Saint John’s Leo LaFleur is a bit of a restless soul. After having risen to prominence via two music releases – 2014’s Love & Fortune and his 2015 EP What Haunts Your Road? – LaFleur is branching out into another artistic medium, the world of books.
The world isn’t exactly brand new to him in one sense. As a student, LaFleur studied English, Philosophy, and Great Books at Fredericton’s St. Thomas University. While music may have called him first, the literary call to arms may be seen as having been somewhat inevitable.
In stores now is The Errand, a short-story written by LaFleur that marks his first venture into the world of graphic novels. The author spins a mysterious tale of a boy that becomes an errand runner for a witch, whose hut he is charged with finding as he confronts his fears of what lurks in the darkness of forest.
“The book is a simple, graceful, and suspenseful fairy-poem for all ages,” LaFleur explains. “There is depth to the book that will appeal to both young and old readers alike. With the first volume, we wanted to create something that had all of the traditional feelings of a fairytale, the same kind of ‘on edge’ feelings a person would get when they walk through the woods at twilight. Maybe ironically, we found the best way to do that and get that frightening feeling was to leave out a certain amount of traditional storyline until a little later in the series. We wanted to create an air of mystery that will hopefully keep the reader wanting more.”
LaFleur insists his journey to becoming an author was a natural extension of his musical beginnings. He shares that his love of words dates back to his childhood, when he could seemingly get lost in words for hours on end.
“I’ve always been an avid reader. I have consistently gravitated toward things that move me, and often found that in books that I love. There are some that I’ve read a dozen times, and will read a dozen times more,” he says.
“I’ve been asked before what my first love was, music or words, and I can’t answer it. For me, on a personal and creative level, they go hand in hand. There is something naturally poetic about writing song lyrics, and I think I can cross that over into prose as well. But whether it’s music or words, I’ve always been a storyteller, and it comes out in a variety of ways. They definitely inform one another.”
To help bring The Errand to life, LaFleur enlisted the assistance of U.K. artist Adam Oehlers, who has worked with writers and publishers from all corners of the world in disciplines including a concept artist, character designer, and writer for animation, and computer games.
“I initially came across Adam’s work online, and was immediately captivated by it. I sent him the story idea for The Errand, and we hit it off right away, but when he quoted me the 6,000 pounds [approximately $9,984] it would cost to illustrate the work, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to swing that. It turned out that Adam really loved the idea behind the book, and successfully crowdsourced a significant portion of the project with the help of collectors of his artwork,” LaFleur says.
“There was just so many things that needed to fall into place that actually did, we’re just thrilled that so many people will get to see the end result.”