I'm glad to introduce you to my friend Leanna Ellis and her newest book Elvis Takes a Back Seat. Leanna go way back to before she married, then we didn't see each other for a number of years. Now we're back together. I know you'll love her.
I’m sure there are bits and pieces of me. A writer is never separate from his/her writing. Yet, once the pieces become part of a book or a character then they are no longer me.
In Elvis Takes a Back Seat, my heroine has placed her husband’s memory on a pedestal. When I first began my writing career, my writing was my idol. I had to take it off the pedestal and sacrifice it to God. I let God take the driver’s seat and this author took a back seat.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
This took me a while to think about. Too many things to choose from, I’m afraid. I tend to be quirky in the sense that I listen to Christmas music all year long, especially in the heat of the summer. But I’ve also done some quirky things like accidentally walking in on my father-in-law when he was about to take a shower. Oops!
Yeah, ooops! When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I think I’ve always had a creative bent. The first story I ever remember writing was a Poe-esque tale that I wrote in 6th grade. I had such fun with that. My sister is the person who actually encouraged me to write.
Good for your sister. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read a lot of ABA best sellers. I love Elizabeth Berg and Sue Monk Kidd. The Secret Lives of Bees was fabulous. But I just finished The Kite Runner. It’s a hard read but fabulous. I’m also reading Ernest Gaines’ Lesson Before Dying. Another difficult (as in painful) read but wonderful. I could not put down The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory. Also, The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks was fabulous.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I used to write category romance. But now I write women’s fiction.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
You’re assuming I’m sane! Mostly I know I can do nothing without God. And I’ve learned to say ‘no’ to good things so I can say ‘yes’ to great things.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I search for a name in a baby name book. I might choose one but then change it until it feels right. Sometimes the name simply comes to me.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A lion. I love lions.
What is your favorite food?
Chocolate. Guacamole. But not together.
I hope not. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock was publication. Perseverence.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Write, write, write. Write for a while without trying to sell. Just learn the craft. Find your voice.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
I’m very excited about Elvis Takes a Back Seat. It’s my first women’s fiction title. It was a lot of fun writing. But it also has a lot of depth and seriousness to the novel. God really had his hand on this novel. Last summer when He pulled me to the CBA, He opened doors that I would have never dreamed possible. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with this book.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Leanna, thank you for spending this time with us.
Readers, you'll want a copy of this book. One of you will win a copy. Just leave a comment to be in the contest. But if you don't win, get a copy. You'll love it.