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Monday, August 25, 2008

Spotlight on Jeanne Marie Leach and Shadow of Danger

You know, I have a lot of fun when I can spotlight a friend here as part of the spotlights, but it's even better when that friend is someone extra special who has shared a lot of great memories together with me. Jeanne Leach is one such lady. We met through ACFW and after working together at the bookstore for the annual conference, we formed an even closer relationship. In fact, in the same year I met the man who would become my husband, I stayed a few extra days with Jeanne following the conference and had a fantastic time.

We've shared laughter and hilarity, staying up until 3am closing out the bookstore, luggage cart rides in formal wear where I waved like a princess at the 3 people who were still awake at that awful hour, people falling off of benches, and so many more memories. Thanks to my marriage, we now live just 2 hours from each other, instead of more than halfway across the country.

And now, Jeanne's got a new book, full of adventure and suspense and engaging characters. Enjoy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JEANNE MARIE LEACH lives in the mountains of Colorado with her husband of over 34 years and Nakiska and Sitka, their Alaskan Malamutes. She works full-time as a freelance editor, author, and writing coach, teaches classes to beginning writers, and speaks on a variety of topics to women’s groups. Her memberships in the American Christian Fiction Writers and The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network are invaluable to her in continuing to learn more about the business of writing.

SHADOW OF DANGER
by Jeanne Marie Leach
Published by MountainView Publishing

ABOUT THE BOOK

All Rachel wanted was for someone to love her and a home of her own, but she lives under the shadow of unknown danger. It catches up to her in Colorado and all her dreams are stripped from her. Who can save her now? Is there anyone who would want to?

Buy Your Copy of Shadow of Danger Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for these stories?

At the time I first conceived this story, historical writers were being warned that the mail-order bride tale had been done to death, so stay away from it. Once I decided on a time period and that the story would take place in Leadville, this limited me since the town had only got started as a mining camp a few years prior. All young ladies of good reputation who came to the town had to have already been married, a mail-order bride, or engaged to someone in town.

I had to invent a reason for my heroine to get to Leadville, and thus I started my brainstorming session as to how and why she'd come to such a rough and tumble area. When coming up with a story-line, I like to put the characters into a worst-case scenario, so before long I figured out she'd come to Colorado after being kicked out of her home and having no place else to go.

I read a book by Eugena Price over 10 years ago and was fascinated by the story of a young boy who loved a certain girl since the age of ten and ended up marrying her later in life. I think it's a rarity and wanted to explore the possibility of a young girl having a crush on an older boy that would last many years. If such a crush turned to love, how would the other person feel about it? Would she later find herself to be in love with the thought of being in love, or would it possibly grow into a true and lasting love? Being a "seat of the pants" writer, I like to put forth the basic situation and see how the characters react. In this case, I like the way it turned out.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Despite popular opinion, there are people whose first love is their only love, and this is the main experience I shared with Rachel. The intensity and focus of this type of situation may seem misguided to others, yet can become the guiding force in a person's life.

(*NOTE from Amber - my husband and I fit into this category of first love=only love.)

She possessed the tenacity to keep on going, despite running out of money and knowing someone was after her. When the danger catches up with her, she had just discovered that Seb and Myra were engaged, and that was the one thing that broke her spirit. I think this occurred partly because of her young age and inexperience. I might have acted that way when younger, but I never ran into this type of problem in my lifetime, and I’m now menopausal, so I'd just stand my ground and never give up. :)

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Okay, Tiff, just because we're fiction writers doesn't mean we all think so abstractly. :) I'll play along though and say she’d be vanilla because she's experiencing life from a pure and inexperienced point of view. She'd never gone beyond the local town, lived a sheltered life in the orphanage, and possessed an obedient and compliant personality. All her thoughts and actions are a result of this sweet, gentle and fresh perspective.

4. What themes exist in Shadow of Danger that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

The main theme I want the reader to see is the message of hope. As long as you have breath inside you, you can have hope for a bright future. Sometimes thing happen to us that could potentially strip our hope from us, but if we hold this hope firmly in our hearts, we need not lose it.

Another theme that developed during the story was that of friendship. A true friend will stick with you no matter what happens in your life, and that person will also remain true to you when good things happen to you. There is no room for jealousy in friendship.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Two things gave me the most trouble when writing the book. First, deciding just how dastardly the danger was going to be. I toned it down considerably from the first draft. Also, when the danger caught up with Rachel in Leadville, I had to keep the mystery and not reveal what was going on, yet had to maintain a believable, tough villain. Meanness isn't in my nature (well, unless I'm out of hormones), so this part of the book was the hardest thing to write.

If I had to pick a favorite scene, it would be when Seb first finds Rachel in his blacksmith shop. I am a hopeless romantic, and I could see it being played out in my head. Malnourished, stinking, and filthy, he has to pick her up off of the hay to get her out of his business. Then, when she opens her eyes, he knew who she was, and his heart nearly leapt out of his chest. Nobody else in the world had eyes like that.

I grew up with a girl in school who had eyes colored two distinct colors, and I never forgot them. Even back then, I started collecting ideas for stories, and I knew I had to write about someone with those eyes. Rachel was the perfect character to possess such exotic eyes.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

I am shopping my lumberjack series, and am about ready to submit another stand-alone book to my publisher. I'll keep you informed as soon as I get some more contracts. :)

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Thank you, Jeanne, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Shadow of Danger.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

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5 comments:

windycindy said...

Hope and friendship are my signal that her book would be a fun read. I would like to know the outcome of Rachel's life. Please enter me in your book drawing. Many thanks and I really enjoyed this interview. Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

tetewa said...

Sounds interesting, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

Carolynn W. said...

I really want to read this book, it sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win!
carolynnwald[at]hotmail[dot]com

ChristyJan said...

I enjoyed reading this interview with Jeanne.

SHADOW OF DANGER sounds like a great read ~ please enter me to win a copy.

hawkes@citlink.net

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:

CINDI!

Congratulations! I've sent your mailing information to Jeanne so she can send out your book.

Lots of other winners selected today. Check out all interviews from August 13th through August 29th to see if you've won.

As always, thanks for your continued support.