Get the lowdown on your favorite authors with Jennifer Vido.
I have always been fascinated with the art of knitting. As a child, I would watch in awe as my mother would create beautiful afghans and colorful scarves. She always seemed so relaxed and at ease while masterfully designing her next creation. When the time finally came for me to join in on the fun, it didn’t take long for the “ooh” and “ahh” factor to quickly fade away. Knit one. Purl two. Whatever! Let it suffice to say that it’s not as easy as it looks!
The lead character in this month’s s feature title can relate well to my knitting nightmare since she, too, is knitting-challenged! In THE SWEETHEARTS’ KNITTING CLUB, romance writer extraordinaire Lori Wilde takes the reader to the quaint, small town of Twilight, Texas in her new series sure to please her fans. Without a doubt, this delightful story is the perfect read for the holiday season.
As part of this interview, Avon Books has generously donated five copies for you, my lucky readers, to win. So, don’t forget to check for the trivia question at the end. And who knows? Perhaps you may be inspired to try to learn how to knit when you’re done! Better yet…maybe you could even teach me!
Jen: It’s always a treat being able to catch a glimpse into the life of a favorite author such as you. So that my readers may have a better understanding of the woman behind the words, please share with us your educational and professional background.
Lori: I went to school to become a license practical nurse the week I turned 17. At the time, I was the youngest student ever enrolled in the LVN program in the state of Texas. I didn’t want to be a nurse. I always wanted to be a writer, but my parents told me I had to get out and make my own way because they had four other kids to raise. They offered to pay for LVN school. There were one hundred students vying for 20 slots. I prayed that I wouldn’t get in, but I did. Later, I put myself through R.N. school while working full time as an LVN. I didn’t write in the six years that it took to get my bachelors degree from Texas Christian University, but the minute I graduated, I started writing short stories. I wrote sixty short stories and didn’t sell a single one. I decided I needed to take writing classes and because I’d already written so much, I was at the head of the class. The teacher told me I needed to write a book. That was scary to me, so I looked around to see what books were short and that’s when I discovered Harlequin. I’m also a library school dropout. I have 18 hours toward a master’s degree in Library Science. I was a nurse for 22 years before I was able to retire and write full time.
Jen: Describe for us your “Ah! Ha!” moment when you knew that becoming an author would be your destiny.
Lori: When my writing teacher told me I was more talented than Fern Michaels. I decided right then that no matter what it took, I was going to become a published author or die in the process.
Jen: For those readers unfamiliar with your work, let’s talk about your prior releases. You have penned over fifty books for three major publishing houses and have received numerous nominations for your work. If you had to recommend one book that best exemplifies your talent, which title would you choose and why?
Lori: Actually, I have now sold 52 books to four major publishers. I have to say my latest book best exemplifies my talent because it’s an accumulation of 20 years worth of writing practice. My personal favorite of all my books is probably SAVING ALLEGHENY GREEN because it’s written in first person. I love first person and the heroine is the most like me of any of my heroines. But I wrote that book in 1998, (even though it didn’t get published until 2005), and I’ve improved a great deal as a writer since then.
Jen: What is the most valuable piece of advice about the business that you have learned from working with more than one publisher?
Lori: That you’re never as good or as bad as you think you are.
Jen: In your latest release, THE SWEETHEARTS’ KNITTING CLUB, you combine, love, lust, and knitting into a delightful read filled with colorful characters and a captivating storyline. (I couldn’t put it down!) How did you arrive at the premise?
Lori: I came up with the basic romance plot—a love triangle between a good boy who’s not so good, a bad boy who’s not so bad and a woman who loves them both—while spending hours on the road driving forty miles one way to my mother-in-law’s house every day for six weeks to take her to radiation treatment for breast cancer. I plotted the whole book in my head during those drives. At the time I was with a different publisher, working on the last book in my Wedding Veil Wishes series, but I knew that THE SWEETHEARTS’ KNITTING CLUB would be my next contemporary.
Jen: A question I just have to ask, are you a knitter? Why or why not?
Lori: I am now. I wasn’t a knitter when I came up with the?idea of the knitting club, and neither is my heroine. But I knew that in order to do justice to the book, I had to learn. My mother and I took knitting classes together and now I’m obsessed with knitting. I’m still a rank beginner, but I love it!
Jen: Your lead character Flynn McGregor has many crosses to bear. Flynn’s mother died during her teen years, her father is a recovering alcoholic, and her sister depends on her wisdom as the mother figure in her life. In what ways has the stress of all this responsibility at such a young age affected Flynn’s own desires for happiness?
Lori: Flynn has shuffled her own desires to the background while making sure everyone else in her life is okay. I had a lot of responsibility as a teen, both my parents worked two jobs and I was the oldest of five with my sister being twelve years younger, so it was easy to understand how Flynn puts the needs of others ahead of her own happiness. It just seemed normal to me.
Jen: Flynn’s fiancé Beau holds a tight grip on “his woman,” if you will. In his eyes, being the sheriff in town gives him the authority to throw his weight around quite easily, even with Flynn. What makes him so attractive to Flynn? And conversely, what does Beau see in her that makes him stick around for ten years despite her obvious fear of commitment?
Lori: Even though she doesn’t realize it, Beau is sort of her crutch. She knows she can count on him to be there and he does put up with a lot from Flynn. In a way, she takes advantage of his loyalty. Beau doesn’t see himself as a bad guy at all. Because of what happened to Beau’s first love, he sees himself as Flynn’s protector. That’s an important?identity to him and I guess you could say Flynn makes him feel good about himself. And he does love her in his twisted fashion.
Jen: No romance novel is complete without a bad boy! Soothingly sexy Jesse Calloway strolls into town upsetting its order and civility by vying for the sheriff’s girl. Having spent the last ten years in prison for a crime he did not commit, this “hottie” has an axe to grind with the man responsible for stealing his life away. Why does he allow his ego to get the better of him as he tries to win back his former lover Flynn?
Lori: Hmm, I don’t see that Jesse did let his ego get the better of him. I saw him as being really hurt because she didn’t trust him. Maybe that is letting his ego get the better of him, but I didn’t think of it that way. He’s been hurt so much in his life that I saw it more as his vulnerability.
Jen: From the get-go, Flynn does not believe that Beau’s marriage proposal is the answer to her future. Why then does she choose to go ahead and accept it? In the back of her mind, what does she fear the most?
Lori: She sees Beau as safe. Flynn has always chosen the safe path.
Jen: Secondary characters have a way of stealing the show, and in this book Hondo is no exception. Without giving too much away, how are he and Jesse similar in their primal need to love and be loved?
Lori: They’re both proud men who were hurt deeply by the women they loved.
Jen: Would you agree that Flynn’s decision to open a knitting store is an attempt to gain a sense of acceptance from her deceased mom? Even from the grave, what influence does she have over her daughter and why?
Lori: Oh absolutely. Flynn is a people pleaser and in essences, she took over the parent role when he mother became ill. She loves her mother deeply and wants to honor her.
Jen: Let’s switch gears and talk about your promotional plan for the book. Please tell us about your website. Do you have e-mail notification of upcoming releases? Do you participate in author phone chats? And if so, how would my readers go about scheduling one?
Lori: I’m having a new website built by Wax Creative. Not sure yet when it will be up and running. I do have email notification of upcoming releases to readers on my newsletter list and through Fresh Fiction where I’m advertising. I haven’t yet participated in author phone chats. My schedule is pretty hectic. I write five books a year and teach monthly online writing classes through 1600 colleges and universities internationally.
Jen: Are you currently at work on your next project? If so, what can you share with us?
Lori: I’m working on the third book in the series about Twilight, Texas. This time the ladies of the knitting club are involved in a Christmas cookie swap.
Jen: Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with my readers. I absolutely loved the book! Many wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!
Lori: Thank you so much. It was a delight to be here. Happy holidays to all the readers out there. Thank you so much for continuing to read.
I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Lori. Please stop by your local library branch or favorite bookstore and pick up a copy today. Better yet, how would you like to win one? Answer the following triva question correctly and you could be one of five winners.
Until next time…Jen
When a twist of fate landed Jennifer at the “Reading with Ripa” roundtable discussion with Kelly Ripa and Meg Cabot, she knew that her career as a French teacher would essentially be over. Instead, she figured out a clever way to combine her love for reading and writing and “voilà” She became a book reviewer and columnist with www.freshfiction.com. On the sidelines, her parents secretly hoped that her French degree from Vanderbilt would one day come in handy and Jennifer is happy to report that the phrases ‘Je ne sais pas’ and ‘C’est incroyable!’ have been quite useful when reviewing certain selections! As is typical in her whirlwind life, one thing led to another and soon she found herself facilitating a popular moms’ book club and writing a column she cleverly named Jen’s Jewels. (Jewelry is one of her many addictions, as is the color pink and Lilly Pulitzer, which when you think about it, would probably make for a good story! Hint! Hint! ) To keep herself away from her favorite retailer, Ann Taylor, she serves on the Board of Trustees of the Harford County Public Library in Maryland. As a national trainer for The Arthritis Foundation’s Aquatic and Land Exercise Classes, she is an advocate for those like herself who suffer from arthritis, the nation’s #1 cause of disability. When asked how she manages to do all of these things and actually get some sleep at night, she simply replied, “It’s just Par for the Course.” Hmm! Now where have we heard that before?