Book Tour Q&A: Of Water and Dance by Leslie Griffin
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for Of Water and Dance by Leslie Griffin! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.
About the book
The forest is impenetrable. Mortals do not dare enter and the ancient Gods residing within cannot break free. In this stagnant, earthen prison they’ve waited, and one-by-one they’ve suffocated. But when a Leviathan is found slumbering deep inside a mountain and a Priestess’ destiny is fulfilled, her decision between four different fates ricochets through time and leaves a crack in the wall that separates the realms of mortals and Gods. With this fissure an unlikely web of people have found themselves intertwined. A pair of golden colored siblings born with an ancient, forgotten magic in their veins. A middle-aged Prince dying from the poisoned blood of his family’s false rule. A Sergeant whose abilities on the battlefield unwittingly released a dark, immortal secret from within himself. At the core of their improbable alliances is a secret long buried in stone. A secret that could change the bleak landscape of their home back into the fertile land it once was. But every secret has its price, and in order to expose this one time must shift, and one of them will have to die in consequence.
On to the interview...!
Thank you so much for joining us for this Q&A! We’ll start off with one of our standard podcast opening questions–tell us something great that’s happened recently.
My husband and I got to attend Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun! We haven’t been able to do anything just the two of use since before the pandemic began. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so this was doubly amazing!
What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?
Scarred by Emily McIntire is next up on my reading list. I enjoy watching Book Tok recommendations, and her series was consistently appearing under spicy romance suggestions. I enjoyed the first book in the Never After series (Hooked), so onward we go!
How do you spend your free time when you’re not reading or writing? Do you have any hobbies or interests that you can talk to us about?
I am an avid gamer (PC, I also play on my switch periodically). I grew up playing Fallout 1&2, Sims, the Monkey Island series, Fable, Sanitarium, and I’ve continued to grow my PC game collection since then. The games I’ve most recently played are Anvil Saga, Fabled Lands, Dorfromantik, and Kynseed.
I also enjoy F1 racing. I don’t have a specific team I root for, instead I have a slew of drivers that I enjoy watching. George Russell (Mercedes) has been one of my favorites to watch grow in his career. I am also always cheering on Carolos Sainz (Ferrari), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Sergio Perez (Redbull), and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri).
What is one book you want to shout about to the world? What about it makes you love it so much?
Under the Oak Tree by Suji Kim. I am OBSESSED with both the novels and the web comic on Manta. I’ve read them each multiple times and am anxiously awaiting the next installment.
Under the Oak Tree got me into web comics to begin with, and now I’ve dived headfirst into reading them every day. The art in Under the Oak Tree by “P” is stunning and the story created by Suji Kim always leaves me mulling it over. There’s so much from other perspectives (that you do not get to see- only hinted at) that leaves the reader with so much to imagine or ponder on their own. I love that. I love getting attached to characters and ruminating about their responses (verbal or physical) and making my own conclusions about their backstory or reasonings.
Also, I devour romance novels. Riftan and Maxi’s love story is both engrossing and thought provoking. They do fall into some of the trope traps out there, but that’s not to say it isn’t believable. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll leave it as a HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
What are your favorite types of stories? Of characters?
I love stories with fantasy and romance intertwined. I want to see healthy relationships, both platonic and romantic. You don’t need constant misunderstandings (you know that trope where they don’t tell their significant other SIGNIFICANT facts because of xyz) to create tension or a climax within a romance story. Yes, we all must learn how to have these healthy, open, trusting relationships, and we must have a growth process, but when the same mistakes are made on repeat, I start to question the maturity of the characters. And when I’m reading an adult book, I want to see mature relationships.
I love strong and emotionally intelligent characters. People who know their worth, who might fuck up, but own it, apologize, and move forward. I also love books that don’t have an actual villain. I get really creeped out with the super violent villains who are more like the boogeyman than a real person.
Now, don’t get me wrong- I do enjoy a good villain. But I don’t like it when their only motive is rapey, violent, sadistic, fucked-upness. I need depth. Something greater than “I get what I want when I want it” mentality.
Also, rape should never be used a plot progressor. Period. If I stumble across that in a book or show, it’s almost always an immediate NO from me.
What comes first to you when you’re writing, the world, the characters, or the storyline?
Characters, quickly followed by the storyline. I almost always get pictures of the main characters, their relationships, and some super dramatic scene first, and then the storyline starts to fall into place. I do a lot of mental story building. I’ve always found that my imagination starts to run wild when I am exercising. Whether out on a leisurely stroll or at the gym.
There often is a singular song that strikes up the original thought process for my stories. For my current work-in-progress (Fantasy Romance), that song is Paint it Black by Ciara. When I was first building this storyline, I played this song on loop. I mentally created a movie trailer that then bled into the rest of my worldbuilding.
They say to never judge a book by its cover, but a cover is still a marketing tool that helps sell books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of your book?
My book cover was highly inspired by Tarot cards. My father had a set of Tarot cards when I was growing up, and I always loved the art on them. Whenever I handled the cards, I always got this sensation of magic/otherworldliness. I love how insightful card readings are, and how each person is drawn to a different deck and design.
Tarot cards are also present within my story, and it felt appropriate that my cover mirror that theme.
How different is the final version of this book from the first draft?
About 40,000 words less. So, I would say, drastically different. Whole chapters were cut, character POV were removed, others were added. Because of the multiple POV within my story, there had to be a semblance of balance. A character’s perspective couldn’t pop in just for one chapter, never to reoccur again.
Also, relationships shifted as well. There are a few that created themselves. I’d be writing and realize that the emotions brewing on the page were taking the characters in a totally different direction than I’d anticipated. But I followed that pull and I’m so glad I did.
Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you can share with us? What about this quote in particular makes it your favorite?
“Death had always seemed an ironic duality.”
This quote pulls on the common theme of balance and counterparts within the story. Death often has a negative association, but within decay comes new life and new opportunities. This “ironic duality” has multiple sides to it (i.e. if you keep flipping that coin, you’ll continue to find something new), and for many of the characters, they are living with death on their doorstep. They sit with it. Eat with it. Live with it. And eventually, they must make friends with it. And in the end, it’s life that turns out to be the more difficult of the two. Life in Edania requires many sacrifices, so much that you start to wonder how closely these two counterparts really are to one another. Is life not also death and vice versa?
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
I have two projects I am balancing currently. First, my completed time traveling, highlander romance will be heading to beta readers very soon! I wrote On Glen Mor, before my youngest child was born (who is three now), and much like Of Water and Dance, I had to set it aside as I focused on getting my eldest the therapy and interventions he deserved for his Autism Spectrum Diagnosis. I am very excited about my first Romance book (which has a very high steam level), and I cannot wait to take the next steps in getting her published and out into the world!
My other project is a Fantasy Romance with monster elements. I am pulling on my D&D knowledge a bit for this one (as well as my obsession with both Skyrim and The Witcher). It is in its initial development stage right now, but I have about fourteen chapters outlined so far!
(I feel I should add, that I will be working on the sequel to Of Water and Dance VERY soon!)
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
I want to say thank you. As a self-published author, I sincerely appreciate every time a reader takes a chance on my book. And to those readers who then leave a review, I want to send you my sincerest appreciation! Those reviews (whether just stars or with a written response) can be the difference between a new reader choosing my book or passing it.
So, THANK YOU!!!
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
I am on Twitter (@LeslieDianeG), Instagram (@LeslieDianeG), TikTok (@LeslieDianeG), and my author website: LeslieDianeGriffin.com
I am most active on Twitter, and my website is updated consistently.
Where to buy the book:
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/of-water-and-dance-leslie-griffin/1141802037