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Interview with In Libris Libertas AKA Lesley

Guys, I am STOKED for this interview, for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest being that I am obsessed with Lesley. So little storytime, I met Lesley through Julie (@thenycbookworm) telling her to just slide into my DM's and Lesley thinking that was weird, but her finally doing it and KID YOU NOT, we CLICKED. Like an immeditiae book bestie. Which isn't just an online book bestie, but now an IN REAL LIFE bestie as well. I got to meet Lesley for the first time in person this past weekend when she made the trek to DFW to come to the Ren Faire with me and other book besties. It was the BEST time and I will spill all the tea in this interview.


Your Name: Lesley S (@in.librislibertas)

General Bio About You:  I'm Lesley! I am 31 years old, I am a full time Mama and part time bookstagrammer. I was born and raised in the city of Angels but I am now a Texas resident. I retired from the political campaigning world to focus on my family. In my free time you can find me at the gym, or binge reading a new series.

This woman is underselling herself, other words to descirbe Lesley should be Book Mommy, saint, hype woman, powerful goddess and those are just a few. I don't think I have met anyone else whose life story has shocked me quite like Lesley. She is not just an amazing human, but an incredibly strong woman whom I am lucky to know and learn from. She is also one of the most selfless people I have ever met in my life.

What are your passions? Hobbies? My hobbies include collecting special edition books, advocating for mental health, daydreaming about living in velaris, and cold plunging. But most importantly being a cheerleader for the book community. 

Okay, if you don't follow Lesley RUN to her account. She has the PRETTIEST books that I have ever seen. I am so envious of her library like, it is just stunning. And when she says cheerleader, SHE IS THAT. Before I ever offered Lesley an RMK Influencer role, she was already just hyping me up. She is in the comments, in the DM's, on the stories and just building such good community around her. I consider myself to be so lucky that she trust me and my brand and wants to be my cheerleader.

If you’re a cosplayer, please list all your cosplays:  I have not cosplayed before but with some encouragement from the bookstagram community. I will be cosplaying a few characters soon! Including Fury Axtar from Crescent City, and Yennefer Vandenberg from the Witcher series.

I got all the tea this weekend about Lesley stepping into cosplay and I am super excited. We also shopped around at the Ren Faire getting ideas for fighting leathers as she is also looking as cosplaying Emerie. Let me just say, with Lesleys background she is going to LITERALLY kickass as Fury Axtar. Like I 10000% just see it. I cannot wait to get to watch her discover new parts of herself through cosplay. Seeing the support that Lesley has for everyone else is so sweet, I cannot wait to see how the book community it going to come out and just love on her SO good when she posts her first cosplay.

Peep this picture is from this past weekend at the Ren Faire, whch was one of the best weekends that I have had in a long time. Even the humidaty and sprinkles couldn't ruin our day. Truly was so much fun getting to know everyone else a bit more.

Where does your creativity and passion come from? I've always had a deep love for the arts. I always had work, or school keeping me from fully exploring it. Now that I've opened the door to literal and fictional worlds, I'm enjoying embracing my creative side. 

What’s your biggest piece of advice to creators looking to get into this space? I'd lose this conception that any one "has it" figured out. When I first started, I was personally overwhelmed with learning all the new acronyms, and how to make a real or a tik tok. The more I talk and engage with members of this awesome community, the more I realize we're all just figuring it out daily. Trends change constantly, as do "hot authors", and series. The best thing you can do is be candid and have fun. 

Let me just scream it to the entire world. Lesley is such a soccer mom meets cheerleader. She is the queen of engaging with everyone. I have honestly met so many amazing people becuase of her. Another fun little thing, she has started a fun little monthly wine sipping book club with Julie, Bri and others online, which I am personally super excited to take part in. I also totally agree, no one really has it "figured out". Social media is constantly changing and it challenges us. I have loved getting advice and guidance from Lesley though, she has been incriedbly supportitve and loving to me. She send me ideas, bounces them off of me and I get to do the same. The space can be really overwhelming, and I have felt that myself, but just taking time to breath and engage with the individual is something I try to do and I know that Lesley greatly excels in.

Following up, what do you wish that you knew before you started creating within the bookish space? I wish I knew just how accepting this community would be, there was so much fear going into it. I think it really held me back in the beginning. To anyone nervous to make the jump, I promise the book community will catch you and support you!

RETWEET this. Literally, as scary and overwhelming as it can be, it can also be so healthy. I know that Lesley and I both have found healing in the relationships and frienships we have found and built online. I mean just look at both of us, look at the growth we have had, look at the actual communties we are building around us. And speaking of fear, I am SO SO SO proud of Lesley, who just had her first solo trip to come and visit me this past weekend. I cannot even put into words how I feel about the trust she has bestowed upon me, the love she has given me, the conversations that we have been able to have, all the experiences that we got to have this past weekend.

What has your experience been in the books and events community?

I have not attended any book events yet but I have huge plans going forward. I'm committed to six book events 2024-2025.

I am SO excited to have Lesley attending several of my events, but also several others. This woman is a literal PILLAR in the bookish community and everyone should take whatever opportunity they have to get to meet her.

What is your favorite quote (whether book related or not)? My favorite book quote of all time is Greer Rivers' dedication page in her book Rogue. "To everyone with a Medusa tattoo. I believe you.

What is your “Why?” (interpret this however you would like)? My why is what led me to choose In Libris Libertas. I had a few years where I really struggled with my  mental health, and postpartum.  Reading was a huge outlet. I started collecting and made a few good friends that way. That made me really crave a book community I could engage without all the restrictions. I thought I'd have a few followers but things have just taken off. 

Lesley and I got to have a huge trauma purge this past weekend where we realy just poured our hearts and stories out to each other. I got to learn so much more about this, just like she got to learn a lot more about my past and where my passion and drive comes from. I think getting to not just hear, but know someones story is a true test of trust. It means so much that Lesley would open up to me. I also love that while we have all suffered, had traumatic expeirnces, that one of our biggest shared interests is in books. That books both offered us an opportunity to heal, to find peace of mind, to be a stepping stone to building a community around us.

If you had an anthem (song about who you are) what would it be?  Alive- Sia

What is your favorite book and why?  It's hard to just pick one but my favorite book is Silence of the Lambs, but A Court of Mist and Fury is a close choice.

Why would I never have guessed Silence of the Lambs?? When my favorite book i Frankenstein, I just feel like both of those books say SO much about both of us. Which I love.

Is there a particular book or character that you have carried with you, or severely impacted you?  The first book character to truly impact me is Acheron from the Dark Hunter Series by Sherilyn Kenyon. He is an Atlantean god cursed to be abused and suffer from birth. Yet he chooses to remain a positive being regardless of everything that's happened to him. He literally has the power to destroy the world for what's been done to him. But he chooses to save it everyday. This inspired me since I started reading to be an equally positive light.

Are you a fan of the “Playlists” feature that many new books are having, why or why not?  I am a huge fan of the "Playlist Feature." Most of my gym music has been from a book playlist or another!

I can't relate to the gym comment, but as I type I have one of the spicy book playlists on!!

Do you prefer the books or the movies? Most controversial opinion on books to movies? I usually prefer the books, there's been very few times I've prefered the movies. I will say I do like some of the series Instagram has released, looking at All the Light we Cannot See. There's just much more to work with in Series than trying to squeeze a masterpiece into a couple of hours.

Ahhhh I read this book years ago, I haven't seen the adaption though. I did get a new copy of the book last year that I have been meaning to read again.

What is a character that you deeply relate to and has impacted you in a significant way? A character that has deeply impacted me is Gwyn from A court of Silver Flames. The courage she has to get back into the world is tremendous and resonates with me deeply.

What has been the biggest blessing in being a part of this community or in the world of social media for you? The tremendous outpouring of love and support. Bookstagram is unlike any other corner of the internet. I don't ever get the feeling that people are competing with each other. There's a huge sense of community, and generosity. I never expected to receive gifts from strangers on the internet, or to enjoy gifting as much as I do. 

10/10 agree. Turns out Lesley has been following me from her personal account for months now (like since the day after Starfall!!) But the love nd support that I have also recieved in this community still shocks me. Getting to see everyone growth too, just wow. Lesley hasn't been on booksta all that long and just watching her account blow up, seeing people connect with her. It is so obvious what an amazing human she is and how much love and support she has to give to this community. I am so lucky to get to know her, see her light and be a part of her journey. When I say I am excited for what this next year holds, that is such an understatement.

Okay, this picture had to be included. Like this is the iconic duo that you have all ben missing out on and look not further here we are!

What is something that you wish you could change about the bookish community and how do you think it is done? I would like to make teleporting a thing because so many of my new book besties are abroad. This is heartbreaking, and needs an immediate fix. 

OMG THIS. See, Lesley didn't point out anything negative other than how slow transporation can be. I cannot wait to get to see Lesley again and all of our other book besties.

What is your favorite book trope and your least favorite? Why? One of my favorite book tropes is enemies to lovers, there's something about a good enemies to lovers that usually slow burns and then explodes that I just adore! My least favorite trope is Amnesia, I have never vibed with it. 

Honestly, same. Not the fact that I have given all the power of my dating life over to Book Mommy Lesley. Not even kidding, Lesley and I got down and intot the dirty details of what dating is like, the stress and hatred I have for it. In a kind of joking, but now totally serius way, I ahve given control of my dating exerince to Lesley. Give me all the enemies or friends to lovers stories. I want my life to be something that we can write and laugh about in the future. And let me just say, it has been 4 days, and yes, she has already begun working her magic. * cue the winky face emoji

What is your story with RMK Events by Rachel (whether a particular event, specific story, experience, convo, etc - again interpret however you want)? I found Rachel/ RMK events a few days after Starfall Ball . I was devastated that I didn't know about it before. I followed her closely on my personal account, when I decided to make a bookstagram. I was on a quest to befriend and know her. I didn't know any other bookstagrammers in the area and with Dallas/ Fort Worth  being the closest city we escape to being from a small town. I was in awe that such a pillar of the community was semi local to me! I met Julie (@thenycbookworm) she pushed me to meet my idol. That little push was all it took.

Crying becuase I am mad that we didn't get to connect or meet sooner. Like how did I go this long WITHOUT having you in my life. After just getting to meet for the first time in person and enjoy long car rides, wrong turns, random stops and THEN all the fun of getting to play around at the faire I cannot beleive I didn't know you before a few months ago. ALSO the quest has been ACCOMPLISHED. We got to have the BEST weekend together and I am so thankful Lesley took a chance on sliding into my DMs, but more than that, meeting me in person.

What made you want to work with RMK and/or attend events hosted by RMK? I really wanted to work with RMk events hands down for Rachel. As much as I love the event aspect, doing it with someone that is such a pillar of the community makes it so much better. I love that Rachel pushes for kindness and inclusivity. This makes me feel like I'm on the right path and doing the right things because like does indeed call to like.

Stop, I am CRYING. This means everything to me. This means so much to me. I am lucky to have you on my team, to get to work with you, but more than that to know YOU. To know your story and have you as a friend. Lesley was the first person to call me a "pillar in the community" and kid you not I balled. I full on just cried from the message that she sent me. I fully beleive that the people we need in our lives come into them when we need them most. While Lesley has folowed me for a while, our friendship started at the right moment, and I am so thankful for it.

What are you most looking forward to reading in 2024? I'm so excited to Read Dream, indie author Brittamy Gossin's debut novel. And of course House of Flames and Shadows, I know it's released already but I haven't read it yet.

What are you most excited to experience in 2024? Calan Mai with my book club! And all the other amazing bookstagrammers that are attending!

STOP. The world is SO ready for this amazing little boo club to get together in real life for the first time. I cannot wait to see it. I am also beyond lucky to have all of these ladies as my friends. It is also such a privilege to know that my event will bring them all together, like CRYING.

What’s the one thing that readers and guests should know about you? I have an open DM policy slide on in and chat with me. I love getting to know people beyond the book world. Especially anyone struggling with mental health, I am always open for a chat.

100000% SLIDE INTO HER DM's. Totally worth it.

What is your most controversial SJM opinion? Tamlin deserves a redemption arc

THIS. I also am on the train for a Tamlin redeption arc. Lesley and I got to talk all the tea with this and I just love how alike we think. I swear if they kill off Tamlin, I will cry. Like full on ball.

Which is your favorite SJM book? A Court of Mist and Fury

Favorite ACOTAR book and character, why? The Suriel, had all the tea and all it wanted was a  jacket. Second would be the bone carver they were both honorary court of dreamers. That has me sobbing!

Oh my, this has me hardcore wanting to @ the cosplayer who will be the Suriel at Calan Mai, but you guys are not that lucky...YET. Just 2 more days!! But, I'm sorry if this doesn't just speak for the kind of person that Lesley is then I don't know what else will. Like Lesley would give the shirt off her back to the Suriel. And to be a dreamer, I am not sobbing, you are. Like genunely, Lesley is the most compassionate and selfless person I know.

If you had to guess, or had the power to name the next ACOTAR book, what would you name it and why?

A Court of Embers and Flora

Shut the front door. I am obsessed with this name. It is is giving Elain with the flowers HARD and the embers literally screaming Lucien baby. I've seen a lot of great answers to this question and will 1000% be having polls and bets on the title of the next book.

Who do you want Elain Archeron to end up with? Lucian or riot.

The fact that I just love to stir the pot and get all the tea. This is straight up one of the most controversal  questions to ask any SJM fan these days. The fact that there are entire clubs dedicated to who Elain is meant to be is giving Jacob vs Edward all over again, but then there are the people like me who are secretly rooting for Tamlin who I guess would be like Lorac in Twilight maybe??? My anaology didn't actually play out how I wanted, ignore me lols.

What are you wanting to contribute to the Influencer program or gain from it? I'm hoping to contribute good content at a minimum. At a maximum full sponsorship program plan. 

Y'all the content and ideas that Lesley and I have already discussed, you aren't even ready for it. I am so excited to have this partnership with Lesley and explore everything that this next year has in store for us and everything moving forward from there.

P.s. this has aboslutley nothing to do wth this blog, but can we just take a moment of silence to appreacte Lesleys eyebrows LIKE THEY ARE SO GOOD! I am obsessed!!

Link your socials here:

Overall, recap: You guys NEED to go follow Lesley. I am SO blessed to be able to not just get to work with her but to call her a friend. I had the best of times this past weekend. I hope you all enjoyed this interview, that you love Lesley as much as me, and learned a little bit more about us both. These interviews are designed to give you some insight into the people that I am working with, to let you know more about who we all are, to get to know us. I want to be engaged in the community, and I truly beleive that these interviews truly let you get to know people on a more intimate level. And, it doesn't hurt that I keep them entertaining with my chaotic thoughts!

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