Interview with Leah Ness

Published 2014-03-27.
What motivated you to become an author?
I love stories, I always have. I believe they're an intricate and vital part of communication. Regardless of whether we want to share sorrows or triumphs, laughs or challenges, we communicate those emotions through our stories. Stories are also a form of escape. We readers all know the feeling of running away into the pages of a good book. Writing gives me the opportunity to not only run off into a fantasy, but to explain why I'm glad I did. Nothing measures up to the feeling of developing characters, walking with them through their adventures, and sharing those experiences with other readers.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The escape. Closely followed by the joy of knowing my characters. Most writers will tell you that their characters eventually develop minds of their own and go off in directions the author never intended. I love it when my characters develop their own personalities and disobey me. Trying to get them to behave can be like herding cats, and it can be a lot of fun!
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on a Christian sci fi novel. It's based on the idea that if a Christian is walking in an ever deepening relationship with Jesus, they'll experience a raw and powerful moment when they realize there is so much more to life than just surviving it.
Who are your favorite authors?
My husband is my favorite author because he wrote the book that caused me to fall for him. I'm very grateful for Karen Hancock and her books because they showed me how exciting Christian fantasy/sci fi can be. I enjoy C.S. Lewis, Agatha Christie, and P.G. Wodehouse, whenever I'm in the mood for something British, which is often. And even though I know it's trite to say 'the Bible', I love the writings of the apostles Paul, Peter, and John, to name a few.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There's a quote out there that goes something like, 'Be the type of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil says, "Shoot! She's up!"' I'd love to say that I bounce out of bed every morning eager to glorify God and further His kingdom, but in all honesty, my focus is often on things like completing chores and running errands. But I know that the Lord will complete the good work He began in me and one day, I trust, I'll rise and shine for Him every morning.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend several hours a day on my writing, but when I'm not doing that I can be found either spending time with my husband, reading, knitting or doing some other kind of craft, or working in the children's ministry at my church. Or spending way too much time on the Pinterest 'Geek' page.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I find a lot of good books on blogs, especially Christian ones. I also (occasionally) follow the advice of friends. I enjoy fantasy and sci fi best and I look for good, strong characters and lot's of sacrificial courage in the plots.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
That depends on whether unfinished stories count. If they do, then it was a story about a girl who worked at a hotel and a troubled celebrity that stays there. It was pretty horrid, let me tell you. I blame youth and inexperience.
What is your writing process?
I have a list of soft music I play in the background and then I just go. I can't do outlines, no matter how hard I try, and the character sketches often come after the story is done. I have what I call sounding boards for each story, but that's just a fancy name for a random collection of notes I don't want to lose. I basically just watch the story in my mind then describe what I'm seeing in chronological order. Not very professional at all, I'm afraid, but it works for me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember reading 'The Cooper Kid's Adventures' by Frank Peretti when I was about ten. I loved them. They were so exciting and constantly stressed the importance of having faith in God. Before them, I read one of those beginner reader books about Annie Oakley, who quickly became one of my heroes. I still have all those books and can't wait to pass them along to my children some day.
Describe your desk
Messy. Organised chaos. Lots of papers that I feel are important but probably aren't. And a few yards away from a life-sized TARDIS that my husband built for me.
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