I am thrilled to be meeting Leanna Sain for the first time! Thank you for joining me for coffee this morning and allowing us to get to know you a little! I admit to checking out your website in anticipation of our chat today, and I found it so interesting!
PM: I would love to know a little more about your Heartland Amish Furniture, how did you become involved in that? I love handcrafted wooden furniture, and I would probably go a little crazy in your store!
My husband first saw Amish made furniture in Alaska back in 2005. We already owned a ready-to-finish furniture store, and were used to working with solid wood furniture, but the quality and craftsmanship of the Amish blew him away. After some investigating and several trips to Amish country in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, we started our own enterprise. Most of what we do is built to order. Many pieces are one-of-a-kind. It’s a lot of fun, but we’re definitely spoiled now. Less than Amish-quality just won’t do.
PM: If there was a news story about your life, what would the headline say?
Right now, it would be: North Carolina Author Writes for a Cause. I wrote my newest novel, Hush, while watching my mother struggle through the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It was a dark time for me. There was a lot of anger, and frustration, and confusion, and pain. To help me cope with that, I created a minor character with that disease. It enabled me to weave some of the things my mother said and did, right into the story. It also allowed me to work out some of those emotions … therapy, if you will. I dedicated the book to Mama, but I wanted to do more, so I decided to donate half of any book royalties to help find a cure for this horrible disease. Hopefully, one day soon, Alzheimer’s won’t be the death sentence it is today.
PM: I am so sorry you had to go through that, thank you so much for sharing such a painful time in your life in your writing.The name of your farm sounds so beautiful, did your family name it or was it The Miracle Hill Farm when you moved there?
We named it and believe me, the name fits. The story is a little long, but it’s worth telling. We drew out and built the house with our blood, sweat and tears (all literal) and lived in it about a year before our marriage sort of imploded. We decided to divorce, sell the house, split the proceeds and go our separate ways. The house sold much more quickly than we thought it might and after we signed the papers, we decided to try to make our marriage work. It was hard, but we did it. We’ll be celebrating our 34th anniversary this December.
But our house was gone. We looked and looked for a place that might measure up to our dream home. Nothing came close. We had a realtor helping us look. Still nothing. We started thinking we’d have to build again, something that neither of us looked forward to.
Then a friend called me and told me about a house on 5 acres of land was being foreclosed on, and she thought we might be interested. When my husband brought the newspaper home from the store that evening, we read through the foreclosure notice together. We reached the address of the property at the same time. It was our house! And it was being auctioned off the next day!
Guess where we were the next day? Though we didn’t have a clue how it all worked, by the end of the auction, we had our house back. We thought we were done, but came to find out that there was a 10 day time period where other people could “up-bid” us. We could counter-bid, but then the 10 days would start again. In my mind I pictured this going on forever. This was Thursday. We were to leave for the beach on Saturday. Armed with the courthouse phone number and the property reference number, we left for vacation. Each day my husband would call to see if there were any other bids. Not yet. So far, so good.
Then Tuesday, after spending the morning on the beach, we returned to the condo and called our store manager to see if there were any problems or questions that needed to be addressed. Eleanor was obviously upset. We asked what was wrong. “Haven’t you heard?”
“Turn the TV on…any station. Terrorist have flown jets into the Twin Towers in New York.”
We turned on the television and watched in horror, tears streaming down all of our faces and our nation changed forever, right in front of our eyes. We were too in shock at the time to realize what it meant to us.
Banks closed down. No one could’ve gotten a loan to pay for that land, even if they’d wanted to, but upsetting a bid was the farthest thing in anyone’s mind. We got our house back because of one of the biggest tragedies our country has ever faced. In my book, it was a miracle. And that’s where the name came from.
PM: That is a truly amazing miracle, Leanna, I too remember that day vividly and the heartache everyone suffered. It is so uplifting to hear your outcome from such a tragedy. What is it you hope most to get across to your readers in your books?
I write suspense, but I’m a big believer in “happily-ever-after” stories. Even if bad things happen, everything works together for good. Basically, Romans 8:28.
PM: Amen, that is one of my all time go to verses as well. Who was your greatest influence when you decided to become an author?
Ultimately, my mother. She taught me to love reading, love books. That led me into writing my own stories. I wrote and illustrated lots of little stories when I was a child and when my own children came along, I wrote some for them. I never, in a million years, thought I had a novel in me, though. That was a happy surprise.
PM: Where do you get the inspiration for the suspense stories you write? I love a good mystery suspense, but I cannot imagine creating one, lol!
I call them “story seeds,” and they can come from anywhere, the newspaper, a street name, seeing a school bus covered in kudzu vines, or a homeless person wearing a court jester hat… I make sure to have a notebook in my purse to jot down ideas whenever they come, plant the seed in my brain and let it sprout. It’s fun to see what will grow.
PM: What is your favorite go to snack, midnight or any time?
Apple wedges with crunchy peanut butter spread on them
PM: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite gender?
Remembering that men and women don’t think the same. My husband is my secret weapon. He makes sure I get it right.
PM: What do you think you’d like most about living in the 19th century (since this your secret desire, lol)?
No cell phones, computers, and other technology. People used to talk to each other… in person, face to face. You didn’t see families in restaurants with mom on her cell phone, dad on his and the kids on theirs. Kids played outside and there was almost no childhood obesity because they ran, and played ball, and climbed trees and rode bikes and built forts. I think life was much better before we had all that. Simpler… Although, I have to admit I would miss the cut/paste capability of my laptop.
PM: If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
Diana Gabaldon’s, Claire. The idea of time travel really appeals to me.
PM: Oh my, I have read all of that series as well, time travel is one of my favorite fantasies – I always felt I was born in the wrong time, but, um, I really like my cell phone and internet too, lol! What’s your favorite song?
“I Will Trust in You,” by Lauren Daigle
PM: Also one of my favorite songs! How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
My Facebook page: Leanna Hewitt Sain. And my website: www.LeannaSain.com
PM: Finally, coffee or tea? Cream, sugar?
Coffee! With French vanilla cream.
Newest release “Hush” by Leanna Sain:
She dreams a murder before it happens.
A young woman is strangled while her killer sings the words from the lullaby “Hush, Little Baby.”
Lacey Campbell’s life is full, but not idyllic. As head chef for a chic restaurant and primary caregiver to a mother with Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t have time for the nightmare and at first she tries to deny it. But the next day, she discovers it’s a disturbing reality. When she dreams the second heinous murder she knows it’s time to tell the police.
Detective Ford Jamison is called back to the little coastal town to help with the case and soon notices an alarming trend: the killer is using the lullaby as a “blueprint” to target women who resemble Lacey. This doesn’t slow the killings and now Lacey is afraid to fall asleep at night because the next face she sees in her dream might be her own.
As a hurricane churns ever closer to the little coastal town, danger and suspicion spin out of control. Time is running out. Can they stop the killer before the last verse of the lullaby?
About Leanna Sain:
North Carolina author, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, before moving back to mountains of NC. Her Southern suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method that successfully rolls elements of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon all together, making it her own. Her writing accolades include: Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year; nominations for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award and the Global Ebook Award; and the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the NC Society of Historians for her time travel trilogy (Gate to Nowhere; Return to Nowhere; Magnolia Blossoms.) She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her, visit: www.LeannaSain.com
Website and blog: http://leannasain.com