ICYMI: The inner-workings of a writer’s mind by Leslea Wahl

Where 3DBecause I am a writer who doesn’t use an outline and usually just lets the story go where it may, I often have trouble remembering exactly how each story is formed. I truly believe the Holy Spirit guides my work and I love seeing the twists and turns a story makes along the way. I always have a starting idea and some rough thoughts of where the story should go and maybe even a scene or two that I want to include but getting to those points is often a fun and unexpected journey.

The idea of my YA novel, Where You Lead, started as a momentary incident that happened years ago when my husband and I were first married. We had recently moved to Washington DC from Colorado and one afternoon we were eating at a Pizza Hut restaurant. I was returning to our table from the restroom and saw my husband sitting at our table. His back was to me so I only saw his dark hair. For some reason I thought about other Pizza Hut’s I had been in throughout my life and how they all looked the same. And I thought, wouldn’t it be crazy if I sat down and instead of looking up and seeing my husband’s face it was actually someone from my past, and all the amazing memories I had of us dating, getting married, and moving to DC, had never happened.

This, I thought, was the beginning of a great novel. I pictured it more as a novel for adults – the leading character abandoning her life and searching for this mysterious stranger that she was sure existed. But since I wasn’t a writer back then, I just stored this thought away.

Fast-forward many years to after my first novel, The Perfect Blindside, was published. This story idea was still rattling around in my head, but I couldn’t figure out how it could possibly be made into a YA novel because there was no way a teenager could drop everything and search the country or world for a mysterious stranger. I again put the idea on the back burner and began writing my second novel, An Unexpected Role. But that little spark wouldn’t leave me alone.

Finally, a few ideas on how to change it up and make it work for YA began percolating in my mind. I decided to set the story in Washington DC, since that is where I first had this idea. I began jotting things down in one of my daughter’s old notebooks. (I’ve kept this notebook and it has been fun to look back on my notes and thoughts.)

The notebook includes lists of places that I had loved when we lived in DC. As I began thinking about those years when we lived inside the beltway, so many memories came flooding back. I still could remember those feelings as young newlyweds when living on the east coast, and especially DC, felt like a different world from out west. But we loved our time there. The history, the old buildings, the civil war battlefields, it was all so fascinating. In this book I’ve not only included our favorite places but also some of the quirky things and incidents that we encountered.

This story has been a labor of love but also required quite a bit more research than any of my other books. In a way, Where You Lead, is part history lesson, city tour, and mystery all combined with a message of listening for God’s call in your life. I hope readers enjoy this fun adventure.

Two More Book Awards!

We’re excited to congratulate Leanne Pankuch and Leslea Wahl on their Moonbeam Awards wins!


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Blog Giveaway With A Bonus!

Blog GiveawayWelcome to our first blog giveaway! /We’re giving away specialty cookies only found right here in Charleston, SC from Byrd’s Famous Cookies which has been in business since 1924. Along with the cookies, we’re giving away a decorative Rainbow Row tin. If you’re not familiar with Rainbow Row, here’s an article that gives you more information about these fascinating houses!  Now, on to the giveaway!

For your chance to win, you must follow our blog. Commenting on this post will give you a second entry, and sharing this post gives you yet another chance to win. So, in total, you can have three entries.

This contest is open to entries outside of the United States; however, the prize will change to a $25 gift card to Amazon!

The contest runs from October 1-October 31st, and the winner will be chosen the week of November 1st. Winner must provide a mailing address (not a P.O. Box) where the prize can be delivered via UPS or regular USPS.

BONUS: Everyone who shares this post will be entered into a separate contest to win a $10 gift card to a retailer of their choice! 




Inspiration is a beautiful thing!

We love to inspire and motivate our staff and our readers which is why we share uplifting quotes on our social media, and we have a board dedicated to inspiration on Pinterest.

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We understand that everyone is going through something in this life, and we want to encourage you to never give up, to keep pushing on, and to be everything you can be, everything you’re meant to be.

So follow our Pinterest board and our Instagram page to be inspired!

Did You See…?

Leanne Pankuch was recently featured in a guest post on shadow plotting your villain’s story line on TeachingAuthors.com. Leanne is the author of the young adult fantasy, Dragon’s Truth, which is officially six-months-old. (Go to Leanne’s site to enter a contest to celebrate, but hurry! It ends September 30th!)

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In case you don’t know what shadow plotting is (We didn’t until we read the interview!), it’s plotting the main character’s and the villain’s journey in your writing process. There’s so much more to it than that, though, so you’ll want to go read the complete article/interview. You may find a better way to chronicle the journeys of your lead characters!

Don’t Miss Leanne Pankuch’s Celebration!

In honor of the six-month anniversary for the release of Dragon’s Truth, Leanne Pankuch is hosting a giveaway at her website! You can find all the details here, but hurry! The contest ends September 30!

Half Birthday

A Shout Out To Our Authors

We’ve said this before, but it always bears repeating. We wouldn’t be here without our authors.

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We’ve been in business for over fifteen years now, and we’ve been fortunate to work with some amazingly talented authors. We helped launch careers, have watched as authors have moved on to astounding success, and the awards have been plentiful.

Our books have been approved by the Catholic Writers Guild, have been finalists in major contests like the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romantic Times, have won awards from Readers Favorite, RWA chapters, Moonbeam Children’s Awards, Literary Classics, and more, and have been reviewed by School Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Midwest Book Reviews, and more.

We have authors impacting today’s youth by speaking at schools and teaching at camps, authors that have now sold over 1,000,000 copies and 500,000 copies of their combined books ( not all of them were published by Vinspire), and authors who continue to amaze us with their perseverance, their drive to succeed, and their graciousness.

So, once again, we celebrate our authors! We’re so thankful for each and every one of them and applaud each achievement!