To delve into the pages of a book by Leone Sperling is to enter a deep world of light and dark. You are titilated with love and respect but thrown around in a world of hatred and unacceptance. There is no set pattern to the writing of Leone Sperling yet she writes with precision, strength and professionalism.
Leone Sperling knows her stuff. As a writer of fiction that is lightly based on the experiences of her own life one can only imagine the journey she has taken. With every Leone Sperling novel you can be guaranteed a page turner. Within Coins for the Ferryman I was taken on a journey from Australia to Europe finding not only a character I related to but myself. Mother’s Day disturbed me in such a way I could not put it down. Five hours passed before I could pull myself away and this was only after I had read the last word. Guilt tore through my body as I dealt with the fact that such a disturbed book had been so enjoyable. Jamie left me divided. As a character he annoyed me. He was demanding, at times rude, and unacceptable yet as I felt his every emotion. I felt compassion for his disability, his needs and his life.
Leone Sperling takes you places. She gets inside your soul and tosses you around. She plays on your mind and she teases you. She challenges every inner thought, ever piece of doubt and every bit of acceptance you have.
With each Leone Sperling book I read I was left intrigued about the writer. It is with this that I felt compelled to ask Leone a few questions about herself and her writing, hoping to crack the code of her mind.
1. When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
I did not start writing until I was 21. I had no desire to write as a child as creativity was not encouraged in my family. My mother supervised our education. She tested us constantly on our times table, our spelling etc. and academic excellence was what was required. My sister and I both went to Opportunity classes in primary years 5 & 6 and my brother, my sister and I went to a selective high school - Sydney High. My mother supervised our learning throughout our high school and even throughout our university courses - encouraging us to study hard, rote learn and then she would 'hear' us all our work - holding our books or notes and testing us on what we had memorised. There was no time for creativity!
I started writing during the first year of an intense, strictly Freudian, psychoanalysis which was conducted 4 times a week for 4 years from 1958 until I got married at the end of 1961. I entered analysis because I was a compulsive eater and the process allowed me to uncover the unconscious causes of my eating disorder as well as revealing to me that I actually wanted to write about all that I was learning and the power of the deep, dark, unconscious mind. My analyst encouraged me to keep a dream book. I used these dreams as my gateway into the unconscious and felt that the dreams and their interpretations enabled me to see the truth about myself and my family. My analyst encouraged me to write and it is because of her that I became a writer.
2. Was there anything in particular that kept you motivated when you started writing?
The thing that kept me writing was a compulsion to write and a compulsion to be fearless about revealing the darker side of life.
3. Do you have a specific writing style?
I write with my own voice. Anyone who knows me and reads what I have written says that they can almost hear me speaking as they read. My style is simple but powerful. I like using short sentences. I like revealing truths about life that other people prefer to hide. I have found that the novella length is very suitable to my style. Mother's Day, Oasis, and What About Love are all constructed with novella length sections.
4. Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Mother's Day was the most challenging thing to write because I needed to push my characters beyond normal, acceptable behaviour in order to see what would happen to them. Using my own life and being fearless at doing so was extremely challenging. Coming to the decision that I was ruthless in this matter was also disturbing and challenging. Knowing that I would inevitably hurt members of my family by my writing yet deciding to do that regardless of the consequences was also challenging.
5. Do you have a favourite character from one of your books. If yes who is it and why?
My favourite character from my books is myself - a person I have written about in many different ways. Everything I have ever known, felt or experienced has found its way into my books.
6. Have any other authors been of influence during your writing career?
The most important book I ever read was Germaine Greer's 'The Female Eunich'. It helped to liberate me from the conventional wife, mother, daughter relationships that I had followed throughout my life. As I have a BA Honours degree in English literature I have, of course, been influenced greatly by my study of literature. I think Shakespeare influenced me more than any other writer because he knew absolutely everything about the human psyche and human relationships. He understood the power of unconscious. I was very influence by the plays of Eugene O'Neill because he was the first playwright to put put the unconscious minds of his characters onto the stage. He took Freudian theory and turned it into powerful drama. I did my English Honours thesis on the plays of O'Neill. For the same reason, because it uncovers the unconscious mind, I was very influenced by Doris Lessing's 'The Golden Notebook'. Any writer who successfully dives into and reveals the dark power of the unconscious mind appeals to me.
7. Do you have any current projects?
I have stopped writing. However I have always wanted to write a book that starts with this sentence, "I live in a food prison," but so far I haven't had the courage to write it.
8. What advice would you give to other writers?
Use what you know. Believe in yourself. Listen to criticism but if you feel confident about what you have written, then trust you intuition. Don't expect to make any money from writing!
9. What was the first book you ever read that had a huge impact on your life? What impact did it have and why?
I partly answered this in talking of Germaine Greer's book.
10. Other than writing do you have any other hobbies?
I have been studying Latin with Continuing Education at Sydney University for about 14 years. I love translating Latin. It's a wonderful mental exercise to be exposed to classical Latin writers.
So did I crack the mind code of Leone Sperling? Will anyone ever crack the code? The writing of Leone Sperling is definitely one that I will continue to ponder.
Find out more about Leone Sperling and purchase her books from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Leone-Sperling/e/B001KMIZTU