We are so pleased to welcome New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lori Wilde to The Romance Dish today. Lori has written more than 56 novels for four major publishing houses. She's a RITA finalist, winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, the Holt Medallion, the National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. A former nurse, Lori now is lucky to write full time the books her readers love to read. Her latest book, The Welcome Home Garden Club, book 4 in the Twilight Texas Series, was released March 29th. If you haven't read this heartwarming series, you're missing a delightful time. Lori lives in Texas with her husband and their menagerie of pets. Please give a warm welcome to Lori.
Gannon: Hi, Lori! Thank you so much for being our guest at The Romance Dish. I read in your bio that you wrote your first story when you were eight years old about your "as yet, unborn, baby sister." Did your parents keep that story or any of your early "work"?
Lori: They did save them, but unfortunately, my parents' house burned down when I was in college and almost all my early writings were lost. I do have a few pieces I wrote in high school.
Gannon: Oh, that's so sad. It's nice you have a few things, though. Obviously you were bitten by the writing bug early, but your dad encouraged you to find a career that paid better money, so you went to nursing school. How long did you practice nursing before you were able to quit your day job and pursue writing full time?
Lori: Twenty-two years. I went to LVN (LPN) school at age 17 and then worked to put myself through RN school for six years. I didn't write during those years. As soon as I got out of college I started writing again. I messed around, writing on and off for seven years. Then finally in 1990, I drew a line in the sand and told myself I was going to do this or die trying.
Gannon: That's what I call perseverance. You have written in so many different sub-genres (romantic adventure comedy, hot and sexy, small town romance). Is there a particular one that you prefer or find easier to write?
Lori: I really like romantic adventure comedy, but it just didn't sell well for me. However, the small town romances suit my voice. I'm a country girl at heart and always will be.
Gannon: I'm a big fan of your Twilight, Texas series. I guess I can relate to it having grown up in a small town. *g* What made you want to write about small town life and romance?
Lori: I've lived in small towns my whole life. It's what I know best. I've worked in small town hospitals and have a feel for the sense of community that comes from that experience.
Gannon: Was this meant to be a series all along? How many books do you have planned for the Twilight series?
Lori: Yes, it was always a series. I hope to be able to write more books set in Twilight. It all depends on how the series does whether my publisher will allow me to set more books there. Right now, I have a new series I'm working on about cutting horse cowboys. That was a natural for me as well since I live in the Cutting Horse Capital of the World.
Gannon: I certainly hope there are many more books in Twilight, and I love the sound of those cowboys! *g* I know that writing your many books keeps you busy, but you are also an instructor for a company who provides online community education for more than 2100 colleges and universities. Can you tell us more about that and how you got involved?
Lori: The company I work for is the largest supplier of adult education in the world. I took a class from them, enjoyed it and then noticed they didn't offer a course on romance writing. I applied and got accepted to develop my own course for them.
Gannon: I'll have to check that out---sounds like fun. I also read that you volunteer as a sexual assault first responder for a shelter for battered women. What led you to do this?
Lori: I felt the need to get out and help my community. Since I was a nurse, that volunteer position was a good fit. I was also getting a certificate in forensic nursing and it helped augment my education.
Gannon: Lori, you are an amazing lady....and an incredibly busy one! What's up next for you?
Lori: Those cutting horse cowboys from Avon. It's currently a three book series, with all three books scheduled for release in 2012. I also still write sexy romances for Harlequin Blaze.
Gannon: I'm looking forward to reading your new series---who doesn't love a sexy cowboy?!--- and of course, those hot Blaze books. Thank you so much for spending time with us. It's been a delight.
Lori: Thanks for inviting me. This was fun!
Tell us readers, do you like small town romances? Or do you prefer to read about life in the big city?
Lori has generously provided two copies of The Welcome Home Garden Club for a giveaway (U.S. and Canadian residents only, please) to two random commenters today.