Interview with L. Leander, author of "Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders"



I’m so excited to be interviewing L. Leander, author of “Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders”.  This was such a terrific book.  Ms. Leander, thank you for coming by. 


I really enjoyed reading your book.  I have to ask you:  “Inzared” is incredibly rich with detail about circus life and gypsies; did you do extensive research, or are you of gypsy stock yourself? 


 (chuckles) No, I’ve been called a Gypsy all my life because I’m not cut of the same cloth as most of my friends.  I’m a wanderer at heart, home wherever I hang my hat.  No “real” Gypsy blood though.  I did very extensive research on the people and found them fascinating.


I think that sort of lifestyle is so mysterious.  Did you ever interact with gypsies; what was the inspiration behind this book?


I had a six-year old’s dream of running away to join the circus.  I was such a romantic!  I have always been inspired by greatness in any form, and I was intrigued by the bareback riders, trapeze artists and the elephant riders.  I didn’t decide to write this book – the characters chose me to tell their story.  It was quite an experience!


I do understand how that happens!  I’ve read that repeatedly from others.  Now another somewhat unique aspect of “Inzared”:  There have been a lot of books about animal-people relationships, but I don’t recall an elephant being the object of the human’s love.  So—why an elephant?


I spent some time at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin.  I was lucky to make friends with the elephant owner and his children.  As I watched his children interact with the elephant I knew I had the story right.  Those kids were all over that animal and she loved every minute of it.  She was so gentle, even with the littlest one.  They put their complete trust in her as she picked them up and gently set them down with her trunk.  Definitely an eye-opening moment for me!


Wow–that is wonderful.  I know that elephants are really intelligent.  Loving too, it seems then.  What a movie this book would make!  Have you thought of who would portray your characters in a movie about the book?  Reason I ask, I immediately thought of Johnny Depp as portraying Paytre.  He makes a mighty fine gypsy (“Chocolàt”). 


 I could definitely see Johnny Depp as Paytre – he’s one of my very favorite actors.  Emily Rossum as Inzared would be great – I love the innocence she portrays as well as strength and she has just the right “look” for an Appalachian farm girl-turned elephant rider.


I had to look up Emily Rossum; she definitely looks the part of Inzared.


Will there be more books about Inzared and her circus exploits?


Absolutely!  The second book in the series, INZARED, The Fortune Teller, is due to be published in February 2013.  It follows Inzared on another path in her life and the circus isn’t the main backdrop.  It’s about her years of healing and fortune-telling while setting up a small medicine show in the villages she travels through.  The third in the series is not written but pretty well thought out.  I’m hoping to publish that in late 2013.


Oh Lordy, I can hardly wait!  Going to keep my eys open for it.  I fell in love with your characters, I have to tell you.


In your opinion, do gypsies still exist the way they did back then?


I think Gypsy customs run deep.  In the research I did I found them to be a very close group of people who value their traditions and heritage.  While their way of life may be a little different to us, to them it is perfectly normal.  Because of years of persecution and abuse, they still have a general mistrust of non-Gypsy people.  They are a happy people, making a life for themselves and their children wherever they roam.  They are skilled tradesmen and performers and there are few other cultures that are able to master the things they excel at.


No doubt there; they’ve existed as clans for centuries throughout the world.  I wish the persecution due to misunderstanding didn’t exist, though.  Too many races and people have that to deal with.


Who was your favorite character, and why?


Inzared, of course!  She’s innocent, brought up on a poor dirt farm in Appalachia, but she has big dreams and knows there’s more to life.  She’s not afraid to follow her dreams (although she does feel a little guilty sometimes) and she is able to meld into a totally different culture because she is the type of personality who makes a point to get along with everyone.


That’s what I really liked about her too.  I know she isn’t accepted by everyone, but it isn’t her fault.  She’s a good kid.


This may be redundant, but which character do you identify with the most?


Probably Mala, Inzared’s best friend.  Mala has a lot of my traits because she’s so accepting of Inzared and truly wants her to succeed, even though she has dreams of her own.  Of course, I totally relate to Inzared too, but I actually based her on a real person I knew growing up so she’s like a friend to me.


Nice!  I guess that partially answers my next question:  Was there any significance to any of the names of the characters?


I researched every single Gypsy name and all the others too.  The Gypsy names all have significance.  For instance, Besnik (the bear) means faithful and loyal.  Zindelo (one of the clowns) means sonny.  I had fun matching the names to my characters.  I did, however, make up the name Inzared.  I couldn’t find anything that fit or was regal enough.  So I brainstormed alone for about an hour and came up with the name.  She liked it!


I loved that name.  You’re right–it definitely fits.


What are you planning for future stories?


As I said above, the second book chronicles Inzared’s life after Book One.  She uses her many skills to put on a healing/fortune telling show on her way to Home Run after she visits her folks each fall.  The third book will find the circus in the middle of the Civil War – I can’t wait to write that one!  I’m currently also writing a totally different genre – a book titled Tithe By Murder – about a serial killer during the race riots in LA.  I’m hoping to write a mystery/romance this year too.  I just finished and published a short self-help book titled 13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing.


Those sound wonderful!  I think I already got the self-publishing tips book.  Now to just read it…




13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing is the go-to book for those who are new to the world of writing and publishing a book.  It’s a short, concise guide of tips to guide the writer through the maze of questions that crop up when navigating the road to finish and make a book available to the public.  The author has included things “I wish I’d known” as she makes suggestions to ease the stress of self-publishing.  Links to helpful sites are included.  Are you thinking about taking the self-publishing route?  Confused about where to start?  Then this book is for you!




L.Leander is an author who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ralph, during the summer months but spends the majority of the year in Mazatlan, Mexico. Ms. Leander is an award-winning singer/songwriter who has also won awards for her needle arts. As a child, Ms. Leander loved the circus, hence, her debut novel, INZARED Queen of the Elephant Riders. The book follows the adventures of an Appalachian girl in 1843 who runs away to join a Gypsy circus and becomes a famous elephant rider.


Links for L.Leander and INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders


Amazon Link:


Amazon UK Link:


Amazon Author Page:


Video Trailer for Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders:  




FB Author Page:


L.Leander Blog:


L.Leander’s Reviews and Interviews:


Twitter:  @lleander11


Amazon Link for 13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing:



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