Recently, I was asked which author I most admire in the writing world, and the first name that popped into my mind was my friend, Loree Lough. She is a woman of extraordinary talent with the ability to write prolifically and still interact with every reader who contacts her. I want to be just like her one day. ;) After being fellow Love Finds You authors, I was thrilled to learn she’s also a Harlequin Heartwarming author, so we’re once again sharing a publisher and line. A couple of months ago, Loree shared a few mouth-watering details about her writing life and her book, A Man of Honor, for Authors Dish.
With more than 4,500,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough’s titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and industry awards. She splits her time between her home in Baltimore and a cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her “Identify the Critter Tracks” skills). With the release of Guarding Alyssa (#3 in the “A Child to Love” series for Harlequin’s new Heartwarming line), Loree will have 100 books in print, including reader favorites like The First Responders series, For Love of Eli, and Love Finds You in Folly Beach, South Carolina. Loree loves to hear from her readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and http://www.loreelough.com!
Quick Bites: LOREE LOUGH
Which do you prefer?
- Angel’s food or Devil’s food? LOVE Angel Food cake (especially with strawberries on it)!
- Coffee or tea? Coffee is my #1 choice in beverages.
- Savory or sweet? I love foods that feel good on my lips. Kinda like Tim McGraw’s song!
- Chocolate or vanilla? Given a choice between chocolate or vanilla, I’ll take chocolate any day.
- Cake or pie? Cake is a preference (because usually, it comes with frosting!)
If A Man of Honor found its way onto a restaurant menu, what would the description be?
A Man of Honor: Full-bodied and satisfying, this down-to-earth story will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.
What is your hero’s favorite food?
Dusty, the hero, loves down-home, rib-stickin’ foods. Lucky for him Grace, the heroine, loves cooking stuff like that!
What was the key “ingredient” in your decision to become a writer?
Readers. I’d seen authors, interviews on TV, talking about what a pleasure it is, interacting with readers…learning how their words made a difference in readers’ lives. From Book #1, Pocketful of Love (for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents line) to the story I’m writing now, Guarding Alyssa (#3 in Harlequin Heartwarming’s “A Child to Love” series…and my 100th release), I’ve kept readers in mind, first and foremost. Those ‘big names’ I saw interviewed were 100% right: Interacting with readers, personally, through social networking, by email or snail mail is the main reason I’ll write until someone pries the keyboard from my cold, dead hands!
What sort of utensils and setting do you need in order to write?
Working to meet a deadline is commonplace in my life, so I’ve learned to write anywhere. Give me an electrical outlet for my laptop, a cup of coffee, my research/interview notes, and a reasonably stable surface, and I can work anywhere.
What is the best thing you ever ate?
My Italian grandmother’s gnocchi. Slathered with Nonna’s one-of-a-kind sauce, these melt in your mouth mini-dumplings always satisfy my “I’m craving Italian!” cravings.
Where did you “cook up” the idea for this book?
The foundation of the First Responders (A Man of Honor is the 3rd in the series) was created on 9/11, as I joined millions of other stunned Americans, watching firefighters, EMTs, cops, and other courageous first-on-the-scene men and women moving in and out of danger—for days—in an attempt to rescue people trapped in the smoldering debris. As time passed, my admiration of these brave individuals grew, and I knew I had to do something to show my gratitude, because they didn’t forfeit eyesight, hearing, limbs (and in some cases, their very lives) for friends, as mentioned in a line from the Bible. They put aside their own well being for total strangers. Each book in the series is dedicated to these remarkable people. Like From Ashes to Honor and Honor Redeemed, A Man of Honor was written to remind myself—and all who read the books—that their sacrifices must never be forgotten.
What is your favorite literary reference to food?
I love the line from Dickens’s classic novel Oliver Twist, where Oliver steps up holding his crude bowl and says “More please?” It’s an excellent reminder that hungry children still exist, and always prompts me to find ways to provide for them in some small way.
Are there any foods or drinks you like to munch on or sip while writing?
Well, coffee, of course! But I also keep a 16 oz. bottle of cool water nearby. Sometimes, I’ll grab a few dry Cheerios or Kix from the bowl beside my laptop. Other times, I’ll nibble a sandwich. Usually, though, I’m too ‘into’ my WIP to think about food…until my grumbling stomach reminds me to eat!
Is your writing more like an entrée of satisfying and savory ingredients or a deliciously indulgent dessert?
Most authors, I’d guess, would answer that question with “Both!” The story—and what’s happening to the characters—drives every line. Sometimes, I wax poetic while describing scenery. When writing action-packed scenes, sentences are shorter, descriptive adjectives fewer. If a character is reaction to something joyous, or to a tragedy, my word choices will reflect their moods.
If you could invite three people to a dinner party (living or dead), whom would you choose and what would you serve?
I’d serve a big, juicy roast, surrounded by roasted vegetables, with a robust salad on the side and creamy cheesecake for dessert…and white merlot and chilled water to wash it down. I’d ask Thomas Jefferson to describe the reasons he invented so many amazing contraptions. I’d want to know why Margaret Mitchell only wrote one book. And I’d find out what my beloved Grampa—war hero, super-dad and loving grandfather—thinks of what’s going on in the world today.
Does your book have any food themes?
Not themes, per se, but there are meals in most of my stories because family gatherings are a great way to introduce readers to characters’ friends and relatives whose interactions and conversations allow me to give readers insights into why the characters behave as they do.
Do you have any food traditions?
Aside from the usual main dishes (turkey for Thanksgiving, ham at Easter), we love serving Baltimore-style steamed shrimp for birthdays and steamed crabs for anniversaries.
What’s your favorite food?
Tastes, I’ve discovered, change with maturity. But…slide a plate of Nonna’s gnocchi in front of me, any time of any day, and you can have the chocolate, rare steak, or tomato sandwich that’s on my plate!
What are your comfort foods?
Homemade soup with homebaked bread is sure to cure what ails me!
What food can’t you live without?
How much space am I allowed to take up? (The list of my favorites is LONG!) If I’m limited to one, I’d have to say oven-baked chicken. It’s nutritious, affordable, easy to prepare, and tasty. What’s not to like!
If you were a cookie (or cupcake), what kind of cookie (or cupcake) would you be?
Spread a thick layer of cream cheese icing on me and call me a Red Velvet cupcake! Add some nuts and raisins to my batter, and I’ll become an oatmeal raisin cookie!
Do you enjoy cooking? If so, are you a “follow the recipe” kind of cook or a “pinch here, pinch there” style of cook? Is the same true in your writing? Do you plot meticulously or make up the story, adding ingredients as you go?
I love to cook! (It’s the cleaning up I’m not overly fond of.) The first time I prepare a recipe, I ‘go by the cookbook.’ Then I ask the family’s opinions: Too much this? Not enough that? And I alter the ingredients accordingly. There are family favorites, though, that aren’t found in cookbooks or on recipe cards. My spaghetti sauce and meatballs, tuna patties, watermelon salad, for example.
As an author, I plot fairly carefully. But, like those recipes that I add to once I’ve tested them on loved ones, I almost always alter the plots (and the characters!) as I write.
Special thanks to Loree for taking the time to dish! Be sure to visit her website at www.loreelough.com where you can learn how to purchase her books and to find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest! And be sure to check out her novel, Raising Connor, releasing next month with Harlequin Heartwarming!