LL: No…thank YOU! It’s a pleasure to be here!
BL:When did you know you wanted to become a writer??
LL:Well, I’ve pretty much always been a story-teller, but it wasn’t until my hubby’s job transfer took the family to Richmond in 1986 (yikes… has it been that long!
My first novel (Pocketful of Love) was released in 1994, and readers chose it “Best Contemporary Romance” that year. That was pretty much all it took: I was HOOKED!
BL:How do you choose your plots or themes for your books?
LL:That can happen any number of ways. I might overhear a conversation while standing in the grocery store line, or read a tidbit in the newspaper, or see something while at a family gathering that makes me think “Hey… that would make a neat story!” From that point, my brain plays the “Okay, so you have that (character, setting, event), so now what happens?” Which leads to “And then what?”, over and over, until I’m satisfied the story’s gonna entertain readers.
BL:Typically, what is the length of time it takes to write your novels?
LL:Depends on the novel. I know, I know. Sounds like a cop-out, doesn’t it? Seriously? An eighty thousand word story (typical paperback length) generally takes about 2 months from Idea to The End. Historicals sometimes take a few weeks longer, because I’m a nut about getting the facts straight. Ditto contemporaries featuring characters with unusual jobs.
BL:Growing up, what did you want to be as an adult and is that what you became?? If not, why?
LL:Well, I started out wanting to be a ballerina, but didn’t have the money for lessons. I thought ‘cop’ would be a cool job, but back then, you needed 20-20 eyesight and I couldn’t see a foot in front of my face without coke-bottle glasses. Ditto my dreams of being a stewardess.
Then I got contact lenses and fell almost by accident into a career as a professional singer, and spent a few years touring the country with my Yamaha and a steamer trunk of sheet music. But being “on the road” was a strange and scary lifestyle, and first chance I got, I traded my guitar for a simple gold band on the third finger of my left hand. Wonderful job, fantastic life… which led me straight into what I’m doing now… and except for wife-mom, I can’t name a job I’ve had that I love more.
BL:Do you have a favorite genre of books that you favor? What would be your favorite book if you had to choose one right now?
LL:While wearing my ‘fan hat’, I’ll read just about anything from Dean Koontz to Nicholas Sparks to Hemmingway. But my all-time favorite book is Steinbeck’s East of Eden. Every few years, I grab my tattered old copy and revisit my favorite fictional characters. And even though I know how the story ends, I still find it tough to read that last chapter… because it means I’ll have to say goodbye to each one… at least for a while.
BL:Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
LL:The usual advice is good, of course (read, write, study), but the one piece of advice I got as a ‘newbie’ that was totally wrong was a blend of “Write the book of your heart” and “Write what you know”. If a writer hopes to see his/her books in print? Then s/he absolutely MUST balance both of those cliches with a market savvy approach. Find out what’s selling and figure out how to add that to the book of your heart (which is a byproduct of ‘what you know’).
BL:Finally, what message(s) do you want your readers to come away with when they are finished reading your novels?
LL:Every letter I get from my readers becomes a treasured possession that I’ll save forever, because in each, they have shared how closely my story mirrored their own lives. They tell me how the story made them laugh, or cry, or in most cases, both! They admit that they struggled with the same problem faced by the characters, and share that they have some of the same traits and habits exhibited by the main characters. Very often, they thank me for helping them find solution to their real-life problems because, like the characters, they turned to God for guidance and strength!
In every one of the thousands of letters in my files, readers tell me they’ve added my book to their Keepers shelf, and nothing could please me more than knowing the characters mirrored their lives, their experiences, their tragedies and their triumphs. My main goal as I sit down to write each day is to create stories and characters that come to life for my readers, just as the people in East of Eden come to life for me, every single time I read it.
BL:Thanks again, Loree!!!
LL:It’s been a genuine pleasure, spending time with you, and I pray the good Lord will shower each of you and those you love with joys too numerous to count!
To find out more about Loree and her wonderful books, please stop by her website!