I am thrilled to join 14 other suspense authors in creating Dangerous Pursuits, a collection of 15 suspenseful novellas, all aiming to keep you on the edge of your seat! In anticipation of this amazing collection releasing on October 12th, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to each of the authors and give you, the readers, a glimpse into each of their lives and writing process. Today, we have best-selling author, Loree Lough.
Once upon a time, USA Today best-selling author Loree Lough sang for her supper, performing before packed audiences throughout the U.S. and Canada. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two for the “grandorables,” but mostly, she writes (and writes, and writes). Her stories have earned thousands of 5-star reviews, 100+ industry and “Readers’ Choice” awards, and 7 book-to-movie options.
At last count, nearly 16,000,000 copies of Loree’s books were in circulation, and by year-end 2021, she’ll have 131 on the shelves. She and her husband split their time between a home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where she continues to hone her “identify the critter tracks” skills. She answers every reader letter, personally, and hopes to hear from you, soon!
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Let’s get to our interview, shall we?
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Back in the 80s, I submitted a few essay-type pieces to a local newspaper, and the editor liked them so well, he started making assignments for feature stories. By the time I hung up my ‘beat reporter’ hat, I’d accumulated nearly 2,500 published articles. I branched into short stories, and before I knew it, fiction addiction had control of me; I submitted my first novel late in ‘93, and it released in ’94.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Well, I no longer have a bona fide office. I work in the family room, sitting in my recliner. One good thing about that? I’ve learned to block out the TV and other attempts to distract me from whatever I’m working on!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Ideas are literally everywhere: At the mall, movie theaters, restaurants, church. Some stories were born after hearing a news report. Others are the result of conversations, overheard in line at the grocery store or the ice cream shop.
Once the light bulb flashes over my head, I start that “What if?” and “What next?” game, and before long, the plot of a book begins to develop.
That’s when the hard work begins: Researching the setting, time period, characters’ careers, and various details that assure that even in a fictional piece, there’s plenty of authenticity. (Have to, ‘cause readers are sharp, and they’ll call ya on it if you write something inaccurate!)
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Like every other mom, I love being with my daughters, who blessed me with 7 beautiful grandkids. We spend a lot of time at our mountain cabin in the Pennsylvania Alleghenies, where I continue to hone my ‘identify the critters tracks’ skills. So far, I’ve found evidence that black bears, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and even fisher cats have visited the place. (If you haven’t heard a fisher cat’s call, look it up on YouTube. It’ll chill your blood, I tell ya!)
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Research has introduced me to some fascinating people, has led me to some fascinating places. My clearest memory is the day I was a passenger in an F-17 fighter jet. The pilot got a big kick out of hearing me shriek as he did dives, loops, and rocketed straight into the sky. (Confession: I haven’t been on a roller coaster, since!)
What’s your favorite part about being a writer? Research? First Draft? Editing?
I’m probably not the only author who says, “I love it all!” One other truly pleasant characteristic of this career is hearing directly from readers, who, while telling me that they enjoyed a story (in some cases, stories!). I’ve lost count of those who’ve shared elements of their own real-life stories. And I’ve lost count of readers who, over the years, have become friends – many that I’ve met in person!
What do you think makes a good story?
I firmly believe the old writers adage that says “Every story has been told before.” I keep that in mind throughout every novel, and do my best to introduce brand new elements to those ‘told before’ stories, and do it in such a way that readers will never say, “Hey. This is like ________ (fill in the blank with a fairy tale, another novel, or a short story).” That’s another thing I love about getting letters from readers: More times than not, they write something like, “I’ve never read anything like this before!”
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
As a really little girl, I gave some thought to being a ballerina. Unfortunately, ballet companies prefer tall women. I spent a few years thinking I’d become a stewardess (see how old I am? It’s been years since they changed the title to ‘flight attendant!’) But back in those days, applicants had to meet a 20-20 vision and a 5’4” height requirement. <sigh> Too small and too near-sighted, I considered a career in law enforcement. <sigh again> In those days, I couldn’t pass the vision or height constraints. Then I wrote a song, and went with my dad to a local pub where the band invited amateurs onstage. And that, as they say, began a four-year, travel-the-U.S.-and-Canada, singing to large and small audiences. I gave it up when I met my husband. Lo (or should I say LOUGH) and behold, he became the model for nearly every hero I’ve cast in a story. Some of ‘em are taller, a bit more muscular, but without exception, each has the qualities every parent wants for their daughter: Kind. Honest. Hard-working. Respectful. God-fearing. And handsome!
How do we find your books?
All 131 are available at online stores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Readers can also order them through my publishers’ web sites.
Tell us about your novella for the Dangerous Pursuits Collection.
NEVER THINK TWICE is the story of Brooks (Fitz) Fitzgerald, former Marine turned recovery agent (aka bounty hunter). When his parents were killed in a head-on collision, he was tasked with the job of raising Pete, his 15 years younger, wayward brother. Enter their best friend, Matilda (Matt) Casey, who balances caring for her Alzheimer’s grandfather with running his gas station/grocery store. Unbeknownst to any of them, one of the felons he delivered to the authorities has spent every day of his life-without-parole sentence thinking up ways to get even with Fitz. Joe Michaels escapes the maximum security prison and makes a beeline to Ellicott City, where Fitz, Matt, Pete and his 10 month old son Jake, live. What better way to lure Fitz into his net than by kidnapping Matt and Jake … at gunpoint! I think readers will be surprised to see how Michaels’ hostages free themselves!
If you are interested in preordering the Dangerous Pursuits collection for only 99 cents, click one of the links below.
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3hCJUvH
WINNER of Terri Reed’s giveaway is ALICIA HANEY ! Congratulations, Alicia!
Comment to win a copy of Loree Lough’s 50 Hours, Loving Mrs. Bontrager, Home to Stay, or All He’ll Ever Need. (Choice of paperback or eBook.)
Don’t forget to include your email address for ease of contact. (Ends 9/6. I will announce winner with the next interview.)