Sunday, August 16, 2015

Launching: Guardians of the Heart by Loree Lough @PrismBookTours

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

We're launching the Book Tour for
Guardians of the Heart
By Loree Lough

Nell and Asa have guarded their hearts, but to let love in, they'll have to let go.
We hope you enjoy finding out more about their story...

Tour Schedule
8/22 - Grand Finale

Interview with Author Loree Lough

Loree, how many genres do you write in?

Most of what I’ve written falls into the romance genre. Some are historical, others contemporary, and every story has a thread (or two) of suspense and adventure woven into it. I’ve also written historical fiction and non-fiction for kids.

And how do you develop your deep POV?

I love living in the heads of my characters, and accomplish it (and avoid ‘head hopping’) by writing each scene from a specific character’s point of view. It’s almost as though I take up residence in their brains (like a parasite! LOL). When I’m thinking their thoughts, reacting to what other characters do and say, deep POV is a lot easier.

I understand you once wrote articles for a living. Did your non-fiction background help you with researching your novels?

Having more than 2,500 articles under my byline was definitely a big help! Whether fiction or non-fiction, when I come up with an idea for a story, I build everything around a theme. Take “The Turning Points” series, for example, based on an actual Baltimore news story: Halloween prank (presumably by teens) who dressed a dummy like a man and tossed it onto railroad tracks. The engineer, thinking he’d run over a vagrant, called in a report that sparked a full-fledged search: Helicopters, dogs, SAR personnel that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars. I couldn’t help but wonder about the psychological after-effects on the kids. Did it inspire more of the same behavior, or a life change?

No need to research time period and setting (I live in Baltimore! <g>), but it was necessary to find out the order of events of such a search. And how the event impacted each boy. The actual news story didn’t state how many or what age, so I fabricated the information and decided there were three, fifteen year old boys involved in the prank. Meaning, chats with child psychologists were required to determine how big an impact something like that might have on an impressionable kid—now, and in the future.

Although no one was injured in the actual news report, the engineer in my story was having a heart attack even before he spotted the dummy on the tracks. But my boys didn’t know that. Young and impressionable, they jumped to conclusions: The engineer must have been so shocked at the thought of running over a man that he went into cardiac arrest.

All this in chapter one, as seen from the POV of one of the boys; chapter two opens fifteen years later, as he’s living his new life…one as a cardiac surgeon, one as a firefighter, one who, despite a successful career in real estate, didn’t find his way until well into his book. Which required research into each career choice.

And then there were the heroines…!

Do you have routines that move your writing process along?

I start each day by editing the work I did the day before. This is crucial, since I often work on more than one book at a time, sometimes in different time periods. The edits serve two purposes: 1.) I can clean up any messes I’ve left behind, and 2.) I’m right back in the characters’ heads.

What about marketing? Do you have a personal program or strategy?

I pretty much stick with social networking, some ‘signage’ (postcards, bookmarks, magnets, calendars, etc.), and occasionally, an ad in a newspaper/magazine. 

Do you have an agent, and if so, how did you find him/her?

My agent is one of the most well-respected in the industry. I sent him an email and asked if he was interested in working with me. We had a long discussion about my work history, my career goals, and his recommendations to help me reach them. It’s been a satisfying, mutually rewarding partnership.

Is it difficult to distinguish your hero and heroin’s voices from other characters’?

Well, as I said earlier, I pretty much get inside the characters’ heads and write from one POV per scene. I have a pretty good idea what sort of person each character is. I know their flaws. Their positive traits. Their likes and dislikes. Their backgrounds. All of that plays into each character’s voice.

I’ve read 5-star reviews and rave endorsements that say your dialog is wonderful and unique. How do you accomplish that?

With POV and character plusses and minuses in mind, dialog pretty much takes care of itself. A guy from Texas and a guy from New York have completely different ways of expressing the same sentiments. Same is true for a woman from Mississippi v. a woman from LA. It’s hard to go wrong, once you’re deeply imbedded in their heads!

Is a backstory important?

Yes, but to be honest, very little of it ends up in the story, except in the ways it has molded and shaped who the character is when the story opens. I develop backstory by asking myself how this character must behave—outwardly, and in the privacy of his mind. Also, I ask myself how his background will influence the way he reacts to things over which he has no control. We are all a product of our backgrounds. The question is…what will it take to get us out of our comfort zones, to cause character growth…?

How is the industry changed since you started writing novels?

The major change is that there are a whole lot more authors, and only a handful of traditional publishers. Competition is, as they say, stiff. I see that as a good thing, because every time I submit a proposal for a new contract, it will be compared to the thousands (literally!) of other submissions an editor is considering.

The romance genre, itself, is more challenging, because readers are far more demanding. They’re no longer satisfied with a sweet little tale about a settler’s wife adapting to life on the plains. The economy is tough, and they’re not willing to spend hard-earned dollars on two-dimensional stories. They want to be thoroughly entertained by a believable tale that features realistic characters, solving believable problems. I receive dozens of letters each week from readers who share how they identified with a character, a situation, or a solution. If I hope to keep receiving mail like that, I have to continue pushing the envelope.

How many drafts of a novel do you write?

I edit the first draft, which becomes the second draft, which becomes the final version. So the original is always there, layered by countless additions and deletions.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I believe strongly in plotting, and use an outline for every novel. (See next question for more details.)

How do you develop your plots?

My ‘timeline’ is a combination of dozens of outline techniques found in dozens of how-to books. It resembles a big-block calendar, each box representing a scene. It’s old-fashioned, I know, but it has worked very well for me, for each of the 105 books on the shelves. I use paper and pencil, so that I can make changes as I go along, and I love that I can refer to it without having a bunch of distracting tabs open on my computer screen.

How do you ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ a story?

Wow. That’s a tough one. I guess the easiest way to answer that one is…keep the story active. Not too much thinking about what happened in the past. If an event is something another character needs to know, for example, I often provide the information through a conversation, face to face or overheard, with another character.

Do you have a specific technique for producing a successful novel?

There’s an old writers’ adage that goes something like, open a vein and bleed on the page. It isn’t quite that dramatic, of course, but authors really do have to be willing to sacrifice: Sleep, family time, laundry, yard work (sometimes, even showering takes second place to the story). But mostly, sleep.

Guardians of the Heart
(Secrets on Sterling Street, #2)
by Loree Lough
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 272 pages
August 3rd 2015 by Whitaker House

Nell Holstrom wanted no part of her grandfather's barren gold mine that had taken the lives of her mother, father, and younger brother; even if there may still be hidden wealth inside. Instead, she went to Denver and took a job as housekeeper at the old Stone Hill Inn.

Asa Stone was barely more than a boy when his father dragged him and his brothers to fight with Colonel John Chivington. But Asa refused to participate in the raid on the peaceful Cheyenne and Arapahoe; and when the smoke cleared, his father and brother lay among the slaughtered. Besieged by guilt, Asa wandered the West for years before returning to Denver to rebuild the old inn he'd inherited. 

Together, Nell and Asa work hard to restore Stone Hill. But when disaster hits the inn, Asa retreats into despair and Nell is forced to return to her family's mine. Asa faces the hard fact: He'll never be the man Nell deserves. Can he overcome the dark secrets of his past? And will Nell still love him when she learns the truth?

The First Book in the Series

Currency of the Heart
(Secrets on Sterling Street, #1)
by Loree Lough
Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 pages
January 1st 2015 by Whitaker House

Young widow Shaina Sterling hates living a lie. Desperate to keep bill collectors from the door, she secretly sells valuable possessions piece by piece, and hopes Denver’s elite never discover that his lavish lifestyle left her a near pauper.

She’s unaware that as her husband lay dying, successful rancher Sloan Remington made him a promise. And Sloan guards her secrets
as carefully as he looks after her safety.

When fire devours Sterling Hall, leaving her homeless and penniless, he brings her to Remington Ranch to manage his household. His kindness makes Shaina beholden to him … and threatens to expose the secret that could destroy him.

Will trials and tragedies bring Sloan and Shaina together?
Or will secrets—and the cost of exposing them—drive them apart forever?

Yes, it's true: Once upon a time, best-selling author Loree Lough (literally) sang for her supper, performing before packed audiences throughout the U.S. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two for the "grandorables," but mostly, she just writes. (And writes.) Over the years, her stories have earned nearly 100 industry and "Readers' Choice" awards, 7 movie options, and over 80 4- and 5-star reviews.

There are more than 5,000,000 (yes, that's FIVE MILLION) copies of Loree's books in circulation, and in September of 2015, she'll have 108 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults) 72 short stories, 2,500+ articles in print. To date, she has received 50,000+ letters from fans (a carton of books goes to Meredith P. in Joliet, IL -- which she has elected to donate to her local library --for writing the 50,000th letter)!

Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad.

A writer who believes in "giving back," Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations.

She splits her time between her home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of lighthouses, wind chimes, and "wolf stuff."

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card
Print copy of Guardians of the Heart
Kindle copy of Guardians of the Heart (to be gifted through Amazon)
Open internationally
Ends August 29th
a Rafflecopter giveaway