Sharon S.: Wow, it has been a year since Plain Fear: Forsaken was published and now the second book Plain Fear: Forbidden is about to released. Let’s start with how the past year has been for you on a personal level. Did you get to do anymore traveling? Win the lottery?
Leanna Ellis: Hi and thanks for having me here again! It’s been a busy year for me on a personal level. My children are in that age bracket in their early teens where they are very busy with their activities. My daughter keeps me busy with all of her theater and shows. I took her to New York last November for a callback audition for a Broadway show. My son is a competitive fencer, so often he has tournaments on the weekends, which require traveling. Most often we drive to another town in Texas but this past year, I also took him to Reno, Salt Lake City for Jr. Olympics, and then Anaheim. My mother moved close to me this year. It was a huge undertaking to get her packed and moved, and I’m really enjoying having her close.
Sharon: How was this past year professionally? What have you been working on?
LE: It was a good year. My book, Facelift, won the Maggie award. Mostly I worked on the Plain Fear series. I traveled for research for Forbidden, visiting my friend, Shelley Shepard Gray, in Ohio. She showed me a small Amish community that was perfect for my book. It was a great trip and really brought so much to Forbidden. When I left Ohio, I had so much fun finishing the book. Then I took a bit of a break before Christmas, which was nice as it was the first year our family has spent the holiday at our own home. Usually we go to my folks, but my daughter was in a show and prevented that from happening. So, it was fun to just enjoy some down time, when I wasn’t driving to and from the theater. Then I began working on book 3 of the Plain Fear series, Forgiven, which I’m still working on and hoping to turn in soon. In between all the other stuff of family, I was able to get my first two published books formatted and uploaded so that now they are available as ebooks.
Sharon: Some of our readers might not be familiar with this series and scratching their heads about the Amish/Vampire connection. Would you tell us a little about the series as a whole and what readers can expect?
LE: Sure, I’d be happy to. First of all, your readers should know that I think outside the box. Sometimes waaaaay outside the box. Which is what happened with Plain Fear. Forsaken 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. 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 ignore. 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. The juxtaposition between the two works so well. 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 about 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.
Sharon: You mentioned that the character Roc was a favorite of yours in book one. Is this still the case and what is it about him you like so much?
LE: Roc is a very conflicted character, which makes him interesting to write about. He’s very passionate and throws all of his heart into whatever he’s doing. He often surprises me, because I’m never quite sure what he’s going to do. Forbidden is really his book.
Sharon: When I talked to you last year you were in the middle of writing book two: Forbidden. Did you make any changes to the storyline of Forbidden after getting feedback from the release of Forsaken?
LE: Not that I can think of. I wrote the story my characters had to tell.
Sharon: Can Forbidden be read as a stand-alone?
LE: It can, but reading Book 1, Forsaken, is a great way to get in the mood for this book. And you get some backstory! But it definitely can be read on its own.
Sharon: Is the Amish community still the focus of the story like in Forsaken or do you expand outward more?
LE: Half the book is spent In New Orleans or on the run and then the last half occurs in a new Amish community.
Sharon: Of course, I’ve got to ask, what is next in this series?
LE: The 3rd book in this series is called Forgiven and it’s about the youngest Fisher brother, who you meet in Forbidden. I’m having a lot of fun with Samuel.
Sharon: Where can fans find you in the near future? Upcoming appearances and on the web?
LE: Mostly I’m on the web, where you can find me on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and of course on my blog and e-newsletter. You can probably also find me driving to some activity or sitting in a parking lot. A recent funny was when I was waiting for my daughter to get out of the theater from a performance and the audience was already pouring out the doors. This lady opened the passenger door to my car and started to get in. I was, of course, writing and looked up startled. She had thought it was her car. So, if you accidentally open my car door or see me on the highway, be sure and honk or wave. Or stop by my website and say hello! Again, thanks for having me back!
Sharon: Thanks for taking the time to talk and congrats on the release of Plain Fear: Forbidden.
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.
GIVEAWAY: I have up for grabs 1 copy of Plain Fear: Forbidden. 1 winner; open to US and Canada only. Enter by leaving a comment or asking a question. Last day to enter: August 17, 2012