Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction

1 Comment

Welcome Author Leanna Sain!

Leanna-Sain-NC-Author-SquareHelp me welcome award-winning and accomplished  author Leanna Sain to my blog today. Leanna was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Feel free to add your comments below.

Leanna, which authors have influenced your writing and how?

I love the quirky humor of Mary Kay Andrews, the magical realism of Sarah Addison Allen, Nicholas Sparks’ sappy love stories (although I really think he needs to work on some happily-ever-after endings), and the queen of mysteries, Sue Grafton. I try to incorporate all the things I love in my writing.

What do you want readers to experience while reading your books?

I want to evoke every emotion from my readers, from laughing until their stomachs ache, to boiling with fury, to crying-their-eyes out.

HushTell us a little bit about your latest book, the title in two to three sentences. Is it part of a series?

My latest book’s title is Hush.

Someone is killing young women and using the lullaby “Hush, Little Baby” as a blueprint. Lacey Campbell dreams the murders in bits and pieces before they happen, but there aren’t enough clues to stop the killer. When she realizes all the victims look remarkably like her, she’s afraid to go to sleep … afraid the next face she sees in her dreams will be her own.

Are any of your characters based on people you know?

In all of my books, I often include bits of characteristics of people I know, but with Hush, the main character’s mother—who has Alzheimer’s—is patterned directly after my own mother. I wrote this book while watching Mama struggle through the final phases of that terrible disease. It was actually a sort of therapy for me; a way to release the sadness, anger, and frustration that came with it.

Which part of the writing process do you find most enjoyable? Most challenging? Most rewarding?

I love it when the characters take over and I’m just hanging on for the ride, when it’s all I can do to keep my fingers typing fast enough to keep up with the story my brain is telling. When I get to the end of the scene, I lean back in my chair and say, “Whew! Didn’t see that coming!”

The most challenging is when I paint myself into a corner. The answer generally comes when I’m in the shower. Something about that hot water beating on my head seems to jar things loose.

The most rewarding is when I surprise my husband with the ending. He knows me so well, how my mind works, I feel like I’ve “arrived” if I can keep him hanging in suspense until the very end.

Do you have a critique partner or belong to a critique group? If so, how has that helped you?

It is SO important to get other eyes on your work. As a writer, I tend to get too close to the story and can’t see the mistakes when they’re staring me in the face. I’m in two writing groups, and I get input on everything I write. And my husband is my number one book critic. He always brings out things I never even thought about. He has a good eye, and I rely on that.

What writing projects are you currently working on?

I’m hard at work on the second book of the Amelia Island series. It’s title will be, Hoax. And I’m enjoying it even more than I did Hush. The third book is shaping up in my mind already. I really love this series.   

Leanna’s Bio:

Award-winning author, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, before heading back to the mountains of western NC. Her Southern suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven writing that successfully rolls the styles of Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into her own delightfully hybrid technique. She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her, visit:

Connect with Leanna and her books:


  • Book of the Year Award from Foreword Magazine
  • Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the NC Society of Historians
  • Nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award
  • Nominated for the Global Ebook Award

1 Comment

Team Prichard’s Debut — Stranded: A Novel

StrandedStephanie and Don Prichard are co-authors of this 2014 debut novel. Set on an uninhabited jungle island in the Philippines, their story of four castaways’ survival is a breath-taking adventure of danger and redemption.

A Marine Corps reservist sets sail on an anniversary cruise with his wife but ends up shipwrecked and bereaved on an uninhabited jungle island where he must protect the lives of three other survivors, unaware one of them is responsible for his wife’s death.

Have you always been interested in writing?

STEPHANIE: Yes. My father likes to tell about the time he discovered me in the basement with several neighborhood kids watching the clothes in the dryer window revolve while I made up a story about it.

DON: Not until age 58, when I had a stroke and lost the ability to read. By composing a story on the computer every morning from 4 to 6 AM, I not only learned to read again but wrote the rough drafts of three novels.

What was your career and life like prior to retirement?

STEPHANIE: Raising three spunky kids and being closely involved with Don in starting up a “daughter” church.

DON: Over-the-top pressure with multiple architectural projects, serving monthly as a Marine Corps reservist, preparing and leading weekly Bible studies, and being involved in my children’s lives.

Doon & Stepnaie w bio


Don Prichard is a Viet Nam veteran who served in the Marine Corps Reserves for thirty-two years before retiring as a colonel. He is also a career architect, whose specialty in government work includes the design of prisons, courthouses, and military facilities.

Stephanie is an army brat who enjoyed living in many countries before settling down with Don to raise their family… and, eventually, to co-author the first of what they hope will be many books.

Your first book is titled Stranded: A Novel.  What inspired you to write this particular book? 

DON: I wrote the initial plot. The novel reflects a major spiritual struggle I faced in life, one that I think most people face. The setting of being isolated on a jungle island forces the characters to face their issues. It was also the perfect location for using the survival skills I learned from my Marine Corps training.

How do you support each other in this dream? Do you work well together? Who has the final word?

STEPHANIE: Don writes the initial draft and then turns it over to me. We discuss making major and minor changes to it; after that I write the story while he gives feedback. If we strongly disagree about something, we wait, pray, and he … er, one of us eventually yields. Since our literary strengths complement each other’s, we love working together, and 98% of the time we are on the same page.

DON: It’s a perfect arrangement. I “tell” the rough draft of what I think is a gripping story. Stephanie then “shows” the reader, drawing them into an emotional experience.

What amusing thing would you like your readers to know about you?

STEPHANIE: When Don wrote the first draft, he made Jake absolutely flawless. I couldn’t persuade him to give Jake any weakness, any imperfection, any shortcoming. I finally made an inroad when I hit on a male crudity that menfolk often find acceptable, if not manly. I suggested Jake spit a big wad of sputum onto the side of the path now and then, with the result that the gals would (understandably) go “Eww!” Don loved the idea, and eventually he came around to giving Jake a major flaw that needed redeeming.

DON: Can you believe that she talked me out of “hack of sputum”?

What do you want readers to experience while reading your books? If you could impart one thing to your readers, what would it be?

STEPHANIE: Our two goals are great entertainment and an impacting theme. In each book we want to subtly feature a character quality of God and how we humans deal with it. In Stranded, the character quality is God’s sovereignty, which typically impacts us as “why do bad things happen to good people?” If the reader could wrestle with that like Jake did, we’d be elated.

Indeed before the day was, I am He;
And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand;
I work, and who will reverse it?” ~ Isa 43:13 (NKJV)

Where is Stranded: A Novel available for purchase?

DON: Right now it is available as a digital copy on Amazon at

Amazon Customer Review: “From the moment they board the ship, until the last sentence, intrigue and mystery abound. Every feeling is felt by the reader. Great book!! You can’t put it down. So plan on a long sit, and read your heart out.”

You can find Don and Stephanie at: