Some Thoughts with ... W.A. Leggatt

7 Jun 2024

The Author/s

W.A. Leggatt

W.A. Leggatt

Will was born in Canterbury, Kent. He learnt to read early and spent most of his free time with his head in a book or a Beano. As a child, his father would read the Chronicles of Narnia at bedtime and this instilled his love of fantasy, enhanced in later years by Redwall, Eragon, Gemmell and Tolkien.

His love of books and stories has followed him since those earliest days. Aged five, he wrote a six line story about Farmer Tom which was so good it won him a Head Teacher’s Award! His lunchtimes at secondary school consisted of being a student librarian and writing (and rewriting and rewriting) a fantasy novel with his friend and future co-best man. This book will never see the light of day. It did, however, kindle a passion for writing that has continued to this day.

Echoes of a Lost Goddess, book one in the Voices of the Ilskini series, is Will’s debut novel and will be published in May 2024.

The Interview

1.- Could you introduce yourself to Jamreads’ readers?
Hi everyone, I’m Will, the author of Echoes of a Lost Goddess, my debut novel, which is out in ebook and Kindle Unlimited. I’m from Kent in England where I live with my wife and our three-legged cat, Esmerelda.

2.- How did you start writing?
I’ve been interested in stories for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first award-winning short story when I was four and it won the Head Teacher’s Award. My lunchtimes at secondary school were mainly spent writing a novel in the library with a friend. It took us almost seven years and half-a-dozen full rewrites, but we eventually had a finished book. One that will probably never see the light of day again. I knew, though, that I wanted to write more. I took something of a hiatus while I was at university studying microbiology, but picked the writing bug back up when I started my first proper job in 2017. In that time, I’ve written four novels and several short stories but Echoes is the first of those books to make it to readers.

3.- What made you choose self-publishing for your first book?
I attended my first Fanstasycon (the British Fantasy Society’s annual convention) in September 2022 and I met so many fantastic self-published authors that it inspired me to give it a go myself. The self-published community has been the most uplifting and helpful, and with things such as SPFBO (the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off created by Mark Lawrence) there’s loads of support from other authors and readers.

4.- How did the idea for Echoes of a Lost Goddess appear?
It started with a camping trip to the Knepp wildlife estate in Surrey over a chilly Easter weekend. We camped in a field surrounded by high hedges and each tent had its own campfire, so when we got back from the pub one night, the entire field was covered with orange points of light. It got me thinking and the idea of the Sanctuaries was born. From there I just needed the rest of the story. The next night, the moon was so bright we didn’t need our torches and that gave me the inspiration for something at the end of the book (no spoilers). With an endpoint and a setting, I sat down and pantsed the rest.

5.- How would you pitch Echoes of a Lost Goddess to the readers?
Echoes of a Lost Goddess is an epic fantasy quest story with multiple POVs and two timelines. There’s magic granted by the Gods, an ancient ice dragon who threatens to destroy it all, and at the heart of it, a young woman who’ll do anything to ensure her little daughter has a world worth growing up in.

6.- Could you tell us more about the design of your cover?
I’m incredibly fortunate that my wife is a talented artist. I did commission a cover from a well-known budget cover company but, while it was perfectly serviceable, I felt it lacked something. My wife stepped in and drew the amazing cover that now graces the front of Echoes, and I hope she’ll be happy to produce more covers for me going forwards.

7.- Apart from this series, you are also working in The Law of Consequences, an anthology together with G.M. White and S.C. Gowland. What’s the idea behind it?
The Law of Consequences – a fantasy short-story anthology – was an idea I had about a year ago. I enjoy writing short stories, but always struggled with the more literary concepts required for genre magazines. My short stories are a snippet of action and character. I’ve also been a listener of the Best Seller Experiment podcast since 2017 and become a part of the community around the podcast which is full of brilliant writers. I pitched the idea of this anthology to S.C. Gowland and G.M. White in September 2023 for listeners and guests of the podcast and they picked it up and ran all the way with it. We’ve got twenty fantastic stories from established traditionally-published authors to those just starting out on their writing journeys. We hope the Law of Consequences is but the first in a series of anthologies we intend to publish.

8.- Which part of the writing and publishing process do you find more challenging?
The answer to this question depends very much at which stage of the process I’m at! I try to write 200 words every day when I’m actively working on a project, but sometimes this can feel like slamming my head onto the desk until 200 words leak out of my ear and onto the page. That aside, I do love the drafting process. Echoes is the first manuscript I’ve taken through the full process. I have a terrible habit of completing a first draft, putting it aside and not coming back to it for ages. With Echoes, I had given myself a deadline of SPFBOX to get it written, edited and released. It took me a while to find an editing process that worked for me, but eventually, and with the help of my editor, Julian Barr, I managed to polish Echoes up and get it ready to release into the world.

9.- What can we expect from W.A. Leggatt in the future?
Though Echoes of a Lost Goddess stands alone, it is the first book of a planned trilogy – Voices of the Ilskini. I also have plans for a couple of novellas within the Voices universe and the seeds of a prequel trilogy, but we’ll have to see how that goes.
As for my other manuscripts, I’m polishing up Bloodbound – a fantasy novel in which magic returns to humans –  for submission to agents. Sky of Storms, a YA steampunk-esque fantasy, and an as-yet-unnamed cosy crime novel set in Canterbury featuring an archaeologist and a stubborn DI will have to wait for now.

You can already order Echoes of a Lost Goddess using this link.