Another Author of the Month at MyShelf.Com
Author of the Month
Lori Soard [June 2004]
Chosen by Faith V. Smith, MyShelf.Com
Lori Soard is one of the most outstanding and multi-published authors I have ever met or had the pleasure of reading.†† Her book, Housebreaking A Husband although reviewed for another publication by myself was heart wrenching, humorous and full of love.†† Loriís talent doesnít stop with books; she has several businesses and manages a family.† I am blessed to count this awesome woman as a friend.
Faith: Tell us a bit about yourself, Lori.
Lori: I have two daughters, three cats, (two that are very old), two dogs and too many hamsters.† They keep multiplying.† I have several businesses that I run.† I have always been a bit of an entrepreneur.† I get it from my parents, whoíve owned several businesses and done pretty well with them.
Faith: So tell us about the businesses you are involved in when youíre not writing.
Lori:† One of the businesses I run is a hot markets newsletter for writers.† We have classes, contests and monthly columns.† It's a lot of fun and it's taken off like crazy, so there was a need for it. We get insider tips from editors and agents, so it's very up-to-date information and is a great complement to things like Writer's Digest.† I also have World Romance Writers, which I run with Sally Kale, and she and I are working on opening a new biz (end of this month), which will be called Kendall Kale Associates (Kendall is a derivative of my maiden name and the pen name Sally and I chose for the book we're working on together). †I run Divas of Romance, which isn't a profit biz but a cooperative promotional vehicle, as is Promo Blitz, which is similar but multi-genre. I am really fortunate though, because I have wonderful people who work with me and help these biz's run like clockwork. †That allows me time to write and be a mom.† I am like a chef; I just stir things a little and organize the ingredients. You can link to all my projects through my website www.lorisoard.com. I was also the original founder of Word Museum, but I sold it a couple of years ago because it became too time-consuming. †Iím not sure if staying busy is a blessing or a curse, I guess it depends on how you look at it LOL, I'm kidding. I love that God sends me ideas regularly.
Faith: So when you are not finding the time to sleep, what else do you do, lol?
Lori: When I'm not writing or running my biz, I usually do presentations somewhere. †My daughters, and I also like to visit historical sites.
Faith: Wow, you certainly inspire me.
Lori:† Oh, thank you. It's such a good feeling when a new writer tells me I've inspired them. Makes me feel like I'm giving back. I know I've had a lot of people inspire me as well.
Faith: When did you begin to write and how did you take your first rejection?
Lori:† I always wrote. My mother once told me that when I was little, I was the one who told her the bedtime stories. I come from a rich tradition of story telling too. My relatives are from Appalachia on my mom's side and when we would get together, they would sit around and tell stories.† So, I'd always written, I just didn't realize you could actually make a living from writing. I even took some journalism classes in college and it didn't occur to me. I was in the mode of go to school.... get a good job and write in the summer. Then, I had my first baby.† And I went to work every day and cried because I had to leave her. And my MOM was watching her! LOL
I was a basket case. So, I decided to quit a very lucrative job making 70K + a year and stay home. She was a very easy child.† I was bored out of my mind. I found the online writing communities--this was back in '93 and started absorbing everything for a few years.† The rest is history.† I believe if you want to be home with your kids, it might be hard, but you can find a way.† I really encourage women to follow their hearts on this.
Faith: And what a lovely history you have had, Lori.† What about rejections, did you have any?
Lori:† Oh, my. I had over 100 rejection letters before I sold an article, Faith. I wrote nonfiction first. †I cried my eyes out over each one and I do remember the first one because the editor actually helped me. It was for an article about a local farm that has camels (yes, I still do the nonfiction--it's my bread and butter.)† The editor sent me a note back and said that I really needed to learn proper manuscript format and such--that my writing was good but it was too academic. What a slap in the face for someone who'd just spent years in college. I hadn't learned anything! LOL Anyway, eventually I rewrote that article and she bought it. Now, I write for her regularly.
Faith: Do you feel that the rules new writers have to go by are what really gets them noticed by publishers?
Lori: You know, I think that rules are important because they teach you to write within certain guidelines, to write tight, to learn to focus on characters, conflict, etc. However, I have found that it is when I break the rules just a little that I actually sell. But it can't be over the top or they'll tell you that it's too "different", so you have to learn the rules so you know how to break the rules LOL.
Faith: So, there is hope for the rest of us...lol.
Lori: Of course there is hope. If you really want it, you just have to keep on trying. The only other choice is failure. You only fail when you stop.† I still take classes, talk to my mentors, ask questions of editors, read articles, and attend conferences.
Faith: So you are still learning and honing your craft.
Lori: We have to always be learning. One thing I tell my students is that if you are not growing then you are stagnating and who wants to be stagnant? Have you ever seen one of those icky green ponds? I don't want to by the icky green pond.
Faith: What draws you into a book and what are some of your favorite genres?
Lori:† A great opening hook filled with action and or conflict will draw me into a book. What keeps me interested is if the author makes me care about the characters. I don't really have a favorite genre. Romance is always a favorite but I'll read anything and everything. I learned to do speed reading years ago and I'll go through several books a day, everything from nonfiction to mystery to romance. If it's a favorite author, like Dean Koontz, then I'll slow down and savor the language and cadence of the words.
Faith: What made you write a book on your not so perfect heroine?
Lori: I like to write characters that readers can relate to and we are all flawed ourselves--inside or outside or both. Every woman I know has something she would change about herself and we all want an EXTREME MAKEOVER.† All of my characters are either--me or someone I'd like to be or sometimes someone I am glad I'm not.† We all have many characters that live inside us and we choose which characters to be.† I have had heroines who were a bit pudgy but most of them are extremely flawed on the inside or see themselves as flawed,and I think the strength they find when they yearn to look at themselves in a more positive light is something that resonates with readers.
Faith: Any tips for aspiring authors?
Lori: You know there are so many wonderful resources out there for learning how to write that the best advice I could ever give a new author is to learn to trust your gut. Learn to sense which advice works for you and which advice doesn't. Learn to believe in yourself or no one else will.
And never ever let the naysayers cause you to quit. If you feel down, email me through my website. I'm serious about this. I've had young writers email me ready to throw in the towel because of a nasty critique group. I am a great pep talker ;)
Faith: Yes, I know, thank you.†† Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Lori: Thank you doesn't seem like enough. My fans have been so loyal to me and warm and wonderful. There have been a few times I've been down because I've gotten a rejection or whatever and a letter will magically appear in my inbox from one of my readers telling me she loved my book or stayed up all night to read it.You have no idea what that means to me. It's the reason I write. If I can touch just one person with my words...then I've done my job. I love my fans :)
Faith: And we love you!† Is there any one person or thing you credit your success to?
Lori: If I had to choose just one, I'd say God, because he gave me a natural talent, allowed me to be born into a family of storytellers; to parents who have encouraged me my entire life. He put the right people in the right place at the right time--teachers, mentors, other writers, editors and my agent. So, while I owe a debt of gratitude to a lot of people, I do definitely feel...that God has guided my life and that I am MEANT to be a writer.
Faith: Thanks so much for doing this, Lori. You are a talented writer and a tremendous help to all who make your acquaintance.
Lori: Thanks, Faith. I appreciate your interest in wanting to do an interview.
Faith: All fans and interested parties can find reviews for previous books, a book list and a list of Loriís businesses at her website.
2004's Honorary List