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Interview with Cupán Fae Author Leyla Telli

Leyla Telli is from Germany originally. Since making Ireland her home, and encouraged by the vibrant creative spirit of Dublin, she has started to explore her long standing desire to write fiction. Leyla has been a member of Cupán Fae for two and a half years and has contributed to the Cupán Fae Anthologies: Fierce Mighty, Fierce & Proud, and Fiercepunk.

What Genre do you write in most?

I try to keep it varied at the moment. I have some ideas for the historical genre. But what I really love doing is stretch myself and write in a lot of different ones, as I feel that I learn most through going out of my comfort zone.

What author inspired you to write? 

That’s really hard to say. I don’t think I could pick just one. All the authors whose books I devoured throughout my childhood have played their part in engendering a deep love of books and stories in me. But to become the active part, and write a book myself, I think what has inspired me more than any one author is the whole fanfiction community. Seeing so many brilliant works, written by fans in supportive, tight knit communities was definitely a boost to me and the first finished works I let anyone read were published on a fanfiction site. 

What are your favourite authors to read? What books have had a strong influence on your writing style?

Hmm, very hard question, there are so many! Two German authors I absolutely adore are Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. Their style is lyrical and profound and I could never hope to accomplish their perfection. Terry Prattchet will always be very dear to my heart for all his wisdom and the ability to make me laugh. If I were to say who influenced me most deeply I probably would have to go back to my favourite children’s books. Written by Astrid Lindgreen, Pippi Longstockings and Ronja Robbersdaughter are two books that taught me from a very early age that girls can be strong and courageous and that life should be about adventure. 

In terms of writing influence, that part once more falls to fanfiction authors, who showed me how to create emotional impact in the short story format. 

What music do you like to listen to when you write?

I like to listen to metal when I write. It helps me get lost in the moment and immerse myself in the writing flow, instead of over analysing everything. I also enjoy baroque music a lot. Bach and Vivaldi are my favourites for writing because the music is dynamic, evocative and yet with a very clear structure which helps me clear my mind.  

What’s your one piece of advice for new writers?

Practice and seek out feedback! I started writing stories when I was a kid, but then stopped for many years simply because I set the bar too high and what I actually produced didn’t come close to it. Practice is the only way to close that gap! I really recommend joining writing groups or otherwise creating a network of writers around you, as practice is nothing if you just write into the void and don’t search out feedback on your work.

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