• Amy's Bookshelf Reviews

Featured Author: Abdiel Leroy

Q: In one sentence, tell me something that describes you as a person?

A: "All-round creative genius." It's my catchphrase now, said with a wink, of course!

Q: How many books have you written? How many of those are published?

A: I have published nine books, and narrated five of them as audiobooks. Several more volumes of, or about, poetry will come out in due course.

Q: Tell me about how you come up with your titles for your stories. Do you create the title before or after you write the book, and does it ever change from the initial title?

A: I usually have the idea before the title. My volumes of political poetry were initially called POLEMICS, but I am much happier with the title I later came up with – VERSES VERSUS EMPIRE. "Get it? It's a homonym!" Another catchphrase! A couple of my non-fiction titles play with alliteration too – DUELING THE DRAGON and THE GOURMET GOSPEL.

Q: Out of all your characters in all of your books, who/what (sometimes a setting can also be an important “character”) do you think is the most interesting and why?

A: I have to say ABDIEL. Yes, it's my name too! And here's why. I first came across Abdiel, a great angel, in John Milton's Paradise Lost, and his role there is so inspiring that I officially changed my name to his AND gave him recurring roles in my own epic poems, ELIJAH and OBAMA'S DREAM! In the former, he is the angel who comes to Elijah in the desert, as described in the Old Testament; and in the latter a ministering spirit who guides Obama to "see the light." He is also one of the four mighty seraphs guarding the throne of God!

Q: If you could “create” your own genre of what you write, what would you call your books?

A: A new generation of epic poetry.

Q: Without quoting your back cover synopsis, tell me about the last book you published.

A: That was THE GOURMET GOSPEL, my non-fiction book embracing the Grace of God. "Grace", in this context, means "the free and unmerited favor of God". The implications are wonderful and revolutionary, both at the individual level and for the world, but our church establishments are largely blind to it!

Q: Tell me something about yourself that is separate from writing.

A: I love Argentine Tango and have travelled several times to its cradle in Buenos Aires. I celebrate the dance in my poetry too, and my sonnet dedicated to its immortal composer, Astor Piazzolla, was used by the Little Orchestra Society in their publicity material at the Lincoln Center. Meanwhile, I have a background in acting and narration. I also enjoy yoga and, when I have the chance for consistent training, competitive swimming.

Q: Who is your favorite Author?

A: Shakespeare, of course! And Tyndale, for his Bible translation.

Q: What is the last book that you read? (Not counting anything you wrote)

A: To Catch a King, by Charles Spencer, a lively and suspenseful account of the future English king, Charles II, when a fugitive in hiding from Cromwell's troops after his disastrous military campaign of 1651.

Q: When writing, do you have a system or something you plan, or do you just write?

A: It varies. For my epic poem ELIJAH, a plan was essential, in which I took Milton's Paradise Lost as a model, starting in the middle of the action and using the device of conversation between man and angel. I also composed the epic in 12 books as Milton does. Having said that, there was still a good amount of improvisation around the original plan as new ideas took shape along the way. OBAMA'S DREAM and THE CHRISTMAS TREE were much more "stream of consciousness".

Q: Why do you write?

A: "Love compels me," to quote the Bible (as I often do). Other Bible quotations also come into play: "The Word became flesh," and "My tongue is the pen of a gifted writer." And from Shakespeare: "The showing of a heavenly effect in an earthly actor."

Q: Do you read your own work a lot? If so, what does it do for you?

A: Define "a lot". I have to read it many times for proofing purposes and then the audiobook. But I find it helpful to return after some time with fresh eyes.

Q: What is your favorite type of music? Is there one genre (or song, band etc...) that brings out your creativeness more than others?

A: Argentine Tango, especially the instrumental music of Buenos-Aires tango orchestra, Orquesta Típica Fernandez Fierro. I don't use music as background for writing, but it certainly stirs me as "deep calls to deep." I have set a couple of my poems to music, including a track by the aforementioned orchestra. You can read the poem Encendido in my WELL VERSED collection and see and hear my recitations online.

Q: If you could sit down and have a coffee (or whatever beverage) with anyone, living or dead, from any era, any time, who would it be and why? (You can pick up to 3 persons).

A: Jesus, of course. And after I have just undergone a "carpal-tunnel-release" surgery, sure would like to receive his healing as he healed the man with the shriveled hand on the Sabbath! Among the living, I'd enjoy chatting with Ralph Fiennes. Greatly admire his body of work both as actor and director. I'd also enjoy the opportunity to talk with Stephen Fry about his atheism. It requires a lot of faith to be an atheist! Though I'd probably be daunted by his formidable intellect.

Q: What does it mean to be a “successful” writer?

A: Success is such an ineffable thing. Is it measured in the world's parameters of sales? By literary prizes? Or is the writer's reward stored up in Heaven? All of the above, I hope. One joyful witness of success is when a reviewer "gets it" and I realize I have made a deep connection with another person's heart.

Q: What do you want to accomplish, so when you look back at your life, you can say “I did that”?

A: Generous question. I want to ensure all my poetry is out there, because it's poetry that lasts when all else falls away. And it was poetry that called the very universe into existence with "Let there be light!" Moreover, I want to impart to the world beautiful stories that "sing at Heaven's gate" in both written and spoken word.

Q: Any final thoughts that you want to give to your fans or even future authors?

A: You are what you love.



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