An interview with… A.K. Lehain

Let’s settle into the weekend with an interview with one of our Changeling fantasy fiction writers, A.K. Lehain.

Emmy: Hello! What is your name, where are you based in the world, and what is your artistic practice?

A.K.: Hi! I’m Amy, I’m based in Bristol (or Hereford, depending on when this is posted!) and I’m a fantasy writer.

Emmy: What inspired your Changeling short story, “The Wish Well”?

A.K.: It was loosely inspired by the fairy tale “The Three Heads in the Well” which was collected by Joseph Jacobs in “English Fairy Tales” (1890). It’s not a pleasant story — very sexist. But, the image of that wishing well stuck in my mind. I wrote a chapter in my YA novel (still a work in progress!) where the protagonists have to trick the three heads into leaving the well. I ended up scrapping the scene, but I loved the weird little heads and their mannerisms. So, this story was born!

Emmy: How long have you been writing?

A.K.: It seems like forever, but I probably started writing regularly when I was about 12. As a tween, I was a prolific fan-fiction writer (there are so many embarrassing stories that are probably still lurking in some dark corner of the internet…).

Emmy: Where is your favourite place to create?

A.K.: I don’t really have one! I wrote most of “The Wish Well” in a quiet cafe. (Easy access to cake is a real motivator).

Emmy: What were you passionate about when you were a child?

A.K.: Mythology! I was especially obsessed with Greek mythology and loved books like the Percy Jackson series. Honestly, not much has changed.

Emmy: Do you think being neurodivergent impacts your creativity in any way?

A.K.: I think it definitely impacts what I write about. I had a tough time as a teenager which had a lot to do with being neurodiverse, although I didn’t know that at the time. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt. Most of my writing is, at its core, about dealing with loneliness and accepting the parts of yourself that neurotypical folks deem ‘odd.’ (It’s also about weird folktales, mythological creatures and/or ghosts, but that’s really just a bonus).

Emmy: What would you say to encourage any aspiring writers reading this?

A.K.: Keep going. Even when it seems impossible, or you think that you’ll never be good enough, keep going. Oh, and if you want to be a writer: read, read, read!

Follow A.K. @ak_lehain on Twitter and @aklehain on Instagram. She also runs Dryad Books, a fantasy and speculative fiction bookshop, found @dryadbookshop on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok!

Changeling Annual 2023 will be published in May — keep an eye out for updates by following our Instagram.

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