Today, Love Lines from God welcomes author Leanna Sain.
When did you decide to become a writer? In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?
It was at a Halloween party at a friend’s house. We had hiked out to a spooky cemetery, and on the way back my flashlight glanced over to the right and spotlighted an old wooden gate. While gates on a farm aren’t unusual, this one was. There was no fence—just a gate—sitting all by itself at the edge of a pasture.
“Uh…why do you have a gate without a fence?” I asked my friend.
“Dunno. It was like that when we bought the place.”
Maintaining the Halloween spirit, I said, “Dum, dum, duuuum. The gate to nowhere.”
We both laughed, then she said, “That sounds like the name of a book.”
“Yeah, it kind of does, doesn’t it.”
“Why don’t you write it?”
“Maybe I will.”
And that was the story seed for my trilogy: Gate to Nowhere; Return to Nowhere; and Magnolia Blossoms.
Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from?
They can come from anywhere: newspaper articles, street names, a school bus covered with kudzu vines, or a homeless person on the streets of Savannah. I keep a little notebook in my purse to jot down things that strike me. Those get added to a Word document on my laptop. Right now, the list of story ideas is so long I’ll have to live forever to get them all written.
Why do you write what you do?
It’s what I like to read. I love a good edge-of-your-seat story with a dash of history and sometimes a touch of magic realism stirred in.
What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing?
Having enough time to get it all done. I don’t have a problem with the actual writing. It’s the “marketing part” that gives me fits.
If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future?
I’ve heard a Christian man—a Sunday school teacher, no less—say you have to include the sex and bad language if you want to sell books. That comment floored me. I disagree. For a Christian, our writing is part of our testimony. And I think people are desperately looking for books and TV shows that don’t include all that. The problem is they’re hard to find. I’m doing what I can to remedy that.
If you would, please tell us what was the hardest thing about writing your last book? How long does it typically take you to finish your books?
My latest book, Hush, is different than the rest of my books. I wrote it while watching my mother struggle through the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It probably took six months to finish the first draft. I used the writing as a sort of therapy, a way to get rid of some of the hard emotions I was dealing with.
As a result, this book is a little edgier than my others. I created a minor character suffering from the disease, which allowed me to weave some of the things my mother said and did right into the story. I dedicated the book to Mama to honor her. But that didn’t seem to be enough, so I decided to donate half of what I make on sales to Alzheimer’s research. There’s not a cure for this horrible disease and there’s a 100% mortality rate. We need to find a cure.
Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.
First, the time I must take to promote the book when I’d rather be writing
Second, when the words are flowing and I’m in the writing groove, and I realize I forgot to make dinner.
Third, saying goodbye to the characters I create when I reach the end of the story. They become real when you live with them for so long. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
Creating these people and their lives and conflicts and being in control of it all. Well…sort of in control. Sometimes, the characters take the story off in a direction I never intended. But that’s okay, too. I call that “the magic.”
What are you reading now, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
Sue Grafton: I love how her mind worked. Amazing mysteries. I hate that she never got to finish her “Z” book. Sarah Addison Allen: I love the magic realism she weaves through her stories. Frank Peretti: What a great storyteller. Ted Dekker: He is consistently able to produce those “edge-of-your-seat” books I mentioned earlier.
Can you please give us your buy Links?
And what are your social media links if people would like to follow you?
Website and blog: http://leannasain.com
North Carolina native, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, then moved back to her beloved mountains of Western NC. Her Southern romantic suspense, or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method of writing that successfully rolls the styles of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into a delightfully hybrid form that is all her own. Her books have stacked up numerous awards, from Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year to the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians. She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs.
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