A Few Moments With: Loree Lough
Many writers dream of having one book with their name on the cover. This year, author Loree Lough will see book number 81 hit the bookshelves. I visited with Loree and managed to pull her away from her current project, Love Finds You In Folly Beach, South Carolina, set to release in 2012. – Lynette Sowell
Loree Lough is known for her tales of romance, vivid characters, and rich settings. She’s noted recurring themes throughout her books. “In every story, one main character is a strong Christian, while the other has fallen away, or doesn’t know the Lord at all. I tuck growth in faith and trust in God into every plot,” Lough said.
After so many books, you’d think she might start running out of ideas—but Lough finds characters around every corner.
Ideas, for me, are like air. They’re everywhere.
“Ideas, for me, are like air. They’re everywhere,” she said. “I might find one while watching the news, which was the case with the Turning Points series. After hearing the story about kids who pulled a prank that made the evening broadcast—though they didn’t get caught—I asked myself, ‘How did this event impact the rest of their lives?’”
Lough makes no secret that she writes romance and the key to a good romance, she says, is strong conflict. “Ever try to force two magnets to stick to one another while pressing the same poles together? They want to come together. You want it for them. But conflicts of the internal and external kind keep pushing them apart. It isn’t until one turns around that they can bond.”
Routine saves the day
Even with dozens of titles to her credit, Lough still admits to waging war against the dreaded time-monster that every writer faces. What helps her is establishing a regular routine.
“When my pre-writing morning routine ends, I fire up the computers.” Lough uses two computers—one with an Internet connection and one strictly devoted to writing. “The work machine has never been connected to cyberspace, because I’m always afraid a virus might attack a WIP.”
Her first order of business is to edit the scene she wrote the previous day. Then she writes—until she’s finished. “I don’t have a set number of words or scenes I write per day. God lets me know when I’ve reached His quota for the day.”
Lessons from a professional
Lough sold more than 60 books before she signed with an agent. Her present agent, Steve Laube, believes other writers can learn good lessons from Lough. “Loree is a great boss,” Laube said. “And that is how a professional should see the relationship. I work for the author, not the other way around.
“However, a smart boss will listen to their people and follow their advice after due consideration. That is how Loree and I work together. She is highly creative and is willing to let me help her strategize her next publication so we can grow her readership.”
When Lough approached Laube about representation, it didn’t take long for him to sign her. “When an accomplished author comes knocking it is tough to say no. Actually, we had talked a couple years earlier and when it came time for her to seek new representation she called and we hit it off right away.”
This is a strange, ever-changing, volatile business, and if you don’t have the personality to go with the flow, it’ll drive you mad.
Lough encourages newer authors to develop one trait in particular—patience. “Patience really is a virtue. This is a strange, ever-changing, volatile business, and if you don’t have the personality to go with the flow, it’ll drive you mad.
“It’s old news, I know, but it bears repeating—if you know your intended audience and which houses publish material for those readers, you’ll spare yourself a lot of headaches and heartaches.”
Stay on your financial feet
She also suggests another tip for authors who might be giddy about their first contract: Learn to budget. “Without a smart business plan, expenses can knock you off your financial feet. Web site updates, book trailer production, professional photos, bookmarks/postcards, conference fees, and related expenses can take a huge bite out of your income.”
Lough notes that writing friends have enriched her life. Fellow author Sandie Bricker considers Lough more than a writing colleague. More than 10 years ago, they met online.
“I was co-hosting a weekly workshop for America Online for inspirational writers called Heart & Soul. We talked casually for a couple of years,” Bricker said, but they are now fast friends.
Bricker appreciates Lough’s impact on her life—as a writer and as a person. “As a writer, she’s willing to share almost anything. If I’m putting together a workshop and ask for her input, she sends me her notes on the subject. If I’m brainstorming on a deadline, she drops everything to contribute or inspire, or both.
“But as a friend, Loree is one of the most spectacular hearts I’ve ever met. She is completely true-blue. She has walked me through broken relationships, disappointments, even cancer. She’s genuinely one of the pivotal people in my life and career.”
With her busy life, Lough considers 1 Corinthians 10:13 a key verse.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
“Times can be tough, but God’s promise—to give me the strength to get through every trial—always makes me tougher!”
Her next book, From Ashes to Honor, (Abingdon Press) kicks off her First Responders series and coincides with the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.