Saint John writer Leo LaFleur publishes first book. The Errand features illustrations by UK artist Adam Oehlers.
When Leo LaFleur decided to write a story for a graphic novel, his motivation was a bit skewed. Unlike other writers who may set out to create something as a result of their own individual creative passion, LaFleur wanted to debunk the notation that such an undertaking required any artistic integrity whatsoever.
“Originally, the idea to create The Errand was based around my own ego,” said LaFleur. “When I first decided to attempt writing the story, I stuck my nose up at the genre of a graphic novel or a book with pictures as void of any literary merit. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, and that it was easy.”
An admitted “dabbler” in all forms of writing, LaFleur has penned short stories, poetry, fairytales and songs. He even has a novel in the works.
The Errand is an adventure tale for all ages and his first published book.
“The story is a journey,” he said. “I think adventure is always stimulating if done well. The only reason I think a great adventure story might be stagnant for an adult, is if they themselves have become complacent. Children and youth are more readily human in this way. When writing for children, I always try and write in a way that can be enjoyed by adults too – those kinds of stories with genuine depth are the best kind to read. That’s what I tried to do with The Errand.”
LaFleur’s writing finds wonderful compliment in the drawings by UK-based artist Adam Oehlers.
“I happened upon Adam online,” said LaFleur. “I was scrolling through artists, looking for someone to work with on this particular project. Adam’s work is stunning. It’s gorgeous, frightening, mysterious, and incredibly detailed. He is a great talent.”
The two hit it off immediately and have now worked on a few projects together. LaFleur, also a passionate songwriter, has featured Oehlers’ art on two of his own albums in addition to The Errand.
“It’s just one of those great relationships where what I do and what he does works so well together,” said LaFleur. “I won’t say there isn’t a bit of luck in us initially finding each other for this project because there absolutely there is. But luck favours those who seek it, so they say.”
“She believes in what I can do with my pen,” he said, “and it’s great to have those kinds of friends in your corner because it can be a long and difficult road to making a name for yourself in this business. So needless to say, it made perfect sense for her to write the foreword for my first published book. She’s a well-established Canadian writer with two generations reading her books. She’s a great talent and it meant something for both Adam and I for her to write something so generous and authentic for our book. She’s a lovely lady, if you didn’t know.”
With The Errand now complete and available for readers of all ages, where does this leave LaFleur and his ego?
“I’ve since changed my tune,” he said. “I’ve come to realize there can be even lasting literary merit in a well put together story of any form, and that many writers and artists have gone down this road and created remarkable things. It’s not so easy as I imagined; nor is it without rewards, creatively or intellectually.”
He’s now hooked, and has completed writing a second book for the series.
“I’m actually thinking about the third and fourth books when I get a chance to day dream,” he said. “We haven’t started on the artwork and production of the second book yet but the story is ready. It’s just a matter of getting to it. We’d like to do ten of these books if the opportunity presents itself.”
The Errand is presently available online here.
Shivering Songs Connection:
Leo LaFleur will perform as part of the Songwriter’s Workshop Showcase on Sunday January 24, 2016 at Charlotte Street Arts Centre. View Event
Sheree Fitch will perform readings as part of the Songwriters & Storytellers Event, January 23, 2016 at Wilmot United Church. View Event
For full festival information, please visit www.shiveringsongs.com