-Creatives on the Journey-
When we pursue our passions—life opens up in magical ways.
Meet Novelist Leann Austin
Leann writes young adult fiction—young adults finding happily ever afters.
Finding Henry was Leann's debut young adult novel released in 2020. She recently released Dancing with the Bad Boy, the second book in the Lakeside High Love Diaries series. Both are stand-alone young adult fiction, set in the fictional town of Lakeside near Chautauqua Lake, New York.
Leann started writing at the age of ten, when a robin in her grandmother's front yard inspired her first poem. She continued to write poems, short stories, and plays to entertain her friends. She completed two courses on children’s writing through The Institute of Children’s Literature and has written over 20 stories and articles for children's magazines. Leann started to write as a newspaper correspondent in 2006. She covered and reported on village and school board meetings, as well as special events in her small town. She has written over a hundred newspaper articles. She later went on to earn her Bachelors in Business Administration.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Writing found me at my grandmother's house when I was ten years old. I was looking out her living room window when a robin in her front yard inspired an eight-line poem. Grandma gave me a piece of paper, and one of those small red pencils that used to come with the Reader's Digest, so I could write my poem. And yes, I still remember the poem.
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it flow freely from your fingertips, or develop slowly?
My first novel came pretty quickly. It was picked apart so badly in a writer's critique group; I made revisions until I didn't recognize the story anymore. I wrote my second novel during NaNoWriMo—50,000 words in a month. It was a romantic suspense and had so many plot holes I never edited it for publication. My third novel was a young adult time travel story. I never had a critique partner and didn't edit it either. My fourth novel came pretty fast too. All of those novels were practice. I would be embarrassed to let anyone read them. The fourth novel came pretty fast too. All of those novels were practice. I would be embarrassed to let anyone read them.
What sparked the idea for your Lakeside High Love Diaries series? Did you begin with a name or place? Did characters start playing in your mind?
Finding Henry was my fifth novel and the first one I published. I wrote it in nine months. Although I wrote it pretty quickly and during a difficult period of my life, the story evolved in my imagination over a period of several years.
I knew I wanted to write a time-travel story, but I wasn't sure how to go about it. The idea was sparked by the 'what-if' of having a second chance—because sometimes, when we come to a fork in the road, we later realize we took the wrong path. Then I found a necklace online—the time-turner used by Hermoine Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. That inspired the method that would be my time-travel portal for Emelia. I still didn't have a beginning, though.
A year or so went by, and an old memory came to mind of a time a friend dragged me to see a carnival fortune teller. That inspired the beginning of the story, and the rest came easy. I decided to write young adult fiction because it's my favorite genre to read. I knew I would one day write a book with a character named Henry. I love the name. It's noble and strong. Once I set pen to paper, the characters took over. Finding Henry is very character and dialogue-driven because that's how it played out. Sometimes, I had a hard time keeping up with their conversations.
Are there times you want to give it all up? What motivates you to keep moving forward?
I've wanted to quit more times than I can count. Some days I still want to quit. I want to toss it all in and move on to something else. But really, do authors have a choice but to write? I stopped writing for ten-year intervals twice, and there was always this voice in my gut that kept telling me "write." In the words of my favorite defective detective, Monk, 'It's a blessing and a curse.'
What advice would you give to other creatives pursuing their dreams?
Do what you love. Follow your dreams and do what makes you happy. If you don't, you'll always wonder, 'what if?' Even if you do it as a hobby or to entertain family and friends, just do what brings you joy. Life is short, and if we wait until the perfect timing to follow our passions, time will have slipped away without us having done anything about them.
Please join us tomorrow for Part 2 of Leann's Journey.
Leann will share more about her writing journey, along with her published works. Including my favorite question: Where she gets her ideas?
Leann Austin's Books are Available:
Finding Henry is available on Amazon—paperback and Kindle—and in paperback at Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and can be ordered through your local independent bookstore.
Dancing with the Bad Boy is available exclusively on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.
Visit Leann Austin online:
Thanks for stopping by. May you find the magic in your own journey.
Dr. Rita writes Stories that Warm the Heart. Romance is a big part of her novels—hope is an even larger element of her contemporary women's fiction.
Want a FREE eBook gift? Subscribe to Rita's Newsletter. Inspiration straight in your inbox. Plus, updates on Serenity Cove! Sign up at the top of this page. And receive an eBook copy of Kaleidoscope Summer—the book that started it all.