Interview with Loree Lough
Welcome Loree Lough
Affaire de Coeur's March Calendar Girl
100 Award-winning books and Counting!
"You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll always remember a Loree story..."
Interview with Loree Lough
We interviewed you last year so we would like to expand on some of the questions:
Last year you told us that you were a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and you shared some recipes with us. So we shall start with…
Where (restaurant) is your favorite place to eat?
There's a smallish bar and grill not far from the house called "T-Bonz." The menu includes all sorts of scrumptious things, but my go-to order, 9 visits out of 10, is their version of baby back ribs. And, this is also the place that appears in a couple of the First Responders series novels (where the characters go to celebrate various triumphs)!
If I came to your home and looked inside the refrigerator, what would I find?
Whew! Well, on the door…you'd find the usual condiments, butter, a jar of jalapeño peppers…. On top shelf, half-empty jars of salsa (spicy, thank you <g>) and applesauce. Next shelf: milk, bottled water, bags of sugar, flour, and corn meal—because we used to live in the country, and refrigerating things like that kept "wheat bugs" out of baking-related stuff. (It's been decades since we moved; guess you'd say I’m one of those "old habits die hard" kinda gals.)
Since you have been married to your “real life hero for decades”, do you do a date night?
Yes, but our date nights aren't as frequent or regularly-scheduled as most. We celebrate major stuff (birthdays, anniversary, Mothers' and Fathers' Day), as well as minor triumphs, like (me): "I finally got the kitchen repainted!" and (him): "Remember that brush pile out back? Well, it's at the dump now!" And then there are the nights out that celebrate when I've signed a new contract or turned a book in.
Where do you like to go when you want to run away?
Chaos, noise, disorder are big on my Bad Things list. So when I feel the little things starting to pile up, and I'm feeling overwhelmed by family obligations, heaped atop work-related things, I go to Costco. On a Saturday. At lunchtime. When the place is an absolute madhouse! After an hour (or three, depending on which checkout line I end up in), home seems like heaven, even if that To Do list on the kitchen table still has 101 undone things written on it!
Attending any conventions/conferences this year?
Yep… I'm teaching a one-day plotting workshop on April 20th for the MD/DC chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) in Silver Spring, MD. The Wisconsin Romance Writers invited me to lead two workshops at their annual conference (May 31-June 1) in Oconomowoc, held at the Olympia Resort and Conference Center. (I hear their spa is magnificent…) I'm going to ICRS (International Christian Retailers Convention) in St. Louis to sign a few new releases, published by Whitaker House. Haven't decided yet if I'll have the funds (or time!) to sign up for ACFW's annual conference in Indianapolis…but right now, I'm leaning toward yes.
Do you have a social/political cause you are passionate about?
A couple of them, actually! One of my grandsons (age 10, and a twin) is "on the Autism spectrum," so all things related to the disorder are close to my heart. (The little boy in my WIP is a lot like my gran-dorable, and I'm dropping hints about treatment for parents, while explaining that not every misbehaving kid we see in the grocery store is a brat in need of a good butt-smackin'.)
Soldiers' Angels is another organization that's high on my list. These amazing folks make sure our deployed soldiers receive "care packages" from time to time. They also host events for the soldiers' families, to thank them for 'holding down the fort' while their courageous family members are off doing dangerous things to keep us all safe. Unless we've been the child or spouse of a deployed soldier, we don't understand why the responsibilities and burdens they carry are different—and heavier—than those of other single parents.
There's a list of other worthwhile charities on the "Giving Back" page of my web site (http://www.loreelough.com). Check it out. If you can't afford to send one of 'em a check, donate your time, instead!
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
"You aren't responsible for what others do to you. You're only responsible for how you react to it." It fits a thousand situations, big and small.
Tell us your latest news? Current projects?
For Love of Eli hit the shelves on February 1st, and already, letters from readers are pouring in, telling me how much they enjoyed the story, and loved the characters, and asking for a sequel!
In April and July, several historical titles (Drewry's Bluff James's Joy, Lone Wolf, Priscilla Hires a Husband, Emma's Orphans) and a few contemporaries (Sealed with a Kiss, Montana Sky, The Wedding Wish) will join Eli on the shelves. Just wait until you see the gorgeous covers the Whitaker House art department made! <swoon!>
I'm finishing up the 2nd novel in a 3-book series for Harlequin's new "Heartwarming" line. All three are romances, but those who've read my stories (and wrote to let me know they used up a box of tissues, thanks to certain scenes) will be happy <g> to hear I pushed the envelope on these!
Finally, I ventured into the Kindle book area for the first time with a complete rewrite of Jake Walker's Wife. My artistic and talented friend Barb Campbell (owner of Studio Eleven Photography) designed the fantastic cover for that one.
What ignites your creativity?
In a word, questions. They flare at the weirdest times: At a ballgame (go Orioles!), on a plane, waiting room to get a flu shot, lying open-mouthed and unable to speak at the dentist's office, watching an inane commercial on TV.
Some make sense: "Why do manufacturers advertise toilet paper and "that time of the month" products; consumers can't exist without these things?" I wonder why dentists don't commission artists to paint "Where's Waldo scenes on their ceilings…or at least slap a couple of movie posters up there?"
Others are weird and random: "How in the world did a stink bug get into the 'how much you're spending' window?" (on the pump at the gas station). "Will Larry ever learn to push in his chair after he leaves the table?" "Is there a rule I don't know about that says trash trucks must have squealing, screaming brakes?"
The answers—even those related to the weird questions—are usually followed by ideas that lead to novels. Example: A story popped up in the Baltimore Sun some years back, a few days after Halloween. Some kids thought it would be funny to dress up a dummy…plaid shirt, jeans, old boots…and a pumpkin for a head, and toss it onto the railroad tracks, after dark. The engineer saw the dummy a tick too late, and ran over it. Stopped the train, and his report incited an intense search for the poor soul who had wandered off…after being hit by the train. Helicopters aimed bright beams of light along the tracks as first responders and volunteers scoured a miles-wide area. The authorities found the dummy, but not the kids responsible for wasting time and dollars.
My questions? What if the engineer had a bad heart? What if seeing that dummy caused a fatal heart attack? What if the boys heard that their prank cost a man his life? How would that impact the rest of their lives?
The answers can be found in His Healing Touch, the story of one of those boys, who worked extra jobs to help his victim's wife and daughter, then became a heart surgeon…and grappled with his own tough question: How to tell the love of his life—his victim's daughter—that he killed her father?
Do you listen to music while you write?
Not deliberately. By that, I mean there's always music in this house. Usually the type that plays in the background as mysteries are solved and murderers are captured. Because my husband watches movies while I’m working.
Do you still play the guitar?
Not nearly as often as I once did, but I drag it out from time to time, usually when the gran-dorables ask me to make up a song, right here, right now.
Name one actor you would love to get naughty with?
Well, that's the easiest question you've asked so far! Tom Selleck. Not as the character he plays in Blue Bloods, but as the cowboy in Quigley Down Under. Or the sheriff in his Jesse Stone mysteries. <nodding> Yep. That would be…. Tsk! Get out of my head! This is my dream!
What books do you have on your favorites shelf?
John Grisham's The Racketeer. Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven. Atlas Shrugs by Aye Rand (to reread before I see the movie). And Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly.
What book are you reading now?
Helping Paws, by Jane Duden. It's research, so I can add authenticity to the dog I'm partnering with the little Autistic boy in my WIP.
Any new authors who have caught your interest?
One in particular comes to mind. She hasn't quite secured a contract yet, but it shouldn't be long—based on what I've seen of her work. So keep your eyes peeled for books by Olivia Spicer Stocum…
If you could say one thing to the next generation of authors, what would it be?
Don't be disheartened by the machinations of getting your book onto the shelves. The publishing industry—like every other—is cyclical. It's tough to make a sale these days, but sales are happening (so if you earn a contract, you deserve a celebratory dinner at T-Bonz!). So keep on doing what you've been doing: Read. Not just how-to books, but novels in your genre, and those completely out of your comfort zone, so you can combine writing tips you glean from plot and character development into your own work.
Mostly, though: Memorize Yoda's most-excellent advice: "Do or do not do; there is no 'try.'" And never ever give up!
Would you care to share more favorite recipes?
This one is called CRUSTED SALMON, and we love, love, love it!
4 salmon fillets (approx. 6 oz. each)
2 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
½ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup flour
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoons seasoned salt (I use Lawry's)
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons oil (I use canola)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Spray a baking sheet (mine is 8x10x1") with Pam
Cover salmon with milk (I zip 'em into a storage bag to save washing a bowl)
Let stand 10 minutes.
Turn, let stand an additional 10 minutes
Meanwhile, mix the flour, sugar, nuts, and seasonings.
Remove fish from milk and pat dry w/paper towels
Dip fish into egg, then coat well with flour mixture
Put oil into a frying pan, and over medium heat, cook fish on both sides, just until it's golden brown.
Transfer to baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, or until fish flakes when poked with a fork.
(Makes 4 servings, each is 7 Weight Watchers points!)
What would you like to say to your readers?
First, thank you! Thank you for buying the books. Thank you for writing so many warm and wonderful letters (they fill an entire file drawer, now!), sharing how each story impacted you, or reminded you of a situation you're going through or survived that's similar to the characters'. Keep writing. I love hearing from you! And as you know, I answer every letter, personally!
I'd also like to thank you for this opportunity to connect with "old" readers and get better acquainted with new ones! Yer a peach!
Purchase Jake Walker's Wife at the AdC Bookstore
Purchase For Love of Eli at the AdC Bookstore