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  • Writer's pictureLeanne W. Smith

What it means to be a writer

In the early days of my writing I wrote for validation. I’m happy to report that in recent years, however, writing has become an acceptance of how God made me, and a gratitude for my heritage. Creation is in my bloodline. I come from craftsmen and women--hardworking, hands-on people who built homesteads. An uncle who rigged a radio to a car battery so front porch visitors could listen to the Grand Ole Opry. Grandmothers who stitched the quilts hanging on my wall. Ancestors who planted, harvested, and baked dishes worthy of features in Taste of Home and Southern Living. The first thing we know about God, after “in the beginning” is that “God created.” And so do we. Every manuscript I work on, like each of the daughters Stan and I have, is only possible with God’s partnership and sanction. Sometimes people ask me how I thought of a story. Where did the ideas come from? “God” is the only answer I know. God knit together my particular brain, the Rolodex of experiences that constitute my life and thoughts, and He is the Gardener who planted the desires of my heart. This—in part—is what my next novel is about--an exploration of the question: What does it mean to be a writer? How does it feel? What is the process? Where do ideas come from? Maggie Raines is turning fifty and her husband of thirty years has a surprise she didn’t see coming: he’s going to be a father again…with his twenty-six year old receptionist. After the rushed-up divorce is final, Maggie rents a cabin to clear her head and listen for a story. For years she put her writing dreams on hold to marry Tom and raise their twins. Now she has to make a living for herself. Does she have what it takes to be a writer? A snowstorm, a man who has been dead for thirty years, and a small-town sheriff will lead her to the answers. Alone in a Cabin is coming soon. This is my third novel, the one where I finally accept that I am a writer—a real writer—a woman who ran from that title for a long time…about thirty years, actually. Every novel subliminally reflects something going on in my own life, whether I’m really conscious of it at the time or not. Leaving Independence, my first book, is about a woman on a I was, as a writer. A Contradiction to His Pride, the follow-up to LI, features that same mother struggling to turn loose as her children grow up. Both of our daughters have taught me that “children grow wings, and you have to let them or they won’t be strong to face whatever lies before them,” but Jo, our oldest, to whom the book is dedicated, has taught me the lesson best. The pandemic has been a challenge, for more reasons than one, and has thrown me some curveballs, much like Maggie receives in Alone in a Cabin. But as the end of the year approaches, I feel hopeful—and grateful for lessons learned, even…and especially…the hard ones.

Leaving Independence is on sale for $0.99 on Kindle through the end of October. Makes a great gift for friends/family, gifted easily to an email address.

A Contradiction to His Pride is in audiobook production right now! Narration by me, Lincoln & Shelby Mick, and Stan. Music by Caleb Christopher Edwards.

Release information coming soon.

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