Lois - Finding Home is very near to my heart and near to my roots. It's set on a South Dakota ranch (I grew up on a North Dakota ranch) and is about a young woman who is trying to find her place in the world. Along the way, she learns who she is and who she wants to be.
Wow you have quite an eclectic career path, from horse trainer, to model, to veterinary assistant, to fitness instructor. How did that path lead to your being an author?
It doesn't make much sense, does it? But the truth is, I've always loved fiction and I've always fictionalized life. In other words, I have always told stories in my head. But about twenty years ago I began putting those stories on paper. I entered a short story in a writers' contest and I've been obsessed with fiction ever since.
According to your book list on your website you write romance and mystery. What genre would you call Finding Home?
I think of it as women's fiction. While it does have a romantic element, that's not the main thrust of the story. To me, the focus is on Cassandra Carmichael and how she shapes her life into what she wants it to be.
Do you have a favorite genre to write?
I'd like to say that every book I write is my favorite while I'm working on it, but I'm afraid the opposite seems to be true. Quite often, when I'm writing a mystery I wish I was writing a romance and when I'm writing a romance I wish I was writing women's fiction. It's one of the most difficult things about writing...sticking to it long enough to make it all work.
Do you belong to a writer’s group?
I belong to several. Sisters In Crime meets in a wonderful little mystery book store called Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis. I also belong to Midwest Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Having a writing community is so important as it's difficult for non-writers to understand the extreme weirdness of authors at times.
Do you write full time?
What constitutes full time exactly? Does it count if I take frequent thinking (aka nap) breaks? Basically, yes, I do write full time, but I also spend as much time in the barn as I can. Horses are good for my creativity...and my soul.
Since your first release day was in 1992, how has the experience of “release day” changed for you? Is it still exciting and nerve-wracking?
I've written over thirty novels, so my nerves are a little steadier than they used to be. But I'm extremely excited about Finding Home. It's a whole new world for me. I think this is a book that will appeal to a wide range of readers and I'm really looking forward to hearing from them.
You also have a busy life caring for your family and farm residents. So tell us what would your ultimate vacation be?
My son asked me that recently. Mind you, this is the same son who likes 'adventurous' vacations. We've done a few of them together. In fact we spent ten days in Costa Rica and spent a whopping $500 a piece so you can imagine there weren't a lot of luxury hotels involved. A couple years after that we climbed several mountains between Minnesota and California on my way to a writer's conference in L.A. Except for the kidney stone episode after scaling Mt. Elbert (the highest peak in Colorado) it was lots of fun. Still, even after all that 'fun' I'm not very good at sitting around and watching the sun set. My favorite vacation would involve horses, lots of miles, and probably a good deal of discomfort. I'm not proud of that fact. These masochistic tendencies do no one any good.
Do you have any Barnes & Noble events or signings planned?
I have a couple...with several more in the works: I'll be signing a fun little anthology (Fifteen Tales of Murder, Mayhem, and Malice from the Land of Minnesota Nice) with fourteen other mystery writers at the B&N in the IDS tower in Minneapolis on December 6th. Then on December 15th I'll be in Fargo North Dakota for my first event involving Finding Home. I can't wait.