Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Welcome back, Leanna. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I love to write about all sorts of different themes. But when I latch onto one, I really like to look at it from all sorts of angles. I’ve written about letting go and moving on, forgiveness, finding God’s will, faith, perfectionism, and finding joy in the midst of heartache.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
FACELIFT just released and next August (2011) FORSAKEN, an Amish/vampire book will be out.
That sounds interesting. We need to schedule it, too. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Just one? Hmmm…so hard to choose. I guess I would pick the one that God brings across my path. Everyone has a story and I love to hear stories. I’d want to hear that person’s story.
What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
History is so vast and chock full of some amazing and interesting people. Picking one seems impossible. History is like a smorgasbord of folks, all lined up. I want to hear all of their stories. Of course, some folks make for fascinating ready but meeting them…well, not sure I’d want to do that. But some I would love to talk to and hear their stories first hand would be Daniel, Esther, Queen Victoria, Jane Austen, C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, Charles Dickens, Margaret Mitchell…okay, I’m getting into a groove of writers. But as you can see, my list is quite long.
And some of my favorite people are on your list. How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Rejections are a part of this business, whether you’re published or unpubbed. Yes, published authors get rejected too! It still hurts. Recently, my daughter made the cast of Annie and the very wise director told all these ‘orphan’ girls who didn’t get their dream part of ‘Annie’ that it was okay to grieve. Give yourself twenty-four hours, she said, and then move on. And that’s what you have to do in writing. Allow yourself to grieve. Then move on. Now maybe that is moving on to a new story. Or maybe that’s revising the manuscript that was rejected. Or maybe it’s simply sending it out again. Don’t make any decisions during that twenty-four hours, just grieve. Then when the emotion is spent, assess the situation in a rational way. I always say chocolate helps a lot during that twenty-four hours.
I remember back to almost 5 years ago, two weeks before Christmas, to the day my husband was laid off. Ouch! But not only that, my sweet Muffet, my 13 year old shihtzu, passed away. That was even more painful. And in the midst of all that pain, on the same day, my book Elvis Takes a Back Seat was rejected from a secular publisher. But that ‘no’ allowed a better ‘yes’ to come along as God took me on a journey to the Christian publishing side and opened doors for me there.
So remember, sometimes rejection is God protecting us from something we ultimately don’t want or need in our lives. It’s also a way of God guiding us to the right door…or window. Because when God closes a door, He always opens a window.
Tell us about the featured book.
Most of my ideas are a little wacky and FACELIFT began with the idea of a woman who is extremely self-focused and vain. What’s the worst that could happen to someone like that? A botched facelift. She is actually the ex-mother-in-law of my main character. I wanted to probe how society often makes women feel inadequate. Even the church sometimes makes us feel that way when we’re compared to the Proverbs 31 woman. I’ve struggled in this area my whole life. It’s definitely a battle. And yet, if women could just see themselves the way God sees us…well, I believe it would revolutionize the church and the world.
But FACELIFT is also about finding joy in the midst of trials and difficulties and heartache. When I first began writing FACELIFT, it was in the weeks after my father had passed away. At first, I just could not write. I’d stare at the computer screen and sometimes only write “Chapter Five.” Just two words. Chapter. Five. That was it. I tried not to panic. I was after all on deadline. But I just kept at it. But during that time I was also feebly attempting to train my crazy labradoodle puppy. If you haven’t read about her, then check out updates on my Facebook author page. Anyway, when she wasn’t stealing eyeglasses or shoes or food or anything else she could get those shiny teeth on, I was walking her to try to spend a little of her energy. But I soon discovered that those walks were beneficiary for me. The sunshine, the flowers, the warm breeze all helped lighten my mood. Also, I couldn’t help but laugh at this crazy puppy who had actually made my dad laugh during a time that humor was hard to come by. And as I began writing little snippets about The Hilo Monster on Facebook, I began to be able to write again. And of course, that crazy dog wormed her way into my book and became Cousin It.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Once upon a time implies a fairy tale is about to unfold, something lush and grand and mythical, something with a happy ending. But the brothers Grimm had a twisted sense of humor and, as it turns out, “once upon a time” is actually literary gobbledygook for “impending doom.”
They weren’t called Grimm for nothing.
In tale after tale, “once upon a time” invariably precedes certain disaster. Just ask Snow White, Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty. They’ll back me up on this. Those innocuous few words are the harbinger of cursing fairies, parental fatalities, and death marches into dark forests for the near perfect princesses. Not that I consider myself a fairy princess by any stretch of the warped imagination, or even remotely close to perfect, but like those fair, aforementioned ladies, my own story begins with “once upon a time.”
If I’d only been given a five-minute warning.
Doom comes to call for me on a warm autumn day, when the grass is still green and a slight breeze ruffles the yet-to-turn- brown leaves. No letter from the IRS arrives. No mammogram shows an area of concern. God doesn’t send a lightning bolt to strike my house. The announcement comes in the form of Darth Vader’s theme song amplified in the confines of my Volvo.
Chapter one can be downloaded from my website:
How can readers find you on the Internet?
and Twitter at: LeannaEllis
Thank you, Leanna, for visiting us again. The interviews are always interesting.
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