Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sit Down Saturday with Loree Lough


Today we’re celebrating the release of SAVING ALYSSA, #3 in Heartwarming's "A Child to Love" series.




So, Loree, where did you get the idea for this novel?

A dear friend of mine is an agent with the Witness Protection Service (WITSEC), and while he is never at liberty to discuss specifics of his cases, he has on occasion shared concerns for the men, women, and children assigned to him. It seems like such a sad, lonely life, so I decided to incorporate all of the scenarios he described (and add lots of my own details!) to give Noah Preston and his precious daughter the one thing that’s missing in their lives: Unconditional love. (Sorry, but you’ll have to read the story to find out if they remain safe and happy once they welcome Billie Landon into their lives….) 

 In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say? 

Noah believes his loveless life is penance for deeds that forced him and his daughter into the Witness Protection Service…until he meets Billie Landon….

 How long did it take you to write?

From start to finish—including interviews with WITSEC agents and research about the program (and the crime that made going undercover necessary)—I spent four months writing Saving Alyssa. 

 What is your favorite scene?

There’s a moment in the story when Billie stumbles onto the whole truth about Noah’s past. Once the shock wears off, she must decide whether to confront him, or protect his secret…and whether she should admit her love for him and Alyssa, or walk away….

 Who was your favorite character and why?

I’d say it was Noah, because despite a not-so-perfect background, he atoned for his sins and put his little girl at the center of his world, and because even while learning to forgive himself, he never forgot where he came from…or who he is. 

 If you could pick fictional characters to play the hero and  heroine, who would they be?

If any of you have watched the movie Somersby (starring Richard Gere and Jodi Foster), you remember the heart-tugging and noble ending, when John Somersby was willing to die to protect the woman and the town he loved from the ugly facts surrounding his true identity. Noah Preston was a good and decent man, despite his somewhat questionable past. And like Jodi Foster’s character, Billie Landon was willing to look past her man’s mistakes and focus, instead, on the man his mistakes turned him into.

 Tell us one thing you learned during research.

That most WITSEC agents go far above and beyond duty to make the lives of those in their care as safe—and normal—as possible. 

 What music would match the mood of this novel?

Unchained Melody, as performed by the Righteous Brothers. Its beautiful lyrics, paired with the haunting music, sets exactly the right tone for this story.

 This is your 100th book.  Exactly what does that mean to you?

The fact is, the number sort of snuck up on me! With the release of my first novel (Pocketful of Love) in 1994, I set a goal of 50 books by the time I retired. It’s funny, because my stock reply when people ask when that might happen is, “I’ll retire when they pry the keyboard from my cold, dead hands!” I love what I do, so God willing, I’ll have the mental faculties and physical strength to type The End, even as I’m drawing my last breath! So while I’m proud to have reached past my original goal, I’m just grateful as I can be that readers keep reading and publishers keep publishing my books!

What do you plan to work on next?

I’m thrilled to pieces to announce that I just signed another 3-book contract with Heartwarming! These stories feature handsome cowboy-type heroes, plucky heroines, and action-packed scenes, so I know they'll be fun to write. And, in-between the new Heartwarming releases, I’m writing an additional 3-book historical series for Whitaker House. (If you're thinking if I spend most of my time at the computer, you're right! But you know what they say: "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.")

 What are you reading for pleasure right now?

The Longest Ride, by Nicholas Sparks. I picked up my first Sparks story about 5 years ago, after hearing from hundreds of readers that my writing style is very similar to his. To date, I’ve read all of his books, and while I don’t see the parallels, I’ve become a huge fan! 


28 comments:

  1. Happy 100th, Loree! Awesome interview. I can't wait to read Saving Alyssa! I was taken the first time I saw the cover, but after reading this interview, I'm totally intrigued by the story too. And congrats on the new 3 book HW contract!!

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    1. Thanks, Rula! I'm always touched by words like that, but never more than when they're from a talented author, like yourself! I'm looking forward to reading YOUR March release, too!

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  2. Loree, like Rula, I was taken with the cover. I grew up on a beach, and remember walking with my parents through the surf, so it made me homesick for those times. I'm fascinated by the concept of having to totally abandon a life to pretend your way into a new one, so I'm really looking forward to reading this story. Congrats on your hundredth book!

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    1. The Harlequin art department always does a great job, and I agree...they put their best efforts into SAVING ALYSSA. I also agree that it must be a huge challenge to leave a well-established life behind to disappear into the witness protection world. I hope like crazy I'll never face such a dilemma, because I'd probably 'blow my cover' on the very first day! Happy reading to you, Anna, and here's hoping wherever you are, the weather is beautifully spring-like!

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  3. I grew up in Nebraska, so totally landlocked. The cover makes me long for the beach. Wow, 100 books. Congratulations.

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    1. Thanks for the congrats, Pamela! I'm a Wisconsin-born, Illinois-raised gal, myself; even though we lived driving distance from Lake Michigan, I didn't spend much time at the beach. Even now (here in Maryland), though we're mere hours from the ocean, and I still don't get into the surf often!

      Here's hoping Mother Nature has finally released her cold (brutal!) grip on the country, and will deliver a sweet, sweet spring!

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  4. I am in awe of your 100 books! Amazing!

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    1. What's amazing is that, clumsy as I am, I haven't rolled off this purple exercise ball (I don't sit in a chair as I work)!

      Wishing you a warm and sunny spring!

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  5. Wow! Congrats on reaching that 100 book milestone Loree! I hope you're at the HQ party this year so we can whoop and holler and cheer for that... it's an amazing accomplishment and kudos to you.

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    1. Oh, if only I could be there! Too many prior commitments, sadly, leaving no time (or money) for another conference. Thanks for the kind words. Here's hoping y'all will have a ball at the HQ party! Be sure to say HEY to everyone for me!

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    1. Thanks, Carol! I kinda feel like Adrian Monk (a fellow OCD nut), who was tempted to give up detective-ing after his 100th case. Then opportunity knocked, and, like the guys in Godfather, it was an offer too good to refuse!

      Hope spring arrives soon to your area...and gently!

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  7. 100 books! So inspiring. This one sounds like a winner. Congrats

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    1. Thanks, Mel! I'm looking forward to hearing what y'all think of this one!

      Happy spring to you and yours!

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  8. Loree!! I'm just so, so excited about this being your 100th book! And I'm thrilled to hear about the Whitaker House series, too. You're still an inspiration, Girl, and I'm so glad to call you my writing friend. CONGRATS! :)

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    1. Not just a writing friend, but a pal in the real world, too! LOL

      Thanks for the kind words. As I've said before, it's always a joy, hearing positive things, but never more than when delivered by someone I admire and respect, like you!

      I'm rootin' for an early (GENTLE) spring. How 'bout you!

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  9. Loree, The thought of reaching 100 books makes my head spin. What a great accomplishment. And you look so young. You must have started writing in the cradle. LOL. Can't wait to read the book. The witness protection program has always fascinated me. I've wondered if in the age of social media and the national spy programs if it's harder to keep witnesses safe. I'll look forward to your upcoming stories. I still love cowboys.

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    1. Young? Writing in the cradle? Roz...you are my new BFF! LOL

      Seriously, I can't say enough about my talented photographer, Barb Campbell, who's solely responsible for making me look young.

      Here's hoping you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it! And y'know...few heroes get my heart thumpin' the way cowboys do! (This is where I'd type a heart ... if I knew how. LOL)

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  10. Happy 100th. I love the sound of this one!

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    1. Looking forward to hearing from you again, Liz, after you've read the story! It was a lot of fun to write ... even those gritty prison scenes!

      Wishing you a sweet 'n' easy spring!

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  11. I('m with Roz. How can you have written 100 books and still look like that? You still have all you hair. And it isn't white. And you're smiling! How cool to have reached such a remarkable milestone and still have a photo that looks great in the back of your book. Seriously - congratulations. I know hard work and good ideas got you there and not the pretty face. Here's looking forward to 200. I'll bet you'll do it.

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    1. LOL Muriel! The hair is thinner than it once was (thank you, Lupus ), and it's thanks to the talents of my hairdresser that what's left isn't white! As for the smile ... you know that old saying: "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." So y'see, it's easy to grin like a ninny!

      All best to you and yours, m'dear. Here's hoping we'll soon see daffodils and tulips ... and none of the bad weather sometimes associated with spring!

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  12. Loree, I'll add my congratulations to you on reaching that 100 books milestone. Saving Alyssa sounds like a great story and I'm looking forward to reading it.

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    1. Thanks, Linda! And I'M looking forward to hearing what you think of the story!

      Wishing you a happy spring!

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  13. really looking forward to reading this book it sounds great!

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    1. Debbie! What a neat surprise, seeing my Twitter pal here! I hope you'll enjoy the story, and if you do, that you'll come back and share your thoughts. But only if you enjoy it, of course. LOL

      Have a wonderful week!

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  14. Congratulations on 100 books! SO amazing. I can't wait to read all the March books. Witness Protection is so interesting. It is quite an honor to be in a group of authors like you, Loree. You inspire me to write ... well maybe not 100, but 50 books sounds good! xoxo

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