Interview with Loree Lough
Greetings and Salutations!
I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, raised in the Chicago suburbs, and settled down in the Baltimore area. And in between? Too many here-to-there moves--inspired by my dad's job with the Veterans Administration--to list! (But as an example, I attended 14 schools in 12 years.)
Married? Children? Pets?
I've been happily married to my real-life hero for decades, and we're blessed with three daughters and seven grandkids. I pretty much single-handedly nurtured a cat (Mouser) for 18 years, a won-at-the-county-fair goldfish (Keith--long story to explain how he got his name) for 11 years, and the dog (Cash, who replaced Mouser) for 10 years. And isn't that the way of most wives/moms? "I promise to take care of it!" I'm not complaining (exactly <g>), because all three ended up being MINE in just about every imaginable way!
Day job? Previous jobs?
Writing has been my full-time job since the mid 80s, when I took my first assignment as a "beat reporter." Prior to that, I was the proverbial "Jack of all trades, master of none," working as a waitress, secretary, bookkeeper, receptionist, gopher, nursing home prep cook, assistant manager of a plumbing company's service department, assistant project coordinator for a remodeling firm, and believe it or not, more! And prior to that, I paid my way through school by traveling around the country, singing in hotel lounges. (You know the piano lady who sits in a corner, waiting for dollar bills to end up in the gigantic brandy snifter near her keyboard? Well, that was me. Only with a Yamaha guitar instead of a piano and a shoebox in place of the snifter.)I'm a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, so I can save time, answer the "favorite foods" question, by admitting that I don't like lima beans...
Ok, wow, a lifetime member of WW. So does this mean you absolutely love to cook, too? Favorite healthy recipes?
Y'know, I DO have some favorite WW recipes! Feel free to use all three recipes! I got them straight out of my WW Healthy Life-Style Cookbook (copyright 1990). Here's a small sampling:
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
Spinach Pinwheel Hors d'Oeuvres
1/2 cup finely-chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups thawed, well-drained chopped frozen spinach
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/3 cup (less 1 teaspoon) grated Parmesan cheese
1 package refrigerated ready-to-bake pizza crust dough (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon thawed frozen egg substitute
In a 10" skillet, heat oil.Add onions and garlic and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until onion softens. Add spinach, parsley, Italian seasoning, and red pepper Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is heated through. Cool slightly and stir to combine. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Stretch pizza dough over a 12x16" rectangle Spread spinach mixture evenly over dough Starting from the narrow end of the rectangle, roll dough over spinach, jelly-roll style Pinch seam to seal Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil and arrange roll, seam side down, on sheet Brush with egg substitute and bake until golden brown...about 15 minutes Cut roll into 20 equal slices.Two slices = 3 WW points (or 150 calories)
Chicken and Tomato Egg Drop Soup 2 cups tomato juice
1/4 pound thinly-sliced, boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup thawed frozen egg substitute
1/4 cup scallions, sliced on the diagonal
In a 1-quart microwavable casserole dish, combine tomato juice, 1 cup water, chicken and soy sauce. Microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (stir halfway through cooking process). Remove casserole from oven and, stirring constantly, pour egg substitute into tomato juice mixture in a slow, steady stream. Microwave on MEDIUM for 1 minute. Stir in scallions Makes 2 servings; 3 WW points (or 150 calories) per serving
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Fat-free, sugar-free whipped topping
Chocolate graham crackers
Name a few of your favorite things?
I'm almost tempted to break into song: "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..." Seriously? I love doing anything that's guaranteed to break fingernails and leave my hands grimy. Which is why I have my very own personal tools that'll rival any man's collection. Well, except for a chain saw. That one gives me the heebie-jeebies. When time allows, I love sketching and painting, gardening (see? dirty hands activities!), and flexing my "wanna be a decorator" muscles.
I can relate all too well. My heebie-jeebie is the big nail guns they use for roofing. Been there not quite ever want to go there again.
Something silly you have done.
To be honest, this falls more into the "Stupid" category than the "Silly." But anyway.... Once, while I was on the road, I let the waitress and bartender of the hotel lounge where I was singing talk me into walking to the top of a ski lift. It wasn't ski season, mind you, but at the time, that gigantic wooden contraption in Iron Mountain, Michigan held the world record for being the tallest in the world. Trouble was, once I got up there, I realized there was only one way down: Hanging onto the footrest of a non-functioning ski lift. Moral of the story? What goes up doesn't always come down.
Tell us your latest news?
I'm going back to Alaska, this time for 2 weeks...with my hubby!
I'm waiting for the final edits on A Man of Honor, book #3 in my First Responders series (Abingdon Press). Any day now, Honor Redeemed, book #2 will arrive on my doorstep. And soon after that, I'll turn in my Work in Progress, For Love of Eli, one of the launch novels for Abingdon's "Quilts of Love" series.
Easiest thing about writing?
The easiest--and most fun--element of the writing process is developing characters. I love deciding what they'll look like, what they do for a living, and where they come from.
Hardest thing about writing?
The hard part is taking those characters out of their comfort zone. Some days I feel like a real ogre, throwing hardships of all shapes and sizes at them, but...a writer's gotta do what a writer's gotta do, y'know!
What brought you to the typewriter/keyboard ---that inspired you to write your first book?
As a reporter, I was often annoyed and always frustrated when editors changed salient facts in a story to appease advertisers. The final straw was when I'd done a ton of research, only to have it all twisted because the publisher thought "the truth isn't 'sexy' enough." The day that issue was released, I expressed my ire to my husband, and said--sort of as a joke--"If I'm gonna write fiction for a living, I might as well write a novel!" His response? "Well, why don't you!"And so I did. When Pocketful of Love won the Readers' Choice award the year it was released, I experienced my first bout of Fiction Addiction. 84 books later, I remain uncured!
Do you have a favorite writing style?
As a reader, I love the works of Steinbeck, London, and Hemmingway: Prose that isn't intrusive, yet provides a real view of the author's fictional world. As a writer, I always shoot for that...keeping in mind that these days, reader demands are vastly different than they were when those authors' books hit the stands.
Do you come up with your own titles?
Of the 84 books published, I chose all but 3 titles.
Any life experiences tangled in the storylines?
None that are specific, but like every author, who I am and how my life has unfolded ends up coloring every word I choose, sometimes in big ways, other times, not so much. Are there "real" people in my novels? Oh, you bet there are! Carefully disguised, of course, because, having worked for lawyers in the past, no way I want to end up in a courtroom!
What books do you have on your favorites shelf?
The Complete Works of Jack London, The Complete Shakespeare, a collection of Steinbeck stories, and a couple hundred novels written and autographed by my author pals.
Any new authors who have caught your interest?
I recently endorsed novels for Lynda Schab and Jennifer AlLee, and absolutely fell in love with their stories, characters, and styles. I could list a couple dozen more, but time and space won't allow it! <G>
What book are you reading now?
The Guardian, by Nicholas Sparks.
Where do you think you will be 5 years from now?God willing, right here, doing exactly what I'm doing now...only better.
So, how's it feel to be an AdC Calendar Girl?
LOL! Well, in the immortal words of Tony the Tiger, it feels GRRR-EAT...especially considering I write romance and February (Valentine's Day!) is "my" month!
What would you like to say to your readers?
First and foremost, thank you. Without your support, I'd probably be servin' up burgers at Mickey D's. Second...thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to write to share your thoughts and feelings about my novels!