HI, I’m Leona Sure. I’m a Kindle Vella author, branching out into Kindle Unlimited. I write steamy romantic fantasy, with a paranormal twist.
ILVN: How long have you been writing or when did you start?
I always wanted to be a novelist, but it wasn’t until I had leukemia in my early 20’s that I decided life was too short to be doing things I wasn’t passionate about, so I dove into self-publishing. I had a lot of early successes, but I didn’t enjoy having to maintain a public persona, so I transitioned to ghostwriting romance for traditional publishing houses. In 2021, I decided to publish my original story The Elven Lord’s Concubine, a dark fantasy romance saga that had been burning a hole in my soul for a few years. I wasn’t expecting it to be anything more than catharsis, but it became one of the most popular serials on Kindle Vella, so now I’m dealing with that.
ILVN: Why paranormal/urban fantasy? What drew you to the genre?
I’ve dated plenty of hot guys, contemporary romance holds no appeal to me. My fantasies are populated by broody immortal boyfriends that I can pet.
ILVN: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
Characters. I don’t think there’s any other valid response when writing romance. A good plot should be an obstacle course the characters have to figure out how to navigate together, not the self-driving vehicle that drags them along to the end.
ILVN: What’s your favorite type of paranormal creature and why?
Faeries/fae/fey, however you want to spell it, I dig them. I love the versatility of them. They can range from benevolent garden sprites to god-like tyrants. I favor the latter.
ILVN: Tell us about your heroine/hero. What inspired her/his quirks and struggles?
My heroine is Cera, and she’s not for everyone. She’s not the typical spunky fantasy babe that’s going to bridle the unruly antihero. Quiet and cautious, she’s accustomed to living in the background and staying beneath the notice of others. That’ll change abruptly when she becomes the fixation of Isael, the male lead. Isael is also not for everyone. He’s not the typical belligerent anti-hero who’s in desperate need of being reformed by the heroine. He’s a cunning, manipulative thousand-year-old demigod, and Cera is not about to change that with the power of love or a tidy little speech.
ILVN: Would you and your main character get along?
I think I would get along well with Cera because she’s good at getting along with everyone. One of the things I love about her is that she doesn’t always show her hand. She recognizes when she can speak her mind, and when she needs to play nice to survive.
ILVN: Which of the characters do you relate to the most and why?
I think Cera is more relatable because she’s (mostly) human. That said, I find it easiest to write from Isael’s POV. He has a very strong, clear voice, whereas Cera can be a bit unbalanced at times.
ILVN: What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?
The biggest change has been frontloading more hints/warnings that things aren’t what they seem. My original drafts (and even the Vella, to an extent) were a little precious. They were told mostly from Cera’s POV, and were designed to lure readers in with a pretty, Cinderella-type story, only to pull the rug out from beneath them and reveal that Isael was no Prince Charming. There were readers wanting a more traditional, noble male lead that weren’t pleased with the reveal, and I’ve since gone back and revised earlier chapters so that readers know what kind of “hero” they’re getting into bed with.
ILVN: Where can our readers find you? (Social media, website, etc.)
I’m most active on my Instagram and it’s where readers can see chapter illustrations, post comments, and chat with me directly via the messenger. I also have a TikTok and a Facebook page. At the end of January, I’m going to be making a Facebook group where Kindle Vella readers can hang out and chat without worrying about spoiling things for Kindle Unlimited readers.