Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day Two with LeAnne Hardy

Welcome back, LeAnne. 

Who has helped you the most in your career?

Gladys Hunt, author of the Honey books (Honey for a Child’s Heart, Honey for a Teen’s Heart, and Honey for a Woman’s Heart) was a huge encouragement to me. (She passed away last year.) Not only was she a spiritual “mother” in my life, but she was also tremendously knowledgeable about literature and a spokesperson for reading aloud as a family. Her husband’s reading Winnie-the-Pooh with voices was an inspiration to our family. The fact that such a woman believed in me as a writer kept me going in those difficult days of sending out manuscripts and getting back rejection letters.

My first critique group in Indianapolis, Indiana, demanded that I simplify my complicated sentence structure. In order to draw out the tension more, they suggested I consider what “the movie version” would show as I visualized my scenes. That turned out to also be a good way to focus on showing instead of telling. It was not a Christian group. In fact, two members considered religion to be a bunch of fairy tales. That meant I couldn’t get by with preachiness or Christian jargon; the message had to grow convincingly out of the context of the story or they would let me know. I am forever grateful to them.

What is the one book no writer should be without?

There are a lot of great writing books out there. Like many, I am a fan of Anne LaMotte’s Bird by Bird. She gave me permission to write a @#$% first draft and to attack one piece of my story at a time. But the book I have been relying on most recently is John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story; 22 steps to becoming a master storyteller. (Farrar, Straus and Girous, NY, 2007.) Truby is a screenwriter and most of his examples come from film, but everything he says is applicable to fiction writing as well. He is strong on planning ahead of time, thinking through your premise, your main character’s weakness, and how he will change by the end of the story. We have heard that sort of thing before, but Truby insists that the character’s weakness should be moral as well as psychological. He is hurting someone else because of it, and his choice in the end represents a moral change. He suggests planning a network of characters all approaching the same moral question in different ways so they play off one another. As I approach the rewrites for this book, I have gone back to my notes on Truby and worked through them step by step. Theoretically, it will save me a lot of rewriting.

What are some of your hobbies?

I took up figure skating as research for my book Crossovers, about a hockey player who wants to learn to jump and spin and is scared to death that someone might find out. I became as addicted as my character. I have volunteered at a couple competitions and even competed at adult Nationals last year where I won a bronze medal in my age and skill division. The premise of my WIP (working title: Keeping Secrets) is a promising young South African figure skater worried her friends at the rink will find out her parents have HIV and reject her. I’m still working on the American angle, but I know her coach is an American skater taking a year off between high school and college who is hiding her own secret.

On a lighter note, what is your favorite word?

When I was in eighth grade I wrote in my diary that “someday” was my favorite word. That word still holds a lot of promise for me.

What is your least favorite word?

That same journal entry said that “never” was my least favorite. As I approach my sixtieth birthday I am realizing that there are fewer “somedays” left and probably a lot more “nevers”. I like to think that in eternity some of those nevers will still happen.

Thank you for joining The Barn Door Book Loft, LeAnne. LeAnne has been gracious enough to offer a copy of her book Glastonbury Tor  to one lucky winner. To enter the drawing comment below. For a second entry, comment on her Day One of her interview posted yesterday.

Good Luck,


Tracy Smith said...

Very nice interview. I always enjoy them. Thank you for hosting this giveaway.

countrysunset40 (at) aol dot com

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This looks like a great book. I would love to read this. Thanks again.


Marianne said...

Thanks, Shellie and Leanne for a great post and giveaway. Would love to win this! mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com

ann said...

I enjoyed the interview. I also would like to sign up to win the book

amhengst at verizon dot net

Anonymous said...

What a great time period to write about. Henry VIII was an intriguing man. Thank you for the opportunity to win.
Kelly Y. in Virginia
kelly *at* dkcountryarts *dot* com

LeAnne Hardy said...

Thank you all for your enthusiastic response. I hope you enjoy the book. It is indeed a fascinating period of history with lots of complicated motivations.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Jill Gardner said...

I really like these interview questions -- and the answers! Very useful and inspiring.

Anonymous said...

What a lucky duck to have known Gladys Hunt AND to have visited Glastonbury. Neat that you are sharing what you gained.

Lois Morgan

LeAnne Hardy said...

Yes, Lois. I feel lucky in so many ways. The local family I stayed with in Glastonbury has also been a great blessing.

karenk said...

please count me in ... thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

apple blossom said...

please enter me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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