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Author Interview,  Giveaway,  Hope-filled Fiction

LeighAnne Clifton: Small-town Romance, Forgiveness, a Giveaway and More

Please help me welcome Contemporary Romance author LeighAnne Clifton. Enjoy learning about LeighAnne and her novel, Ready to Forgive. She’s offering a signed paperback as a giveaway, so be sure to comment on the interview by May 31 for a chance to win.

Welcome, LeighAnne! Please tell us a little about yourself and your family.

My husband Bill and I have been married 35 years this July. We have two grown kids and two spoiled cats. Although Aiken, SC has been our home for our entire married life, I was born in Florida and later moved to South Carolina. My degree is in chemical engineering, and I spent my career in the field of environmental regulatory compliance. I retired in December 2020 to pursue writing.

Do you have any hobbies? What do you do for fun?

Although I have an engineering degree (and approach life with the expected logic that degree implies), I’m really a creative at heart. I love to paint, refinish furniture, garden, craft… basically, I like to make stuff!

A woman of many talents! What genre do you write and what inspired you to write that particular genre? 

Although I love to read many different genres, I write Christian romance. When I first got the idea for All Your Heart, the romance element wasn’t as strong as it ended up being in the finished book. However, as the story grew and took on a life of its own, I began to see the importance of developing a healthy romantic relationship for the main character and presenting it in a way that honors God.

How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing? 

In each of my novels, at least one character comes to salvation in Jesus Christ. I try to show how their new faith positively affects their lives, even though they still have to walk through difficulties. I don’t try to sugarcoat faith, implying it takes away all of our earthly problems. Instead, I try to highlight in each book a crucial aspect that our relationship with Jesus plays in how we deal with the daily struggles of life.

For example, All Your Heart was all about trust, Ready to Forgive is about forgiveness, and What We Don’t See (the upcoming book three in the series) is about faith.

I like your approach. Sounds like books I would enjoy. Are any of your stories inspired by true events or personal history? 

I created a kind of “mash up” of some of the struggles I’ve seen others walk through, as well as some of my own hardships. I really wanted to remind readers that Christians aren’t immune to heart-break, pain, and tragedy. What sets us apart is how we deal with the difficult times and Who we credit for our triumph over adversity.

Amen! What is the setting of your current novel? If it’s a real location, have you visited? Tell us about it.

The Together for Good novel series is set in small-town South Carolina. Since these are my first novels, I decided the old adage, “write what you know” would serve me well. I’ve lived in small towns in the Palmetto State for over forty years, observing the dynamics of friendship, Southern hospitality, and the importance of traditions. It seemed like a no-brainer to set my series in a place I know so intimately.

Makes good sense. And who doesn’t like small town, Southern settings in a contemporary romance, right? What do you hope your readers take away from Ready to Forgive?

The overarching theme of Ready to Forgive is obviously forgiveness. But I hope the reader sees the forgiveness that’s being offered not only from God to the characters, but also by the characters to one another. Fractured relationships experience healing and broken people experience wholeness through the power of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is an important theme in stories for sure. We can all benefit from that lesson. What is one of your favorite quotes from Ready to Forgive?

Without giving too much away, I borrowed a portion of the wedding vows my husband and I made to each other. It’s been thirty-five years, and we still remember that we pledged to love each other, “in sunshine and in shadows; through hopes fulfilled and dreams shattered.” We’ve had our share of both, and I wanted to honor that in this book.

That’s lovely. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I enjoy being able to work wherever I am, whether it’s at home, on vacation, or in the car (not while I’m driving!). My mind is my characters’ “playground,” and they rattle around up there playing around with conversations and plot lines. I always have to be ready to capture the really great nuggets of dialog or action – which isn’t easy to do in the dead of night or in the shower!

Working on the go is a definite perk! Do you enjoy marketing and social media? Which platform are you most active on? 

Marketing is where I’ve had the most to learn, and it’s the thing that’s been the most difficult for me. I’m not a young woman, so the constantly changing technology landscape has challenged me at every turn. I’ve spent many hours researching book marketing techniques, collaborating with other authors, learning how to use new software, and putting my name and my book “out there” – an absolutely terrifying prospect for me.

The thing that keeps me going is remembering that I’m sharing the message of God’s truth, and to hold back or refuse to do so would be disobedient. That never ends well!

I prefer Facebook and Instagram. I’ve tried Twitter, but it seems so time-intensive to reap minimal benefits.

I can relate so well! What’s next from you?

I’m working on the third book in the Together for Good series, What We Don’t See. Readers will enjoy their favorite characters from the first two books, with a few new folks thrown into the mix to spice things up a bit!

Thanks so much for sharing about your writing and books on my blog, LeighAnne. May God continue to bless you as you write for Him.

Join the conversation. Do you like reading fiction with a strong spiritual element? Do LeighAnne’s books sound like some you’d enjoy? Does the theme of forgiveness resonate with you?

Be sure to comment by May 31 for a chance to win a signed paperback of LeighAnne’s book! Keep scrolling to find the comments section.

Ready to Forgive by LeighAnne Clifton

Click the book cover for purchase link

Alex and Chad are getting married! 

Well, that is, they will be if Alex can shake off the hurts from her past. She takes Terry with her to Woodvale to finally forgive her step-father and to introduce Terry to his dad. When Chad learns about their travel plans, he questions whether their relationship can withstand her pain.

Alex has a proposal of her own when she returns: get married! In less than two months! How can they organize a proper celebration in that amount of time? With help from a whole bunch of friends, of course. 

An ex-girlfriend, more secrets, and some wedding day bombshells all conspire to wreck the couple’s plans. Can Alex and Chad prevail over the past and embark on a lifetime of happiness?

LeighAnne Clifton and her husband Bill call South Carolina home. After meeting while both earning their degrees in chemical engineering at the University of South Carolina, the pair married and settled in Aiken. They have two grown children, a son-in-law, and a pair of spoiled cats.

Before writing All Your Heart, LeighAnne wrote The Little Vessel, a modern-day parable for all who need reminding that God has a unique purpose for their lives. Readers should look for the sequel to All Your Heart to be released in early 2022.

LeighAnne, like Alex Powell, loves to upcycle old junk into beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces. She shares her thoughts on Christian living, DIY projects, and the latest book news on her blog.

Connect with LeighAnne: Website/Blog / Facebook / Instagram

Please share LeighAnne’s interview on social media to help spread the word about her books!

If you missed last week’s interview with Laura DeNooyer, find it here.

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  • Carol James

    Great interview, Leighanne. I live in Georgia, so we’re nextdoor neighbors! I enjoy reading books with spiritual elements, especially forgiveness. I love seeing characters being redeemed! Wishing you great success.

      • LeighAnne

        Carol, what small world! I love telling folks about the redemption Jesus offers. Thanks for reading the post!

  • Lynn Moore

    Ladies….I really enjoyed the interview. I love it when I read “fiction” that includes everyday challenges….and then points the way to Jesus for the answer.
    Blessings to y’all!
    Lynn Moore 🌺

  • Jeanette Davis

    This series sounds amazing! I love that a character in each book comes to faith but still has struggles…real life fiction. I also love to garden although and craft (crochet). Thank you for not writing while you drive. Blessings—praying — in the wake of horrific things happening in the country the last few weeks– we truly need to turn back to our Creator, that your books will reach someone seeking and give them a good direction.

    • LeighAnne Clifton

      Jeanette, my prayer every single time I sit down to write is to reach that one person who needs to know about the goodness of God! If an engaging story is the way He desires to accomplish that, I’m honored to be used for that purpose. BTW, I laughed out loud when I read your words of thanks for not writing while driving! Talk about distracted driving. That would be it.

    • Deena Adams

      You’re so right, Jeanette. Our world is a mess, and any positive messages we can put out about Jesus and pointing people to Him is a blessing. I love that God even uses fiction for His eternal purposes!

    • Traci Winget

      Great interview. I’ve been through South Carolina, but never spent any time there. You make it sound worth the time to invest, especially a smaller town. Any story that points to Jesus is vital, especially in today’s chaotic world. Thank you!

      • Deena Adams

        I totally agree with you, Traci. Our chaotic world needs Jesus in whatever format we can share His truth and love, even fiction. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      • LeighAnne

        Traci, you definitely need to check out our beautiful state! From the beaches to the foothills of the Smoky mountains, we’ve got some lovely towns! And I so agree about this world needing to be pointed to Jesus! People need Him! Thanks for commenting.

  • Karin

    I love meeting new romance authors. Thanks for the fun interview!

    I’m okay with or without a strong spiritual element as long as the story is good.