Audience applauds as the blog studio band ends their song. The curtain parts, and Carol Ann emerges wearing a navy blue and white pin-striped suit and a huge smile.
CAROL ANN: Welcome, everyone! First, I apologize for our show airing being delayed due to an unforseen circumstance. I was in full makeup and ready to tape the show, when I received an urgent call from my son-in-law. My youngest daughter suffers from debilitating migraines, and she was having a very bad one. He had to take her to the hospital and needed someone, namely me, to come and watch their four small children. I'm happy to say that she is a little better today. Tomorrow she will see her doctor to see the next steps. Medication and chiropractic therapy do not seem to be working. But...enough about me. Thank you for taking a rain check and coming back today. You won't be disappointed. I have a very special Christian author who will be talking to us today. Her name is Jeanne Leach.
Jeanne is a published author of 3 Christian historical fiction novels and one non-fiction writer’s help book, and is a freelance editor. She has successfully helped unpublished Christian writers since 2002 to become award winning and published authors, and developed and teaches writing workshops for beginners. She lives in the mountains of Colorado with her husband of 33 years and their two large Alaskan Malamutes. She also speaks on a variety of topics to women’s ministry groups. Her hobbies include scrapbooking, interior decorating, snowshoeing, Jeeping, exploring ghost towns, hiking, reading, studying American history, and is a Denver Broncos football fan (they are season ticket holders).
Here is the book she will be talking about today.
Friends, please put your hands together and give a warm welcome to Jeanne Leach!
From left stage, a woman walks out and joins Carol Ann in one of the chairs.
CAROL ANN: Jeanne, thank you for agreeing to appearing on the Blog Studio Interview Show.
JEANNE: Thank you so much for the opportunity.
CAROL ANN: Tell me about your book. (Carol Ann holds the book for the audience to see)
JEANNE: Shadow of Danger is a short historical romance that takes place in Leadville, Colorado in 1879. Rachel Ringhold is roused from her bed in the middle of the night and sent away from the orphanage, where she’d grown up and now works. Dazed and confused, she flees from an undisclosed danger. With a prayer in her heart, and little money in her satchel, she sets out to find Seb Jameson, the man who used to work for the orphanage as blacksmith and handy man, and who’d captured her heart as a youth.
Rachel finally reaches Leadville and discovers Seb engaged to be married. Rachel enjoys her new life and grows to a fresh awareness of what Jesus Christ accomplished for her on the cross. The danger suddenly catches up to her. Her renewed faith is shattered. All she’d ever wanted was for someone to love her and a home of her own, but now her dreams have been stripped from her. Who can save her now? Is there anyone who would want to?
I write about what I know, and I love and know Colorado history. I invent characters first. I think about them and develop them, then start throwing situations at them to see how they will react. When I come upon a tough situation that causes problems for the character, I’ll then put them through it to see if there is a story that can be developed. This story came about after visiting Leadville one day. I knew I wanted Rachel to come to Leadville, and I needed to get her there without making it a mail-order bride story. Something had to scare her enough to go to Leadville, but I couldn’t think of what the “something” would be. I started writing the story by the seat of my pants (without an outline), and the danger unfolded as the story grew. I’m very pleased with it.
CAROL ANN: Wow, this book sounds wonderful! I can't wait to read it. **smile** What do you find is the hardest thing about being a writer?
JEANNE: Finding uninterrupted time to write. Both my husband and I work from home, so when his business is slow, I have to step up my freelance editing business, which leaves me with little or no time to write. Then, when I do find the time, I often have the usual home interruptions, plus I have to do some work and run errands for hubby’s business.
CAROL ANN: Before I began writing seriously, I imagined a life of sitting at my computer writing masterpieces and enjoying my free time. Now I truly understand the reality. Finding time to write is difficult. How did you realize that God was calling you to write?
JEANNE: First and foremost, I am called to minister hope to women. Writing books that women can identify with that will show them that as long as they have breath, they can have hope for a bright future is just one of the tools God has given to me to carry out His calling on my life.
CAROL ANN: What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?
JEANNE: I’m the type of person that will continue working on something for however long it takes. Seven years elapsed between my first and second published books, but only a year between my second and third. I have had a myriad of learning experiences during that time. Some of the biggest stumbling blocks I’ve faced are:
Writer’s block – I found that by simply skipping the portion I couldn’t get through and starting farther in the story, I soon was able to go back and fill in the missing part.
Rejections – My record is 4 rejections on the same day for the same book. Ouch! I just kept on sending that book out. It’s still not published, but I know I’m that much closer to finding the publisher who’s been waiting for this book to arrive on their desk.
Marketing – I had no clue what to do and when to start marketing my books. I used to think this was a four-lettered word, but I have been learning to do what I can when I can and don’t worry about what I can’t accomplish.
CAROL ANN: I admire that. You are an inspiration. **smile** Okay, now for a personal question. Do you collect anything?
JEANNE: I collect Christian fiction books – but I only keep those that I have reread or plan to reread.
I also collect North woods Santas. The dolls are all at least 12 inches tall and are wearing furs and flannels and snow boots and have porcelain or plastic faces, and then I have a dozen smaller, wooden ones. I started out with Victorian Santas when we lived in Kansas, but after moving to the mountains, I am more into woodsy decorating. I have no problem with Santa Clause because Christmas is a man-made holiday. The only thing I find in the New Testament that God tells us to celebrate is Holy Communion. He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” But he never mandated that we celebrate his earthly birth. So, every country that celebrates the holiday has a different set of TRADITIONS that goes with it. I love every part of the American traditional Christmas.
CAROL ANN: I love learning what other authors collect, besides books, which I think we all are prone to do! Here's a question I ask a lot of my guests. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?
JEANNE: Absolutely! Words. They are powerful in that they can build people up or tear them down. Their effect can last a lifetime. The sword’s swipe is quick and its outcome is immediate. Words can wound the heart and keep the victim in pain and kill the spirit slowly over the person’s lifetime. Conversely, they have the power to bring peace where there is contention and healing to a wounded heart. The sword only serves to instill fear, but the right words can remove fear and invite one to reach for their dreams.
CAROL ANN: Which inspires you more? A brisk walk in the autumn with the leaves changing color, or in the spring when the flowers are and trees are budding?
JEANNE: A brisk walk in the autumn. I live in the mountains, and we have no spring. We cannot plant flowers until June 10th because we will still get snow and frost through the first week in June. Then the rain comes until around the 4th of July. July and August are the summer months, and September brings the first snow of the new season. In October we always enjoy an Indian summer, and that’s when I love to go outside the most. I love the cool breezes, the aspen trees as their leaves turn to shimmering gold. When I walk up on Baldy Mountain, there is a section of a one-lane dirt road where the aspens have grown tall and they reach over the road, creating a tunnel of golden leaves. The tunnel frames the mountains across the valley. It takes my breath away and I feel like I’m standing in God’s cathedral. I am in awe of God’s continual changes and promises of what is to come.
I love to watch the spruce suddenly turn blue – first tips, then within a week’s time the entire branches have put on their new winter color. I love to watch wildlife prepare for winter. On my autumn walks, I’ll see squirrels stashing away thousands of pinecones, foxes looking for mice while they’re still easy to find, geese taking a breather on the pond out two blocks from our home, and the beaver pulling long branches down the creek to make sure his home is ready for the snow.
I bet you never expected such a long-winded answer.
CAROL ANN: I love long-winded answers! **smile** It's easy to see that you are a talented writer. You just painted a beautiful picture in words. Now, I'll put you on the spot. You are sitting in a restaurant with several friends when someone walks up to you and thrusts a microphone in your hand. You have one minute to tell the world something....what will it be?
JEANNE: Reach for your dreams! Remember, the mediocre are always at their best. If you haven’t got something that seems impossible to achieve, then you aren’t living up to your fullest potential. Grab a dream and never give up. Never, never, never give up!
CAROL ANN: **Applauds along with the audience** How do you balance your "real" life with your "writing" life?
JEANNE: There’s no difference. There’s just life. If I find myself writing well and “in the groove” and my husband asks me if I’d like to go with him to wash the car, I’ll always choose spending time with my husband above anything else. If he phone rings, I answer it, and if it’s my chatty friend on the other end of the line, I’ll talk to her for a little bit and then tell her I’ve got to get back to my writing, but that it was a beautiful thing talking with her that day. If I have to do the laundry or shopping or cooking or cleaning in the midst of my writing, I’ll do it because my family comes first – always. Writing is just one part of my real life, and like everything else I do, I give it my best effort for however long I have at that moment, whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours.
CAROL ANN: Jeanne, I've loved chatting with you today. You were very inspiring. **Carol Ann holds up the book again** Friends, this is Jeanne's book. Please go to your favorite bookstore and purchase it. You won't be disappointed. **Carol Ann turns back to Jeanne** Before you leave, where can readers learn more about you and your books?
JEANNE: They can go to my website at www.jeannemarieleach.com.
CAROL ANN: Thank you again, Jeanne, for joining me here today.
Audience gives a standing ovation, the band begins to play and the curtain drops on another episode of The Blog Studio Interview.