What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Lorrie Kruse. I was born in Columbus, Ohio, and lived there until I was 9 when we moved to central Wisconsin to be closer to my mother’s family, and I’ve been here ever since.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
My first reaction to the “did you always want to be a writer” question is no. However, I think that perhaps I did have a writer living inside me long before I realized it. I recall in high school once having to write an essay as to where we saw ourselves at some point in our future, I think it might have been in 10 years, but I don’t recall for sure. What I do remember, however, is that my essay included me living in Hawaii (never happened, never will - haven’t even visited) and spending my time writing (Huh? Me, writing? Really? I guess the subconscious knows more than we think.). My conscious mind had other plans. I wanted to go to college to become an English teacher or a home-ec teacher. That never happened. I instead went to a technical college for accounting and proceeded to ignore that calling as well and became a secretary instead. But, hey, I guess I got the writing part right.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Is “forever” a long time? Okay, seriously, it didn’t take forever to get published but it sure was a long, hard road. I started writing around fifteen years ago. My biggest roadblock was that I really didn’t know how to craft a story properly until about six years ago. My next roadblock came in that I was targeting agents as a stepping stone to getting published. Hey, all you agents who rejected me, guess what? I didn’t need you. (See me smiling?)
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Yes. I work at a law firm as a legal secretary.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My book is A Life Worth Living. It’s Matt’s journey after he’s paralyzed in an automobile accident as he has to balance the desire to walk again with the reality that might not happen. (Sorry, I went over 20 words.)
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
My publisher is a great, new publisher - Storyteller Publishing out of Texas. They are such great people (husband and wife team).
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’m working on a romantic suspense right now and I’m about halfway done. I’d love to say that means the new book will be ready for publication in the next few months. Unfortunately, other things (i.e. life) keep getting in the way of my writing.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing for 15 years. I started writing because I was reading a book by John Sandford, one of his Prey series, and I came up with a story idea. I was going to contact John Sandford to give him my idea, but I just never got around to doing so. The story idea stuck in my head and one day I decided to try writing it myself. When I started to write it, however, it turned into a totally different story. I still have that original idea rolling around inside my head., waiting to get written…by me. Sorry Mr. Sandford, I’m not sharing the idea with you.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I’m a member of a writers’ critique group. It’s often very frustrating because I give them a chapter to read that I’m really happy with and then they pick it to pieces, which really shakes up a person’s confidence. However, once the wounds heal and you look back, you realize that the book is a much better story because of their suggestions. I highly recommend that writers have at least one person whose opinion they trust read their book before they attempt to submit it to any agent or editor.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I’m a newbie with A Life Worth Living being my first published book, so, yes, I read all the reviews I come across. I’m lucky (or, should I rephrase that as I’m talented?) that all of my reviews have been favorable. Or, at least all of the reviews I’ve found.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
The best review I had stated “Have the tissues ready when you read this book, it will hit your heart in many places. Bravo, Ms Kruse!” It seems weird to be happy that you made someone cry, but I take it to be a great compliment. It says I have enough talent to grasp the reader’s emotions. That review made me want to do the happy dance.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
I find that question very timely. Just yesterday I was reading a post on an internet writing group I’m a member of and the posting person asked if any of us would ever remove a negative review. I hadn’t known removing it would be anything the writer could even do. My response was that hopefully the book has gotten enough positive reviews to easily negate the negative review and that anyone reading the various reviews will see the negative review as a fluke. So, no, I would never ask to have a negative review removed or revised. I would, however, wish for a review to be revised if it contained a non-truth about the book itself or if the review contained anything to spoil what should remain a surprise to someone who hasn’t read the book.‘
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
A Life Worth Living started out as The Accident. As I was writing the story, I realized The Accident wasn’t a real catchy title and it doesn’t speak to the reader. With the book I’m writing now, the same thing happened. I don’t recall what the original title was but I came up with the title of Keep Your Friends Closer as I was writing. I’m hoping I get to keep that title when it gets published as often publishers come up with other titles and they have the last say on titles.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I would have to say the character traits come in the creation of the character, which comes in the creation of the story. It‘s something that kind of all plays against each other. The neat thing about writing is that you can go back and change things. So, if halfway through the book you discover your character needs a certain trait, you can go back to the beginning and give them that trait.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
A great plot, lovable yet flawed characters that you’d love to have as a friend, and a whole lot of luck.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
There’s a little bit of me in a lot of my characters. I was working on a short story where Ruby talked to her boyfriend’s dog as though she actually thought Harry understood her. I do that with my own dog. In A Life Worth Living, Matt’s messiness is based on my husband’s disorganizational skills. Matt does so many things that my husband does. Matt tells a story in the book about how when he was a child he’d found his birthday presents and opened them all up and then wrapped them up again. That’s my own personal true childhood experience.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
For A Life Worth Living, there’s a definite message and I hope it’s not all that hidden. The message is that no matter what happens in your life, it’s still a life that’s worth living. We all have tragedies. We have a choice…let the tragedy pull us down under and end us, or get beyond it and move on.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
E-readers have their benefits, but there is nothing like holding a book, feeling those crisp pages.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m reading an Odd Thomas book of Dean Koontz, Odd Interlude. Thinking of my answer to the last question, my shoulders are slumping as I admit, it’s on my Kindle. Shame on me. But, in my defense, Odd Interlude is only offered as an e-book, so I HAD to get it for my Kindle. Umm, what’s that you ask? Why did I get Odd Apocalypse for my Kindle? Umm, because….
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Sadly, yes, I do. Oh, how awful to think that someday kids might ask “What’s a paper book?” kind of like they ask “What’s a record” or “What’s an 8-track tape?”
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I read all the time. I loved it when the teacher handed out the Scholastic Book flyers. I eagerly went through the flyers looking at each and every book offered, circling my many choices. I thank my mom for indulging me even though money was tight. THANKS MOM!
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
Oh, my gosh, I love that last question. There have been lots of books I’ve gotten that I just couldn’t get past the first few pages, but the funniest one is I’d bought a book at an RWA conference because it sounded really good and when I got home I discovered that I’d bought the same book the prior year at the RWA conference and had forgotten I’d bought it. I then discovered the book was really awful. So, I’ve got two copies of the same awful book.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
I don’t know that she qualifies as a new author, but she’s relatively new to me. I discovered Jane Porter a few years ago, and I love her stories. I highly recommend her books. (Disclaimer, she has single title books and Harlequin books. I’ve never read her Harlequin books. I tend to not like Harlequin books (sorry Harlequin).I recommend her single-title books.)
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Learn everything you possibly can about writing as early into the writing process as possible. You will save yourself so much time and frustration if you do so. I recommend Albert Zuckerman’s Writing the Blockbuster Novel and Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel.
If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Harlan Cobin, Jeff Lindsay, and Dean Koontz. Yup, I think I could learn a lot from those three authors.
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