Crissie Leonard is one of Ohio’s premier authors. Her book, Letters to My Father is Christian fiction, a novel that “tells the story of a woman led by God to a collection of letters written by strangers and the journey she takes with a friend to find the authors.”
Crissie writes “Christian fiction to show people God's presence in their lives and all around them.” Besides being an author, Crissie is the proprietor of her own line of jewelry YMP Creations.
1. Life lessons learned from the minor characters in the Bible
2. Graphic novel detailing the spiritual warfare battle between the unsaved and saved you
3. A Navy Seal’s journey with grief from a tremendous loss
GM: How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?
CL: A lot of Post-it-Notes and notebooks. I use separate notebooks for each book idea. This keeps me from being distracted while working on a specific storyline.
GM: Where do you like to write?
CL: Anywhere that I can wear my headphones. When I’m on a tight deadline, I prefer the library quiet rooms.
GM: Do you have a muse or other inspiration that sparks creative ideas?
CL: I don’t have a muse. My inspiration is always finding a way to show people God in their everyday lives regardless of whether they believe in Him.
GM: What are you currently reading?
CL: Don’t Drop the Mic by TD Jakes, Faith Like Flamingos by Katie Hornor, and Changes that Heal by Henry Cloud.
GM: What are you currently writing?
CL: Life lessons learned from the minor characters in the Bible. They are often overlooked and yet can teach us a lot about life.
GM: Do you have advice for novice writers?
· Have your own editors and a writing mentor. The editors will help you polish the story, and the mentor will help you with writing blocks and guide you through the process.
· Be sure there are people in your life that believe in you more than you believe in yourself! They are the rays of light that will shine during times of self-doubt.
· Just keep writing even if you lose sight of your story or get poor reviews. Don’t put the pen/pencil down!
· Find writing groups, clubs, etc. Creativity is contagious when you are in the same room with other writers.
· Dream so big that you leave room for God to work! Stay humble.
· For a Christian writer, you write to witness, you type to testify, and you publish to preach! When you enter the room, be sure His kingdom walks through the doors first!
· Don’t read or listen to anything that is close to the story you are writing. You can subconsciously bring that material into your writing or be influenced by it. Then you run into plagiarism issues. Write YOUR version of the story, not anyone else’s.
· Making money should not be your main reason for writing but bringing people back to falling in love with books and reading should be.
· Most importantly, remember that your story needs told! No one can write it better than you.
GM: Please share your book marketing secrets.
· Think outside the box! Don’t confine yourself to one area or avenue to market yourself. Have a trailer made for your book and add it to your website.
· Understand how important branding is and make sure YOU are in your branding.
· Build relationships and partnerships because word of mouth is still the best form of advertising. Don’t lose sight of the importance of relationships. You are only one person away from being elevated to the next level God has prepared for you.
· A no is a not right now. Give it some time and revisit them.
· Look into local stores that offer consignment opportunities. These are great ways to test the market and develop relationships locally. Revisit these stores after your consignment period is over and ask how to join their author panels, speaking opportunities, or book clubs.
· Create your author media kit. This is a must have when you are seeking book related opportunities.
GM: What are 10 things your fans don’t know about you…
1. A kangaroo hugged my leg at the zoo. The whole time I was praying he didn’t punch me.
2. I name my cars.
3. I don’t like anything pumpkin.
4. Halloween is my favorite holiday. I ride with a skeleton named “Bones” in my car.
5. I build my characters based on the meaning of their names.
6. I don’t like my food to touch on my plate.
7. I once held a python snake, but I’m afraid of spiders.
8. I only drink hot tea. I don’t like coffee.
9. I love opera and Italian music in addition to Christian music.
10. Growing up I wanted to be either an Air Force pilot or Supreme Court Justice.
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