Monday, December 5, 2022

Leah Vernon Interview - The Union

Photo Content from Leah Vernon

Leah Vernon is an international bombshell with a double masters in business and creative writing. She’s been featured in high-profile campaigns such as Ugg “Feel You” and Fitbit’s “Feel Your Power”.

She’s the first visibly plus-size Hijabi influencer to hit the mainstream with over four million views combined. She’s also an author of The Union and Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim.

Leah V isn’t your regular influencer; She’s a disruptor, a trendsetter, and a changemaker in her perspective fields. She began her blogging journey back in 2013, when she fell deep into disordered eating and noticed that there was no one that looked like her that was considered “worthy” or “beautiful”. And, frankly, she was tired of sucking her stomach in around her skinny friends.

With a grainy android phone and clothes from the clearance racks, she began paving her own way through the fashion industry. She used her fat, Black, and unapologetic Muslim body as a rebellion. Beauty is NOT one size fits all. She moved to New York and began smashing glass ceilings. To date, she has worked with renowned brands like Target, Dove, and Amazon just to name a few.

After years of brands telling her she had no place in the fashion world, that she was not “marketable” enough, Leah V carved her own beauty standards.

Greatest thing you learned in school.
English. Of course!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The most rewarding experience has been seeing my books inside of actual libraries and bookstores. Growing up, those places used to be my safe haven.

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Yes, it was when I was watching Levar Burton host Reading Rainbow on PBS back in the 90's. I loved how soothing the voices were reading the stories. And, I loved how each story made me feel sad or scared or happy. I knew that I wanted to do that for other people when I grew up.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
I'd say to definitely take all the creative writing classes. Read a lot of books. Not just ones in the genre that you like, but read across all genres. And, find yourself a writing community. That helps a lot.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Right now, I'm looking into modeling more in London and of course, writing book number two for the Union.

In your newest book; THE UNION, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
It's a wild story that turns everything we know about class, race, and history on its head. The story is a reverse telling of history in the future where Black Elites have enslaved the white race. The story also blurs the lines of who is bad and who is good.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I want them to be uncomfortable, because discomfort equals growth and understanding. I want them to really think about how race and class really work and how the system ultimately screws with a lot of marginalized people. I want them to really embrace empathy, but most of all, fall in deep love with the characters.

What part of Avi and Saige did you enjoy writing the most?
I enjoyed writing about Saige the most because she's a lot more like me. Rugged, stubborn, and rebellious. But, in the second book, I find myself loving to write from Avi's POV because she's really becoming a super badass.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing THE UNION?
The most unforgettable moment was when I finally got the book deal. I was in the Dominican Republic on a solo vacation when my agent told me I got a 2-book deal with the publisher. I just started crying at the bar because The Union has been a book seven years in the making. And, now my book baby gets to make her debut in the world.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Good question. I'd probably introduce Saige to Hermione from Harry Potter. I feel like they'd just go at it and get on each other's nerves because they are both bossy. LOL.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Hmm. I've done a lot of crazy things. But the one that's popping out for me now, is probably jumping off things. I've jumped into a cenote in Mexico and I've also dove off a yacht in Turkey. I did not die either times.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Jump off something.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Happiest childhood memory was sitting on a dingy carpet in the library in my hometown surrounded by books from the Goosebumps Series.

How far away from your birthplace do you live now?
I think it's about 615 miles from my birthplace of Detroit.

What were you doing at midnight last night?
Making TikTok videos that no one will ever see.

Best date you've ever had?
OOOO. Y'all are getting juicy. Best date I ever had was recently while visiting London. I met a cute guy on Bumble. We went bowling the first day and then the second day we went to an arcade and played Dance, Dance Revolution.

From author and body-positive activist Leah Vernon comes a daring dystopian novel that explores the power of friendship in a future society built on violence and division.

A thousand years in the future, a Black elite class reigns. The lower classes toil in the fields or scrape by in blighted cities, serving their rulers in a cruel, divided world.

Among the Elites is eighteen-year-old Avi Jore, born to a powerful father and destined to rule. But as she comes of age, Avi cannot help but notice the injustices in her world—the treatment of enslaved workers, the oppression of the lower classes. Her disillusionment grows when she meets Saige Wilde, a mixed-race enslaved girl whose only goal is escaping beyond the borders of their brutal nation.

When Saige saves Avi from an assassination attempt, their paths become intertwined in ways they never imagined. As Saige plots her path to freedom, Avi tries to enact change from the inside. But it’s a complicated endeavor, fraught with danger and malice.

Together, their efforts could spark a revolution—and underscore the staggering power of friendship.

Publisher Note: This title was previously self-published as Impure. This edition of The Union includes substantial editorial revisions.

You can purchase The Union at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LEAH VERNON for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive a Copy of THE UNION by Leah Vernon.
Winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card


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