Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Guest Today is Author,

Loree Lough, promoting Prevailing Love and Tales of the Heart:

Loree is a fun person who loves people and writing. Read on for an insight into what makes her "tick" and such a success in this business. (NOTE: I’ve heard she has over 70 books in print. Whooee!)

How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear "call?" Or have you just loved writing all your life?

First, thank you, Carole, for providing authors this opportunity for readers to get to know them a little better! You’re gracious and generous and everything a true Christian should be, and I’m proud to know you!

As a teen, I entertained the kids I babysat by telling stories, and even the most unruly brats grew calm and quiet, hearing themselves as stars of the tales. I moved from those to non-fiction stories in magazines and newspapers, and when publishers started messing with the facts to appease advertisers, I decided as long as I was sorta writing fiction anyway, why not be up front about it and write short stories! I sold quite a few (confession mags, etc.), but I didn’t take the gift seriously until after my first novel hit the shelves. Reader mail made it clear, for the first time in my life, what God wanted me to do. And I’ve been doing it ever since!

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

Most of my stories are in the ‘inspirational romance’ genre, and of the 75 books on the shelves, half are historicals. The way I explain "inspirational"? The novels include all the traditional elements of popular fiction, with one fundamental addition: Spirit-based storylines, based on biblical principles, that are tightly woven into the plots.

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

I work 6 days a week, 8-10 hours a day (and when I’m on a tight deadline, I’m in my office on Sundays after church, too). I don’t set a ‘word count’ goal when I sit down to write. Instead, I review whatever I worked on yesterday, clean it up, and move forward. Depending on the condition of the prior scene(s), editing could take anywhere from an hour to my whole work day, so I might not add to the overall word count at all!

Most novels require a full week’s worth of research and interviews. Then I spend a day charting out the storyline, another developing characters (background, motivation, conflict, etc.). Once those essentials are complete, I dig in my heels and don’t quit until I’ve typed The End… which for a novel that’s 80,000 words long, usually takes an additional eight weeks.

What is the spiritual message in your latest book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

The working title for my WIP is "The Outlaw Wore Skirts". It’s the first in a 4-book historical series, and features a heroine wrongly accused of several serious crimes. So the overall spiritual theme is forgiveness. As the story progresses, she must forgive her step-father, whose abuse started the dominos toppling in her life. Then she must forgive herself for all the erroneous decisions she made as a result of it. And interwoven into it all, a steadily-growing need for the Lord that allows her to practice trust, faith, and acceptance.

You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

I’m so blessed to be able to say that Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska (Summerside Press, released Oct. 1, 2009) has already inspired nearly 100 glowing reviews (from pros and readers). I’m doubly blessed, because it’s my 75th published book!

This is the story of ex-marine Bryce Stone, forced to return to his home town after being wounded in Afghanistan… and he isn’t at all happy about it. For one thing, The City Where It’s Christmas, All Year Long hasn’t felt like home since his parents died a decade earlier. For another, his maiden Aunt Olive’s retirement puts him in the uncomfortable position of taking the helm of his parents’ gift shop, meaning his life-long dream of building one-of-a-kind furniture pieces must move to the back burner, indefinitely.

Enter spunky Samantha Sinclair, whom he hires to run the shop in the hope he can at least attempt to make his dream come true. The youngest of 8 kids, Sam has a lot to prove… to her 7 older brothers, to her parents, to herself, and especially, to Bryce. She quickly realizes that facing the challenges head-on might be enough to satisfy her siblings, but it’ll take more than physical labor and organizational skills to win Bryce over… especially when he loses the only member of his family he has left!

Faith, trust, and love are a powerful combination… but are they enough to heal old wounds and unite these two very different people…?

Where do you get ideas? Character names? Do you find your characters similar to you in any way?

The joke I often make is that I get my ideas from a little elf who lives under my front porch; I poke him with a stick and he’s usually good for at least a few suggestions! But there’s no ‘under’ to my porch, and no ‘elf’, either. So I’m forced to get ideas from newspapers and magazines, from TV news reports, from stories I overhear in line at the grocery store, from friends and relatives who say "Hey, did you hear…?" Everything has the potential of becoming a novel, once I ask those all important questions: "What if?" and "And then what?"

Choosing character names is getting tougher as more books hit the shelves. My ‘baby names’ book is definitely showing signs of wear!

Heroes and heroines in my books all have faults and flaws, just like real people. I share some of those—along with a few bad habits—and I think that’s what makes the characters seem real. In life, I avoid weak, whiny people. Put me in a room with someone who’s overcome adversity, and done it with their back straight and their chin up, and I’ve got the makings of real friend material! Based on letters from my readers, those are the qualities they most identify with, too.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?

Taking a break from pounding the keys, yes, but giving up? Not in my DNA! Most people do NOT understand the writing process. My theory? They think ‘cause they can read a book in a few hours, we can write one in maybe twice that long. Only other authors (and the people who share their homes) understand what a tedious, time-consuming job it is.

For the most part, people just don’t ‘get it’. If they did, they wouldn’t say things like "Lucky Loree! She gets paid for her little hobby!" and "I wish I could stay home all day and do nothing…" and "Of course Loree doesn’t want to retire… it isn’t like she’s actually working…" and "Loree can (insert errand or chore) because she doesn’t have an actual job." (Sadly, those are actual quotes, spoken by friends!)

Then there are those times (at family gatherings or parties) when people who didn’t already know I’m an author ask, "What do you write?" My reply: "Inspirational romance." Eyebrows slam into hairlines. "What’s that?" And after a thirty second explanation, foreheads furrow. Not a whole lot. Just enough so I notice. And they say, "So… when are you gonna write a real book?"

My brain runs down what I could say: My books all have covers. Spines. Back jacket copy. Pages inside, with words on them. I bite back what I’d like to say, as the image of Jack Nicholson, on the witness stand, floats in my head; you know that scene where Tom Cruise bellows "I want the truth!" and Jack snarls, "YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"? Well, picture this: I smile politely and give ‘em a friendly hug, then stand back and say, "Aw, I wouldn’t worry about it, ‘cause… you can’t handle a real book."

Works every time! LOL

Would you explain how you "chose" (or was chosen) a publisher? Do you just go "inny, minny, miny, moe?" Grin. Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

Tempting as it was (still is! ), I’ve never gone the "inny, minny, miny, moe" route. The simple answer is, I have always studied the market. The more detailed one is, I looked at my work in progress, then asked myself what it was. (Historical? Contemporary? Suspense? Thriller? Humorous? A combination of any/all of those?) Then, I asked, what’s this book’s overall theme? (Overcoming adversity? Man v. nature? Boy gets girl?) And what’s the book’s spiritual message? (Forgiveness? Acceptance? Tolerance?) Next, I asked myself which companies were buying that kind of fiction, and got online to find out how many of those they’d published lately. Last, I learned how they preferred to receive submissions, and gave them exactly what they asked for.

Now that I have a few books on the shelves, and a very capable agent, I don’t have to complete a full manuscript to make a sale. A synopsis and a few chapters, usually, and in very rare cases (when I’ve worked with a particular editor before), an overview will do.

In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point where I can sit back and relax, thinking about my so-called success, because the sad fact is… I’m only as successful as my last book.

Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could? Etc.

I like people. Well, most people. LOL! Working alone all day as I do, it’s a blessing to come out of the office and have the ability to interact with others. As I said earlier, I shy away from whiners and complainers, because those attitudes are contagious. I stay away from fibbers and truth-stretchers, because they test my Patience Quota. I pray for both types, but the folks I’m drawn to and become friends with are upbeat, spirit-filled, strong and capable.

Gardening is one of many hobbies, and I wish I had more time for it! I love to paint and sketch (one of my pen and ink drawings hangs in the home of actress Lea Thompson!), bang on the piano and strum my Yamaha.

I find myself satisfying my cravings for new information by reading. Cereal boxes (vitamin info!), recipe cards (caloric data!), milk cartons ("have you seen me?"), even junk mail becomes reading material!

The Lord has blessed me with many wonderful and memorable trips, but the one I haven’t taken yet that I’d like to is… an African safari. When I make that one, hoo-boy the novel is gonna be all kinds of dangerous! LOL

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

I’d love for everybody to visit me via:

  • Web site:
http://www.loreelough.com
  • Blog: www.theloughdown.blogspotcom
  • Plus

    • Facebook, Shoutlife, MySpace, and Twitter.

    Shameless self-promotion alert!

    • By the time this appears, I will have returned from Detroit, where I taped a segment of the "I’m Just Sayin’" show, hosted by Pastor Dan Willis on the Total Christian Television network (when I find out when it’ll air, I’ll let you know so you can tune in!);
    • Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry (devotional, co-authored with Andrea Boeshaar, Sandie Bricker, and Debby Mayne) hits bookshelves by November 1st. (All four of us have promised to contribute a generous portion of the proceeds to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, so every sale will increase the amount we can donate!);
    • In January, 2010, two new books will be released from Whitaker House… Tales of the Heart (3 complete historical romances) and Prevailing Love (3 full-length contemporaries).
    • In June, #1 in the (tentatively titled) "Rockin’ N Ranch" series, The Outlaw Wore Skirts will be released (followed every 4-6 months by another in the series);
    • During the summer of 2011, additional "Rockin’ N Ranch" titles, along with One Forsaken Man, #1 in my First Responders series from Abingdon Press;

    and

    • Love Finds You in Folly Beach, South Carolina (Summerside).

    Thank you, Loree, for being on my blog.

    Wasn’t that fun, readers? Run to check out Loree’s books. You’ll love them!

    Blessings!


    5 comments:

    Roseanna M. White said...

    Yay! Always good to learn more about you, Loree! Especially since NORTH POLE, AK just arrived in the mail, and I'm looking forward to cracking it open this week as a special Christmas treat.

    Thanks for the interview, Carole! Fabulous as always. =)

    Elaine W. Miller said...

    Thanks Loree and Carole for a great interview.

    Your comment about "reader mail" inspires me to keep writing. Isn't it great how God sends someone to affirm your call to write exactly when you are about to put down the pen.

    Be blessed and keep writing!

    Edna said...

    I think Loree is the greatest and I love her books,


    mamat2730(at)charter(dot)net

    Rose McCauley said...

    I was happy to meet Loree at the airport after the ACFW conference and she is as sweet and wholesome as her books! Thanks, Loree and Carole.

    Jeanette Levellie said...

    Loree: You are an inspiration to us all. 75 books. Wow!

    And I'm elated to know I'm not the only one who reads cereal boxes and vitamin bottles...

    Bless you both,
    Jen