DEB: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
LEANNA: Hi! Thanks for having me here today! I’m a wife, mother, writer, and taxi driver (which is code that my kids aren’t old enough to drive yet). I spend a lot of time on the road, sitting outside kid activities in my car, while my kids are singing, dancing, acting, and fencing. Yes, I allow one of my children to play with swords. So while I’m waiting for them, I’m playing with my characters, writing on my laptop, and revising.
DEB: What was your inspiration for this book and the series?
LEANNA: It all started with a joke. I was signing books at a multi-author event and the biggest sellers were the vampire and Amish books, so I told a friend of mine I should write an Amish/vampire story. We laughed. But a seed was planted in my brain and soon a character was rattling around in there, poking me, trying to tell me his story. And like most characters, he wouldn’t be quiet. This was not a series I wanted to write and I tried to not write it for a long time. But I fell in love with the heart of the store with the characters, so then it became a compulsion. Thankfully, when I gathered the courage to approach my agent with the idea, she loved it, and then my editor loved it too.
DEB: Is this the final book in the series or will there be more?
LEANNA: This is the final book in the Plain Fear series, and I feel very satisfied with the complete story. I’m very blessed that I was able to tell it. And it showed me I really like writing suspense. It also reminded me how much I like writing romance.
DEB: What are the major pro's and con's about writing vampire characters?
LEANNA: The biggest pro is that it’s just plain ol’ fun writing about vampires! Anything can happen! The worst part is that sometimes it makes it difficult for me to walk around my house in the dark at night. I tend to turn lights on and leave them on.
DEB: What do you say to readers who are surprised that you are writing this kind of series?
LEANNA: Most have been intrigued, but from all my books readers know I think a little outside of the box. Okay, way outside the box. At the heart of the story is a good versus evil battle, and readers from the inspirational market can definitely recognize that kind of a tale.
DEB: Do you have a favorite genre or author that you like to read for pleasure?
LEANNA: I am such an eclectic reader. Because I have teenagers now, I’ve been reading more and more YA novels. I also really like to read historical fiction.
DEB: Tell us about your first experiences with getting published.
LEANNA: Plain Fear: Forgiven is my 20th book, so that tells you how long ago I sold that first one. Way back in 1995. I was working in an office as a receptionist, and an editor called to offer me a contract on my book, Strong, Silent Cowboy. Not long after that, I got a call that the same book was in the finals of the Golden Heart Award through Romance Writers of America. So it was a very exciting time. Since then, I got the rights to those first few books back. I have e-pubbed Strong, Silent Cowboy and its sequel, Christmas in July. And I am working on e-pubbing three more. It’s a very exciting time for writers because there are so many options available to us now. Back when I first published, if that book hadn’t sold there wasn’t another publisher who would publish that type of story. The market was very limited. But now, with the World Wide Web and e-readers, publishing is like the frontier with so many possibilities.
DEB: Do you have advice for new writers?
LEANNA: My best advice is to write, write, write. You learn the most by doing. So write. And then rewrite. Then write some more. But keep writing.
DEB: Tell us something readers may not know about you.
LEANNA: When I graduated college, I became a teacher, and I taught school (reading) for five years. Even though I loved the kids, teaching was draining. I wanted to do something else. My sister suggested I write, because I was always writing in my journal. Words are powerful. She planted a seed in my heart that took root and grew. I’m so glad she did!
DEB: What are you working on right now?
LEANNA: I’m working on getting three more books released for e-readers. So those will be coming soon! I’m also working on a new sweet romance trilogy and I’m also working on a gothic, which has the feel of the Plain Fear series but minus the vampires and Amish.
LEANNA: Thanks so much for having me here today!
DEB: Look for my review of Plain Fear: Forgiven later today!
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