Wednesday, April 14, 2010

First Author Interview! Welcome Leanna Ellis!

Welcome Leanna Ellis!
I just finished reading Once in a Blue Moon in the wee hours of the morning. And I now have my interview questions ready, if you wouldn't mind taking the time to answer them for my blog. Thank you so very much!

Hi, Amber! I’m happy to answer a few questions for you. Fire away!

What is your favorite part about living in Texas? Was it fun to write a book mostly set in your home state?

Probably my favorite part of living in Texas is being near family. My parents have always lived within a couple of hours drive, and now that my father has passed away I’m close enough to help my mother if she needs it. My sister lives even closer, which makes me very happy, and we have her over often. Also, my nieces live in Texas but have been further away as they’ve attended college and graduate school. I long for the day when they’ll be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It makes it much easier to see each other on a regular basis. We are a very close family and see each other quite often throughout the year and especially on holidays.

Writing about my home state is always fun and somewhat easier as I don’t have to worry with accents. But thankfully I was able to travel to Marfa to research Once in a Blue Moon. That was very useful and fun. My kids really like research trips!

I noticed there were a lot of movie references in Once in a Blue Moon. This leads me to two questions: What is your favorite movie genre? And have you seen the movie IQ? Because the banter between the older men in the “spit-and-whittle” group reminds me a bit of Einstein and his friends. :)

The easy question first: I have not seen IQ. I’ll have to try to get it sometime. Sounds fun! And for the first question: I love movies, so choosing one genre might be hard. I’m quite eclectic in my tastes and probably have several different types of movies in my favorite category. I love musicals and was pretty much raised watching things like Singing in the Rain and Brigadoon. Can you tell I love Gene Kelly? But I love romantic comedies too. My husband enjoys Cary Grant movies and so we often watch those together. I probably wouldn’t say I’m a sci-fi fan but I love Star Wars and Star Trek. I also have several westerns that I love, like True Grit or Dances with the Wolves. I love epics too. Horror is probably my least favorite. I do, however, occasionally like something like Poltergeist or The Sixth Sense. Then, of course, there are so many classics that…see! I could go on and on! And then there’s comedies! And Christmas movies are a category all by themselves…okay, I can’t seem to stop!
Quick Note: If you love romantic comedies, you'd love IQ! It stars Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins (with Walter Matthau as Einstein!). It is such a fun, sweet movie, and I know you'd love it, Leanna!

How much research goes into a book like Once in a Blue Moon? Did you actually take a glider ride to feel what it was like? Make a trip to Washington D.C.?

I did get to go to Washington D.C. I had been there a couple of times before but my memory of specifics was sketchy at best and needed refreshing. I’m glad we went and were able to take the kids. It’s such a fascinating place. My kids favorite place was the Spy Museum. Very cool. I did not take a glider ride mostly because I’m chicken but also a total wimp with movement. I often get ill on rollercoaster rides. But I talked to several people who had been on gliders or who owned them and that was very helpful.

Are the places described in Marfa (such as the observatory, the soda shop, etc.) real or at least based off of real places? Did you ever go to the Marfa Lights Festival?

The MacDonald Observatory is very real and a wonderful place to visit. The hotel in Marfa is very real and has all the Giant memorabilia and a lovely patio and fountain as I describe in the book. Many of the places in the book are either real or based on a real place. Howard’s place is made up, as is Sam’s and the glider hanger. But a lot of gliders to operate out of that area. When we went to Marfa, it was during the Marfa Lights Festival. Because we decided to go on the spur of the moment, we had to get a hotel room over an hour away. But I’m so glad we went, and so glad we went at the beginning of writing that book and not after the fact as I changed a few things in the book based on our visit.

What was your inspiration for writing such an intriguing story?

An article about an obituary writer caught my attention and imagination, and I wondered what it would be like for a writer to have written their first obit for someone they loved. And then in my crazy brain a seed took root and the story started to grow. With Ruby’s Slippers, I thought, what would happen if Dorothy lost her somewhere over the rainbow? Another seed! I’m always asking myself questions like that and some seeds take root, others not.

Would readers get more from Once in a Blue Moon if they were familiar with Men in Black? (I noticed when I was reading Ruby’s Slippers that the story was much more humorous to me because I was familiar with Wizard of Oz.)

I think if you know what Men in Black is then you’re good but it isn’t necessary to see it. If you want to see the movie, that would be fun but it won’t give you any hidden meanings. It isn’t as intricately woven with Once in a Blue Moon as the Wizard of Oz was with Ruby’s Slippers. Last summer a gal came up to me and said she’d read Ruby’s Slippers and enjoyed it. But she’d never seen the movie! I was delighted to know that the story could be enjoyed on its own merit without prior knowledge. Because of my book she rented the movie. I do try to make my stories accessible to all whether you’re familiar with the pop culture aspects or not.

Thank you again! Thank you, Amber, for having me here today, for reading Once in a Blue Moon and providing a review of it! I appreciate that!

Thank you so much Leanna for taking the time to answer my questions and for visiting my blog!
Leanna can be found at the following website:
And readers, if you'd like to read my review for this great book, click on this link (or just scroll down to the following post):


lindsayw said...

Ok, for some reason my comment didn't get posted last time! Hopefully it sounds as good as the first one...

Great job on the interview, Amber! Your questions are so professional. It is easy to see that your passion and gift is books!

Leanna Ellis is very sweet. It's great that she was able to answer your questions! And I have found another lover of musicals! Ah, those are some good ones. :)

Congratulations on your great first interview! Love you, Amber!

Amber S. said...

Thank you so much, Lindsay! I really appreciate your encouragement and your kind words. :) Thank you!!!