Growing up in a small Rhode Island town, Leanne discovered her ability to write at an early age. She was just fifteen years old when she began crafting her first novel.
For many years, Leanne had been suffering from a strange and disabling condition known as agoraphobia. The illness prevented her from attending school beyond the eight grade as terrifying panic attacks began to overwhelm her daily life. When her family and friends learned of the condition, they were surprised to learn that Leanne had been fighting the illness her entire life. At that time, not very much was understood about panic disorder, nor was it very widely discussed. No one had any idea what the illness was, nor what they could do to help her overcome it. So, for several years they could do nothing but watch as her battle with the disability steadily declined.
The deadly truth about agoraphobia is the more you give in to your fears, the more the illness takes your freedom away. Leanne sought refuge from her anxiety in what is known as avoidance behavior. First she withdrew from school to stop the worst of her panic attacks, then over the new few years she slowly picked up the habit of avoiding every situation that could incite a moment of anxiety. It was only a matter of time before that coping mechanism left her completely trapped within the walls of her five-room home--and even there she never felt completely safe.
Victims of the anxiety disease often find themselves coping with loneliness and boredom through pleasures found outside of the normal social atmosphere. While today there are many ways to find escape online, at that time there were no such tools available. For Leanne, television, music and books became her chosen tools for escape. And through the world of entertainment, she found it was possible to feel like she was living an adventurous life, even though she wasn't able to step foot outside her front door in the real world.
It all started with a simple book subscription. There was a company called Silhouette Special Edition that offered to faithfully deliver four romance novels each month directly through the mail. That was the beginning of Leanne's adventure into romance and it was pure pleasure to read and re-read each one. Still, four books a month just wasn't enough. She soon found other offers from Zebra Books, Harlequin and Avon--and her family provided even more to read from week to week.
The real world that seemed so cold and frightening faded away in favor of a fictional world that felt warm, inviting--and primarily safe from any anxiety...
By the age of fifteen, Leanne grew frustrated with reading. Over two years, she'd read nearly two hundred different romance novels and by then, she was completely bored with their content. Suddenly the storylines that used to excite felt incredibly predictable. There was a terrible trend on the market and there was a rash of books with such weak endings that it was almost depressing finishing a book, instead of feeling uplifting. It seemed to Leanne that for some reason authors crafted strong novels with great passion, yet by the third quarter of the book their enthusiasm dwindled--as the books wound down to a rather predictable lull.
That was when Leanne started daydreaming about a love story of her own. The idea of it played over and over in her head as she memorized the character's conversations or the drama of their shared laughter and tears. In her mind, she could see each of their faces and knew the plot of the story by heart. In truth, she still had little else to do for entertainment. But daydreaming about that story proved as satisfying as any she'd ever absorbed herself in reading.
There is where her writing began. Stories of her own began to flow from pen to paper for the next two years. By the time she reached seventeen she'd grown an extensive vocabulary and understanding for the structure of novels. Her family encouraged her with praise for her newly discovered talent. No one could quite believe that she had learned such a complicated art form as constructing a novel without the help of school. The novel she created was called Silent Mysteries. Other books formed in her mind at the same time, so she jumped from one novel to another as whims struck. In the end though, Silent Mysteries was her favorite and it had grown the largest by far.
It was just past Leanne's seventeenth birthday when her family fought one final time to seek help for her retched illness. Despite the failed years of counseling and therapy, something was different this time. At last a doctor entered the picture who was able to bring focus, control and structure back to Leanne's life. After several months of therapy, which included intense counseling sessions and the help of medication, Leanne cracked open the doors she'd barred shut--and she entered slowly back out into the real world... It was then that Silent Mysteries took a back seat in her life as she relished her newly discovered freedom for all it was worth. For so many years she denied caring about what the outside world held--but at last it was hers to experience once more.
The years passed by quickly as Leanne found work, moved onto college and eventually found love. During those years she pushed aside her distant hopes of becoming an author, instead focusing her attention on boyfriends, girlfriends and real world experiences that she'd never dared hope to enjoy for herself. Then life finally began to settle down as Leanne reached her thirtieth birthday.
Sacrificing some of her personal time, Leanne created a web site called Intersoap Magazine. It was her first attempt at writing for the general public. But, while she gained a lot of notoriety and enjoyment for her work, she still longed for something more. Intersoap Magazine was fun to work on, but it lost its sparkle when Leanne finally had her first child, the one thing that had still been missing in her life. Her daughter filled every last void that remained in the wake of such a lonely childhood.
But, now those days are long past! Leanne now lives a full life both writing for The Quiet Corner and raising her young family. The website is meant to be an escape from the real world... It represents a place where Leanne once lived and now home to the romantic fiction she's always loved creating so many years ago.
You are welcome to stop by The Quiet Corner as often as you like, and you can stay as long as you want. Please feel free to participate in shaping the future of each novel as you read it. Contribute your own words of advice from time to time. Email the author! Delight, rant or rave with others over the events of the stories! It is Leanne's hope to build the most compelling romance novels the world has read in ages and she hopes you will find her work just as satisfying to read as she does writing it.
Somewhere behind the scenes of this monumental plan, Leanne continues to write. It's still an escape from reality, but no longer a way of avoiding the real world. Now enjoying romance merely enhances a world already full of adventure.
"Thank you for taking the time to read this short biography. Enjoy your life and never give up! If you suffer from panic attacks or know someone who does, there are effective treatments available to help you live a normal and productive life. Seek help through the internet or through a professional psychiatric doctor. I am living proof that you can return to a normal life... There is help available."
Leanne Elise Smith
Last updated: Saturday, November 16, 2013
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