issue 47, June 2019


Leigh grew up in the middle of nowhere Kansas, gorging herself on fairy tales and, let’s face it, any other piece of written word she could get her chubby little hands on. (When forbidden to read at the breakfast table, she proceeded to read the cereal box. Over and over and over.) She eventually graduated to mysteries, Victorian literature, and historical fiction, only to finally make her way back to fantasy and stay there.

After several whirlwind years of living everywhere from California to England, she eventually returned to Kansas where she now resides with several roomfuls of books, an abundance of teacups, and an overly pampered feline who answers to the name of Princess Puffy Pants. When she’s in the mood.

Leigh is currently working on her first novel which will be released later this year. You can also find her collaborating on a snarky bi-weekly fairytale series at https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/25203/meanwhile-at-the-withershins-inn 

Get to know Leigh...


September 8th

When did you start writing?

That’s actually a question with several answers.

The first and simplest answer is probably as soon as I could start stringing words together with a pencil. I’ve been addicted to story for as long as I can remember, and if I wasn’t reading a story, I was almost certainly making one up.

The second answer is that it was my second grade teacher who decided I was going to be a writer long before I did. Something about asking us to write a one page report on Christopher Columbus—probably something that was meant to be displayed on the classroom wall in a nice neat row for Columbus Day—and mine ended up being four pages long and had to be stapled together. She insisted from then on that I was going to be a writer, and continued to encourage me to do so even years after I’d left her classroom.

But, for the final answer, I don’t think I saw it for myself until I was about twelve. It was one of those crystal clear moments that you never forget. I was standing in the local library reading a notice that had been taped to the end of one bookcase, advertising a story competition. And the thought suddenly came into my head:

I could do that.

And so I sat down at one of the long wooden tables with my pencil and a sheaf of loose notebook paper and proceeded to write.

I never did enter that competition, but the story I started that day turned into my first attempt at a novel and the beginning of a decades long obsession with writing. It was also, cheesy as it sounds, the beginning of a soul-deep conviction that this is what I was put on the earth to do.

When and what and where did you first get published?

I’ve had a number of non-fiction articles published over the years under another name. But this is my first fiction publication, and I could not be happier that it is “Beggar Moon”.

It has long been a favorite story of mine, one of those glorious tales that seems to pour through you, nearly writing itself and keeping you awake till three in the morning until you get every last word down on paper. Would that every story wrote itself that easily. So I am exceedingly happy that this one has finally found the right home with New Myths.

Why do you write?

It’s a bit of a cliché, but, honestly, I write because I can’t not write. If I go more than a few days without writing I start getting this odd anxious feeling which, if not checked with the thorough application of words on paper, can tumble headlong into full on grumpy. And then I’m just a pain to live with. Even my cat doesn’t like me much then. So it’s just better for all concerned if I keep writing.

Who is your favorite author? Your favorite story?

Good grief, that’s like asking “What’s your favorite appendage? Would you rather keep your big toe or your right ear?”

I’ve soaked up too many stories for two many years for me to pick just one.  My favorite probably depends on the day and my current mood. But if I had to pick my top two authors it would probably be Tolkien (unoriginal, I know) and Terry Pratchett. If you ask me tomorrow it might be Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, Rachel Aaron or Neil Gaiman. Or any of a half dozen others.

What are you trying to say with your fiction?

Honestly, I’m just trying to tell a good tale, and to tell it the way the tale itself wants to be told. If the story has something to say to someone, some great insight to impart, that’s between the story and the reader. My job is merely to get it down in words as best I can.

If, in so doing, I also manage to give someone a few moments of joy or entertainment or even just escape, then I have said all I meant to.

Do you blog?

I don’t blog in a conventional sense. I’d honestly much rather be making up stories than spending my writing energy on anything else. But, being the incurable world builder that I am, I do write extensively about my current novel’s world at https://www.worldanvil.com/w/the-archives-of-the-bound-realms-leigh-janzen


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