Saturday, June 16, 2012

Interview with Romance Author Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy!

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Romance Author

      We're visiting with Lee Ann on the top of Wyeth Hill, one of the locations in both Guy's Angel and her hometown of St. Joseph. It's a park on top of a windswept river bluff over looking the broad Missouri River as it flows past St. Joe with a fantastic view into Kansas as well.

     Thank you all for stopping in to meet the fabulous Lee Ann! Her books just keeping coming out and it's hard to keep up with her! She's having a giveaway so be sure to read what she's looking for in the comments!

Reader’s Haven: (Louise) Lee Ann welcome to our blog! Your stories sound wonderful and your sites look great for your readers. Tell us a bit about yourself  that our readers might not know.

Lee Ann: Although I’m a tail end baby boomer, my grandparents were my daytime caregivers during my earliest years.  They raised me the same way they raised their own children in the 1930’s and 1940’s so I ended up being out of sync in many ways with my own generation, with the values and tastes of another time.  Maybe it’s one reason I enjoy history so much!

I also grew up in an old Victorian house with all kinds of paranormal and unexplainable events so when supernatural elements creep into my fiction, that’s the root.

Reader’s Haven:  Deanna loves anything ghostly! What made you want to become a writer?

Lee Ann: I always made up stories, even before I could read or write.  My imagination was fueled with stories – both my parents and grandparents read to me.  My grandparents, my Granny in particular, also told stories from the past and captivated me with them.  I tried dictating a story to my mom when I was four and scribbled my “first” novel in the fifth grade.  I liked – and still do – being able to be in charge of what happens next.

Reader’s Haven: Please share a bit about your new release Guy’s Angel without giving away any spoilers.

Lee Ann: Guy’s Angel owes a lot to those old stories my grandparents told me.  It’s set in 1925, in my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri and in the “old” neighborhood, not my own but where my parents, grandparents, and other relatives once lived.  Angel’s desire to fly comes out of my own streak of independence and my own fascination with flight.  The love story between Guy and Angel is, I think, particularly powerful and poignant because of who they are, their life experiences as well as the time and place.

When a young woman really believes the sky is the limit, amazing things can happen…

Lorraine Ryan wants to fly airplanes so she heads for the local airstrip in 1925 to make her dream come true. Most of the flyboys think she’s cute but a woman’s place is in the home, not the cockpit. When Guy Richter steps up and offers to teach her to fly, she’s captivated with both Guy and flight. He nicknames her “Angel” and takes her up into that wild blue yonder. Before long, they’re deep in love.

Love, however, isn’t always enough……

Guy, a former World War I flying ace, is haunted by his past. His demons include his war service, the death of his only brother in an accident the previous year, and the Valkyries that he evaded in France who trail him in the hopes that they can complete his destiny. But his dreams lie with Angel and as they grow closer and closer, he soon realizes that if anyone can save him, it’s his Angel.

Reader’s Haven: Do you write under a pen name?

Lee Ann: So far, no. I use my married and maiden surnames because I wrote and was published before I married.  If I’d had my way, I would still be Lee Ann Sontheimer but my husband, a little old fashioned with some deep Southern roots, thought I should have his name too.

Reader’s Haven: What types of hero or heroine do you like best?

Lee Ann: I like heroes and heroines to be as real as possible, human and not perfect.  I want my characters to leap off the page, to seem like real people the reader feels they could meet and sit down with for a conversation. 

Reader’s Haven: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Lee Ann: I rise before the sun most days, even weekends.  My husband is required to be at work early and I’ve become (somewhat) used to getting up early too.  I check emails, Facebook, Google to see if there are new mentions of me or my work, do some promotion and make my to-do list before my kids get up.   After breakfast – and in the school year making sure all three make it to the bus or school – I dive into work.  I usually spend the morning in actual writing or editing, break for lunch and some necessary household chores, then work a few more hours.  I stop to make dinner, meet the kids, greet the husband when he comes home, and in the evening I do more social networking than actual work.

Reader’s Haven: (Deanna) I really have to try hard to make myself take meal breaks, whether I'm writing or at the office...bad habit to work straight through. Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Lee Ann: Although my books run a diverse gamut, I think the common theme through them all is that love is a powerful force, that love can and does change life.

Reader’s Haven: Readers love to hear about how an author writes. How long does it take you to write and then edit a story?

Lee Ann: It depends on the story and the season. A full length novel may take me several months to write, several weeks until I edit it to my satisfaction before submission. Some of my shorter novellas and stories can take a week to several weeks. The historical romances take a little longer because of the additional research – I am a stickler for making sure my facts are correct.

Reader’s Haven: Do you have to be alone to write?

Lee Ann: No and it’s a good thing since I often have three kids, one husband, and a dog underfoot. Last year I also had two neighbor children who came over at about 5:30 am everyday to stay with me until they could catch the bus so I had five kids in the house.

Reader’s Haven:  Wow! That's the sign of a true friend! How do you go about naming characters?

Lee Ann: Sometimes their names just come into my brain.  Sometimes – especially for the historical works – I look up what names were popular during the period.  I used to peruse baby name books but then I ran across Baby Name Genie online so sometimes I play with it until I find a name I like.

Reader’s Haven: Is it easier to write about the characters if you find pictures of them before you write or do you write then find character pictures?

Lee Ann:  I do it both ways.  Sometimes I see a picture and I like it so much, it’s the prototype for my character.  Sometimes I have an image in my mind and run across a photo so like my character I print it and hang it up.

Reader’s Haven: How do you pick locations for your stories?

Lee Ann: I write what I know as much as possible.  Thus many of my stories take place in my native Missouri, either the Ozarks where I now live or in my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri.  I’ve also written works with locations in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee.  If I write about a place, I’ve been there and know it reasonably well.  The locations fit the story or the stories fit the location.  I’m not sure which comes first!

Reader’s Haven: What do you miss most about life before the first book sale?

Lee Ann: I miss anonymity. I go to the supermarket now in the small town where I live and almost everyone knows me and what I write.  I tend to forget people recognize me but when I send my kids to go find an item on my list and they return telling me three shoppers are huddled together at the end of aisle five talking about my books, I’ve learned to remember.  There’s nothing worse than yelling at your kid and looking up to have an approaching shopper say “Oh, I love your books!”.  And some people who I’ve known for years treat me differently now – they’re tongue tied and bashful as if they don’t know what to say.  I’m the same person and I don’t want the “fan” treatment.

Reader’s Haven: How wonderful! You can't ask for more of a compliment than know others love to read what you write. Congratulations, LeeAnn! What are you working on now and what should readers be looking forward to from you in the future?

Lee Ann: Thank you! I have a contemporary romance set on Lake Taneycomo near Branson, MO called “Heart of The Ozarks” coming August 3 from Rebel Ink Press and another historical romance, this one set in the 1930’sin Oklahoma and St. Joseph, MO called “Dustbowl Dreams”.  It’s also from Rebel Ink Press and let’s just say it owes a lot to Charley Floyd, often better known as “Pretty Boy Floyd”.  Then later in the fall I have something a little different coming out, collection of connected stories called “Kosovo Tales: Two Hearts, One Love, again from Rebel.

Oh, and I have a short romance, part of a brand new line from Evernight Publishing coming in July, part of their “Romance On The Go” series, called “Red In The Hood”. It’s short, a little wicked, and a different kind of tale.

Reader's Haven: Our heads are already spinning with how busy you are, woman! Wow! Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

Lee Ann: Readers can find me on my Blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Twitter: @leeannwriter

Giveaway:  One eBook copy – although Guy’s Angel is also coming to print – to one winner who leaves a comment about what intrigues them about the story.


  1. Hi Lee Ann! We've had some lurkers, but nobody commenting.
    Readers, don't be shy. If you love history and romance, comment for a chance to win Guy's Angel.
    I like 'Tail End Baby Boomer'. Guess that is what I am too. LOL A lot of us baby boomer authors wrote stories when we were younger but came in to being published late in life. It's wonderful to be able live our dream and write full time as a job! ~Louise

  2. Sounds like a good one :) I have found many new Authors from these interviews and intend on looking into reading your work Lee Ann. Great interview!!!!