Leanna Ellis interview

» Posted on Feb 21, 2008 in Blog | Comments Off on Leanna Ellis interview

Don’t forget if you want a copy of Elvis Takes a Back Seat email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com or leave a comment with your email address in it. The drawing ends on Sunday evening.

1. What made you start writing?

I was a teacher, looking for something else to do, and my sister suggested I write a book. “You’re always writing in that journal of yours,” she said. I’ve always loved the creative process whether it was choreographing dances, writing stories for classes or creating interesting ways to teach reading. So without knowing anything about the book business, I quit teaching and started writing. I discovered it was definitely my passion.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I started writing in 1991. It took about 3 years to sell my first book to Harlequin/Silhouette. The lag time before it came out was a year and a half though.

3. How do you handle rejections?

Badly. Rejections are not an easy thing to deal with. They used to really get to me. Now, not so much. I give myself time to grieve, 24 hours, then move on, rewrite or resubmit. My skin has become tougher through the years. Chocolate helps soothe the wounded soul. Having young children gives me too much to do so I don’t have time to wallow in self pity. And nowadays, if a rejection comes, I figure it’s not God’s will or not the right editor. I’d rather have God’s will more than anything.

4. Why do you write?

I write because I have to. Writing is my passion. What else am I going to do with these people in my head? I also write because I’ve prayed and asked God’s will. He wants me to write. So I write to entertain but also to hopefully make people ask questions, think and look toward God.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Cleaning the toilets? I think I’d rather write.

6. What are you working on right now?

I’m finishing the third book of this contract, hopefully before my deadline, and beginning to do marketing things for my second book with B&H called, Fault Lines.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

I think a part of every writer is in the books they write. We write from our perspective, our world view, our experiences camoflauged in characters. But some things I haven’t experienced, like the loss of a husband or infidelity, two subjects from my first two books, and I have to find some core emotion that translates from my experience to the character’s and hopefully to the reader.

In Elvis Takes a Back Seat, I wrote about a young widow. I haven’t had a loss like that. But I have had losses. Everyone has. Last week, I received a letter from a young widow who told me I had gotten Claudia right. I just thanked God that he’d given me the insight into that character which had touched a reader.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

In Elvis Takes a Back Seat, a young widow, determined to fulfill her husband’s last request, hauls a three foot bust of Elvis strapped in the back seat of a vintage Cadillac from Texas to Memphis to return it to its rightful owner. The road trip with her eccentric aunt, who knew the King of Rock n’ Roll, and a temperamental teen, hits roadblocks and detours as the three women uncover pieces of their own past along with the bust’s mysterious history. The discoveries change the course of their lives forever.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Rejections come and go. Our lives get busy. But if you are called to write, then write.

10. How important is faith in your books?

It is an important element running through the books, built into the foundation of the story. But it’s not heavy handed. My heroines can’t quote scripture after scripture. I think everyone has faith questions at some point in their lives, no matter what faith they are. I hope readers can relate.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

Faith, forgiveness, redemption.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

Whichever one I’m writing at the moment, or the one I’m just about to write.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

Chaotic. I try to write in the morning, very, very early. But it sometimes doesn’t work out that way. So then I squeeze it in later. But I homeschool my kids, so it can be crazy making it all work. Mostly I give myself grace when I flub up, which is quite often. Somehow, with God’s help, it gets done.