About the Author
Leslie Edens Copeland writes far too often of ghosts, mortals, transdimensional psionic aliens, paranormal gay love triangles, half-ghosts, portals, deadzines, and magical teenagers. Seriously, she has written like ten books by now, and no signs of stopping. She lives on some kind of supercharged writing ley line in the mellow town of Bellingham, Washington, where she can run to the ocean or drive up to Mt. Baker for snowboarding. She has a nearly 20-pound monster cat that may be a Calico puma in disguise, and a daughter who loves fantasy fiction, comics, games, and anime. Together they are TEAM DESPAIR, fighting for truth and justice and paranormal tolerance in novels everywhere! (cue loud music)
Heather Despair book one Mortals is her first book, soon to be followed up by books two and three. No really. I have them written. I’m just waiting for the editor to release her python-like grip, and remove her bloody talons, and we should be good to go! Release! All’s crux, would you let those things go?!
The Despair ‘Verse
The Despair ‘verse is a world of liminal spaces and in-between places, a portal universe, where mortals visit the spirit world, where spirits roam portal towns at will, where interspiritual relationships can result in generations of half-ghosts, where deities fight epic battles, and siblings fight petty battles. Anything can happen here, and pretty much has, and you can bet it was hilarious, heart-rending, or hair-tingling, when it did. Mostly played out in Portales Espirituales, New Mexico, the Despair ‘verse is home to ghosts, spiritualists, ghouls, super-dimensional aliens, spirit gods, bat-dogs, and the occasional disembodied hand. Throw in a hefty dose of magical teenagers and all their angst, gossip, and drama, and set it all in a tourist trap town that hides real portals to the spirit world, and that’s the Despair ‘verse.
How it all began
Where did the Despair ‘verse come from? In November 2012, I tried NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, for the second time. NaNoWriMo is a challenge attempted by many writers around the world during the month of November. The goal is to write a 50 k novel in 30 days. You can sign up here: www.nanowrimo.com
Thanks to my friend Spencer Ellsworth, I had been in a writing group. That must have amped up my writing game, because Heather Despair was my first NaNoWriMo “win”– a 50k manuscript. I rejoiced, then put it away for a year. In 2013, I read it to my daughter, Luka, who was nine. She loved the story, and began to insist I publish it. Luka can be very persistent, and she would not let me forget. “When are you going to publish that book?” she’d say.
That summer, as a result of her urging, I put everything else aside to rework Heather Despair. And then– I wrote a second book. Then a third, for NaNoWriMo that November. It was like a genie had been let out of the bottle. In five months, that one weak manuscript transformed into a trilogy.
Luka loved hearing the stories every night, so the following year, I wrote a second trilogy, about the children of the characters in the first trilogy: the half-ghosts series. The first book was written in ten days, the second in three weeks, and the third, one month (another NaNoWriMo win). All in all, it took under two months to write the second trilogy!
This astonished me, but it made Luka happy to hear stories, so I kept making things up. I have gone on to write two more books in the same Despair ‘verse. I’m currently working on two more, and have plans for many others. Short stories about the mortals and spirits of the Despair ‘verse and other paranormal worlds have also proliferated, and I see no end in sight.
Writing these stories has been joyful, exciting, and just plain fun. Luka and I have fallen in love with one character after the next. As the characters and their stories develop, we argue about their relationships, draw pictures of them, and make plans for their lives. The Despair ‘verse has become our private universe that we play in every day. Now, we would like to invite you to play, too.