USA Today best-selling author Loree Lough has more than 120 books in print now (and more than 10 million copies in circulation), including fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults. Seven of her novels have been optioned for movies, and additional releases will hit the shelves between now and 2021.
Tracy: Hey there. Welcome to another episode of Buggy Talk. I’m your host, Tracy Fredrychowski, and each week I bring you the story behind the stories, along with the storytellers. For this week’s episode, we have USA Today’s Bestselling Author, Loree Lough, and she has more than 120 books in print and more than 10 million copies in circulation, including fiction and nonfiction for kids and adults. Seven of her novels have been optioned for movies and additional releases.
Loree, you’ve been busy, how are you today?
Loree: I’m doing great. How are you doing? I am doing wonderful.
Tracy: Thank you so much for joining us today. I have spent some time this past week doing my research, and I see you have two Christmas collections. You’re working on Mistletoe and Murder and the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. Plus, you have a third book in your Amish series, A Little Child Shall Lead Them. Plus, you’re doing a novella anthology with Shelly Shepard Gray and Rachel. Good. I’d say you are a super busy woman.
Loree: I don’t like to let any grass grow under my feet, you know, but first, I want to thank you a lot for inviting me.
Tracy: First, I’m going to ask you a few questions that have to do with your writing career. The first being, when did you first consider yourself a writer?
Loree: Well, it was a dark and stormy night, you know, no, seriously. It was the mid-eighties. And I had been writing these fun little essays for free for the Sun section of the Baltimore Sun Paper when the editor asked me to write one. I don’t even remember the topic, but she asked me to write one, and it wasn’t a literal assignment. So she paid me. And after that one came out, I got some letters to the editor’s response. She assigned another and another. And I think cashing the checks is made me feel like a real writer.
Tracy: Tell us what your rate, your writing space looks like.
Loree: Well, that’s a little tricky because I write all over the place. This sounds like a Dr. Seuss story, right? In the family room. I write in the car right in the kitchen, right in the dining room, right. At our cabin, which is where I am right now. Long story short. I don’t have an office anymore. So any place I lay my laptop down is my writing space.
Tracy: Tell our listeners what a typical writing day looks like for you.
Loree: Well, I’m an early riser five, six o’clock. My body says, get up out of bed, lazy hog, and I make coffee. Of course. And then I checked my email, and I fool around on Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest. And then I pull up the outline for my work in progress and read what I wrote yesterday and edit it and make some notes about, you know, maybe I need to jazz this up or tone that down. Normally I’ll work about four or five hours straight before taking a break
Tracy: What famous author do you wish you could, could mentor you?
Loree: Wow. That, you know, I thought about this a lot. Um, and if I had to pick just one, because there are lots of, lots of good authors out there, and all of them have their unique talents that I would love to import into my stuff. I’d have to say; it’d be Dean Koontz. I probably read everything that guy ever wrote sometimes.
Tracy: So let’s move on and talk about your novella anthology that you’re working with or that you’re doing with Shelly Shepard Gray and Rachel. Good. Can you give us some insight into the theme of your section of that particular novella?
Loree: The stories are all set in the Lancaster area, Pennsylvania area. I’m not sure if I’ve settled on a title yet, but I’m thinking something along the lines. Cause he’s, uh, the hero is a can’t read, and he has to learn to read, even though he’s a businessman and very successful, he’s figured out. And usually, that’s the case with illiterate people. They don’t know how to read, but they’ve, they’re brilliant.
And they have to figure out ways to get around that. So not only can they keep it a secret, but also they can, um, you know, make it, make it work. But yeah, this has set around Christmas time, uh, as the other collections are. And um, I don’t know what insights I can give you about it, except that he not only gets, he’s had reasons not to have his faith was shaken, and he has good reason for it. But through the story development, he comes to discover that he was a little bit foolish and finds love maybe.
Tracy: That moves us on to your part in the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. Have you started to write that story yet? And what do you, what do you hope that your readers will take away from the story?
Loree: Well, all of us have something we don’t do as well as we wish we could, you know, a talent we haven’t honed or, uh, maybe it’s the thing on your bucket list, or it’s just something you want to do.
And this story, I hope will teach people that even if you’re in your mid-thirties as this hero is, and you have a major, something like illiteracy, you can overcome it if you want to badly enough and God’s help, whatever your failure is. God can fix that. If you trust him enough and work hard enough, cause he’ll give you the strength to work and the time and everything you need will come to you if you ask for it.
Tracy: Both of these stories sound amazing. And you know I, I’m looking forward to Christmas just to snuggle up with both of these collections and how fun and how fun is it to write, a book with 14 other authors.
So, our listeners can understand or, or remember, so you have a Mistletoe Murder, and you have the Amish Twins Christmas, and you have the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection, all of them come out this fall. Correct?
Loree: Yeah. I don’t think any of them are slated for next year’s release, but I’m excited about Christmas.
Tracy: So let me finish up on a fun note, which I love to do, which gets into, um, our author’s personal life. If you could choose three people to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
Loree: I would invite my maternal grandfather. He’s sort of a hero, and he overcame a lot of obstacles to come to this country from Italy and start a new life.
I think the other person would be my mom because she’s talented, and she was talented in multiple ways. And then I think the third person I know; I know a lot of people would say, Jesus, of course, I would like to meet Jesus, but I’ve kind of saved that till I’m gone and meet him at the Golden Gates, like all the other people, you know. Still, I think the third person would be Thomas Jefferson because he’s, he’s taken a lot of heat these days with politics being what they are.
Tracy: So, share something with our readers that the typical person wouldn’t know about you.
Loree: I could probably say that I used to sing for my supper, but I think a lot of people already know that, that I used to, I got on Greyhound buses with my guitar and a big trunk full of clothes. And I traveled to different cities. I would sit in the lounges where the piano lady would, would have sat, and I’d think and sing and sing a thing.
Tracy: I know you talked about one of your favorite authors earlier in our interview, but what book is currently on your bedside table?
Loree: I hate to say this, but it’s 50 hours because I’m rereading it. Cause I want to redo it. So that’s one of them, uh, other than the Bible, um, right now research books, you know, boring stuff about amnesia and how, how, if you really break your five bone in a really serious way, how they put it together with pins and screws, that kind of stuff is on my bedside table right now.
Tracy: So is there anything you’d like to add, um, or a special message to your readers since we have their captive captivated attention?
Loree: Well, first of all, if you hung around this long, thank you, and God bless you. Uh, the other thing is I want to say a heartfelt thank you for their support. I mean, they buy books, and that’s great because I couldn’t keep doing it if they didn’t invest in me. Right. The cost of a book, I also loved the letters. So just like Dean Martin, I don’t know how many of you are old enough to remember Dean Martin at the end of his show. He used to say, keep those cards and letters coming folks. And that’s just how I feel. Every single letter I get, whether it’s email or snail mail, snail mail, or a message on Facebook or something. I answer every single one; personally, I guess it has to be up around 50 or a hundred thousand by now because of 25 years in the business.
Tracy: Well, Lori, I want to thank you so much for spending time with us this week. And I look forward to reading all of your stories and all of the collections you’re doing that come out this Christmas, and that wraps up this week’s episode. Next week we’ll have Laura Bradford on as our guest and to talk about her latest project, along with her part in the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. So we’ll see you next week on the Buggy Talk Podcast.