Interview with Author LeeAnna Kail

We want to thank LeeAnna Kail for letting me interview her for the blog today. Ever since LeeAnna Kail was little, she had an interest in writing. In fact, when she was in the fourth grade, she completed a career project and dressed as an author with dreams of writing her own book one day.

LeeAnna attended Duquesne University with a double major in political science and English with intentions of attending law school after graduation. While studying abroad in Rome, Italy, LeeAnna had a change of heart and decided to continue her education at Duquesne studying elementary education instead. She knew she found her niche the first day of class. Inspired by an assignment from a children’s literature course, LeeAnna's dream of writing a book has come true.

LeeAnna currently teaches in Pittsburgh and hopes to be an inspiration to her students to follow their dreams.

LeeAnna, can you share some writing experiences with us?

In college, anytime I wrote a paper, which was many of them since I English was one of my majors, I always listened to the band, The Fray. I would sit at my desk with headphones in and just type. I ALWAYS waited until the last minute to turn my papers in. I am a procrastinator who works best under pressure and I would get in my zone with The Fray and just write. I got a lot of As on my papers.

What are some of the things that have influenced/inspired your writing?

My dad, who published a children’s novel last November, has been a major influence on my writing. Growing up, he would always help me with my papers. Because of that, I adopted some of his writing techniques. I used writing in my everyday life, whether it was a paper or diary entry. Writing was an outlet for me.

It has been my experience, some things come quite easily (like creating the setting) and other things aren’t so easy (like deciding on a title). What comes easily to you and what do you find more difficult? 

The hardest part for me is starting. I needed to find inspiration to start my story and it didn’t come for many weeks. Once I had my idea, I then had difficult of discovering the problem. I thought, “Okay, if an owl can’t ‘WHOO,’ what else could it say? Why would it need to say those things?” So, coming up with the main parts of the plot was difficult.

The easy part for me was the title. I think a title says a lot about a book and I had that right away. I knew what I wanted it the main idea to be.
Please describe to us your relationship between you and your editor. What makes an author/editor relationship a success?

An author/editor relationship requires patience and understanding. The author has to remove any kind of feeling from the book and realize that though the author may be good with words, the editor knows the way in which they flow the best. My editor did a wonderful job of taking out the “telling” I was doing in the story. She did however; take out my favorite part in the story where the bullies end up coming to Ollie for him to teach them his cool words. I think that is such a special moment, and I just couldn’t get rid of it.
When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your books and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

I hope they will say that I used my book (hopefully books at the time) for good. This past year, I did a fundraiser with my dad that had all the proceeds of our books go to a child suffering from cancer at my school. For my book signings elsewhere, a portion of the proceeds go to Make a Wish Foundation. I didn’t write this story to make money off it, it just sort of happened because of a class. Fate has a funny way of happening. Because of that, I want especially to use my book for good.

I hope they say that I loved deeply and showed others to accept themselves.
Is there any particular book when you read it, you thought, "I wish I had written that!"?

There are so many! As a teacher, I’m constantly reading children’s books. I especially love “The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs.”

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?

Of course! Who hasn’t! I have several techniques of overcoming this monster: take a walk, grab a snack, plug in my headphones with The Fray blaring, bounce ideas off others, or revisit it the next day.

What type of books do you mostly write?

I especially love children’s literature books, although I have many unpublished poems.

Who or what inspires your characters and/or plots?

Random things at random times.

Tell us about your writing space.

It depends on the year. I have a Macbook. The places I go with it are endless!

Is there anything you'd go back and do differently now that you have been published, in regards to your writing career? 

No. Everything happens for a reason!

Do you do first drafts on a computer or by hand?

By hand! The art of handwriting has sadly decreased with the amazing technology in the world today. I am one who needs to write things down though.

How do you see the future of book publishing, both traditional, electronic and print on demand?

Well, two years ago, I went to King of Prussia Mall. All I wanted to purchase was the Hunger Games series. After an hour of searching for a bookstore, I ended up calling the information desk. Would you believe that they do not have a book store in that GIANT mall?! I was so upset. I am one who LOVES the smell of the paper, the feel of turning to the next page, and the feeling of accomplishment after physically seeing the book you just read.

With that said, I think there is an inevitable decline of a traditional book. Until then, I will continue to support the local libraries and bookstores.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Keep writing! Believe in yourself and your work.


You can find out more about LeeAnna Kail, her debut children’s picture book and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

Follow LeeAnna Kail at
Twitter: @LA_Kail

“Join Ollie on his adventure in searching for his sister and learning the significance of being different.”

About the Book:
Ollie is known for one thing in his village: he is the only owl who cannot “WHOO.” The other owls tease him for saying “WHEERE!” or “WHEEN!” or “WHYY!” and sometimes “WHAAT!” All Ollie wants is to fit in, but when his little sister gets lost in the woods, Ollie discovers he can help.

While providing insightful perspectives on diversity, The OWL Who Couldn’t WHOO offers educators, libraries, parents and young readers a fresh new look on anti-bullying and self-confidence.

Title of Book: The Owl Who Couldn’t WHOO
Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.
ISBN Number(s): 978-1-61244-129-0
Genre of Book: Children’s picture book
Publication Date: Feb. 2013

Places where available:,,, by author

1 comment:

Karen Cioffi said...

LeeAnna, great book title. It sounds like a wonderful children's book with much to offer.

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