LL-When I was fresh out of high school, I signed on with an agency called Artists Corporation of America, based in Milwaukee, and my agent found me jobs all over the country. You know the “piano lady” who entertained businessmen in hotel lounges? Well, substitute me, a gooseneck microphone, and a Yamaha guitar, and voila! <G> About once a month, he also booked me to open for “big name acts” like Tom Jones, Tammy Wynette, and other stars of the day.
ED- Since that period in your life, you had switched to writing. What inspired you to take up the writer’s quill?
LL-My husband’s job took us to Richmond, Virginia, and I responded to an ad in the local paper for a “neighborhood correspondent.” The editor liked my newsy articles so much that she started assigning feature articles. Soon, the editors of other periodicals were calling to make assignments. When we were transferred back to Baltimore, I showed my “clip book” to the editors here, and they, too, started making assignments. But I started noticing a troubling trend: Publishers making changes to the articles…to appease advertisers. I figured if I was gonna write fiction, I might as well try my hand at a novel. The result? Pocketful of Love, my first book.ED- You’ve become a prolific writer with more than sixty-three short stories, seventy-four books, and twenty-five hundred articles to your credit. How on earth do you find so much time to generate so much work?
LL-It helps that I’m a tad hyperactive, and it’s also a blessing that I don’t require eight hours sleep, like normal people!
ED- Tell us about your earliest work and the excitement you felt when you first put it into print.
LL-That was one of those “I had a dream” stories. I woke up with images in my head…characters, setting, time period, even the houses the hero and heroine lived in. I heard the bad guy’s voice in my head, and knew how he’d complicate the good guys’ lives. When I got “The Call” announcing the publisher wanted to offer a contract, I did my best to behave like a cool, calm professional. Until I hung up the phone, that is. I’ll bet my parents in Wisconsin heard me hoo-ha-ing here in Baltimore! When the carton of for-review books arrived on my doorstep, I just about danced a jig, right there on the front porch for the whole neighborhood to see. And you know what? I have repeated the process with every single book on the shelves! LOL
LL-The book I’m working on now (tentatively titled “Under the Texas Moon”) is the second in my Lone Star Legends series. It’s set in Eagle Pass, 1888, and opens with a stagecoach robbery (and not every good guy survives!), a cattle drive—and stampede!—and some nifty political and invention-type facts of the day. Last I heard, release date is slated for spring, 2011.
Book one in this series, “Beautiful Bandit,” will be released this June by Whitaker House Publishers. Like “Under the Texas Moon,” it’s filled with traditional Wild West adventure. <G>
ED- We understand that your publishers are flooded by the fan mail that you generate. Please tell us about this aspect.
LL-I’ve let it be known how much I love hearing from readers. And because I make a point to answer every letter personally, I’ve been blessed by friendships that have developed between them and me over the years. These pen pal relationships are how I know I’m ‘hitting the mark’ with the stories; readers share events from their lives and tell me how they identified with a certain character, or the situation…or how they learned something from the way the characters handled a particular problem. Reading their letters is as rewarding as the writing, itself.
ED- Tell us about the fabulous Reader’s Choice Awards that you received for your work.
LL-Most of the companies I’ve written for have established book clubs of a sort, and through these, readers are encouraged to “vote” for their favorite novels. Of the 74 books I’ve written, all but 4 have won “Best of” awards. These are truly treasured “wins” since they’re straight from my readers!
ED- You also give back to humanity in so many ways. Tell us about the many charities that you are involved with.
LL-I’ve been blessed in so many ways that I can’t help but feel it’s my duty to “give back”. One of my all-time favorite organizations is the Wounded Warriors Project…for obvious reasons. Right now, I’m working on a few special things right now that will help add funds to this very worthy cause.
LL-Way back in the mid-nineties, I wrote a book called “Montana Sky”, the story of a young female veterinarian who upon returning to her home state of Montana, finds two orphaned wolf cubs…and despite feuding between ranchers and animal activists, decides to care for them until they can be released into the wild. Naturally, I needed to research the magnificent creatures, and lucky for me, I found a sanctuary in Pennsylvania, home to The Wolves of Speedwell Forge. To put it simply, the more I learned about these beautiful animals, the more I loved them. Everything about them! And so I make a point to donate a portion of my income each year to the sanctuary. (That way, the staff had to let me visit every chance I get!)
ED- As an animal lover myself, and a dog lover in particular, I can understand this passion fully. What new ventures you are delving into, and what new writing projects are you looking to do in the near future.
LL-My cousin’s son is Autistic, and I do what I can to help bring attention to that disorder. (I’m going to include an Autistic child in an upcoming novel, so that readers who might not have an understanding of these precious children.)
ED- Loree, it has been a real pleasure to do this interview with someone that I can consider a kindred soul. Please be sure to keep The Eerie Digest in mind to let us know of any future writing ventures that you become involve with. We’d be more than interested in sharing them with our readers. ED
LL-It has been my pleasure! I enjoyed this little visit with you, and thank you for the chance to meet you and your readers. I hope they’ll feel free to keep in touch through http://www.loreelough.com and www.theloughdown.blogspot.com, and “friend” me at Facebook and Twitter! Here’s hopin’ you’ll all have a happy and healthy spring!
Author Biography: Loree Lough
At last count, best-selling author Loree Lough had 74 books, 63 short stories, and over 2,500 articles in print. Dubbed by reviewers “the writer whose stories touch hearts and change lives”, she has earned dozens of “Readers’ Choice” and industry awards.
Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry! has been joined by Prevailing Love and Tales of the Heart (Whitaker House). Also from Whitaker, Beautiful Bandit (#1 in Loree’s “Lone Star Legends” series) will be released this June. From Ashes to Honor (#1 in her “First Responders” series from Abingdon) is expected to hit the shelves summer, 2011, along with her third Love Finds You title, LFY in Folly Beach, South Carolina (Summerside).
Loree and her husband split their time between a little house in the Baltimore suburbs and a really little cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where they cater to a formerly-abused Pointer whose numerous vet visits inspired the nickname ‘Cash’.