Friday, August 14, 2015


Q: Lori...what made you become a writer?

A: I started writing almost as soon as I started reading. I loved to read and devoured everything. I started writing stories in the third grade. I was that kid the teachers hated. I wrote stories page by page and passed them back until they'd gone around the whole class. If I wasn't writing, was reading with a book hidden behind my textbook. I loved reading other people's stories and aspired to having people want to read mine.

Q: What is your typical writing day like?

A: I get up, read and answer my e-mails, check my Facebook, and then begin writing.  I try to write 2500 words a day or about one chapter. Some days I do more and some less depending on my mood and if the characters are feeling chatty.

Q: Do you outline? If so, how extensive are your outlines?

A: I have tried it both ways. My first book, The Legend of the Swamp Witch, was not outlined. It was a seat of the pants project. I'd told the story as a campfire tale many times and knew it pretty well. With The Ruby Queen, Book 1 of my Soiled Dove Sagas, I did a very detailed "Snowflake" outline and it made the writing go very quickly. Book 2, The Queen of the Cow Towns, went quickly too because I'd basically outlined the complete series when I conceptualized the project. Sweet Rewards, the erotic-romance novel I wrote on a dare, I also outlined thoroughly. I'd never written a romance novel and knew they had to be done to a very specific formula. I Googled it and come up with an outline to that formula.

Q: How many revisions will you typically do on a novel?

A: I generally write about a dozen chapters, rereading and revising after each one. Then I begin presenting a chapter per week at my critique group, The Central Phoenix Writers' Workshop. I listen to the critiques of my fellow writers, take their marked up copies home, study them, and revise accordingly. Now that I'm working with a couple of traditional publishers I have to revise according to their desires as well. If a novel is 30 chapter there may be 30+ revisions.

Q: What is your best tip for editing a manuscript?

A: Read it out loud. It is the best way I've found to catch a plethora of mistakes.

Q: Which writing habits and/or tricks of the trade have made you a better writer?

A: Joining the critique group was probably the best thing I've done for my writing. Hearing their opinions of my work and being open to having them point out my shortcomings has improved my writing 3000%.

Q: Do you ever suffer through writer’s block? If so, how do you fight it?

A: All writers get it from time to time. I fight it by having two or three projects going at any one time. I get hung up on one project, I go to one of the others. After writing a horror story for a few chapters I can pick back up where I left off with the other, refreshed.

Q: What drew you to write your preferred genre(s)?

A: I have always been a history buff. I grew up with the TV westerns and loved them. I spent 25 years doing costuming for Medieval and Renaissance reenactors. I studied the clothing, the people and the food of the periods. It only made sense that I'd choose to write in historic settings. 

Q: Do you utilize beta readers?

A: Yes. I have my critique group that acts in that regard and I have a close friend who reads my work for continuity issues as well.

Q: In your most recently published novel, what’s one scene you really enjoyed writing—and why?

A: In The Legend of the Swamp Witch I wrote a chapter about a serial killer. It is bloody and scared me after I reread it. I thought, "Lori you must be a psychopath. That came out of you way too easily!" I watch a lot of true crime, but I've never actually killed anyone.

Q: What makes the main character(s) of your most recent novel so special?

A:  In The Ruby Queen, Mattie Wallace and Roxie North are women ahead of their time. It is 1870, only a few years after the end of the Civil War when women have no rights and are the property of their husbands and fathers. In order to become free women they go into prostitution. Prostitutes have been disowned by male relatives, but gain a freedom no women of the era possess. Most people don't know it, but prostitutes of the era set up social programs for the disadvantaged when there were none. They sponsored schools, libraries, and soup kitchens. Prostitutes began the equal rights movement for women in this country, but their efforts have been covered up or ignored completely. Roxie and Mattie, while not social reformers in my books, stand up for themselves and other women in a time when men ruled the day.

Q: What is your best advice for author self-promotion?

A: Never shut up about your work. Explore every avenue. Pass out business cards to anybody who'll take one. Get your books in every small shop who'll take them. Send them out to people who do reviews. It takes money to make money. Don't be afraid to give away a few books to get reviews. I have mine in one store and donate the funds from the book to the owner whose son is fighting cancer. I don't care that I'm making no money from the sale. The work is getting out there and if the buyer likes it maybe they'll go to Amazon and buy the next one.

Q: How do you deal with negative reviews?

A: Reviews are a learning experience. How does a writer improve if she doesn't know what she's doing wrong? Joining the critique group helped me to weather bad reviews. When you hear something bad about your work you have to use it to improve. I beg for reviews good or bad. How do we fix what we're doing wrong if nobody tells us?

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an indie author?

A: I'd have to say that my favorite thing about being an indie author is not having to deal with the time involved in traditional publishing. As an indie I can have my book edited, upload it to Createspace and—voila!—I'm published. The traditional route takes months and months.

Q: What is your least favorite aspect of being an indie author?

A: As an indie I pay for everything. I have to find and pay for an editor. If I choose not to use Createspace's cover design app I have to pay a cover designer. Then there's the marketing. As an indie I have to do all the marketing, though it is much the same when you're dealing with small presses. The majority of the marketing falls to the author.

Q: What is your current writing project?

A: I'm working on Crown Queen, Book 3 of my Soiled Dove Sagas. It is the third book in the trilogy and sees the women ending their careers as prostitutes. I'm also playing around with getting into the business of writing personal romance novels. I would meet with clients have them answer a questionnaire about their relationship, pick a time period to set the story in, a heat level, and then for a price, write them a story wherein they are the main characters.

Q: If you could have lunch with any novelist, living or dead, who would it be? What would talk to them about?

A: Marion Zimmer Bradley. She wrote the Darkover fantasy series and was one of the players who started the Society for Creative Anachronism, the Medieval reenactment group I belonged to for many years. Her work was an inspiration when I first thought about writing seriously back in the late 70's. We corresponded and she was very kind to a young fan. I'd like to thank her.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for budding authors?

A: Never give up on your dream, buy books about grammar, editing, and outlining, join a critique group, and write. Never stop reading and listen to critics of your work with an open mind.

Q: What is your favorite inspirational quite?

A: “Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse!” Don't ask me why, but that line has stuck with me ever since I heard it in a movie.


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