Leslye Walton was born in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps because of this, She has developed a strange kinship with the daffodil. She too can only achieve beauty after a long, cold sulk in the rain. Her novel, THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER, was inspired by a particularly long sulk in a particularly cold rainstorm. When she’s not writing, she teaches middle school students how to read and write, and most importantly, how to be kind to each other, even when they really don’t feel like it. Leslye Walton lives in Seattle, Washington with her very gentlemanly Chihuahua, Mr. Darcy and her spirit guide, a cat named Griff. She is currently working on her next novel. For more info, visit her Goodreads page.
What dead person would you least want to be haunted by?
I am quite troubled by the idea of being haunted by someone I once knew. I have some pretty strange habits—which sadly, become even stranger when I’m alone—and I hate to think what my friends and family would think of me if they knew what I was really like.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen?
I live in a pretty open and creative neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, so I’ve seen some unusual things. While in the park last summer, my friend and I saw a group of people building what turned out to be a full-sized yurt, and a man practicing his skills with a whip by lashing at a pole he hammered into the ground. I also have a neighbor who I’ve seen in the most unusual costumes—and in the middle of the day too. Once he was dressed as a cowboy, complete with cowboy boots and spurs, the hat and a bandana covering his mouth, another time he was in a trench coat with a fedora and carrying a briefcase. The next time I saw him, he was dressed head to toe in leather casually strolling down the street flicking the sidewalk with a whip. Maybe he was meeting his buddy in the park and they were going to reenact their favorites scenes from Indiana Jones? I like to think so.
What’s your favorite zoo animal?
A sloth. I appreciate their lackadaisical lifestyle and carefree philosophy.
If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be?
I have quite a few tattoos, all with different meanings and for different reasons. I got one of them to honor the sale of my novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. It’s a pair of wings on my wrist.
What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen someone do?
I’m a middle school teacher. I see dumb things every day.
What song best describes your work ethic?
“I will Possess Your Heart” by Death Cab for Cutie. I can be a bit obsessive when it comes to my writing.
What is the most vivid or realistic dream you’ve ever had?
I have crazy dreams all the time. Last night I dreamt I was riding on a bus with a friend’s three year old son and we were discussing the merits of being a superhero.
If you could make something in life go away, what would it be?
If you were to attend a costume party, who would you be?
She-ra, Princess of Power. Finding the gold boots would be tricky though.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
My earliest memory consists of sitting on a paper heart, surrounded by my preschool classmates, all perched on their own paper hearts, which were staggered throughout the room. The room was dark and we were given a box of valentines to open while sipping that syrupy orange drink (that I secretly still love as an adult) they always serve at school functions. I remember being at a complete loss at what I was supposed to do until I saw my friend across the room happily opening her valentines and sipping her juice. She always seemed to know exactly what to do while I never did (this sadly would be a trend that would continue on throughout most of our adolescence). I remember trying to mime her actions and thinking, “Is this supposed to be fun?”
What’s the worst thing you did as a kid?
I was a pretty good kid, but I did lie a lot. I felt completely justified in doing this though, because really, I was just jazzing up my stories. I mean, how interesting can you be at eight years old? Even to other eight year olds? My college professor once told me that kids who are good liars make good writers later in life, which made me feel better.
If you could change one aspect of our society through your work, what would it be?
What made you decide to follow a creative career choice (though possibly risky) rather than something more stable?
I don’t remember it being much of a choice, and I don’t really consider it a career. Writing is simply what I DO. I think if I could have done anything else and still felt fulfilled in life, I would have. To say that it is extremely difficult to have a job in a creative field is putting it lightly. It takes mounds of internal motivation, determination, and, if I’m honest, a bit of delusion, and that is a lot to try to muster up on a regular basis. Plus, as sad as it is to admit, all that hard work doesn’t always result in happily ever after. I was just one of the lucky ones.
In terms of your writing, how would you like to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered for creating memorable characters, the kind that stick with readers long after the story has finished.
If you had to start over, would you choose a different path in your career?
I’m not sure if I had a choice. I think things happened the way they had to happen.
Do you ever create hidden meanings or messages in your work?
Does symbolism count? My work is typically thick with symbolism. What can I say? I love a metaphor.
If your writing were edible, what would it taste like?
Sweet and it would dissolve in your mouth, like cotton candy.
What was the biggest opposing force that you encountered on your writing journey?
The oppressing force of adult responsibilities. There were definitely times where the choice was between being able to eat and afford rent or having time to write, and unfortunately, food and shelter always won. These days, I have a job as a middle school teacher and I still struggle with balancing all the responsibilities that come with having a “day job” and finding time to write. This may be something only artists can identify with, to have the desire to work, but needing to find a way to live while doing so.
If you could interview any author (past or present), who would you choose?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’d love to have a conversation with someone who understands the way I think.
If you could choose a theme song for the rest of your life, what would it be?