- Hi Leanna! Can you tell us a bit about yourself please?LE: Hi, Wendy! Thanks for having me here today! I’m a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, etc…and writer. Most days I feel like a taxi driver as I drive my two children to and from their many activities. I love watching them grow and mature and become who they were intended to be. So I really enjoy going to all of their activities, watching rehearsals, practice, performances, and tournaments. It’s easy for life to sweep over me, especially now that my 81 year old mother moved within 6 minutes. But my husband will tell you, I’m happiest when I’m in the middle of a writing project. I love books and have been writing for twenty years, which still boggles my mind because I keep thinking I’m only twenty-four.
- Will you tell us about how the Plain Fear series came to be? What inspired you to pair Plain Life with Vampires?LE: Plain Fear: Forsaken (Book 1) actually began as a joke. I was at a book signing and another author and I made a joke about we should write an Amish/vampire story because those were the two genres that were selling so well. Well, it really was a joke. I didn’t rush home and start writing the book. But I suppose some seed was planted in my warped little brain and took root. Soon a character was speaking to me about her story and wanting me to write it. I resisted. But there was a very intriguing element that I couldn’t seem to ignore. After a few months, I wrote the prologue and first chapter on a whim. Then I set it aside because I was busy meeting other deadlines. Besides what was I to do with an Amish/vampire story? I mentioned it eventually to a couple of writer friends. They laughed but in a good way and encouraged me to write it. Well, I wasn’t so sure although I was becoming obsessed with the story. But I also spent a lot of time in prayer over this book. More than a year passed, and I was at a writer’s conference. An editor said the perfect submission would be…you guessed it! An Amish/vampire story. So I made an appointment to meet that editor and just talk about the idea. It almost felt like when an addict first admits she has a problem. “I’m a writer and I’ve written an Amish/vampire story.” Well, she requested it. Uh-oh! I hadn’t even mentioned the idea to my agent yet. So I ran into her in the hallway and told her. She laughed—in a delighted way because she loved the idea and she loves how my wacky brain works. So, when I got home, I sent my agent the first chapter to see if she liked it. She loved it. That was all in the fall of 2009. By 2010, I had a contract for Forsaken, and the first book in the series came out last year.
But why Amish and vampire together? Besides the superficial reason I already gave, the two really work well together with my story. The image we have of the Amish is of a simple, innocent, wholesome way of life, which is a perfect environment to place a dark, frightening, evil entity. In fact, part of my inspiration for this story came from The Phantom of the Opera, and how innocent Christine is and how trusting of this voice she hears in her head—the angel of music. So an Amish heroine, sheltered by the world we know, seemed perfect. Except the Amish world isn’t always as sheltered as we think. Doors can be opened to evil forces. The Plain Fear series is good versus evil. So often we just think of evil as being dark and scary…well, it is that but it’s also alluring and appealing and attractive. If you just saw the dark, ugly, scary side of evil, who would go there? Each of the main characters in Forsaken and now Forbidden have to make tough choices.
- Do you have any writing rituals?LE: Rituals imply that they help make something easier. I’m not sure there is an easy way to write. If there is I haven’t discovered it yet. For me, just finding time to write is often a struggle. So any ritual I have is packing a bag with books or research and a notebook and taking my laptop with me everywhere I go. Often I have to write in the car while I’m waiting to pick up one of my children or while sitting at a coffee shop in between activities.
- What books are you currently reading?LE: Usually I have several books going at the same time. My children and I have been listening to The Hunger Games series in the car. I’ve been reading a non-fiction book called Hit Lit and also rereading Gone With the Wind and The Shining. How’s that for an eclectic bunch?
- Are you working on another novel? Can you tell us anything about it?
LE: I am finishing up the third book in the Plain Fear series. This book is about the third Fisher brother, and I’m really enjoying it as he has a few choices to make on which direction his life is going to take. I would give you an official blurb but it would reveal something about book #2 Forbidden, and since its just releasing I better not. ;)
Thanks so much for having me here, Wendy! It’s always nice to be around folks who love books. Happy reading all!
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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