Wednesday, August 8, 2012

LEANNA ELLIS—ROUGH DRAFTS AND MARATHONS


Attribution: Creative Commons 

Please welcome award winning author, Leanna Ellis's, return visit to Over Coffee. Leanna writes a variety of genres from sweet romances and women's fiction, to dark paranormals such as her Plain Fear series.
What I enjoy about the Plain Fear series is it's rich complexity. The stories are emotionally intense and aren't shy about dealing with the crisis of faith, the heartbreak of betrayal, damnation and redemption, and set against a backdrop a group known for it's strong faith. They are also a riveting read.
Leanna kept me turning the pages with her latest, Plain Fear: Forbidden. You can read my 5 star review on Amazon.

Writing is like running a marathon. Now, don’t think for a minute that I’m a marathon runner, but I do know a few runners. And I’ve spoken to them about the highs and lows of running a marathon. There are times when you want to give up and collapse onto the ground in a heaving, writhing mass of quivering muscles. Those times come in writing a book too. For me, it’s usually in writing the rough draft. Writing Plain Fear: Forbidden, book #2 in my Plain Fear series, felt like I was running out of energy, out of words, out of ideas, and that I might crumple to the keyboard as I crossed that ‘finish line’ of “The End” on my rough draft. 

Before I revised my manuscript and sent it off to my editor, I scheduled a trip to Ohio to visit a friend of mine, Shelley Shepard Gray, who lives there and writes Amish novels. Frankly, neither of us had much time, just about two days, for me to do some research. We had originally talked about driving up to Holmes County but our time constraints prevented us from doing that. So, she told me about a little enclave in the southeastern corner of her state, right near Kentucky, which had an Amish community we could visit.

First, we checked into a fabulous bed and breakfast Shelley had frequented with her critique group. We had a little cabin, nestled against some woods. The weather turned against us and it rained most of the time. But that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The whole trip, early in the fall with the leaves changing and tumbling around us, the cool night air, and the dark, sinister clouds gave a wondrous atmosphere that fit my book perfectly.

Attribution: Amish on Shaefer Road
Sia McKye 
The small community of Amish huddled in the hills and dales of Ohio and Kentucky ended up being the perfect spot for my characters to have hidden. Maybe it was the time of year, not too long before Halloween, when pumpkin cannons were advertised and freshly pressed apple cider sold, but it all reminded me of The Legends of Sleepy Hollow.

That trip may have been short but it was oh so very sweet. Spending time with my dear friend, who has such a calm, giving spirit, and visiting with a couple of other writing friends while I was there, plus seeing the terrain, which planted a firm picture in my mind, gave me the energy I needed to finish my book. I rushed back home, eagerly writing all the way. I felt like a runner, turning a bend, finding a refreshment stand, a friendly face, a pat on the back, and a gulp of water before racing for the finish line.

There is a lesson in all of that, not just for writers but also for our lives. When difficulties come, and they will, we all need a friend to reach out to, beautiful scenery to inspire us, time to process it all (good food doesn't hurt and neither does laughter), and then we are ready to run the race set before us.

Amazon • Books•A•Million •
Barnes & Noble • IndieBound
PLAIN FEAR: FORBIDDEN BY LEANNA ELLIS – IN STORES AUGUST 2012

How Long Must We Pay for the Sins of Our Past?

She blames herself for her husband's death. But for Rachel Schmidt Nussbaum, redemption may only lie in the ultimate sacrifice.

When a stranger arrives claiming only she can save him, Rachel's impulsive instincts lead her on a perilous journey, one that leads her to a battle that will decide both the fate of her soul and the life of her unborn child.

A far–from–ordinary story of love and desperation, sin and sacrifice, Amish faith and vampire lore, Plain Fear: Forbidden is an imaginative thrill ride that's like nothing you've ever read before. Excerpt Chapter




Leanna 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. For more information, please visit www.leannaellis.com, follow her on Twitter, @LeannaEllis, and “like” her on Facebook.






Photo attributions: photos are my work unless otherwise stated, or are by author/publisher permission, or from creative commons, or wikimedia.

14 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome back to Over Coffee, Leanna! I loved this book and thank you for several days of enjoyment.

I hear you on rough drafts and getting over the finish line.

Anne Gallagher said...

Marathons, I know how that goes. Every once in awhile I get that "itch" and I'm locked in the office for 12 hour stretches. Thankfully it only happens once in a while. I'd love to be locked in a cabin for the weekend. Raining or otherwise. Sounds like a great trip.

Thanks Sia, Thanks Leanna. Great post.

Leanna Ellis said...

Hi, Sia! Thanks so much for having me here today! And I'm soooo delighted you loved the book! Thanks for a great review!

Hi, Anne! I'm glad you liked the post. I would so love a weekend in a mountain cabin too just to write. Ahhh. Or a house on the beach. Well, I'm there right now but it's too busy and chaotic with family and kids and such. Fun but not very conducive to writing.

I'll be traveling today from the beach to Vicksburg as we head home. But I will check in here again this evening if anyone has a question or wants to say hi! ;)

Blessings,

Leanna

Jo said...

Sounds like a great read, I will be sure to check it out.

Thanks for hosting Leanna today Sia.

Leanna Ellis said...

Thanks, Jo! And thanks for stopping by! Have a blessed day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We all need friends to help us on our journey.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Good friends, especially writing friends, are the very best. I don't know what I'd do without them.

Glad you had some fun time at the beach, Leanna!

Leanna Ellis said...

Hi, Alex! Friends are a vital ingredient to life. I've been so blessed with so many wonderful friends.

Sia, oh we had a great time at the beach and a lovely drive today. We are settling into Vicksburg and off to search for my great, great (I think that's right) grandfather who may or may not be buried here. He died during the Civil War here in Vicksburg.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh, that would be fascinating to find, Leanna. My family lost a few there too.

Leanna Ellis said...

Sia, I wish we could have found him for my mom, but alas he is either 'unknown' or he was possibly buried outside of Vicksburg. Wish I was brave enough to go trooping through the cemetery at night. ooooh!

James Rafferty said...

Leanna, I love your story of getting inspired by the setting and a fine day spent with a friend. I've run 10Ks and written novels and there is a common thread -- lots of hard work, but well worth the energy expended.

Leanna Ellis said...

Hi, James! Wow! Proud of you for running 10Ks and writing. Obviously not at the same time, right? ;) Takes determination to do both though.

The fire alarm just went off in the hotel where I'm staying. All is well but now I'm awake. Anyway, Sia, thanks again for having me here!

Other Lisa said...

Oh, boy, do I relate to this -- writing a novel really is a marathon! Thanks for the inspiring post, Leanna!

Leanna Ellis said...

Hi, Other Lisa! ;) Glad I could be inspiring to you. Hang in there.