Monday, July 8, 2013

Loree Lough - Interview and Giveaway!


Loree Lough has graciously offered to send a book to a second winner from my blog. Here are the winners:

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Timestamp: 2013-07-14 13:50:00 UTC

Congrats to karenk and Barbara Thompson! Email me your address, ladies, and the books will be sent to you.

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Emma's Orphans
Loree Lough
(Whitaker House)
ISBN: 978-1603747196
March 2013/192 pages/$12.99

Emma Wright knows the loneliness of being an orphan. Maybe that's why her Maryland home seems to attract children left parentless by accident or by the recent Civil War. It is hard to care and provide for them on a nurse's salary, and finding Christian homes for them requires more wisdom than Emma possesses on her own.

As strong and independent as she seems, Emma dreams of the day a strong, Christian husband will share her burden, and she thinks her prayers might be answered when she meets the handsome carpenter Nate O'Neil. But, though the war is over, Nate is still fighting a battle inside himself. How can he offer himself to a fine woman like Emma when he still bears the guilt of past deeds?

While Emma and Nate wrestle with their problems, the seven children in Emma's care decide to take matters into their own hands.


What a delight it was to meet Loree Lough (pronounced like low) at ICRS and sit down for an interview with her! I enjoyed learning more about her and this sweet book. I loved the characters and the message of forgiveness and redemption, as well as the gentle romance. Enjoy my interview with Loree and keep reading all the way to the end for a chance to win a copy of Emma's Orphans!

You've written quite a few books. How many has it been?

Emma's Orphans is number 97. And when the third book in the trilogy comes out, which I am writing now, that will be 100. It comes out in February. So Valentine's Day, I'm celebrating! Better than usual. More chocolate - back a truck up to the house!

With good reason! That is an accomplishment! So Emma's Orphans is the first book in a series?

It's actually not a series per se. Whitaker House is releasing the three books - Emma's Orphans, Lone Wolf, and Priscilla Finds a Husband - as sort of a package. They are all set in the Civil War era and in the Baltimore era but they don't have overlapping characters. Right behind them are another set of three. All of these are re-releases which were originally published by Barbour's Heartsong Presents, and they've been rewritten, updated, and repackaged with beautiful new covers. Whitaker House does an amazing job with covers.

I like to tell readers, if you catch typos, mistakes, or discrepancies, and you email me about them, I'll send you a free book.

I always hate to do that once it's in print, to tell an author that I've found a mistake.

Well, we turn it into a fun thing and then the readers are looking for mistakes because they want a free book (different from the one they bought). Then if they find another mistake, sorry! That's not the deal! Just one!

Tell me a bit how you came up with the premise for Emma's Orphans and how you come up with so many ideas. That's a lot of ideas, writing 100 books!

Well, I started out writing articles. I wrote 2,500+ articles, some under my name, some ghosted for professionals in technical and trade magazines. It was interesting. You go to a party and people talk about [construction or other subjects] and I could tell you something about that. The reason I switched over to fiction in the first place was because the editors were making salient changes in the texts to appease advertisers. So I said that if I'm going to write fiction, I might as well try a novel, and I did. Then the ideas just kept coming. I'm not sure why. All I can do is credit the Lord because the ideas just don't stop. They wake me up at night. Emma's Orphan's, in particular. I was working on another book and researching the Civil War era. Everyone who knows anything about the Civil War has heard about the orphan trains that began back then and continued until 1929, I think, when the last official orphan trains ended. It just got me thinking about what it would be like way back then, life and times as they were, to be a child whose parents were either missing in action or died in battle or killed when one of the factions came in and took over a town. To be a child in the middle of war, orphaned - what would that be like? The more I thought about that, the more I decided I needed to address it. I wrote the book hoping to show what it was like for these children who had normal family lives but then, suddenly, they were just floating in the wind like a dandelion puff. Emma, being orphaned herself, understood her plight since she was raised by an aunt. But that's why I wrote it. I needed, personally, to grapple with this issue of these poor little kids who had no parents all of a sudden. The concept of the story was to give some kids a home, so I did. Some of them stayed with Emma, and some were put into "loving Christian homes." There were all varieties of children, and all of them were based on friends of my kids who hung around our house a lot. Matt, who is the main boy in the story, is still a big part of our lives. I love him as if he were mine!

It was interesting. Here were these children, who obviously came on the train by themselves-which is hard to imagine!-to come meet a man they didn't know who was supposed to place them in a home. And they would run away because they had heard bad things about him or the homes.

Some of the people who adopted children didn't go by the usual route. They knew somebody who knew somebody who could find them a kid that they used as farm labor or to work in a saloon. Or worse. So of course, when they had a chance, a lot of those kids would just run quickly and get as far away from there as they could. Some of the kids in Emma's Orphans come to the story exactly like that. Matt is a different case. In the opening scene, Matt's parents are killed in a pretty tragic accident so Emma takes him in. But the other kids come to her, mostly by Matt bringing them home like a stray puppy.

How does faith work into your stories? Is it a subtle thread or a stronger theme?

I believe if you are going to write Christian fiction, it has to be faith-based, but I don't believe any part of the story needs to be "fire and brimstone." I think that the reader absorbs it whether he/she is a long-time Christian or a newcome or someone who just picked up the book and is an atheist. If you read too much of the "preachy stuff," it's going to turn you off. Hopefully, the occasional scripture verse or hymn or prayer that the character I think it's important to admit we're writing for the glory of God. We're certainly not in it for the money! And we're not in it for the fame. Here I am, twenty years in the business and 100 books out; if you stood in a bookstore and yelled out, "Loree Lough is here," everyone would ask, "Who?" That's not why we're doing it. We're doing it for the glory of God. It gives me chills just to say that! Every story idea, every character, every problem, every conflict, every solution comes from Him. I have times when life interrupts and I get distracted and forget to ask for guidance, but sometimes I read what I wrote and think, "I didn't even know I did that!" It's as though I did it in my sleep or in a vacuum because He's guiding me. I'm told that I get more reader mail than the average Christian author, and I think that's the reason why. I don't think it's because the stories are a whole lot better or because the subject matter is a whole lot different or because they see my picture on Facebook and decide to buy my book. I think the reason is because it resonates. It speaks to them. Every time a book is released, I get a slew of letters from readers who say, "That was my life" or "I had that problem and didn't know how to solve it until I read that book, and now I know how to solve it."

One message I really liked in this story involved a character that really struggled with some issues from his past that he couldn't move past and let go. I think that's something that people deal with today.

Everyone has something from the past, whether it's something from your own life or from someone close to you who did something or they did not do something that they should have done, and it haunts you. It goes with you like a black shadow sitting on your shoulder and it won't leave you alone. Everything you do, every decision you make, every opportunity you face is affected by it. A lot of Christians have that problem. They say, "I sinned when I was sixteen" or "I got into drugs" or "I was promiscuous" or whatever, and they feel like that defines them, even though they're saved. The moment a person becomes a child of God, you realize you can't earn anything from God. He gives you this gift called grace, and you don't have to do anything to earn it! Jesus paid all your prices for you. That's it. It's done! It's a hard concept to grasp because those of us who are responsible are taught that if you do something, you pay the consequences. But the minute you say "I'm Yours" you're forgiven and washed of the sin and He's forgotten about it. So you need to do it too, because then you open yourself up to new opportunities that can't come in if you're weighed down with this oppressive burden.

That's what I try to do with every story: a lot about forgiveness and acceptance and the quiet message of "You're forgiven by God, so forgive yourself." The forgiveness element if big because so many families get disjointed and fractured because of unforgiveness. It makes you old before your time and wastes your life. Life is short, anyway, so if you can bask in the glow of paradise by experiencing forgiveness, why wouldn't you do it? I was blessed to get to know God early, in my twenties. I was old enough to appreciate it and young enough to spend a lot of time in His love.

Do you have anything else to share?

I would to say to readers of all faith-based fiction, whether it's written by men or by women and whatever genre you enjoy, don't apologize for reading faith-based fiction. Go out and brag about it. It's a good thing, and all of the authors who write it come from the same place I do. They write for the same reason. They write with the same Godly heart and intentions. They're writing to glorify God and spread His word as far as our books will allow us. Use the books to help us reach more people. Recommend the books. Recommend the authors. There are a lot of really talented Christian fiction authors. That's what I'd say to readers.

And if you are a writer, don't apologize for what you are doing. People will say things. I get it a lot at public functions where there are non-believers. They'll ask, "When are you going to write a real book?" What does that mean? It's a real book! It's got a spine and a cover and words; it's on a shelf. It costs real money. I don't apologize for what I do and I don't think anyone should apologize for what they do. If you choose to write Christian fiction, be proud of it! God put you in that chair in front of that keyboard for a reason.

Thank you so much, Loree! It's such a pleasure to visit with you!


A prolific writer, Loree Lough has more than seventy books, sixty short stories, and 2,500 articles in print. Her stories have earned dozens of industry and Reader's Choice awards. A frequent guest speaker for writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, corporations, college and high school writing programs, and more, Loree has encouraged thousands with her comedic approach to "learned-the-hard-way" lessons about the craft and industry.

For decades, Loree has been an avid wolf enthusiast, and she dedicates a portion of her income each year to efforts that benefit the magnificent animals. She splits her time between a home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and she shares her life with a spoiled pointer named Cash and her patient, dedicated husband, Larry, who has supported her writing and teaching endeavors throughout the years.


I have an additional copy of this book to give to one of you! Leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm Saturday (7/13/13) and I will randomly draw a winner. US mailing addresses only please, and you must include an email address to enter.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received two copies of this book from Whitaker House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful story, linda.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Merry said...

I love Christian fiction and recommend it whenever I get a chance. There are so many amazing authors and books to touch the heart and the spirit. Thanks for a chance to win one of Loree's books.
Worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Barbara Thompson said...

I've read some of Loree Lough's books. She's a fantastic author. Have always enjoyed her books. I love and enjoyed this great interview. Would love to win this book. Looking forward to reading her book. Thank you for entering me in your giveaway.
Barbara Thompson

Pat S. said...

Thanks, Linda. This was great. I would love to read this book. I have been on a Civil War era reading trend lately.

Pat S.
patsch1 at att dot com

Andrea said...

This was a really interesting interview. Thank you so much for printing it. I had no idea Loree Lough had written so many books and articles!

Barbara Thompson said...

Thank you, Linda for this opportunity. I am so excited. Looking forward to reading Loree's book.
Barbara Thompson