Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Leslie Vedder Interview - The Bone Spindle

Photo Credit: Michelle Dotter

Leslie Vedder (she/her) is a queer ace author who loves fairytale retellings with girl adventurers and heroes! She grew up on fantasy books, anime, fanfiction and the Lord of the Rings movies, and met her true love in high school choir. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in creative writing and currently lives in Colorado with her wife and two spoiled house cats.

When she's not reading or writing, you can find her watching anime and sci-fi shows, walking in the woods and pretending they're enchanted forests, or playing old video games. She always collects all the Skulltulas in Zelda and all the Dalmation puppies in Kingdom Hearts.

THE BONE SPINDLE (Penguin / Razorbill) is her debut novel.


Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
This is a tough one, because there have been so many amazing parts of this journey. But one moment that really stands out for me is when I saw my cover for the first time. The artist, Fernanda Suarez, brought my girl treasure hunters to life beyond my wildest dreams, and it just made the whole thing so real!

Greatest thing you learned in school?
High school taught me the fine art of reading under absolutely any circumstances. Loud assemblies, public transit, five minutes between classes—even while walking. I can now tune out the world and read a book in the face of anything.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
The Bone Spindle is the first book in a trilogy, so I have been working on the sequels. No spoilers, but one of my favorite things about sequels is how much more you get to dig into the characters—especially the romance!

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I think one of the most amazing things about books is their ability to transport us. Whether we’re searching for an escape from boredom, or a break from a heavy moment in life, or just a connection with a character we can laugh and cry alongside—books can be a refuge whenever we need one.

This was especially true for me as a teen—which is probably why YA books have a special place in my heart.

Can you tell us when you started THE BONE SPINDLE, how that came about?
The short answer is, one day, while out walking with my girlfriend (now wife) and talking about fairytale retellings, I asked, How do you fall in love with someone who’s asleep?

I got serious about actually writing my own Sleeping Beauty retelling after being inspired by the idea of kickass girl treasure hunters out to save a cursed prince!

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
The Bone Spindle has a fierce friendship between the two girl partners at its center. They’re total opposites, they sometimes want to kill each other, and yet they forge an unbreakable bond. I hope readers will have fun going along with them for the ride!

What part of your characters did you enjoy writing the most?
I really loved writing the banter between the girl partners, Fi and Shane, but I also enjoyed writing the romances! The Bone Spindle has two love stories. One is an m/f love story, with total romantic/skeptic vibes, and the other is an f/f love story, with a lot of mystery and sizzle.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
While writing part of this book, I was living in a basement that was utterly besieged by spiders. And not just tiny little house spiders—I’m talking about huge wolf spiders the size of silver dollars! Spiders that would crawl over the back of my glowing computer at night like something straight out of a horror movie. So if there are a bunch of terrifying spiders crawling through The Bone Spindle, let’s just say they were inspired by real events.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I think Fi would get along swimmingly with Elisabeth from Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. They both love books and libraries and could trade tips about dealing with powerful, flirty sorcerers who are entirely too good-looking!

What was the last text message you received?
He’s cute (This text came from my wife, but don’t worry, it was in reference to our cat!)

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Pet a goat! Really! They’re so much more friendly and sweet and playful than you think.

Best date you've ever had?
I’ve known my wife since high school, so we have had some epic all-night anime stands, wild hiking adventures, and road trips where we stayed at truly cringe-worthy motels. I’m not sure which ones were actually dates, but they were all a lot of fun!

What was the first job you had?
My first real job was customer service at Target—and I learned a lot about patience.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
When I was in high school, I got the chance to study abroad in Japan for my senior year. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I only knew a little of the language, so it was a learning experience like no other I’d ever had. (I also had amazing host families!)

First Heartbreak?
I actually met my wife in high school. We were friends first for a long time, but she was really my first love—which is still going strong today. (So fingers crossed!)

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
This is such a tough question! And I totally feel like the type of person who would change their answer at the last minute. But I think I would choose true love. I can’t imagine a world where I don’t experience those feelings at least once.

Here are ten of my favorite 2021 books! (Though honestly this list could easily have been twice as long!)
  • The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
  • These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy
  • Sweet and Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley
  • Flamefall by Rosaria Munda
  • The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur
  • The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He
  • This Poison Heart Kalynn Bayron
  • Six Crimson Cranes Elizabeth Lim
  • The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
  • Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson
Meet the characters of The Bone Spindle!
Fi is a 17-year-old treasure hunter who loves books and history. She grew up immersed in the lore of the ancient fallen kingdom of magic and is desperate to find a way to break a curse that’s been placed on her. The last thing she wants or needs is to fall in love.
Quote: When Fi was young, she loved the stories of the Great Witches best. They made her think that, if she was smart and brave and clever enough, she could overcome anything. But maybe that was only true in fairy tales.

Shane is a queer ax-wielding mercenary who styles herself the huntsman for hire. She has a strong sense of justice and a hot temper that's put her on the wrong side of the bad elements in the borderlands. In the depths of a crumbling old ruin, she stumbles onto a treasure map that could lead her to the score of a lifetime—or get her and Fi tangled up with an ancient curse...
Quote: Shane smirked. She could feel him sizing her up, underestimating her. Everyone always did—ever since she’d first wrapped her fingers around her ax handle, when she was too small to lift it. She never got tired of proving them wrong.

Briar Rose is the prince who’s been sleeping for a hundred years in the Forest of Thorns, waiting for the kiss that will break his curse. He’s also a powerful witch, a total flirt, a hopeless romantic, and now, stuck as a spirit!
Quote: A girl under a curse meets a boy under a curse.

It sounded like the beginning of one of those cautionary fables where everyone ended up worse off than they started.

Red is a mysterious witch who keeps appearing in front of Shane—though the lady huntsman certainly isn’t complaining!
Quote: “See you around, Red.” The name sizzled on Shane’s tongue like a spark.

Mystery and danger—everything she loved about taking on a ruin, all wrapped up in a stunningly beautiful girl. Shane wasn’t going to forget Red anytime soon.

Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones in this thrilling fairytale retelling for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and All the Stars and Teeth.

Fi is a bookish treasure hunter with a knack for ruins and riddles, who definitely doesn't believe in true love.

Shane is a tough-as-dirt girl warrior from the north who likes cracking skulls, pretty girls, and doing things her own way.

Briar Rose is a prince under a sleeping curse, who's been waiting a hundred years for the kiss that will wake him.

Cursed princes are nothing but ancient history to Fi--until she pricks her finger on a bone spindle while exploring a long-lost ruin. Now she's stuck with the spirit of Briar Rose until she and Shane can break the century-old curse on his kingdom.

Dark magic, Witch Hunters, and bad exes all stand in her way--not to mention a mysterious witch who might wind up stealing Shane's heart, along with whatever else she's after. But nothing scares Fi more than the possibility of falling in love with Briar Rose.

Set in a lush world inspired by beloved fairytales, The Bone Spindle is a fast-paced young adult fantasy full of adventure, romance, found family, and snark.

You can purchase The Bone Spindle at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LESLIE VEDDER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder.