Rae: Thank you for hanging out with me. First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a spiced Latte with Coconut Milk with caramel drizzle, what would you order?

Lori Ann: Black coffee and an ice water.

Rae: First, the Olympics were amazing. In my house we DVR’d everything else, it was all about the Olympics. What about you, did you catch any amazing sports events? What about the opening ceremony?

Lori Ann: I always enjoy the opening ceremony. This year, I especially felt emotional when the Korean artists sang Imagine and the people around them formed a dove. I tried to record the events I enjoy watching, but I didn’t go out of my way to see the rest. We did have it on it the back ground each night as we got ready for bed. I’m so impressed by all the amazing athletes.

Rae: Did you sit and watch any of the events as a family?

Lori Ann: With four kids, it’s hard to coral them all to watch at one time. We had moments with all of us watching at different times.

Rae: A few months ago you had your first Facebook live and took us inside your writing lair, are there plans for another video? I loved the peek inside your writing corner and sharing with fans where you sit so your characters can come to life.

Lori Ann: I have plans to do another Facebook live video soon. I want to do a reading because I’ve not yet had a chance read a passage from one of my books in front of others. I’ll probably do it in my office too, I just have to build up the courage, although I am finding it easier to put myself out there now that I’ve done it a couple times.

Rae: How has writing full-time changed your life?

Lori Ann: I’ve had to learn to let go of control of a lot of things. My dishes aren’t always done right away, the laundry sometimes sits in a basket for a couple days before I can fold it, but I think the biggest change is positive. My children are learning to take on more responsibilities, something I realize now, I should have encouraged earlier on.

Rae: Can you tell readers a little bit about your Highland Pride series? 

Lori Ann: Yes, the Highland Pride series is centered around the clan Cameron and a few characters outside the clan who have direct contact with them. The series takes place around the English Civil War and involves the political dynamics of the time and how Scotland was ripped apart and forced to choose sides, those loyal to King Charles or those faithful followers of the Protestant Parliament.

Rae: How many books do you have planned for the Highland Pride series?

Lori Ann: I am contracted for five books, but there are endless possibilities for new stories running around in my head.

Rae: What is next in your writing world?

Lori Ann: I’ve already started a new series, but I can’t tell you much yet. I will say that it will be called the Highland Misfits and will be around the time of the clearances in Scotland.

Rae: How many research trips have you made to gather all the bits to give the readers all the real feels in your stories?

Lori Ann: I’ve only been to Scotland twice, but money is an issue or I’d go every time I needed new information. I took lots of pictures and have great memories, but I do have to look up videos and other information to get some of the details I need. Youtube and Wikipedia are always helpful. I can’t imagine how much time it would take to do the proper research without the internet.

Rae: What was it like to walk along the same path as your heroes and breathe the same air? I hope one day to travel to Scotland, for now I will enjoy the pictures and videos from those who have shared their experiences.

Lori Ann: I had been to Edinburgh and fallen in love with it before I started writing. One of my favorite places is the abbey ruins by Holyrood Palace. It was a magical place for me and I included it in, Highland Temptation, book three, which comes out June 25th.

Just before Highland Deception came out, I was lucky enough to be able to go back to Scotland, this time to the Highlands and my husband and I made sure to tour as much as we could of the Cameron lands.

Rae: We’ve chatted a bit about your next trip this Spring to Paris, I hope you have a fabulous time. I loved my honeymoon in Paris and hope to travel back one day soon! Be sure to see all the museums, walk the streets, eat the foods, drink the wine, and take it all in. It’s truly a magical place and life-changing. We walked everywhere and made sure to travel out to Versailles and Chartres, two of my favorite day trips!

Lori Ann: I can’t wait. My husband and I lived in London for a little bit and had the opportunity to go for a long weekend once, but we are thrilled to be able to take the kids and see everything we missed the first time. Thank you for all the Paris advice and I can’t wait to share my pictures.

Rae: There has been a lot of chatter on social media about planning and organizing to stay focused and succeed in personal goals for 2018. How do you keep it all from spiraling out of orbit between the family life and writer life? 

Lori Ann: Funny you mention this because some friends of mine informed me that they come up with a “word of the year” each year, so of course, I had to do it too. My word for 2018 is “Succeed.”

First, I try to keep work to the week, so I can spend time with my family on the weekends. I’ve been a stay at home parent for seventeen years, so it’s been a challenge learning to juggle my responsibilities as a caregiver and accomplishing what I want as a writer. As a result, my children have had to learn to become more independent. I think in the long run that will be good for both them and me.

Rae: Are you a planner girl or digital calendar queen?

Lori Ann: I used to use a Franklin Planner, but over the last few years, I’ve used Google calendar. I recently purchased an Erin Condren paper planner to attempt the switch back. I think I’ll need to keep up both for a while, but I’m still working on figuring it out. I’ll let you know at the end of the year how it goes.

Rae: You also blogged about the importance of lists, do you use post-its or paper and do you have separate lists or keep it all on one sheet?

Lori Ann: Lists do keep me on track. I write them on paper and keep them all over the place, sometimes having to add from one to the another. But I find the more often I write something down, the sooner I’ll get it done.

Rae: When you sit down to write, do you write the old fashioned way or type away at the keyboard? Writing all the words is a challenge, do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?

Lori Ann: On the computer, although I’m tempted to try out the Dragon speaking software. I download an album from an artist each time I start a new book. I only listen to it when I’m writing that particular book, so that helps me to focus. Other than that, I can write almost anywhere and sometimes it helps to move around to a new location. When I’m stuck, I go to the quiet room at the library. There, I’m forced to focus and can’t be distracted.

Rae: Are you the writer who has a notebook for all the words that flow while driving or do you dictate into your phone?

Lori Ann: I carry a notepad everywhere because you never know when inspiration will strike. I also keep one by the bed. There have been a couple nights that I’ve had to jump up, sneak out of the room and jot down something.

Rae: How do you tackle plotting your series? Is it on a massive board, sheets of paper or just write as you go with a simple outline? 

Lori Ann: I was using three pieces of poster board and taping them together, but my parents bought a white board for me for the holidays and my husband recently hung it in my office. It’s a huge help. I’ll admit though, that I’m a little protective of it and don’t want people in my family to read what I’ve plotted out. 🙂

Rae: A lot of authors use Pinterest and make awesome boards to tease readers, are you one of them?

Lori Ann: I do use Pinterest occasionally, but I find the time it takes to find perfect pictures is better spent writing. I currently have a secret board for another series I’m working on, but that’s because it’s in a new time period and I have more to learn about it.

Rae: When you are not busy writing, you keep readers updated on social media, what are your favorite types of posts, pics, or tweets?

Lori Ann: Anything with kittens or positive uplifting messages.

Rae: Where can readers find you in 2018?

Lori Ann: I’ll be doing the Literacy signing at RWA Nationals in Denver, Colorado

Rae: What can we expect in 2018? Do you have other projects in the works?

Lori Ann: I have a secret project in the works. I’ll make an announcement as soon as I can, but I may not be able to until March or early April. If your readers want to stay tuned for updates, they can friend me on Facebook.

Rae: Thank you for hanging out in the cafe today.

Lori Ann: Thank you for having me.

1. What is a must read book and why?

Scottish Historical Romance – Sweet Revenge by Lynsay Sands – I laughed out loud so many times my husband had to know what was going on.

Non-Fiction – The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker – This book changed my life and the way I look at my surroundings. I highly recommend it.

Suspense – Books by Greg Iles – Most of them took place not far from where I grew up. It’s enjoyable having a connection to the places and events that happen in his books.

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? Windsor Ruins. A Southern plantation house that survived the civil war only to be burned down by a guest not long after. The magnificent columns are the only things left standing on the house.

3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? A combination, but we try not to order out more than twice a week. My “go-to” would be spaghetti and meat sauce.

4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? When my kids have all made their own lives, I would like to move back to New York City. Although I grew up in small town, Mississippi, I miss the convenience of living in the city.

5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? I’ll listen to almost everything, but my favorite is Country. 😉

6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? All of Scotland. I’ve been to Edinburgh and a portion of the Highlands, but there is so much more I “need” to see. I can’t wait to go back.

7. What is your guilty pleasure? Cheez-It Hot and Spicy Grooves. They are so addicting.

8. What are you afraid of? Spiders and ventriloquist puppets.

9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? Not for me, but if you want me to go cheer you on while you get one, I’m happy to do it.

10. Organized or Free Floating? I thrive on organization.

11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? Binge watcher. I just caught up on Netflix with Supernatural. I’m thinking about The Marvelous Mrs Maisel next but I haven’t had a chance to start yet.

12. What’s on your playlist? I have a different playlist for each book I write, but the playlist that keeps me motivated is my gym playlist. My favorites on it are Fight Song by Rachel Platten, Hall of Fame by The Script, Brave by Sara Bareilles and I Lived by OneRepublic.

13. What play or musical do you want to see next? I still haven’t seen Hamilton, even though my whole family knows the soundtrack by heart. I’d love to see it, but we are still waiting on the prices to come down.

14. Are you a crafter? I tried, but I failed miserably. I settle for appreciating those that are crafty.

15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? Mysteries at the Museum. I love the tidbits of history and I can have it on no matter what child is in the room and they all learn and are drawn in with me.

16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )?
The Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? Romancing the Stone. I love the combination of comedy and romance. This one was one of my favorites when I saw it growing up and I watched it again recently and fell in love again. The hero and heroine are both flawed and their character growth makes the end rewarding.

18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? In the movie theater, because my kids save their questions and comments until the end of the movie and I can actually watch it.

19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? I’m assuming family is a given, so I’m going to say cozy socks.

20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Where would you eat? Johanna Lindsey, Hannah Howell, Paula Quinn, Lynsay Sands, and Karen Marie Moning. A tapas bar – I love the variety and the intimacy of sharing with others.

21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? Quality control taste tester at the Lindt/Lindor chocolate factory.

22. Person you admire and why? Eliza Knight – She’s an amazing mentor, author, and friend, who gives her time to help others, but somehow manages to juggle multiple publishing projects at one time, all while raising, caring for, and loving her three children and husband.

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