Today I get to welcome author Lorrie Farrelly to the blog. I’m so glad you could be here today, Lorrie. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.
I’m a Navy brat and a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz. (Home of the world’s wonderfully worst mascot: the Banana Slug.) When I was a kid, my dad was transferred every few years, mostly up and down the West Coast. As hard as it was to leave friends behind, there were always new ones to meet, new places to see, and new adventures to have. When I was lonely, I made up stories, and read. And read. And read.
My parents were older than most when I was born. (Mom at first thought I was a symptom of menopause.) Were Dad alive today, he would be nearly 104. He was a remarkable fellow. A true Southern gentleman, he was born in 1909 in the Deep South, where the Civil War was still considered a current event. He was appointed to the Naval Academy at Annapolis and became a career US naval officer. He loved military history and stories of the Old West.
I was quite a tomboy, and when I wasn’t finding horses to hang out with somewhere, I was listening eagerly to Dad’s (mostly made up) stories. With a twinkle in his eye, he claimed to have ridden shotgun with Wild Bill Hickok and manned a locomotive with Casey Jones. I was pretty sure those stories weren’t true, but in my heart, I secretly hoped they were.
My love of horses never waned, even when most young girls were moving on to fashion and boys. At thirteen, I began spending summers at Donner Lake, site of the infamous Donner Party’s doomed winter encampment in the Sierras, near the California-Nevada border. But where the Donners had had dreadful luck, mine was pretty good. There was a nearby stable and pack outfit that supplied horses for the popular TV Western, Bonanza, and the wranglers patiently tolerated my “help.” Horses and Little Joe? Well, the only time in my life I’ve been more smitten was when I met my husband.
After college, I began to teach: 4th grade Art, 8th grade English and Drama, and finally, high school Math. For several summers, I shepherded wide-eyed young foreign exchange students up and down Hollywood Boulevard. (“As many stars and lunatics as there are in the heavens.”) I also shoveled and curried as a ranch hand at Disneyland’s Circle D Ranch. (If you’re curious, it’s tucked back behind ToonTown and Frontierland’s Big Thunder Ranch, but Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.)
But whatever else I was doing, I always wrote. Today, I have five published novels – two Western historical romances, two contemporary romantic suspense novels, and one time-travel/alternate reality romance – and I’m working on a sixth, the third book in the series that began with my Orange Rose Award finalist TERMS OF SURRENDER (which is coming out shortly as an audiobook!) All of my novels have at least a touch, and possibly much more than a touch, of the paranormal. During my teens, my second favorite TV show (after Bonanza) was The Twilight Zone.
|Lorrie and her family in the Yukon|
I live in Southern California and am the proud mom of 3 and grandmother of 2 ½. (A new baby, our first granddaughter, is due at year’s end.) My husband, Wally, is my rock and my inspiration.
Why did you decide to write Romance? What is the appeal?
For me, writing was a natural outgrowth of reading. I love good storytelling, and I was so lucky to have parents who encouraged my imagination. I even wrote stories for my dolls to read. With Romance, there are so many possibilities of characters and plot, so many subgenres, so much emotion. And you get a happy ending. I do love happy endings!
How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?
In the case of my first published novel, TERMS OF SURRENDER, research found me. In an old box of family papers, 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 to never again take up arms or support rebellion against the Union.
I wondered what would be in such a man's heart after so many years of struggle and pain and defeat. Would honor and hope survive bitterness and loss? And 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?
I had to find out more, and the more I read about not only the Civil War, but about all sorts of other things – from Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency to therapies for autistic children – the more I wanted to know, and the more stories popped into my head. Sometimes I get carried away with research and forget I’m supposed to do something with it. (I’m a trivia geek anyway, but as a past winner on the TV game show Jeopardy! I’m convinced everything I learn will someday come in handy.)
Some resource books a writer simply can’t do without; for example, a good, big thesaurus and dictionaries of slang and historical language. I do a lot of online research, but I still have shelves full of resource books and maps.
What is the best comment you ever received from a reader? The worst or weirdest?
My two favorites are these lovely reader comments:
About TERMS OF SURRENDER: “When I first bought this book, I was prepared for a pretty love story, with some basic plot investments. What I got was a heart-melting, pulse-racing, beautiful piece of literature. The emotion invested in the love between Annie and Michael jumps off the page and utterly wraps you up in their story, from tender start to fulfilling finish … I was so enthralled that I read this wonderful book straight through!!”
And about TIMELAPSE: “First off I have to say WOW! This story took me completely by surprise and had me glued to the pages right to the end … This was an emotional book dealing with tragedies, heartaches, and desperation which were triumphed (over) through sheer determination and the power of love…”
The strangest and worst one was from a reader who apparently hated one of my heroes so much that he “prayed for him to be shot dead.” (Why not just quit reading?) Oh, and that same reader consistently referred to me as “he” and “him” all the way through his comments. Um, Dude, my name is Lorrie…
Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?
Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?
I do both. I usually come up with the hook first, then block out the rest of the story. When I began writing THE GUARDIAN’S ANGEL, I knew the hook would involve a suspect in a police line-up who suddenly could see and hear a terrified witness in the soundproof observation room behind one-way glass. Then I planned it from there. However, as all writers know, sometimes characters just do and say whatever the heck they want, and all you can do is just hang on and go for the ride.
Can you tell us a little about your current work, TERMS OF TEMPTATION? Is there a story behind the story?
The first book in this series, TERMS OF SURRENDER (soon to be an audiobook!), proved so popular that I wrote a sequel set about 20 years later, entitled TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT. (I wanted to know what had happened to all the characters in that time, too!)
TERMS OF SURRENDER is, as one reviewer wrote, “about the healing, redeeming power of love after the chaos and pain of war.” The main characters are a former Confederate cavalry captain who has lost everything and a young Wyoming rancher who struggles to survive and defend her land. TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT moves their growing family forward about 20 years, and features the rancher’s brother as its hero. A child in the first book, he is now a widowed doctor, raising his young daughter alone. Readers loved this story’s “romance, action, intrigue, and intensity.”
The latest book in the series, TERMS OF TEMPTATION, currently a work in progress, takes us forward another couple of decades in this family’s life. At its center is a headstrong young woman, a rescuer of abandoned and injured animals, who discovers both passion and heartache as she comes to love a man who doesn’t believe in love, and who has no intention of ever settling down.
I love the family in these books, but boy, how that family has grown! I blame the original couple, Michael and Annie Cantrell, in TERMS OF SURRENDER. Darned if those two just can’t seem to keep their hands off one another!
What sets your heroine Annie Devlin apart from all the other women in your hero, Michael Cantrell’s, life? Why is she perfect for him?
Let me quote one reviewer who took the words right out of my mouth: “Annie is a realistically strong woman with a welcome sense of humor. She and Michael challenge each other in interesting and sometimes unexpected ways … (They work) through the hardships they have endured and those that they face in the novel together without angst-ridden melodrama. (Farrelly) effectively depicts the sensual side of their romance emerging from both physical attraction and emotional connection.”
Have you ever had writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Sure. I think every writer does from time to time. Sometimes things just have to sit and percolate for a while. When that happens, I try to work on something else. And things can change quite suddenly. One novel stalled miserably until I abruptly realized that my hero wasn’t a lawman, but a doctor. Then, at last, the whole story unfolded.
Describe a favorite scene in your current novel.
Here’s an excerpt I really like from my work in progress, TERMS OF TEMPTATION. The year is 1904; the setting is Northwestern Wyoming. Kinley Cantrell, a headstrong young woman devoted to caring for abandoned and injured wildlife, meets her match in one creature who won’t be tamed – Deputy Game Warden Bram Killoran:
Kinley tore her gaze away from the tall, unnerving man who inexplicably made her insides flip like a bag of bobcats. She cleared her throat, clasped her hands together at her waist to regain her composure, and spoke to her young nephew with exaggerated calm, pointedly ignoring Bram Killoran.
“Forgive me, Mike. I didn’t catch that last bit you said.”
Little Mike grinned. “The otters, Aunt Kinnie. I named ‘em. The big one’s Useless, and the little gray one’s Li’l Use.”
Kinley chuckled in spite of herself. The boy was a caution. “Ah, I see. Well, just don’t go getting too attached to them.” She paused, thought a moment. “Little Mike, I have a favor to ask. I need you and your brother to come back up here as much as you can for the next week or so to see to the animals. A pressing matter has come up that requires I pack out for a few days.”
Bram’s head jerked toward her, brow furrowed in a suspicious scowl. Little Mike shrugged, smiled. “Well, sure, ma’am, we can do that.”
“Good. Very well, then. That’s settled. I’m much obliged, dear. I’ll leave a list of what needs to be done in the next few days, but you and Bobby are fine hands. You know most all of it already. Just remember to always milk the goats before you let them out of the pen. Sonny will see they don’t stray too far.”
At the sound of his name, the little shepherd’s tail vigorously thumped the floor.
Mike squared his shoulders, nodded. “Yes, ma’am. We will. But where’re you going, Aunt Kinnie?”
Kinley turned to Bram, challenged his black scowl with her small jaw set in determination. Though she spoke to Little Mike, she aimed her remarks pointedly at Killoran.
“Deputy Warden Killoran aims to shoot a cougar to make that ornery ol’ sheepman, Mr. Hackett, happy. Well, I’m going to go along with him to make sure he doesn’t succeed.”
Bram dumped the bottles with a clatter in the sink and whirled, taking a threatening step toward Kinley.
“Now you wait just a dam- … darn minute!”
She turned, folded her arms across her chest, stubbornly met his eyes. He came to a halt, stood for a long moment trying to rein in his now-steaming temper, then growled, “Now ma’am, you listen to me. I got a job to do, and nobody – not even you – is gonna get in the way of my doing it.”
At the harsh sound of Bram’s voice, Sonny, who’d been lying on the floor with his head resting on his front paws, leaped to his feet and began barking wildly. He seemed to have completely forgotten his earlier joy in greeting Bram.
Softening his tone, though still gruff, Killoran said tersely to Little Mike, “Boy, take that dog out of here.”
The child stood frozen, eyes wide. Then he scowled, clamped his jaw. Mike shifted his stance, stood his ground, dropped one hand to rest on the dog’s raised hackles. Sonny’s barking stopped, became a low, threatening growl. His yellow eyes stayed fixed on the warden.
“No, sir,” Mike ground out, his voice wavering just a little, betraying his apprehension. Bravely he squared his shoulders.
“You got no call to talk to my Aunt Kinley that way, Mr. Killoran.” He drew a deep, shaky breath. “Sonny don’t like it, sir, and … and neither do I.”
So proud of him she could have bust a button, Kinley stepped beside her nephew, laid her arm over his shoulders. All three – woman, boy, and dog – fixed Bram with almost comically similar expressions of fiercely obstinate defiance.
Except he wasn’t laughing.
He sighed, propped his hands on his hips, regained his patience with some difficulty. He was usually a patient man, cool as they come. What was it about this stubborn slip of a woman that made him want to tear her clothes off one minute and his hair out the next? *
*Copyright 2012 by Lorrie Farrelly
What else do you have in store for your readers?
I’m delighted to announce that TERMS OF SURRENDER is soon to be released as an audiobook. Read by the wonderfully talented actor and voice artist Keith Tracton, it’s an exciting and emotional listening experience. Keith is a master storyteller, and readers are sure to love the way he brings my favorite characters to life!
It’s both humbling and delightful to me to hear that a novel of mine has captured a reader’s heart. Here are my currently available books:
In TERMS OF SURRENDER, Confederate cavalry Captain Michael Cantrell has lost his home and everyone he loved. On the frontier, he finds himself in the middle of Annie Devlin’s war. Standing with the stubborn young rancher will test the limits of his courage – and his passion.
When Tess Rutledge is at her most desperate – hunted, on the run, and close to death – only Dr. Robert Devlin’s skill and compassion can save her. In TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT, they have a chance for a future together. If they survive.
What if everything you knew – and everyone you loved – suddenly disappeared, leaving you stranded in a dangerous world gone terribly wrong? With only a beautiful, reckless young outlaw as his ally, Alex Morgan races against time and destiny in TIMELAPSE.
DANGEROUS ex-LA cop Cam Starrett is burned out, sick of urban trauma and warfare. He longs to escape to a peaceful place where life is calm and serene. But he should have been more careful what he wished for!
Elizabeth Driscoll, THE GUARDIAN’S ANGEL, is running for her life, inextricably bound to a compelling man and a troubled young child who, only hours before, were strangers to her. Now the danger is not just to her safety, but also to her heart.
These novels, as well as the soon-to-be-available audiobook of TERMS OF SURRENDER and the upcoming publication of TERMS OF TEMPTATION, can be purchased through amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and numerous other online sites. All books are available both in paperback and ebook format, and some of my ebooks may also be borrowed from amazon.com. Please visit at:
Thank you, Lorrie, for a fabulous interview!