LE: Hi, Anna! Thanks so much for having me here! Well, I’m a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt…and a writer. I have been a homeschooler and even now my kids go to a school two days a week and we homeschool the other three days. I have a crazy life as I drive my kids to and from all their activities, let my menagerie of pets in and out … in and out ..., figure out what to cook for dinner (or where to order takeout), and at the same time keep my quirky characters in my head from bothering others.
Plain Fear: Forsaken is your latest release, can you tells us a little about it?LE: Hannah Schmidt, a young Amish woman mourning the mysterious death of her beloved Jacob, must decide between two brothers, between good and evil. When she learns her first love is now the vampire Akiva, she must forsake him and cling to a new love, a lasting love, one that will save her soul.
What is your writing day like?LE: Crazy. Seriously. It usually revolves around some kid activity. Right now, we’re in the heart of summer. This morning I walked the dog three miles, fixed breakfast, took my son to fencing, then my daughter to music, then picked my son up, drove and drove and drove to my daughter’s musical theater camp, and I’m writing here at Barnes and Noble at the moment, then I’ll pick up my daughter and take my son back to fencing, run a couple of errands, go home, let dogs in and out, in and out, chase the kitten, squeeze in some more writing time, then maybe do some yoga with my daughter, and finally fix dinner before eventually collapsing.
When you’re not writing what kind of books do you like to read?LE: Everything. Really, I read across the board. I’m very eclectic in my tastes from classics to romance to fantasy to YA to mystery/thriller, and then there’s non fiction! I’ve got several books going at the moment.
Since becoming published, what has been your favorite part of the process?LE: My favorite part of the process is after I have a rough draft and I’m just working to make the story the best it can be.
What are 3 things that are "must haves" for you when you sit down to write a book?LE: Time, which is rare, but then again you make the time for what you want to do. So scratch that. My laptop. But then again, I’ve written in my notebook when I haven’t had my computer but I do prefer my laptop but I guess it isn’t a requirement but I really don’t want to have to go back to pen and ink or quill. Finally,the most important thing you must have is an idea. And I guess if I don’t have an idea I just start…describing something, but an idea is pretty important. It doesn’t have to be a big idea just something that proves there’s a thought process going on. A couple of years ago when my dad passed away, I had a hard time writing. I was under deadline and really needed to get started. Some days I would only write: chapter five. That’s it. Two words. Nothing else. But I had this crazy labradoodle puppy that made me laugh at all her antics. And she was always into something, getting in trouble, from jumping on the dining room table like she had springs in her legs to eating something she shouldn’t, like spicy chicken wings (9 to be truthful, bones and all). So I started writing about her and she wormed her way into my novel, FACELIFT.
What inspired you to write about a vampire and Amish girl?LE: Well, it started as a joke. Seriously. A friend of mine and I were sitting at a group book signing. The most popular books were Amish and vampires, so we said we should write one. We were not serious. But I guess that planted a seed and in my warped brain. I started noodling the idea. So I had a character and a situation but I didn’t do anything with it for a long, long time. Then one day, I realized the heart of the story was similar to The Phantom of the Opera, one of my favorite books and musicals. I love the line from the musical when Christine sings, “I gave my mind blindly.” And that was it. I had to write this story. So I wrote a chapter and then was busy writing whatever book I was under deadline for. Well, fast forward several months later, (and it’s now about 2 years after that book signing) and I was at a writers conference. I heard an editor say the perfect submission would be an Amish/vampire story. Really? I’d spoken to a couple of friends about my idea but I had not even told my agent for fear she’d laugh me off the planet. Well, I got an appointment with the editor who said such a crazy thing and we talked and she requested it. So I figured I better talk to my agent. And she did laugh. But in a good way. She loved the idea. So when I got home from the conference, I sent her the chapter to see what she thought. I didn’t want to spend any more time on it if it wasn’t any good. Well, my agent LOVED it. So then we began to seriously discuss the proposal, which I had not written. So I did that and sent it to her. And it sold to a very brave publisher: Sourcebooks.
If you could give your lead characters one piece of advice what would it be?LE: Let go of the past.
What type of research did you do for the book?LE: Since there aren’t any vampires for me to interview, I went to Pennsylvania and researched the Amish. I had a grand time eating whoopee pies and riding in a buggy. It was a great trip. My critique partner went with me. The trip really helped me in writing the book.
If you can, tell us what is up next? Is Plain Fear: Forsaken the beginning of a series?
LE: Yes, it’s the first book in the Plain Fear series. Plain Fear: Forbidden is the 2nd book and I’m writing it at the moment. Thanks again, Anna, for having me here today!
PLAIN FEAR: FORSAKEN
BY LEANNA ELLIS
IN STORES AUGUST 2011
Not Death, But Love…
Pain choked off anymore words. She grabbed the cold stone marker for support, splayed her hands across its front as a sob wrenched free from her chest.
Although she knows that the Amish way is to move on from grief, on to a new season, Hannah cannot move on from Jacob, who was taken too soon.
Jacob’s brother Levi also cannot move on—his love for Hannah burns just as strong as ever. But he knows how much Hannah loved his brother, and the event that took Jacob from them.
And it’s a secret he must take to his grave…
So when a mysterious stranger comes to their community, he too carries a secret; one that will force Hannah to choose between light and dark, between the one she wants to love and a new yearning she fears to embrace.
Where to buy:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | IndieBound
ABOUT THE AUTHORLeanna Ellis is the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. She has written numerous books for Harlequin/Silhouette and has published four books with B&H Publishing. With her husband, two children, and wide assortment of pets, she lives in Texas. Plain Fear: Forbidden, the next book in the Plain Fear Series, will be in stores in Spring 2012. For more information, please visit http://www.leannaellis.com.
GIVEAWAY:Thanks to Sourcebooks I have (2) copies of Plain Fear: Forsaken to giveaway. To enter leave a comment along with your email address. Open to U.S. & Canada. The winners will be announced on August 16th. Good Luck!