It’s hard to think Romantic Suspense without thinking Lori Foster – in fact, it’s hard to think Romance without thinking Lori Foster . She’s sold tens of thousands of copies, hit any number of best-seller lists, and is beloved by long-time and new readers alike. So imagine my delight when she agreed to come and answer our Nine Naughty Questions and talk about her latest novel, Savor the Danger, the third (hopefully not last!) in her Edge of Honour Series. Kate Cuthbert, Editor, Booktopia Romance BUZZ (click here to read the June Romance BUZZ)
Nine Naughty Questions
1. I wonder, is a Romance writer born or made? Please tell us little about your life before publication.
I’ve always been a homebody, a mom first and foremost (or at least, always a mom after I had kids. LOL) and a big family person. That hasn’t changed and I doubt it ever will. I was always a daydreamer, an optimist, a “take charge and let me fix it” type person. But I also used to be kind of shy. Now… hardly a shy bone in my body. LOL
2. For all the glitz and the glam associated with the idea of romance novels, writing about and from the heart is personal and very revealing. Do you think this is why romance readers are such devoted fans? And do you ever feel exposed?
Romance readers are the very best people in the whole world! They’re so genuine and caring and generous. And yes, I’m sure it has to do with the inherent optimism of romance novels. We are the people who demand a happy ending, and one way or another, we will get it. 😉
I do feel exposed on occasion, but that’s just part and parcel with the job. You put yourself out there with your work. Many authors consider their books “their babies.” Not me. It’s just my work, and I love it, but not like I love my babies. (My 3 sons are all now big grown hulks – but still my babies, you know?) So I have a slightly different perspective with it. Readers can pretty much say whatever they want about my books and I don’t get too keyed up over. But occasionally there will be a personal attack – and sometimes those smart. Not always – depending on the source. When they do, I just remind myself that readers are as human as me, and they suffer the same expectations, and sometimes disappointments. :::shrug::: We all have to vent on occasion!
Savor the Danger is the 3rd book in my Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series. As is often the case for me, I didn’t know there would be a Jackson Savor when I started this series. I wrote Dare’s book, When You Dare, first – and no Jackson. But I knew I’d have a book for Trace in Trace of Fever, the 2nd book. Confused yet? Yeah, I usually confuse myself as well!
Anyway, Jackson just sort of showed up in Trace’s book, and he amused me, so the muse started to work on him and pretty soon I had him all figured out. He’s madly in lust with Trace’s younger sister, Alani, so of course lust has to turn to love. Otherwise Trace might have had to maim him. 😉
Those three books are out back-to-back in May, June and July of 2011.
Just for fun, and just to keep my brain frazzled, Spencer Lark shows up in Jackson’s book, so his will be the 4th story, not available until May 2012.
All the men are highly capable, lethal when necessary, and naturally very sexy.
4. Is the life of a published romance writer… well… Romantic?
I can’t speak for all writers, and of course, “romance is in the eye of the beholder.” For me, my husband of over 30 years is very romantic. Sure, he brings me flowers sometimes, but more importantly than that, he’s an incredible support system. He was there for me when I lost my parents (separately) and whenever I’ve been frazzled or sick or stressed or… whatever. He’s there with me whenever I accomplish something, and usually he’s the one cheering the most, and the loudest.
Whatever I go through, good and bad, I go through with him. I never have to doubt his commitment – that’s about as romantic as it gets for me.
5. Of all of the romantic moments in your life is there one moment, more dear than all the rest, against which you judge all the romantic elements in your writing? If so can you tell us about that special moment?
I remember so many… not sure I can come up with just one.
When hubby said he wanted to get married… well, that is, we knew we’d get married. But he was set to go to college and I was…not. We both came from difficult backgrounds, and we assumed we’d marry well after college. Then during a baseball game he came in from the outfield and said, “Let’s get married now.”
I thought he was kidding and just laughed.
Same thing happened during the next inning, and the next. Each time he came in, he got more serious. We sort of ended up doing things the hard way, without college, completely on our own, married by 19. The thing is, we’ve always been on the same page, always worked for the same things and always been a pair. That’s the easiest way for me to describe it. We were a couple almost from the moment we met, so marrying young was the right thing for us.
Another amazing moment was the birth of our first son (years after we’d married. 😉 and my husband held him… It’s the only time I’ve ever seen him with tears in his eyes.
I remember that, after years of *trying* to get published, when I finally sold, hubby was more excited for me than I was.
And on a sadder note, when my mother came to stay with us while dying with cancer – my husband was a complete rock for me. That’s one of those immeasurable shows of devotion and love that mean so very, very much.
Through the years, there have been many moments that said “I love you” in unconventional but important ways.
6. Sex in romance writing today ranges from ‘I can’t believe they’re allowed to publish this stuff’ explicit to ‘turn the light back on, I can see a thing’ mild. How important do you think sex is in a romance novel?
I can’t imagine a romance – real or fiction – without satisfying sex. It’s basic human nature – the physical design of our existence – to enjoy sex. If you’re not enjoying it with your special someone, something isn’t right. So I’d say it’s pretty darned important! In a book, it doesn’t have to be explicit, but it has to be there.
Oh wow, only five!? Difficult. I have some current faves, but I have to say the authors that got me anxious to try my own hand at writing are: Catherine Coulter, Johanna Lindsey, Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, and Jayne Ann Krentz .
No way can I single out only 5 books, but from those authors – The Sherbrook series by Coulter; the Mallory series by Lindsey; the Mackenzie series by Howard. From Garwood, I can read and re-read Honor’s Splendor, Lion’s Lady, and The Bride. And no one can beat Perfect Partners from Jayne Ann, or Scandal under her pseudonym Amanda Quick. Excellent storytelling!
8. Paranormal Romance writing is ‘so hot right now’; do you have any thoughts on why?
Complete and total escapism, I would imagine. Society has homogenised the sexes to the point that it’s tough to see “roles” for men and women any more. Paranormal both enhances that – letting women be total ass-kickers – and turns back time, allowing men to be ultra-Alpha protectors. It offers the best of both worlds for readers to chose their favourite flavour.
9. Lastly, what advice do you give aspiring writers?
First, enjoy yourself. If you stop enjoying the process and start obsessing about everything from a single negative reader letter, a review, a score, you’ll stop having fun, and then how can readers have fun?
Avoid critique groups. The only thing you have to offer that’s new to the biz is YOU. If you melt down your unique voice with input from others, then it’s no longer unique. It’s more of the same.
Lastly, find the path that works for you. Just because I do it one way, or another write shares the way that works for her, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Writers are as individual as you can imagine. I like to write with loud music playing and animals (4 cats and a dog) interrupting me every two minutes. I write without knowing where my story will take me. I never, ever discuss my stories while writing them.
But that’s me.
You could be a person who needs ultimate quiet and a sounding board so that you can talk about the book each step of the way.
Find your way – enjoy yourself – and don’t obsess about things that are out of your control.
Best of luck!
Lori, thank you for playing.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.