Over the years, I’ve entertained the idea of writing secular fiction, and to date, I’ve only had one of those published. It sold relatively well, but my ‘fan mail’ couldn’t even begin to compete with letters from readers of my Christian novels. Each correspondence makes it more clear than the last: This is what the Good Lord wants me to do.
Besides when you came to know the lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Wow, is that a loaded question! I’ve been blessed with many ‘happiest days’: My wedding, the birth of my kids, the arrival of each grandchild…. Choosing one just isn’t possible!
How has being published changed your life?
Eeeek! Another loaded question! Having books on the shelves is yet another example of ‘happiest day’ blessings. But I suppose being a published author changes me…because it changes readers…which changes me even more! Each time God graces me with a storyline and characters, He allows me to share His message with a variety of readers. Some have followed Him all of their lives. Others are new arrivals on The Path of Faith. A few are backsliders, reminded how much He loves His children through the actions and reactions of those who people my books.
What are you reading right now?
Just finished reading books by two dear friends who are also Summerside authors: Miracle, KY by Andrea Boeshaar and Snowball, AR by Sandie Bricker. I can’t wait to get my hands on all the other books in the Love Finds You series!
I know many readers of my blog are collecting all the Love Finds You books. What is your current work in progress?
Right now, I’m working on four different things at once! First, I’m finishing up Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania (an April ’09 Summerside release). I’m adding snippets to a non-fiction gardening book, and a devotional. And adding chapters to a thriller, and a romantic suspense.
What would be your dream vacation?
No question about it: I’d return to Ireland! Of all the places I’ve visited, the Emerald Isle is the one I’d most like to see again. And again. The land and sea vistas, the people, the windblown spindrift call to me…and someday soon, I hope to answer!
How do you choose the settings for each book?
Every author has their own style, of course. In my case, stories start with some event that ‘speaks’ to me. Maybe I’ll overhear a conversation at a local eatery. Or I’ll read something in the newspaper. Someone might call to share good news…or bad…. Soon afterward, while I’m doing some mindless chore, my strange brain will ask “Okay, so there’s the nut of the thing, but what if…?” Pretty soon, I’ve got a couple people acting out roles in the story, and since I can’t let the float aimlessly, I have to find a fitting ‘place’ for them, so they can live the lives I’ll create for them. For me, ‘setting’ is almost a character, itself!
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be, and why?
I think a couple of uninterrupted hours with Joel Osteen would be an amazing experience. He’s so filled with the calm presence of God! I like the way he thinks…and lives his life. I admire the way he turns what could be lofty ideals into language anyone can understand and identify with. And I respect that he speaks of hope and faith and trust in the Lord in ways that inspire, invigorate and encourage. I’d expect that, at the end of a meeting with this fella, I’d be fired-up in brand new ways, too. (And as I’d make my exit, I’d ask “So, Joel…why do you BLINK so much!”
My husband really likes to listen to Joel. I'm sure he'd love to spend time with him, too. What are your hobbies, besides reading and writing?
I love working in my gardens. I have dozens, all around my yard. I enjoy dabbling in art, too, and have created some fair-to-middlin’ sketches, woodburnings, and paintings and the like that my poor friends and relatives have to display when I visit.
By the way, Loree, I love the cover of this new book. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
The inability to say NO with conviction is by far my biggest hurdle in my writing world. Not being able to speak this tiny, one-syllable word gives birth to distraction…something I share this with anyone who works from home. Whether we’re assembling widgets, stitching quilts, making flower arrangements, or writing stories, we are all expected to accomplish a certain amount of work every day…despite being taunted by the ‘fridge, the pantry, the telephone, and the TV. Friends and relatives seem convinced that, because we don’t drive to an office or punch a time clock, we have unlimited hours to run errands, bake cupcakes, pick up dry cleaning, and edit or critique other’s manuscripts.
In most cases, I’m more than happy to say ‘yes’ to others’ requests. But sometimes? Sigh. Sometimes I wish they had the capacity to see how difficult it is for me to say anything BUT! I love making people happy. Love making them smile. Love helping out when and where I can, in any way I can. And I hate disappointing anyone…especially those I love!
I guess the answer to Part Two of this question is…when I figure out HOW to overcome it, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, pray for me!
What advice would you give a beginning author?
I’m sure they’ve all heard the tried and true: Read, study, write…then read, study, and write some more!
I’ll take that a step further, and suggest a break from writing every hour or two. Step away from the computer. Stretch. Work the kinks from your hands and neck. Drink a tall glass of cool water. Then pray. Ask the Lord if what you’ve written is what He hoped you’d write. If so, praise him! If not, ask Him to show you how those words can be improved. Ask for His guidance as you move from ‘that’ scene to the next. Because when all’s said and done, if you haven’t glorified Him, your words won’t echo in the hearts of your readers. And that’s the sensation that brings them back to your stories, again and again!
Now, tell us about the featured book.
Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska, is a fun story that takes readers to a city they’ll likely not visit in their lifetime! Situated outside Fairbanks, it’s a place where you can celebrate Christmas year-round.
The hero, a returning war veteran, isn’t happy with the way his fellow citizens have commercialized the holy day. And to add to his frustration, the sluggish real estate market means he can’t sell the shop willed to him by his deceased parents. So much for his dream of opening a carpentry shop, where he can create one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. The heroine is a fun-loving, klutzy gal who comes to North Pole to prove to her seven rowdy brothers that she CAN make a go of it in the frozen north! He hires her to run the shop…until a suitable buyer comes along. To his surprise, he discovers she can turn a profit, and have time to spare.
She’s determined to prove there are Santa-like qualities in this Grinch-like handsome man before he decides to leave North Pole for a place where warmth isn’t in such short supply!
How can readers find you on the Internet?
They’re welcome to visit me any time, at http://www.loreelough.com/ or http://www.theloughdown.blogspot.com/.
Thank you, Loree, for spending this time with us.
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