Lori Foster Swimming With the Mermaids

I’m beyond excited to share with you a chat I had with one of my personal writing heroes Lori Foster! So dive into the Waterworld Mermaids lagoon, Lori. I promise the water is perfect.

Set the scene for us, where are you and what are your three favorite objects within arms reach.

I’m at my desk… almost always. ::Sigh:: Well, unless we’re at the lake house, and since I don’t have a desk there yet, I use a patio table – but the principle is the same: I’m facing a computer! Within reach: my iPod of “writing” songs. My drink, which is usually Lipton green tea citrus. And a snack, usually pretzels or Nabisco 100 calorie salty snack mix.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?

Complete and total panster. I bore easily. If I plotted it out, it’d feel done to me, and I’d never get around to writing it. I need to be surprised – by the characters and the atmosphere and how the romance unfolds.

How often do you write and do you keep a set schedule? Do you ever start to get the shakes if you don’t write? 🙂

LOL. I write off and on all the time, but I like to get up early, get through all the e-mails (I get a TON of emails) and then do the treadmill around 9 (when I do the treadmill, which is hit and miss) and then I write. Usually I’m at it till 5 or 6, and then hubby has dinner ready, we eat, and either go to the movies, or crash in front of the TV. That’s a schedule when I get a schedule – and I don’t always. You know how life is. I have 3 sons, I have a grandson with another on the way. I have 4 indoor cats and a dog and a bunch of outside feral cats that I feed. I have friends. Extended family. And I have promo. Out of all of that, I dislike doing promo the most. Of course, it’s necessary to the biz. Oh, and I do FB and twitter. I enjoy chatting with readers online during “breaks” in writing. I don’t get the shakes when I don’t write, but I do get cranky. I’m a happier person, an easier person to be around, when I’m writing.

There was a little dust up about you putting too much of yourself or your experiences as an author into your books. What’s your response to that and, really, can an author keep themselves completely out of their novels?

There was a dust-up? Seriously? Okay, just kidding. Yeah, there was. Eh. There’s always something, you know? I love readers. Totally, completely love them. Shoot, without readers, I wouldn’t have much of a career, ya know? But writing is one of those things that not everyone gets. For every reader who has a reason to criticize or – in some cases – outright despise me – there are a lot more who are just happy people, enjoying life and taking the books for what they’re meant to be: entertainment. I’m a realist. I can’t please all the people, all the time. I don’t expect to. I wish I never disappointed readers. I wish there was world peace. Ain’t happening. I always apologize to readers who are disappointed, and I thank readers who appreciate my work. That’s about as much thought as I put into it, because honestly, I’m always concentrated on those things I mentioned above – family, work, life…

As to me being in any books… it’s a funny thing. One little event can spur an idea, and from there, a writer creates an entirely different world/circumstances/characters and reactions. They’re not MY reactions – I only used that first small kernel that inspired more. Back when I wrote “My Man, Michael,” which I did as a TT smack dab in the middle of a contemporary series (doh, what was I thinking?) it disgruntled many people. I can see why! The muse said, “Time Travel,” and I said, “Okay, Muse!” without really thinking how jarring that’d be for readers who expected to stay in the contemporary setting I’d built. My bad. It was a serious judgment error on my part. I love that book, but I wish I’d done it as a standalone, and I wish my editor or I would have thought to put “Time Travel” on the front or something. But being human means we’re not perfect, so neither of us did think of it. It wasn’t meant to dupe readers and God knows I would never set out to disappoint anyone. LOL. That’d be suicide for my career. So… it happened, and I learned a lesson. MOST disappointed readers were frank in their comments, and I apologized for letting them down. But a select few literally threatened me over it. One wanted to “beat my face bloody.”

Now do I pin that sentiment on all disgruntled readers? No, of course not! But it’s a reality that happened, and it’s from those few really over-the-top reactions that I came up with the idea of “When You Dare.” Not because of unhappy readers – shoot, with EVERY book I have unhappy readers. But because of a rabid few who totally crossed the line, I came up with a plot about human trafficking, threats, insane relatives, hot sex, and love everlasting. The heroine is a writer – but she’s a mega-successful writer whose books are being made into movies. Hello! Not me. She’s young, and busy. Soooo not me. LOL (I wish!) She’s a victim of human trafficking. Thank God, not me. (I would never be as strong as her. I’d be a sobbing mess for the rest of my life, I’m sure.) The book was fiction. All of my work is fiction. But the next thing I know, some folks are posting online how I used that book to show disdain for my readers, and how I took them to task for daring to criticize me. Again, eh.

Readers who actually know me, the ones who chat with me online on FB or Twitter or in emails, KNOW that isn’t the case. So I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. And I’m not – EVER – going to try to tailor my work to suit the few who wrongly place my motives. It’d be a waste of energy. I dwell on the positive, not the negative. And shew… that was a long answer. But you watch, someone – one of those original people who made the accusations – will see this and repost it and draw forth hidden meanings that don’t exist. And again, I’ll say, Eh.

What kind of support do you have as an author to help you with your website, e-mails, promotion and all the other non-writing parts of being a successful author?

My hubby is INVALUABLE. He does a ton of stuff for me. He organizes a lot of the promo because it’s something he enjoys, and he’s good at it. He comes up with these awesome, innovative and unique ideas. With the last trilogy, I had 3 publicists. One I hired, one the publisher supplied, and another the publisher hired. Hubby ran interference for me, answering e-mails, making decisions after talking to me about opportunities, mailing in items needed (like clip art, or photos or whatever) and he does all the mailing for me. He makes it possible for me to spend more time writing. He doesn’t answer personal e-mails or do interviews in my place, or anything like that. He’s just there to do what he can, when he can. God Bless the man!

My agent, Karen Solem, from Spencerhill, has been with me for a long while now. She’s terrific. We’re very in sync. She handles all the contracts… and so much more!

Wax Creative does my website. They also do my newsletter (I send them content, they add images and send it out), and they handle the database on my annual “Reader and Author Get Together.” (more info on that here: http://www.lorifoster.com/community/readergettogether.php Everyone is welcome to attend! Wax does some of my bigger contests for me on my site. They also have done a lot of work on my FREE app available for iPhone and Android.

COS Productions do much of my routine promo. Sheila Clover is a goddess. She’s done most of my book trailers (the last one, for the trilogy, was created by Hqn) and she can do my press releases, blog tours, postings at social media, etc… LOVE working with her.

I create bookmarks and post cards and images for T-shirts because after writing for a long time, I like to tinker around with Photoshop doing that sort of thing. I have a blast with it. I do a ton of giveaways on my FB fan page and on Twitter. I give out free promo to anyone who sends me an SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.) The items vary from bookmarks, postcards, magnets, key chains, pens, tote bags, and t-shirts. It just depends on what I have at the time, but I always have “stuff.”

I should say though, I answer each and every personal e-mail myself. I get over 200 a day, but I deal with them. If a reader is kind enough to write me, you can bet I’m going to make the time to write back.

With the increase in e-books, digital publishing, self publishing and all the changes in New York, where do you see the industry going and what are you doing to prepare?

Nada. I mean, I leave that up to my agent and editor and publisher and publicist. I just focus on writing the best books I know how to write. From there, it’s pretty much out of hands!

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Thank you, Lori,for swimming with the Waterworld Mermaids today!

If you haven’t had enough Lori – and really who has? – stop by the Avery Flynn blog to read more of our conversation, including a discussion about which one of her heroes she’d set her best friend up with. Avery is giving away a copy of Lori’s “Luring Lucy” at her blog (ends midnight Nov. 6). We Mermaids are giving away a Kindle copy of Lori’s rereleased “Buckhorn Beginnings” to one lucky commenter here (ends midnight Nov. 6). Also, check out Lori’s book listings to make sure you’re not missing any of her great books – I highly recommend them all.

**** UPDATE****

Congratulations Maude Allen! You won a Kindle copy of Buckhorn Beginnings! Thanks to everyone for joining us in the Waterworld Mermaids Lagoon. Come back and swim with again soon!