Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Visit with Leanna Ellis

Winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award, Leanna Ellis writes women’s fiction for B&H Publishing. Her latest book, Lookin’ Back, Texas will be released September 2008. Visit her website at

SDC. We’re anxious to hear all about you, Leanna in reference to why you chose the interesting subject manner you chose for your books!

LE Thanks for having me, Shirley! It’s nice to be here.

SDC: Describe your book coming out and if you have time, we would love to hear about some of the others, as well.

LE My second book for B&H Publishing (which is actually my 14th published novel) is called Lookin’ Back, Texas. It’s about a devoted wife and mother who must return to her hometown of Luckenbach, Texas to help her mother plan her father’s funeral. Trouble is – he isn’t dead! And neither are the secrets she buried there years ago.

The first of my women’s fiction titles was the launch book for B&H Publishing Group called Elvis Takes a Back Seat. It came out last January and I’ll be giving away a free copy here on your site. It’s about a young widow who determines to fulfill her husband’s last request by hauling a three foot bust of Elvis strapped in the back seat of a vintage Cadillac from Texas to Memphis to return it to its rightful owner. The road trip with her eccentric aunt, who knew the King of Rock n’ Roll, and a temperamental teen, hits roadblocks and detours as the three women uncover pieces of their own past along with the bust’s mysterious history. The discoveries change the course of their lives forever.

SDC. What kind of audience are you writing for or do your books fit any age group?

LE I mostly write for women but I’ve had letters from male readers, too. I don’t think my books are aimed at a particular age. Usually I have characters of all ages in my books, so there’s always a character a reader can hopefully relate to.

SDC What do you enjoy the most about your writing experience?

LE I love having written. Actually, I love the creative process. I love when a character knocks on my sub-conscious and begins to tell me his or her story. I love the excitement that generates. I love when dialogue between characters just won’t stop in my head until I go write it down. I love finishing that first draft. But then I love digging back in and strengthening the story. But there’s nothing quite like holding that baby for the first time and opening the cover to find my words printed on the page.

SDC What irks you the most about your writing experience?

LE Irks me? Hmmm. Sometimes the writing business is frustrating for new writers and experienced writers. Your favorite editor leaves. Or has a baby. The market changes. The book you love doesn’t sell as well as you had hoped. All sorts of things can happen that make the writer feel out of control. And maybe that’s the lesson we’re to learn. We ultimately have no control in such a subjective business. We have to really lean on the Lord.

SKC: What inspires you to keep going?

LE Oh, I’m a fairly determined type of gal. But I do have to just stop and pray and ask the Lord what He wants me to do. What is His plan? But all sorts of things inspire me, from answered prayers to new ideas to reading about folks who have reached their dreams. We all have dreams and they’re important to God.

SDC: Do you personally promote your book and name, or do you leave it to your publisher and what do you feel is the best way for you to get known by the public?

LE I’m not very good at tooting my own horn. That’s probably the hardest aspect of the writing biz for me. Thankfully, my publisher is very proactive. But I maintain a website, attend signings, speaking engagements, answer emails from readers, do interviews, etc... I think ultimately the best promotion is a good book for readers.

SDC: So many of us, as authors, spend a lot of time reading. What books do you have on your nightstand and in your reading room that you are working your way through? And do you have any you recommend to us?

LE I usually have two to five books that I’m reading at the same time. I know … crazy. Or so my hubby thinks. J Some of my favorite books are: To Kill a Mockingbird, A Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory, Francine River’s Redeeming Love, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Lives of Bees, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, The Kite Runner by Kahaled Hosseini. Stop me! I could go on and on about some great books I’ve read. I love talking about books!

SDC What is the latest thing you learned about writing that you would like to share with us?

LE I’m constantly reading books about writing. I’ve been reading James Scott Bell’s latest on revision. His book on Scene and Structure is excellent. Often I reread books I’ve had on my shelves for years. But recently I bought the dvd of Chris Vogler and Michael Hague on the inner and outer Hero’s Journey. Fabulous. I also really like to purchase the cds at conferences I attend so I can hear other writers who I may or may not get to hear in person.

SDC: Where can we come visit you and pick up one of your books today?

LE You can find me at any bookstore like Barnes and Noble, Lifeway Christian Stores, Books a Million, Borders or online at, Crossings and On my website, I have a schedule of upcoming events. Hope to see you there!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR sharing with us, Leanna. THIS WAS INDEED AN HONOR and blessing!

Thanks for having me, Shirley! It was my pleasure.




  1. After reading the interview, I would love to read this first book.
    Please enter me in the giveaway.

  2. I would love a copy of this book, please enter me in your contest.


    ladystorm282001 at yahoo dot com

  3. I have wanted to read this, so I would be overjoyed to win.


  4. I would love to read a copy of this book. Please enter me in the drawing.


  5. Thanks for having me over for a chat, Shirley!



  6. Elvis Takes a Back Seat sounds like a great read!

  7. Great to have all you here! I can't wait to see who wins. This book sounds so fun! After the contest I'm going to have to get one for myself!

    Will let you know in a bit who has won.

    Blessings to all!

  8. I loved Lookin' Back Texas and somehow missed Elvis Takes a Back Seat but it looks great - please enter me...

    ryanx6 at msn dot com

  9. I've been wanting to read this book for a long time and would love to win a copy. Thanks for the giveaway.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  10. Keep your wonderful comments coming! I'm sure this book is as delightful as Leanna, the author! Thanks for writing in, everyone!


  11. Hey! I heard about this book and TOTALLY wanted to read it from the moment I laid my deranged eyes on int!

  12. Please enter me in the drawing for "Elvis Takes a Backseat" sounds like great fun!

    I was wondering if Phillippa Gregory one of Victoria Holt's other name's that she goes by? I have been reading Victoria Holt for years (though she is not a Christian writer by any means).

    Thank you!


    LucieInCA [at] aol [dot] com

  13. This looks like a really fun read!

    Please enter me in the contest.

    Thank you,

    Becky C.

  14. Sounds like a fun book!

    aidenadara at

  15. Hi, all! Thanks for all the wonderful feedback. Can't wait to find out who wins. Elvis Takes a Back Seat came out in January 2008 so it's still available if you're interested. Lookin' Back, Texas comes out in less than a month! I'm so excited. Be sure and stop by my website as I'll be announcing a new special contest on my newsletter in the next week! Can't wait!

    Thanks again for having me Shirley!



  16. This sounds like fun. I haven't read anything by this author before. Please put my name in the drawing.