Please help me welcome to my blog my guest Lori Soard. I’ve known Lori online so long I can’t remember when or how we met. She’s a prolific writer and a fellow Christian who is very active online. Lori, who is on her first blog tour for her latest novel, Dear Viking, has generously offered a free ebook of her contemporary romance Finding Ms. Right to a lucky blog reader. All you need to do to enter is to leave a comment below.
Lillie: Welcome to A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye, Lori. And thanks for giving my readers a chance to win a copy of Finding Ms. Right.
Lori: Thanks so much for allowing me to join you today, Lillie. I’ve been looking forward to it.
Lillie: When did you first fall in love with writing and how did you get from there to where you are today?
Lori: I grew up in a family where story telling was second nature. I think I loved stories and fell in love with those long before I learned to read or write. When I was given the gift of being able to string letters into words, I never looked back. I simply absorbed every book I could get my hands on, particularly romances, and I always wrote stories in my journal and kept notes on story ideas.
However, it wasn’t until I was in college and took a journalism class as an elective that I had a light bulb moment and realized that you could make a living by writing. Our first assignment was to write an article for our local newspaper and submit it.
I chose to write about two local farms that had some exotic animals like zebras, llamas, and camels. This combined my love of animals and my love of telling a story. My small town local paper not only published that story but put it on the front page. More importantly, they paid me a whopping $25 for it.
Yes, that is a paltry amount of money. However, it made me realize that people actually get paid to write. I never looked back. I started writing novels and nonfiction and have continued to do that for the last 23 years. Now, I can’t imagine ever doing anything else. I love writing in all its forms.
Lillie: I know you write both fiction and nonfiction. Before you talk about your latest work, please share with my readers a little about your earlier books.
Lori: My first published book was put out by a very small press and was a young adult novel called It’s Hard to Go Home. I have considered having it republished, but it needs a lot of work. Although I’ve been a Christian since I was 13, some of my earlier books have love scenes that I wouldn’t write into my books today. While they are probably pretty tame by current standards, they aren’t anything I’d want my children or the youth I used to teach to read. Therefore, I don’t really promote the titles. However, I do have several books that are more recent or have been rereleased. Those are Finding Ms. Right, a sweet contemporary romance and The Elixir, a romantic suspense.
Lori: The main male character in the book came to me in a dream a number of years ago. The scene where the heroine looks up at the hill and Rok Erikson is standing up there, outlined by flashes of lightning, is basically my dream. Who could help but write more about this man? Yowza!
Many people don’t realize this, but Vikings were all over the place, including islands with monasteries. It only makes sense that some of them were exposed to Christianity. This is what happened to Rok when his family invaded a monastery. A monk there had a huge impact on his life view and now he lives amongst people who don’t think too highly of Christians. As a new Christian, he is torn between sharing what he knows to be the truth and hiding it to keep his family from disowning him.
I love this book because it is filled with all these undertones of angst, secrets, jealousy, ambition, and inner struggles that the characters themselves must deal with.
Lillie: What part does your Christian faith play in your writing and your life?
Lori: As I mentioned above, I’ve been a Christian for a long time. I’m actually kind of embarrassed to admit how long, because it seems that I should be a lot more spiritually mature by now. Of course, we all have our own walk.
About 10 years ago, we moved to southern Indiana. It’s a long story, but while they were building our house we had to rent an apartment. We had a house rented. It fell through. We had an apartment rented and the day before we were to move down here, it had a major leak in the master bedroom that couldn’t be fixed. Gushing water was what my husband told me. Finally, our builder had a townhouse open up at the last possible minute (it wasn’t supposed to be open) and we moved into that.
Directly across the street lived a pastor and his wife. Their family had a huge impact on us in so many ways and are now some of the dearest friends we’ve ever had. It was through getting to know them that our family grew closer in our walk with the Lord. When you realize everything that had to happen to put us right across the street from them, there can be no doubt it is a God thing.
I prayed a lot about what I should be doing with my life. God made it pretty clear writing was the right thing. How could I do anything other than glorify Him with what I write? One thing I try to do is be real. Christians often struggle with their faith. Or perhaps someone was raised in church but isn’t sure about their faith. My characters are the same way. They face real issues. They’re scared to share Christ with others. They are sometimes firm in their belief but angry at God for a great loss or other tragedy.
You’re going to recognize moments from your own life in my characters. Or, I hope so, anyway.
Lillie: What are you working on now?
Lori: I am working on a contemporary romance about a woman who runs a nursing home. The home is in serious trouble and she is trying to save it. She was basically raised in the home and with these people. They are her family and she is about to lose it all. There is a particular character in this book that is taking it over. Her name is Libby and she is 90 years old. She is quite a character. I can’t control her most days. My biggest challenge is to keep Libby from completely taking over a scene when she is in it.
Lillie: Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
Lori: They can visit my website at LoriSoard.com or join me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.
Lillie: Is there anything I’ve failed to ask that you would like to share with my readers?
Lori: Pursue your dreams. When you are old and gray, the one thing you will regret is what you didn’t try. You won’t focus on the failures, the trial and error. You’ll wonder why you didn’t try to write that book, take that trip, start a new hobby, or even do something more adventurous like parasailing. Live life to the fullest, but do it in a way that others can look at you and see Christ in you.
Love others. Don’t judge them. No one knows another person’s walk. The older I get, the more I believe that Christians can push other people away from Christ by being too harsh. Yes, sin is sin, but do you really think someone is going to respond to you telling them they are a sinner?
Instead, invite them to dinner. Develop a relationship. Get to know that person. Invite them to Bible study. If you must point out sin, do it with a loving, caring spirit. You will get so much further if you can do that. I’ve seen it in action by our pastor friend and his wife, who both live out the true spirit of Christ’s love while also standing on Biblical truth.
Lillie: Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I know my readers enjoyed learning more about you and your books. They will probably have more questions for you. Will you check in during the day to respond to comments and answer questions?
Lori: Thanks, Lillie. I will be sure to check in from time to time and chat with your readers. I love answering questions and I’m not shy, so they should feel free to ask me whatever they’d like.
Lillie: If you have questions for Lori, leave a comment below. And don’t forget that leaving a comment automatically enters you in the drawing for a free digital copy of Finding Ms. Right.
Added 5/24/14: The winner of the ebook of Finding Ms. Right is Kimberli. Congratulations, Kimberli, and thanks, Lori.
Lori Soard has a PhD in Journalism, but she’s hardly the stuffy professor type. She enjoys writing romantic comedies, such as Finding Ms. Right, gets excited over a good comedy, and has even seen one of her books turned in a Manga comic. When she isn’t working on fiction, she is writing articles and designing websites.