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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Spotlight on Jeanne Marie Leach and Plight of Mattie Gordon

Today's spotlight is not only a beautiful person inside and out, but she's a great friend too. I look forward to living just 2 hours from her once I'm married and living in Colorado Springs. :)


Jeanne Marie Leach is a published author and freelance editor, who lives in the mountains of Colorado with her husband of over 30 years and their two Alaskan Malamutes, Nakiska and Sitka. She enjoys coaching beginning writers and speaking on a variety of topics to women's groups.

By Jeanne Marie Leach


1. A woman who encounters a bounty hunter in search of her son, then realizes the bounty hunter might be the safer of the two. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I first got the idea while watching an old John Wayne movie, Rooster Cogburn (...and the lady). I loved the banter between the old, washed-up sheriff and the lady who hired him to find the man who killed her preacher father. I had the character of Cyrus in my mind first. I wanted him to not be washed-up like Rooster, but have a successful career as a bounty hunter. I knew the heroine of the story needed to be sweet and naïve, yet spunky. Whenever I come up with a character, I take my time and try to come up with the worst possible situation in which that character could find themselves. A couple weeks of deliberation, and I knew that to make Mattie's only son an outlaw being chased by the bounty hunter would be the worst thing that could happen to her. It would also be a way to get the two together and give them a chance to engage in some of that wonderful banter I saw in the John Wayne movie.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Mattie and Cyrus? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Mattie was exactly the same age as me when I first wrote the book. Because of that, I could inject some of my own thought patterns, habits, and ideology of a middle-aged woman into Mattie. I had fun giving her some of my traits, such as her spunk, determination, and naivety.

Cyrus had traits from my younger brother. He is a man's man, but has always had a tender heart, which he despises because he thinks it's unmanly. It didn't take me long to realize my brother's internal conflict would be perfect for my bounty hunter. Cyrus had always avoided meeting the outlaws' kin because he didn't like the tender, compassionate side of himself to emerge. He hadn't counted on meeting Mattie at the canyon hideout, and he immediately puts up this hard exterior in order to keep the gentler side from showing up. After being with Mattie, his internal conflict keeps coming to the forefront and he has to confront his own emotions.

Mattie's strong mothering instincts were hers alone, as I never had children of my own. Her apparent fearlessness in the face of some very difficult times is completely opposite of the way I face hardships, and I found myself admiring her for it.

3. What themes exist in The Plight of Mattie Gordon that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

As long as we have breath, we can have hope for a bright future. Holding on to hope will see us through the most difficult of times.

Yes. There was a lesson I hadn't planned on. That none of us were meant to be "lone wolves." We are here on earth to touch the lives of other people, and for Christians it is especially important that we show other people who Christ is and what he did for all of us on the cross.

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

While there were parts of this book that required a lot of extra research, there weren't any difficult parts to write. I am a seat-of-the-pants (intuitive) writer, and these characters were delightful to work with. Whenever I wasn't certain how to proceed with a particular scene, they took over and their personalities showed me what they would do in that situation. Don't laugh, but I believe if an author knows her characters well, the characters become like real people and will often write the story when the author isn't sure of what to write.

My favorite part to write was the last chapter. Until then, I couldn't choose between two endings. But Will himself took over and pretty much dictated how it would pan out, and I couldn't be more pleased. I cried, smiled, cheered and rooted for Mattie, Will and Cyrus, and I've heard the same from many readers.

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

My next book, SHADOW OF DANGER, will be released in September by Mountain View Publishing.

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?

* * * * *

Thank you, Jeanne, for being in the spotlight. Readers, feel free to leave a comment for your chance to be entered in the drawing for a FREE, autographed book. If you don't wish to be entered but only leave your comment, say so when you post. This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Anonymous said...

Nice interview, Tiff and Jeanne! I would love to win and read this book.

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I already own The Plight of Mattie Gordon. It's a great story.

Best wishes to whoever wins the book. You won't be disappointed.

tetewa said...

I'd love to be entered!

Sue H. said...

Loved the interview. This is my favorite type of novel, historical fiction. Please enter me to win this novel. Thank you!!

amyanne said...

Great interview!

You're getting married! Congrats!

I'm putting together a blog tour for Lisa Bergren. The Begotten (out in paperback in September) and The Betrayed (hardback) also out in September. The tour will be in September and you'll receive both books.

If you're interested, let me know and I'll get the info you'll need to you ASAP, and the books too!

Thanks for your time!
Amy Lathrop
Virtual Assistant, Blog Tour Specialist

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

This week's winner is:


Congratulations. I've sent your information to Jeanne so she can mail out your book.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support. This blog wouldn't exist without you.