Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Elvis Takes A Back Seat

Welcome my friend and author Leanna Ellis. She's written a fabulous book Elvis Takes A Back Seat.

What's your book about?

Elvis Takes a Back Seat is about a young widow who is determined to fulfill her husband’s last request. She hauls a three foot bust of Elvis strapped in the back seat of a vintage Cadillac from Texas to Memphis to return it to its rightful owner.

The road trip with her eccentric aunt, who knew the King of Rock n' Roll, and a temperamental teen, hits roadblocks and detours as the three women uncover pieces of their own past along with the bust's mysterious history.

The discoveries change the course of their lives forever.
How did you come up with the idea for your book? It's actually a long process for me and very much God activated. God really pulled this whole story together.

With Elvis Takes a Back Seat, I had written chapter one which starts with a garage sale. I had conceived the story of the three women, but I didn't know where these three women were going on their journey. After I'd written the first chapter with the garage sale, where I placed a quirky Elvis bust just for humor, I called a dear friend, D. Anne Love, who writes YA fiction.

We brainstormed the story. I really wanted them to go to Europe. I thought I needed a research trip. She suggested Memphis and Graceland. She didn't know about the Elvis bust because it was such a minor thing.

So when she mentioned Graceland, it all clicked.
How long have you been writing and how did you get published? I quit my teaching job in 1991 and began writing. Three and a half years later, I sold my first book. I was like many newbies and thought I'd sell within a year of starting. LOL! Then I learned how hard it is to write, to submit and how difficult it is to jump that hurdle.

I wrote twelve romances for Harlequin/Silhouette then walked away. The reason is muddled. Basically, I was tired after writing 6 books in 2 years and also having 2 babies fifteen months apart. But I also ran out of ideas for romances.

I had other ideas simmering and wanted to take more time to be with my babies and also pursue these other ideas. During those years I also gave my writing over to the Lord and really began to pursue what He wanted me to do. One thing was homeschooling.

God kept revealing to me that He wanted me to write. So it wasn't until around 2004 when I really kicked myself into gear and began to pursue publishing again.

During the summer of 2006, God steered me toward the CBA. Long story short, I went to my first ACFW conference in September, secured an agent and by March of 2007 had a three book contract. It was all God paving the way, opening the doors.

If you had a whole Saturday to do nothing or anything you want, what would you do?

I'd spend time with my family, my husband and kids. Ideally, we'd play at the beach, swim with the turtles. Of course, that would require us to be in some exotic locale, like Hawaii.

But if I can do anything. . .
What's your favorite color? Red!

What's your favorite animal?

This is tough. Of course, I love my dogs and cats that live with us. But my favorite animals are lions and polar bears.

What's your favorite food?

Usually Tex-Mex. Guacamole, requiring chips, of course. What's your favorite beverage? Diet Cherry Coke. What's your favorite vacation spot? Hawaii, London, Scotland . . . I could name a lot here.

What's your favorite book?

This is too hard to name one. I have many favorites, To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorites. I also loved The Secret Lives of Bees, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Kite Runner, A Year of Wonders to name a few.

What's your favorite movie?

This is tough too. It's a Wonderful Life, True Grit, Dances with Wolves, Singing in the Rain, When Harry Met Sally, Apollo 13, etc. . . This year so far I loved August Rush, Enchanted and the Water Horse. Obviously, I had to take my kids to the last two. Getting time away to see PG-13 movies is tougher.

What's your favorite tv show?

I don't watch a lot of tv as I just don't have the time. Right now, we like to watch Dinner Impossible. Which feels a lot like my life. We love to watch old reruns of I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith.

What's your favorite music?

Oh, lots of favorites here. I love musicals, so Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Wicked all rank at the top of the list. I love Michael Buble and Josh Groban. I also love Newsboys, Selah, Keith Green, Nicole C. Mullins. I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton. I have lots and lots of music on my iPod like U2, Celine Dion, Dan Fogelberg, Michael Ball and of course Elvis.

Who's your favorite actor and actress?

Of course, I love the oldies like Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant and John Wayne. I also love Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe (what is it with Aussies?), Renee Zellweger, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep.

Besides this interview, what's the strangest thing you've done for publicity for a book?

Having an Elvis impersonator sing to me felt pretty odd.

What is your next project?

Lookin’ Back, Texas comes out September '08.

A devoted wife and mother must return to her Texas hometown to help her mother plan her father's funeral. Trouble is - he isn't dead! And neither are the secrets she buried there years ago.

About Leanna.

Winner of the National Readers' Choice Award and Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award, Leanna Ellis has written several novels. She now writes women's fiction for B&H Publishing.

Her book Elvis Takes a Back Seat is the launch title for B&H Publishing and will be released January 2008.

Visit her website at Leanna Ellis.


Rel said...

We Aussies are fabulous, that's what - LOL!!!

Lovely interview, Rach and Leanna. Elvis is a great story - I will be reviewing it soon!!

Leanna said...

Hey, Rachel! Thanks for having me on your blog.