Welcome, LeAnne! Friends, I know you're going to love LeAnne's story of ups and downs, priorities, and following God's plan for her life and her writing.
Hello! I’m so honored that Jackie invited me to be a guest here! I love to talk about my story…both my personal story and my book stories.
It’s funny how things work out. No matter how many times you remind yourself that God has a plan for you, when you’re walking through that valley of doubt, the shadows are overwhelming. I have to admit, I was at the bottom of the valley. Five years ago I published my debut novel with Harlequin, I had a great agent, I was on top of the world. After selling one book, I thought the second one would be a given. But it wasn’t. I got one rejection after another. I spent so much time trying to write to market, that I lost the joy of writing. And worse, I lost my confidence. I’m pretty sure my agent lost confidence in me, too.
The only thing that kept me motivated to write were the Christmas novellas I wrote for the Heartwarming Christmas Town anthologies every year. And there was one story that I wanted to tell. I’d worked on it for years. It was rejected by my editor, but it was a book I wasn’t willing to let go of. I made a dozen changes to it. I wrote it and rewrote, desperate to make it fit into the box that the publishers wanted. I finally found one small Christian press that liked the original story, the one I envisioned for it before changing it. They requested to see the full, so I spent my entire Christmas break in front of the computer.
Then, on New Years Eve, it happened. A blow-up. After two weeks of having a wife that was ignoring him, he got frustrated. I was frustrated. A huge argument ensued, and I was done. Writing was just too hard. Too many hours away from my family, too many rejections, just too much.
I’m sure my agent wasn’t surprised when I told him that except for the Christmas anthology I had already committed to, I was quitting. After all, I hadn’t submitted anything very good in over a year.
Starting in January, I dedicated myself to rebuilding my relationship with my husband and most importantly, rebuilding my relationship with God. I embarked on a new Bible study and even found a new church. Other than my Christmas story, I didn’t really write at all.
But that other story kept nagging at me. My desire to write kept growing until I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I reached out to the small press that had shown interest in the story and they were still interested. So I went back to writing, but this time, not on my terms, but God’s terms.
I loved writing again. I loved the story I was writing. Then the editor that had requested the story left and I was once again stuck with no place to go. On a whim, I sent a snippet of it to my editor at Harlequin to see if she thought it would be a fit for them. Imagine my shock when several weeks later, I got an email from her offering me a contract for my book! The book that had been rejected so many times, the book that was so near and dear to my heart was finally wanted!
When I look back, I can see that God was working in my life and my writing all along. Whether He was shutting one door or nudging me along a different path, His hand was guiding me all along. I just had be still long enough to feel it.
My May/June 2022 Heartwarming story, “His Hometown Redemption” is about a man who made a terrible mistake in his past. He can’t forgive himself and doesn’t think anyone else will ever forgive him either. In an effort to redeem himself, he travels to the small mountain town of Coronado, Arizona, to apologize to the woman who was most effected by his mistake. He never wanted to fall in love with her. Can he forgive himself in time to win her heart? And how can she trust him when she discovers that his past destroyed her future?
Friends, I'm so excited about LeAnne's story. I still remember this story from when we were critique partners, and I can't wait to see it on the shelf. I also love LeAnne's story of following where God led her.
Also, LeAnne has offered to give one commenter a copy of Her Texas Rebel. Please US readers only.
Here's a link to get to know LeAnne better. http://leannebristow.com
LeAnne, thanks so much for taking time to visit with us today.