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(Interview/Giveaway) Plain Fear: Forbidden by Leanna Ellis

I have the pleasure of having Leanna Ellis on my blog today. Give her some love. :)

Crystal: Hi and welcome to Redheads! What made you come up with the idea for this book/series?

LE: Hi! Thanks for having me here! Since I’m a redhead myself, I feel right at home. ;) First of all, your readers should know that I think outside the box. Sometimes waaaaay outside the box. Which is what happened with this series. Plain Fear: Forsaken actually began as a joke. I was at a book signing and another author and I made a joke about we should write an Amish/vampire story because those were the two genres that were selling so well. It really was a joke. I didn’t rush home and start writing the book. But I suppose some seed was planted in my warped little brain and took root. Soon a character was speaking to me about her story and wanting me to write it. I resisted. But there was a very intriguing element that I couldn’t ignore. But why Amish and vampire together? Besides the superficial reason I already gave, the two really work well together with my story. The image we have of the Amish is of a simple, innocent, wholesome way of life, which is a perfect environment to place a dark, frightening, evil entity. The juxtaposition between the two works so well. In fact, part of my inspiration for this story came from The Phantom of the Opera, and how innocent Christine is and how trusting of this voice she hears in her head—the angel of music. So an Amish heroine, sheltered by the world we know, seemed perfect. Except the Amish world isn’t always as sheltered as we think. Doors can be opened to evil forces. The Plain Fear series is about good versus evil. So often we just think of evil as being dark and scary…well, it is that but it’s also alluring and appealing and attractive. If you only saw the dark, ugly, scary side of evil, who would go there? Each of the main characters in Forsaken and now Forbidden face tough choices, which if separated into good versus evil might seem easy, but in reality are not easy at all.

C: Was there a lot of time that went into researching this series?

LE:  I couldn’t write about the Amish without doing a lot of research. I have stacks and stacks of books, many of which I found when I visited Amish country. Ultimately, the best way to research is to go visit, and so for the first book in the series, Forsaken, I traveled to Pennsylvania. My critique partner and I had a great time peering into the lives of the Amish and sampling their incredible food. Whoopie pie. I’m telling you I gained ten pounds on that trip. Then for the second book, Forbidden, I traveled to Ohio and a smaller Amish community. My friend, Shelley Shepard Gray took me around, because she lives in the area. The atmosphere was exactly what I needed for this book! And thankfully, I wasn’t there long enough to gain ten pounds. But I brought a bunch of Amish pretzel mixes back with me. Homemade pretzels. Yum! 

C: Is there sort of a ritual you go through in your writing process? Like do you paint your nails certain colors to go with your heroines or do you listen to certain music that goes along with the feel of the book or have to have some chocolate to nibble on?

LE:  Every day is very different for me, so mostly my writing process is making sure I have my laptop when I get in the car each day and head toward one of my kids’ activities. I write a lot in my car or in coffee shops. I do like to make a playlist on my iPod of music that makes me think about the book. Sometimes its mood music or maybe a lyric restates the theme or a character’s angst. It can be very helpful in getting me into the mindset of my characters when I have short spurts of time to work.

Now more fun questions:

C: What is your idea of the ideal guy, whether it be a supernatural alpha male or a normal everyday hottie?

LE:  Fiction is very different from real life for me. In real life, my hubby is my ideal guy. In fiction, I like a tormented soul. But I wouldn’t want to deal with that in real life. ;) But a hottie is always good whether in the make-believe or real world and makes dealing with angst so much easier!

C: When you were growing up, what did you say you were going to grow up to be?

LE:  I never dreamed about being a writer because I thought all writers were dead. Which was not my ambition. For a long time, I wanted to be a dancer or run a dance studio. Now, I watch my daughter, who is a triple-threat (dancing, singing, acting), perform. She is much more suited to that life than I ever was.

C: Do you have any hidden talents or something about you that most people don’t know?

LE:  If they’re hidden, then I may not know that I have them yet. My daughter tells me it’s not singing. ;)

C: Have any embarrassing habits you would love to change/stop but can’t?

LE: I would love to not want to eat peanut M&Ms when I work.  But occasionally, I need them.

C: Last but not least, the most important question in this interview…boxers or briefs. ;)

LE:  That depends on the backside. ;)

Thanks again for having me here! It was fun! Blessings, Leanna


How Long Must We Pay for the Sins of Our Past?

She blames herself for her husband's death. But for Rachel Schmidt Nussbaum, redemption may only lie in the ultimate sacrifice. 

When a stranger arrives claiming only she can save him, Rachel's impulsive instincts lead her on a perilous journey, one that leads her to a battle that will decide both the fate of her soul and the life of her unborn child.

A far–from–ordinary story of love and desperation, sin and sacrifice, Amish faith and vampire lore, Plain Fear: Forbidden is an imaginative thrill ride that's like nothing you've ever read before.


Leanna Ellis is the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. She has written numerous books for Harlequin/Silhouette and has published four books with B&H Publishing. With her husband, two children, and wide assortment of pets, she lives in Texas. For more information, please visit, follow her on Twitter, @LeannaEllis, and “like” her on Facebook. 

**One lucky commenter will win a copy of Plain Fear: Forbidden. Giveaway will run until 11:59pm on 8/22/12.**


  1. I've never read an Amish book. Sounds very interesting. I'd love to give it a try. I live about an hour and a half from Amish country here in Ohio. Have been there quite a few times. Love the food and the cheese. :)

    1. Hi! This is definitely not the typical Amish book, but Forbidden takes place in Ohio. I really enjoyed visiting Amish country in Ohio. ;)

  2. okay I love the juxtaposition of Amish and vampire! Thanks for the interview it was fantastic. Carin
    mawmom at gmail dot com

    1. Hi, Carin! I loved that about the story too. Just made it so fun and interesting to write. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Great interview! Plain Fear:Forbidden sounds really good! Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  4. Hi, Natasha! Thanks for the interest!

  5. The Amish & Vampires?,..i like it!that makes for a completely different read I would love to get my hands on ;) thank you for the giveaway & the interview was wonderful.


  6. I love that this series ideas started as a joke about writing a book about Amish and Vampires. I never would have thought to combine the two but I am very interested in reading it.
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

  7. The book sounds intriguing.