Writing Your Book While Keeping Your Authentic Voice: An RTC Book Journey Interview with Leanne Rozell
on June 15th, 2020
It’s seven p.m., and Rex is pushing the chicken stir fry around with his fork. “Mama, can’t I just have some turkey and goldfish?”
Leanne sighs as the wooden chair scrapes against the tile on the dining room floor. There were many things in life she said she would never let her children do, but since she has had four boys, she has learned to pick her battles.
While battling her sons at the dinner table isn’t at the forefront of her mind, she is always up for a competitive game.
“I used to always win the trash talk in basketball and golf because I could back it up, but now my boys are getting older and better than me so I’ve toned it down a bit.”
But Leanne loves to be challenged, and when it comes to book writing, she comes at it the same way she does all competition: with a “Let’s do this!” mentality.
RTC: What did you learn about yourself while creating this book?
A: Well, one thing you have to know about me is that I have a Type A personality. I’m a planner, and I love being organized. Color-coding makes me happy. I mean, I’m the crazy person who laminated our Disney vacation schedule! And when you are a person like that . . . most of the time you feel like not only should I be able to do this, but if I just put my mind to it, I can do it well. However, I had the knowledge that I was out of my element and I needed help and that it was okay to ask for help. We all have strengths and weaknesses. And through this process, I have come to see that team writing makes beautiful things happen. I have been blown away.
RTC: What did you learn about the book writing process itself?
A: I have a deeper appreciation and understanding for the amount of work, patience, fortitude that it takes to bring a book to fruition.
RTC: What did you first think of RTC, and how has that impression changed over time?
A: When I browsed the RTC website, I was reading through the storytelling ideas, and something stopped me in my tracks. I read the words “book coach,” and because I was and feel like I still am an athlete, I was drawn to having a team and having someone coaching me through the process.
But even though I liked the idea of being coached, my impression at the beginning and how I felt was nervousness. I was nervous about handing over my story. I was worried because I wanted to make sure I was still involved in the process. I really didn’t want someone else to write this book for me—I was afraid I would get left out.
But man, as far as my impression changing . . . I have found this team idea to be incredibly beautiful. In fact, I have laughed a few times over the fact that I have loved the RTC name because it’s a “round table.” And I felt like just that—I had a seat at that table.
RTC: What part of the RTC writing process surprised you?
A: The part that really surprised me was how invested my team was in getting this book to be the most beautiful version possible. I mean, there is nothing that’s halfway done at RTC!
Built into RTC’s framework is the word “more.” More than I would have done. More than I would have thought of. More of what makes the writing and coaching process go above and beyond—and that I believe took my book to a whole new level.
For instance, I was given two manuscript visions! I was only expecting one. And both of mine were genius! It was hard to pick just one. Also, the quality and quantity of the amount of writers and editors that have read over my book far exceeds any other company I researched. Another thing that surprised me was that the voice of the book matched my personality. It was me talking to the readers!
RTC: How have you quantified success related to our work together?
A: For me, success is setting a goal and following through with it. Getting your story out there. You want to take that leap of faith, set the goal, and finish it. There is no goal that we’re really going to accomplish without having accountability and someone helping us through the process. My success right now is bringing] it to the end.
RTC: What inspired you to write this story?
A: When my husband and I offer premarital counseling, and when I mentor younger girls, they have asked me over and over again about my story because of the miracles that had to take place in order for us to end up together.
But honestly, it was hard for me to open up at first. There was definitely trepidation about sharing my story from the past. It was difficult to put in written form. My team helped me work through that fear over time. After it was written, I was really glad it was there because it helped me focus on who it was written for.
These beautiful teenage and twenty-something girls—they might not have anything to hold onto. I think some of them feel so tossed by the winds and waves in our culture. They feel lost. I’m hoping that this will give them direction.
RTC: Can you give us a description of your book and who it is written for?
A: My book is a faith story in finding love and is written for the young adult girl who is dreaming of that certain someone who would care enough about herself to build a beautiful life story. She wants hope.
But fairy tales and knights in shining armor are made up; it’s just fiction. I think people want to hear a true story. And that’s my story. I do believe my story is a real-life story of a girl that believed “What if?”
“What if” I trusted God with my love life?
“What if” I prayed for that man?
“What if” that answer came true?
I hope that they sit at the end of the book and think that also.
RTC: Why did you choose the girl with the red umbrella story to highlight your journey?
A: I love the girl with the red umbrella! This story about her is one of expectant prayer. That girl expected God to answer her prayer, not just hoped it would happen. I want to be that girl always, and I believe this book points to a few times in my life when I was most definitely that girl.
The part that can be difficult when keeping up that kind of faith is when you don’t get the answer you think you should get. We have something set up in our house that is called a memorial box, and in it are little items of certain prayers that the Lord has answered in miraculous ways. It reminds us that even if we don’t get the answers we want, He still answers prayers in His way. That helps me keep up my faith like the girl with the red umbrella.
RTC: When you think about people years from now reading this, what do you hope they will get from your book? How does that make you feel?
A: Oh, my hopes, dreams, and prayers for this book are that, as readers learn more about my story, they are actually learning more about the God who loves them. I want my book to point them to the true source of love and joy.
I also believe that this story gives hope. And my strongest desire is just that . . . that [my] reader find[s] hope. That when she closes the book, she thinks there is hope for her out there.
It makes me feel really satisfied that, with a team effort, something I’ve created would be put out there. I think it’s definitely accomplishing a goal.
RTC: What is the one word that comes to mind when you think of RTC?
A: Oh, that’s actually easy because I have thought this word many times during the process: family.
And I know “family” stirs all kinds of different meanings for different people. But for me, family is sacred and trusted and loyal. There is a sense of mutual commitment to each other and to this project that I find incredibly unique and energizing.
RTC: Why did you ultimately choose RTC to help you write your story?
A: Because they’re the best, and you want the best.