“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.” E B White
Every time I read this quote, I’m reminded of my dearest friend who happens to be a very good writer and who I’m thrilled to introduce to you today. Leanna Ellis is the author of eighteen books, –she’ s more prolific than I am . We met twenty years ago in a fiction writing class and discovered that we had a lot in common–we’d left careers in public education to pursue writing. We had just acquired new puppies (one large and one small) and new SUVs, one large, one small, both red. But beyond that, we were very determined to be published authors. Through all the ups and downs of this life, we have supported and encouraged each other, laughed and cried with each other. Stood together as we laid our fathers to rest. It was her encouragement that convinced me to write inspirational historical fiction after a long career writing YA novels in the secular market. I’m excited to introduce you to her new novel, FORSAKEN, an Amish/Vampire story out this week from Sourcebooks.
Normally I don’t read Amish fiction, or vampire stories. I’m one of only a handful of living humans who have not read the Twilight series. But with FORSAKEN, Leanna has managed a fusion of these two genres that makes for a compelling read. Here’s the story of how this book, the first in the PLAIN FEAR series, came to be.
Doro: What moved you to write FORSAKEN?
Leanna: Hi Dorothy! First of all thanks so much for having me here today. So wish this could be a personal visit. Forsaken actually began as a joke. I was at a book signing and another author and I joked that we should write an Amish/Vampire story because those two genres were the best selling. Some seed was planted in my warped little brain and took root. Soon a character was speaking to me and wanting me to write her story. I resisted. But there was an intriguing element that I couldn’t ignore. I wrote the prologue and first chapter, then set it aside because I was busy meeting other deadlines. Besides, what was I to do with an Amish/Vampire story? I wasn’t sure. I spent a lot of time in prayer over this book. More than a year passed.Then, an editor at a writers conference I attended said that her perfect submission would be…you guessed it! I made an appointment to talk with her about the idea and she requested it. Uh oh! I hadn’t even mentioned the idea to my agent yet. But she loved the idea. She loves how my wacky brain works. It’s so nice to be appreciated instead of given a wide berth. When I got home, I sent her the first chapter. She loved it. I wrote a couple of more chapters and a complete proposal. That was in the fall of 2009. By 2010, I had a contract for FORSAKEN.
Doro: I love stories about the serendipitous nature of this business. Sometimes a writer just has to follow her instincts. And it never hurts when you happen to be in the right place at the right time. What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
Leanna: First of all I hope they’ll enjoy it and have a fabulous time reading it. This book is about the fight between good and evil, and how the dark side is alluring and tempting. Evil doesn’t start out looking dark and scary.My heroine, Hannah, is drawn to the darkness. But by the time she recognizes it, will it be too late?
Doro: What’s the title of the next book in the PLAIN FEAR series?
Leanna: It’s called FORBIDDEN. I’m in the middle of writing it now and getting very excited about it. Thanks for having me here today. You’re the best friend anyone could ever have.
Doro: Right back at you, girl! Good luck with this series.
READERS: Leave a comment to be entered into a random drawing for a copy of FORSAKEN. Deadline is Wednesday, August 10th.