The Long and the Short of It is extremely excited to have one of our all-time favorite romance writers with us today! Give a warm welcome to Lori Foster. She is a Waldenbooks, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly AND New York Times bestselling author with over 60 titles published through Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martins, Harlequin and Silhouette. She has received the prestigious Romantic Times “Career Achievement Award” for Series Romantic Fantasy and for Contemporary Romance. Her books have received awards as Amazon’s top-selling romance title, Waldenbooks second “Bestselling Original Contemporary” romance, and the BGI group’s “Bestselling Original Contemporary” romance. And, if that’s not enough, she has branched out with a new urban fantasy series under the name L.L. Foster.
Even with her busy writing schedule, Lori finds time for her readers. She’s very active on the web, with a website which hosts her own busy message board, and a separate website for her L.L.Foster books. She also has two MySpace accounts—one for her mainstream romances and one for her urban fantasy series. And, on top of that, she takes part in a blog with several other best-selling authors and she visits the RT boards daily. She gets, on average, over 200 emails a day and even more when a book is initially released. She says that, at times, she goes nomail everywhere... “at the tail end of a book, when I need all my concentration to tie up loose ends. I also get a lot of snail mail around the release of a book, and I answer all my mail myself.”
As busy as she is, I wondered if she considered herself a multi-tasker. She responded, “Doesn’t every woman multi-task? I detest talking on the phone, but whenever I am on the phone, I’m cleaning, organizing, putting on make-up or fixing my hair. If I go downstairs for coffee, I bring laundry back up with me. When the dogs want a potty break, I also start the dishwasher, or unload it while waiting for them. My life is so busy that other than when I’m at the movies, or taking a family vacation, I don’t have much idle time.”
When she does have the time to get to the movies, it doesn’t take much to make her cry. Of course, she admits to also crying during commercials, books, and conversations. “I’m currently menopausal,” she said. “That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. Overall, I just feel so incredibly blessed in life that I sometimes have a hard time dealing with the fact that so many others suffer so much. It breaks my heart. I feel for others, even fictional characters. But, happy stuff makes me tear up too. I’m a sap!”
At the movies, she also indulges in Mountain Dew… no dark cola products for this lady. And, when she’s in a funk? “Then it’s Mountain Dew and Better Cheddars until I start feeling better. That’s sort of my version of going on a drunk, I think.”
Her main piece of advice for new writers is “Don’t ever compare. Every writer is unique, from how she constructs her stories, how or if she plots, where she likes to write, how often or how fast she writes. You have to find what works for YOU and forget what anyone else is doing.”
Her own habits, when writing, consist of listening to very loud, hard music and she likes to burn scented candles while she writes. You can listen to her playlist on her MySpace account to get an idea of the type of music she listens to. She also has a “bad habit of twisting my legs up in my chair and after a few hours of writing, I can barely walk. LOL.”
I asked Lori what she considered most important in good writing. “Characters. Always. If the characters are real people that readers can relate to, the rest is just the icing. Readers will overlook a faulty plot or uneven pacing if the characters come through for them. That said, I assume that most, if not all, writers are like me, and strive for the very best in all elements with every book.” Given her belief that the characters are the most important element, it should come as no surprise that, in her writing, the characters come before the plot. She told me she usually “sees” them in a scene of some sort and starts wondering why they are there. How did they get there? When did they get there? These questions come until she has a conflict and a resolution. “When I first start writing,” she said, “I know who the characters are, and where they’ll end up. How they get there is as much a journey for me as it is for the reader.”
Some writers do their best writing at night, others in the very early morning hours. Lori says she is “definitely a morning person. Before my husband recently retired, we were up at 4:30 am and went to bed by 9:30 pm. Now that he doesn’t have to get up for work, we sleep till 6:30 am or 7 am. And we’re still ready for bed early, often by 10 pm. I love the peace and quiet of the morning, watching the sun come up, opening all the curtains to let in the light of a new day. It’s rejuvenating.”
With all the writing she does, I was compelled to ask her about what she’s working on currently (because I wanted to get a heads up on what’s coming from this talented lady). “My current series,” she said, “is based on extreme fighters along the lines of the UFC and Pride. For the sake of fiction, I’m calling my fight organization the SBC. I’m enjoying this so much, I don’t see me veering off any too soon as far as romances are concerned. But understand, the books are about fighters, not fights. I’m fascinated with ultimate athletes, how they balance their careers with a love life.
“I’ll finish the current book—Hard to Handle, out February 2008—very soon, and then I’ll work on my second L.L. Foster book, which is more urban fantasy horror with a running romance throughout the series.”
Lori, thank you for spending time with us and we’re looking forward to seeing your new work.