I’d have to say there’s a little of me in every character I’ve written, regardless of age, gender, or good-guy/bad guy status. Like most authors, I rely heavily on my opinions, beliefs and background while considering what motivates my characters, as well as how they react to situations and events.
What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
Hmmm…I suppose I’d have to say that I paid my way through college by literally singing for my supper. Yep. You read correctly. Instead of "the piano lady" found in hotel lounges all across this great land of ours, you would have found me, strumming my Yamaha and crooning tunes requested by patrons. And hoo-boy did I learn a lot about human nature, watching the actions and interactions that took place all around me, Monday through Saturday, from 9 p.m. ‘til 2 a.m.!
When did you first discover you were a writer?
I’m not one of those authors who can honestly say “I wrote my first story while still in diapers!” For me, the concept dawned when I was in my early 30s, the by-product of my career as a freelance writer. Writing all sorts of stories, on assignment for a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, I was frequently frustrated by the way editors and/or publishers changed certain facts to appease advertisers. One day it hit me: If I was gonna write fiction for a living, why not admit it, and pen a novel! I did just that, sold it, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Wow. Now that could take pages and pages! I’m one of those goofballs who will read anything, from cereal boxes to junk mail. I have a vast collection of non-fiction books on my shelves, on topics that run the gamut from self-help to gardening. The novels I like best can’t be filed under a single genre, either. I read anything I can get my hands on, from light romantic comedy, to mysteries, to suspense and psycho-thrillers. My favorite classic? Steinbeck’s East of Eden. My favorite more-contemporary title? Watchers, by Dean Koontz.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
With a total of 68 books in print, I can’t in good conscience list every title here. I’ve written for many publishers (Barbour, Chelsea, Silhouette, Harlequin, Steeple Hill, Summerside, and more). I’ve written fiction and non-fiction for children and adults (and even had one novel optioned for a TV movie). Right now, I have fourteen books in progress, in various stages of completion, on my desk. Of those, four are sold and two are holding the interest of editors. There area literally dozens more false starts and completed novels that will probably always stay in those dark file drawers, right where they belong!
How do you keep your sanity in our run-run world?
Um…answering this one assumes I AM sane! Seriously, I credit the love and support of my husband and daughters for helping me keep my feet planted on terra firma. Then there’s good ol’ Cash, our formerly-abused, now overly-spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer whose devotion and loyalty promise to keep me humble. And if all that fails to remind me life is about far, far more than what appears on my computer screen, God always manages to find innovative ways to put my focus back where it belongs.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I’m a strong believer in the old "Words Mean Things" mindset. With that in mind, I want my characters’ names to reflect who and what they are.
What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of?
Without question, it’s my happy marriage of 37 years to my very own romance hero, Larry. Close on the heels of that accomplishment, my beautiful daughters.
If you were an animal, which would you be, and why?
That’s easy! I’d be a wolf. No doubt about it. I researched them years ago, while writing Montana Sky, and fell absolutely positively in love with the magnificent beasts. They’re smart, savvy, family-centered, and loyal to the death. And the vain-woman side of me has to point out that I’ve never seen an ugly wolf!
What is your favorite food?
Omygoodness. I love love LOVE food. There are three things I don’t like: lima beans, peas, and squid. I figure I must’ve driven my poor mother nuts, putting things in my mouth. But my all-time most-favorite love-it-best-food of all? Gnocchi, made like my Nonna used to make it, smothered with thick and rich, meatless Italian tomato sauce.
I noticed that Olive Garden has added a chicken and gnocchi soup. I'm going to try it next time I'm there. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
By far, patience has always been my greatest stumbling block. Or more accurately, lack of patience.
What advice would you give an author just starting out?
Don’t swallow the Silly Pill known in so many circles as “write the book of your heart.” Instead, save yourself a ton of time and heartache by studying the market. Find out what readers want by spending time at your favorite bookstore, and watching what genres seem to be flying off the shelves. Then, using that information, go back home and bend “the book of your heart” so that it meets those reader demands.
Very good advice. What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
BUY IT and READ IT! I’m not kidding! Okay, for the more serious-minded souls out there, I’ll say this: Paradise features characters who must overcome sad pasts in order to find happiness, fulfillment, and love. Set in Pennsylvania’s Amish country, readers will meet a few of "the plain people" whose friendship and spiritual counsel help the hero and heroine come to grips with adversity, grief, and self-righteousness.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Easy! Visit http://www.loreelough.com/, or http://www.theloughdown.blogspot.com/. (And if you drop me a note, your email becomes your official entry form that might help you win a free copy of Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania!)
Thank you, Loree, for spending this time with us today.
Readers for your convenience, I'm including a link where you can order the featured book:
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