Today I have multi-published author, LoRee Peery, answering some fun questions and talking about her new book, Without a Home. Welcome, LoRee.
When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?
The first thing I remember wanting to “be” was a ballerina. That wish was never an option once my parents said they didn’t have one dollar a week for lessons (for piano, either, so I taught myself the treble clef). I wanted to be a missionary as a tween, and later a music teacher. Life has a way of changing direction and I found myself a young mother. My mother taught me to read by reading to me and I still obsessively devour books, one right after another. My desire to write happened in the 1980s when I slammed a magazine on my lap and said, “I could write better than this.” I wonder if my husband has ever regretted his challenge, “Why don’t you?”
Out of all the characters you’ve written about, is there one that is your favorite?
During the brainstorming and initial writing phases, the heroine I’m writing about is my favorite. Once in a while I like the hero better. I totally identified with the heroine of the book that will remain in a tote. Abby went home to her hometown to solve the case of her father’s “accidental” death. That story took ten years to complete and was cathartic in dealing with my father’s unsolved homicide. I self-published Touches of Time in 2016, and the Lord used that book to finally give me peace concerning the cold case. There’s probably a little bit of me or someone close to me in all my female protagonists. I enjoyed writing about Geneva and Lanae, older heroines in the Frivolities Series.
Have you ever received a rejection?
Oh, my goodness. Countless. That magazine I slapped on my lap had published a short romance. I fired off first versions without rewrites of countless short romances. I still attempt Woman’s World on occasion, but their silence is a rejection. Somewhere I have a tote with a heap of those rejections. (And wonder why I still have them.) Even after the publication of several books, my editor didn’t care for the heroine of my upcoming release Courting Country, and didn’t accept without a rewrite.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to an unpublished writer?
If the desire to write comes from the Lord, He put that desire in your heart. I tried to quit writing several times. A long time ago I heard an author say she couldn’t not write. And that’s the way it is with me. So never give up. Be tenacious. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep piling up rejections. Most importantly, keep praying. I didn’t get my first contract until I dealt with a spiritual condition of bitterness. Our writing journey is an individual one according to God’s time, like everything else in our lives.
Do you ever talk about your next project or do you like to keep it a secret?
Hmm. It depends. I’m a writer who can only work on one story at a time. Often as elements of a future tale come to me, I jot notes for when I’m ready for that project. During the brainstorming phase, I may ask friends or readers particular questions, but I usually don’t talk about a project unless I’m well into it.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It varies. For a novella such as the Christmas Extravaganza stories, I give myself a month and shoot for 20,000 words. It may take a couple more months before I have what I consider a finished project. Other times, it takes longer. I think I worked on my first time travel, Cowboy Just in Time (release date unknown), for a year. During that writing the historic rancher’s daughter kept raising her hand for me to tell her story, and Future of My Heart took less time because the heroine was a character in the first story. Due to my husband’s health, my own pain and surgeries in recent years, as well as a large family when anything can take me away from my desk, I always finish a story before I send it off.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Oh, gosh, I used to do so much! I still hope to get back to sewing, especially strip quilting and/or quilted wall hangings. I did get in my rock gardens and mess with my flowers this last summer, but mostly I switch out décor in the house according to the season or holiday. I love spending time one-on-one with grandchildren, walking outdoors or just sitting on the deck or porch. But always when I’m not doing something else, I’m reading. I used to think I’d go through and reread all the books on my shelves, but I went through those and took away 500 that I knew I’d never look at again. I LOVE that I have over 500 titles on my Kindle. I should probably reread those!!
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Readers love to know the answer to this question. I used to be curious as well, unable to comprehend how big name authors have 80-100 books available. Ideas are everywhere. A Blessed Blue Christmas originated with a picture. Meet in the Middle happened because I heard a pig squeal. I try to keep an open mind, listen for snippets of dialogue (where the title Hiding from Christmas originated) during TV shows, and “eavesdrop” out in public. (I’ve heard some outlandish things.) I’ve penned story notes during sermons when my mind wandered, but have gleaned from those messages for certain stories. I once kept newspaper articles, but there are ideas in TV news and of course a person can find almost anything on the Internet, so now I just have an idea notebook. Life around us and the past abound with stories to tell.
Thank you so much for being here today, LoRee. It’s always great to have you.
Thank you, Theresa, for hosting me today. I wish all your readers a thankful Thanksgiving and hopeful Christmas.