Thursday, August 7, 2008

An Interview with Jeanne Marie Leach, and Book Giveaway

Jeanne Marie Leach is a published author in both fiction and non-fiction. For fiction, Jeanne writes historicals, as well, she has a writer’s help book out for the beginners out there. Please read on to learn more about Jeanne and her books.

Q: Jeanne, please tell us about yourself, what are your hobbies?

Jeanne Marie Leach responds: Scrapbooking, American history, Jeeping, interior decorating, buying and selling on eBay, reading, snowshoeing, winning the local annual chile cook-off, and my husband and I are Denver Broncos season ticket holders.

Q: How many books have you published and over what period of time?

Jeanne Marie Leach responds: My first book, ANGEL IN THE SALOON, was released in 2000. My next, THE PLIGHT OF MATTIE GORDON, was released in 2007. Then came my writer’s help book, WRITING BASICS FOR BEGINNERS, in January 2008, and SHADOW OF DANGER was released in April this year.

My book, THE PLIGHT OF MATTIE GORDON is under contract to be released in audio book with Books In Motion around the end of the month.

Q: In addition to writing, what other things do you do writing related?

Jeanne Marie Leach responds: I just finished teaching a course with The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network called Editing Fiction. I had 20 students, and most have said they want me to teach an extended version or part two. I am presently negotiating the months I will teach the class next year.

I work full-time as a freelance editor, which I absolutely love. I am making more money than ever before in my life, and I learned most of what I know from being a member of ACFW for 8 years. I was the 46th member to join.

I have judged the Genesis contest twice, and would love to do it again.

Q: What inspired you to take up fiction writing?

Jeanne Marie Leach Responds: All my adult life I've been daydreaming different stories. I'd play out the lives of my characters over a period of six months to a year. When I was about 40 years old, I became concerned that I was spending too much time in my make-believe world, so I finally got up the nerve to tell my Clinical Psychologist father-in-law about my 'problem'.

He leaned forward in his chair, the prominent wrinkles between his eyebrows becoming even more pronounced. "Do you envision yourself doing bad things to these characters?"

"Well, sometimes bad things happen - like car accidents, or someone tripping and breaking their leg."

"No, I mean do YOU actually perpetrate bad things to these characters?"

I'm sure my eyes grew wide as saucers by then. "No!" I shook my head vehemently. "These are merely stories that I invent."

He let out a breath of relief. I could tell because the wrinkles went back to their normal depth. Dad relaxed against the back of his chair. "The only difference between you and a writer is that a writer writes these stories down."

A writer? Could it be...?

So, I sat at the computer and started to write. Ten books later, it was my husband's turn to influence me. He looked at me one day and said, "If you don't start sending those books out to a publisher, I'm revoking your computer privileges. The amount of time you spend there on this 'hobby' of yours is ridiculous. There needs to be a purpose to all of this."

Submit my 'babies' for someone else to read? Is this the type of stuff people want to read? So, thus began my writing career.

That’s amazing! I love this story, Jeanne, thanks for sharing it with us!

Q: Is there something unique or special about you or how you write that you would like to tell us about?

Jeanne Marie Leach: I write in a style I like to call “organized seat-of-the-pants.” I prepare to write a new book by first doing my research. Since I write historicals, this means I must research everything from terrain to clothing to furniture. So, I write down everything I might possibly need to know and head for the library, internet, and schedule field trips I might need to take.

I then look for maps of the area, pictures of buildings, and any other photographs that will help me describe my town or terrain.

I write character charts for each of the main characters.

All these items then go into a folder for easy reference. I don’t like to keep things exclusively in my computer because I find it much quicker and easier to simply keep my folder on the desk beside me, and I can find whatever I need right away.

I have tried outlining, but that doesn’t work well. I usually know what I want to happen in the book, but rarely know the step-by-step events. So, I sit down and just write. Whenever I tried to go by an outline, the story has taken an entirely different direction by chapter three, so I no longer write outlines.

I do not edit as I go. I sit down and just write from start to finish. Then I go back and edit the book as many times as it needs it. I’ve noticed the longer I write, the fewer rewrites and edits I have to do, but make no mistake, I still must edit. I have never written the perfect chapter yet, but it’s something I aspire to.

Q: Rejections, what is your experience with them, and how do you handle them?

Jeanne Marie Leach responds: Having written and submitted ten books to publishers so far, I have received my share of rejection letters. My record: I received four rejections for the same book in the mail on the same day.

Rejections don’t bother me because I don’t take them personally. It’s part of the business. There are over 8,000 publishers in America. I just have to find the one who is looking for what I write. A rejection slip simply means I now know one less publisher to submit to. Since most rejections don’t tell me why I’m being rejected, it really doesn’t affect my writing at all.

Q: You’ve written many books, waited a long time before beginning to submit, so tell us, how did you keep inspired to write?

Jeanne Marie Leach responds: I joined an ACFW critique group seven years ago. We were together until last year, when most of us were becoming too busy to continue any longer. Those were the most productive years I spent in between my first and second books. I learned so much about writing, and as of now, every one of us from the group are published, several multi-published, and the last one just got a great three-book contract from a major Christian publishing company.

It was during this time of learning the ins and outs of writing that I came to the decision that I enjoy the editing process as much as writing. Another year of training, and I now work solely from home as an editor, teacher and speaker.

When you send out your manuscript, the best therapy is to remain busy doing what you love; write, edit, research and just keep on going. Never give up! The longest waiting time I had was one publisher kept what is now SHADOW OF DANGER for two years before I got it back in the mail with a generic rejection slip. When I finally got a contract on it, the small publisher had personal set-backs physically, and she was ordered by the doctor to cut back to only working 4 hours per day. That meant I waited another two years before the book was released.

Never give up! Keep working on something, and be patient. You’ll be rewarded if you do.

Q: How many novels did you have completed before your first sale? Do you intend to try selling all of them? Why, or why not?

Jeanne Marie Leach responds: I wrote 3 ½ books before my first sale. These were all part of the same series as the book I sold, but since the publisher rejected the rest of the series, I had to wait until I got my rights back before I could try to sell these books. I intend to sell them all. They are presently with an agent, who I hope is considering representing me.

Q: What is a typical writing day for you?

Jeanne Marie Leach responds: As of January 1st this year, I haven’t had time to write. My hubby’s mortgage business had to shut down due to the new laws passed in Colorado over the past two years. Consequently, I must make as much money as I can, and God has blessed me with work. I love editing, and am so thankful for this ability to make more money than ever before. However, this has left me with little, if any, time for writing.

Even so, I am not the typical career writer. I don’t have a tight schedule I adhere to. I have often heard people say that they get frustrated because “life gets in the way.” I love my life. If my hubby wants me to go with him to get his haircut just for the ride together, I’ll drop everything and go.

My calling is not writing, but to minister hope to women and show them their true value in Christ Jesus. Writing is just one of the ways I can do this. Above this calling is my husband. The day I hear myself saying or thinking that my husband is an intrusion in what I’m doing, I will need to make a drastic change in my life.

Q: What does your publishing house expect of you with regard to self-promoting your novel(s)?

Jeanne Marie Leach responds: Everthing! I must get reviews and interviews, get the books into bookstores and libraries, book my own signings and other appearances, and do my own marketing. I must make and send out postcards, make up my own bookmarks, find reviewers and bloggers who will promote the book.

The publisher got the books listed with Baker and Taylor, Barnes and Noble, and She made a table stand of the cover for me to use at signings. She put my books in a brochure that goes out to bookstores, and she goes to booksellers conventions.

Q: Do you have any further direction or thoughts that you care to share with weary authors-in-training?

Jeanne Marie Leach responds: The Bible says we must study to show ourselves approved. Before going forth to preach the Word, one must go to Bible school, or missionary training. Writing is no different. Not only must you learn proper grammar, punctuation, usage and style, but fiction has another completely different set of components that must be present before a publisher will consider it for publication.

Do NOT compare yourself with anyone else. We are all God’s personal stories; each one is different. One person may get a sale on their first book. The next person might wait seven years before their book is finally published, and still others might work fifteen years before they realize publication. That doesn’t mean you aren’t called. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Never give up! Never, never, never give up!

Thanks so much for all these wonderful, informative responses, Jeanne! It was great featuring you! To learn more about Jeanne Marie Leach, please visit her website at

Shadow of Danger,
ISBN: 978-1-932695-68-7,

Mountain View Publishing,

released April 2008

Back cover copy:

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.

Tired, dirty, and malnourished, Rachel finally reaches Leadville, Colorado and discovers Seb engaged to be married. Unaware of the turbulence in Seb and Myra's relationship, 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?

The Plight of Mattie Gordon,
ISBN: 1-932695-47-8,

Mountain View Publishing,

released March 2007

Back Cover copy:

Mattie Gordon's ordinary life is turned upside down when bounty hunter Cyrus Braydon arrives on her doorstep showing a wanted poster for her son. WANTED: Will Gordon, Dead or Alive.
Consumed with finding her son and making sure his soul is ready to meet eternity, Mattie embarks on a desperate race to reach Will before the bounty hunter finds him.

When Mattie discovers someone following her, she reluctantly forms an alliance with Cyrus in order to save herself and Will. She soon discovers her own inadequacies and faces hard realities. The son she thought to be good, isn't, and the bounty hunter she judged as evil is perhaps not so after all.

Now she must save Cyrus from Will's venomous grasp. If she succeeds in helping Cyrus escape, will her son ever listen to her about Jesus' forgiveness? If only she can muster enough faith to trust God for one more miracle. But which one…?

Writing Basics for Beginners,
ISBN: 978-1-60145-375-4,, Inc,

released December 2007

Back cover copy:

Do you have a book idea, but the task of actually writing it is too daunting and has held you back? Jeanne Marie Leach takes the knowledge she’s gained over many years of research, writing, and publishing, and has arranged it in a step-by-step timeline and in an order most beneficial to beginning writers. This book gives beginners a springboard from which they can gain direction and understanding of the basic mechanics of writing a novel.

There are shelves filled with writer’s help books in today’s marketplace, but how does a beginning writer know what he or she needs in order to get started? Often the information we find at the library or online isn’t what we need at a particular time. It wouldn’t be helpful to understand how to submit a manuscript to an editor when the author has yet to write a word.

In Writing Basics for Beginners, you’ll find:
· A sample character chart
· Formatting a manuscript
· Words that mark you as a beginner
· The elements of a good story
· Plotting
· Point of view
· Writing good dialogue
· Writer’s helps books that will enhance your writing
And so much more!

This book will give you the knowledge of writing a novel, and will then point you in the direction to continue on toward publication.

My books can all be ordered online, and the instructions are found on my website at

Book Giveaway:

If you would like to be entered to win Jeanne Marie Leach’s most recent release, Shadow of Danger, please leave a pertinent comment with your augmented e-mail address. The draw will take place next Wednesday evening, August 13, 2008 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. Good luck, everyone!

Winner: The lucky winner of Shadow of Danger is Patti Shene. Congratulations!


Janna said...

This was a great interview - I actually learned a lot! Maybe I'll get to meet Jeanne at the ACFW conference next month! Please enter me...

ryanx6 at msn dot com

Cheryl said...

Great interview! The book sounds great! Please enter me in the drawing. My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net

Lacresha Hayes said...

I absolutely loved this interview. I'm sold on this author. I love history and her books seem more suited to my tastes.

Eileen, your blog is continually introducing me to new talent that I've missed. Keep up the good work to both of you.

Patti Shene said...

Wonderful interview, ladies! Jeanne is a multi-talented writer, and this interview brings that fact to light. I have a copy of the book, but if I should win the contest, I'd donate it to our local library, so put my name in the barrel!

Karen said...

I love discovering new (to me) authors that I just know that I will enjoy reading. I look forward to reading those mentioned in this great interview.
Please enter me in the contest.


windycindy said...

Rachel sounds like her life has not been easy. She grew up in the orphanage that she is now working in! I am curious about who roused her in the night and why. Then, the one person she thought she could trust in life is not available. It does sound like she becomes happy again and realizes God is faithful. Thanks, Cindi

Carole said...

Thank you for interviewing Jeanne, because she is a new author to me. I am very interested in reading her books, so thank you for this giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Cherie J said...

Wonderful interview! It is always fun to learn about a new to me author. I appreciated learning more about Jeanne. Shadow of Danger sounds like a wonderful story. Would love to be entered into the drawing. Thank you!


Pamela J said...

"Rachel enjoys her new life and grows to a fresh awareness of what Jesus Christ accomplished for her on the cross." I love books that show this growth in the Lord. I also love the lurking danger aspect and just know I'd enjoy reading this book. Please enter me.
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

great interview. discovered a new author again today. please enter me in the contest.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Anita Yancey said...

Enjoyed the interview. Would love to read the book. Please enter me.

Anonymous said...

My favorite thing about this interview - the 'never, never, never give up'! I'd love to read the book. Please enter me...

G.R.I.T.S. said...

sounds like a gr8 book!!! i can't wait to read more of her work!!
Rae Byuel

Lucie said...

Please enter me in the book drawing. Thank you for the interview with Jeanne. Shadow of Danger sounds like a great Western read!


LucieInCA [at] aol [dot] com

Carolynn said...

This book sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win!