What a treat this week! Please welcome 3 time Jeopardy! winner Lorrie Farrelly!
What would your bio say?
A Navy brat and graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, LORRIE FARRELLY is proud to be a Fightin’ Banana Slug (well, we’re really lovers, not fighters). Following graduate school at Northwestern University, she began a career in education that included teaching art to 4th graders, drama to 8th graders, and finally, math to high school students. (If anybody loses asymptotes, she can probably find ’em…)
She’s a three-time winner on Jeopardy! (despite forgetting the chemical symbol for sulfuric acid … oh, wait – she never knew that in the first place). She has shepherded wide-eyed foreign exchange students along Hollywood Blvd. (“As many stars and lunatics as there are in the Heavens”), and happily curried and shoveled as a ranch hand at Disneyland’s Circle D Ranch. And always, she writes.
Lorrie has won a Presidential Commendation for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics. She’s been a Renaissance nominee for Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the Orange Rose Award in romantic fiction. She’s never won the lottery, except where her family is concerned. For her, they’re the ultimate prize.
When did you start writing and why?
I’ve written stories as long as I can remember. I wasn’t terribly interested in playing with dolls, except to write stories for them or play “school” with them. Still, I never seriously thought about writing a novel until a chance discovery compelled me to.
In an old box of papers and keepsakes I found a faded copy of an oath of allegiance to the United States signed by my Confederate great-great-grandfather at the end of the Civil War, as well as a parole pass allowing him to go home – if he swore never again to take up arms against the Union.
I needed to understand what would be in such a man’s heart – Defeat? Honor? Bitterness? Loss? What could have driven a good man to forsake his country and fight for a new one founded on terrible injustice? Could he ever find peace? Would he ever have a true home again?
The search for the answers to those questions became the heart of my first novel, the Orange Rose Award finalist TERMS OF SURRENDER. Its theme is the healing power of love in the confusing and bitter aftermath of the War Between the States.
If you are a parent how does being a parent affect your writing and writing habits? Or does it?
I believe I couldn’t write a novel that didn’t have kids and animals in it. I’ve loved both all my life, and while being a veterinarian didn’t turn out to be a practical choice for me (apparently they have to do more than pet kittens and ride horses all day), teaching did – and fortunately, I love it. I have three grown kids (Jenn, Alison, and Chris) and 3 grandkids (Christian, Connor, and Evie), who range in age from 6 months to 12 years. We all live either in the same house or very nearby. Oh, and between us there are 5 dogs, 6 cats, and a tank full of fish.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Narrowing this down to one is impossible for me, but I can mention some of my favorites:
Harper Lee – because MOCKINGBIRD is just about the most brilliant and moving book I’ve ever read.
Nora Roberts (especially as J.D. Robb) – Nobody writes better dialog, and she has a great sense of humor.
Stephen King – Because I love spooky stories and nobody tops him. In fact, one of my poor kids nearly perished in infancy because, after reading SALEM’S LOT at bedtime one night, I was too scared to go downstairs in the dark to get the baby’s bottle. (Fortunately, my stalwart husband manned up and braved the unseen horrors lurking on the stairs and in the kitchen, thus saving the baby from starvation!)
Robert B. Parker – For his wonderful characters, plots, and economy of writing. And he was also a genius at dialogue.
Elizabeth Lowell and Linda Howard – The two writers who introduced me to the best of romance: heart-pounding, pulse-racing, page-turning, incredibly satisfying literature.
And an author who was new to me a few months ago and is now among my favorites: Alex Cord – For his ability to put his heart and imagination on the page in a unique language that is at once honest, poetic, and straightforward. He has the soul of a cowboy and the imagination of a dreamer.
What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
I hope people will experience the same excitement, joy, suspense, thrill, and powerful emotion in reading my stories that I felt in writing them.
Traditional or Self publishing? Why?
Self-publishing, not only for its financial and independence benefits, but because I quickly grew disillusioned with editors who seemed interested only in the shallowest of formula writing. (One actually told me she didn’t “get” what the Civil War had to do with the West during the mid-to-late 1800s. Another editor wanted me to make a sociopathic character “nicer.” It’s not that I don’t appreciate constructive criticism, but – seriously?)
Talk about your journey into the wide world of publishing
Well, it’s definitely been a learning curve! (And I’m still learning!) I think the hardest thing for an author to do is self-promote and self-publicize. By nature, most writers tend to live a good deal inside their heads. It’s been very, very helpful to talk with other writers, to have their advice and support. There are now so many opportunities through social media and other online sources to connect with other writers and with readers. And I plan by next year to start attending conventions and conferences.
Tell us about your book (s)
I’m the author of six published novels. TERMS OF SURRENDER, a Civil War/Western historical romance, is the first of a trilogy of novels following the same family from the 1860s through the early 20th century. The succeeding books are TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT and TERMS OF TEMPTATION. I’ve also written two contemporary romantic suspense novels – DANGEROUS and THE GUARDIAN’S ANGEL – and a romantic time-travel/alternate universe adventure, TIMELAPSE. All my books have at least a touch – and sometimes much more – of the paranormal. (Not werewolves, zombies, or vampires, but rather such things as time-travel, telepathy, and angels.)
What inspired you to write these books (or in this genre)?
My favorite movies, TV shows, and books have always been either love stories, Westerns, or scifi/spooky stuff. I’ve probably seen every TWILIGHT ZONE episode about 20 times. (Heck, I can do the dialogue: “TO SERVE MAN – it’s a cookbook!!!!!”) And there’s nothing so uniquely American as Westerns. Who wouldn’t want to climb aboard a Stagecoach, dance with wolves, or holler after Shane to come back?
Tell us why we should love or hate your main character?
I’d like to quote a review on Amazon from LaylaReader, because she explained so eloquently why she loved the two main characters from TERMS OF SURRENDER – an embittered former Rebel cavalryman, and a stubborn, feisty young woman desperate to hang on to her land:
“In addition to the dangers that threaten them, the characters face their inner nightmares and the memories that imprison them, especially Michael. The love that develops between Annie and Michael is tender and touching, a healing force that drives away the pain of the past. (Annie’s little brother) Robbie is also a great character, helping to fill the huge void in Michael after the loss of his own young brother Gavin on the battlefield.”
Do(es) your book(s) have a soundtrack?
If you mean is there music that ought to accompany the story? – then I’d have to say I’d play the “Gettysburg” and “How the West Was Won” soundtracks over the TERMS trilogy. If you meant, are any of the books audiobooks? – then yes, TERMS OF SURRENDER and TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT are available as audiobooks, read by the wonderful voice artist/actor Keith Tracton. TIMELAPSE is currently in production as an audiobook.