Lorrie Thomson lives in New Hampshire with her husband and their children. When she’s not reading, writing, or hunting for collectibles, her family lets her tag along for camping adventures, daylong paddles, and hikes up 4,000 footers.
What got you into writing?
I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. When I was in first grade, I wrote a story about a female robot. At ten, I penned a short story for a day camp publication about a family that created a time travel machine. I suppose you’d say I started out writing science fiction. But it wasn’t until I read The Chronicles of Narnia in seventh grade that I was hooked on the idea of creating entirely new worlds from my imagination.
No, I don’t read fantasy or science fiction these days, and my work is classified as women’s fiction, aka book club fiction or relationship novels. But all fiction starts from scratch and creates new worlds. This task is both terrifying and exhilarating!
What’s your favourite book?
Just one? I have favourites-shelves that include many books by Jodi Picoult, Lisa Unger, and Lisa Gardner. But my newest favourite book—a book I finished reading days ago is: Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild. I only wish I could’ve read slower, to make the experience last.
What’s your writing routine?
Years ago, when my three children were small, I wrote after they went to bed at night, or before they awoke. These days the only child remaining at home is a teenager. I’ve the luxury and distinct privilege of being able to write from about ten in the morning until six at night. Early mornings, I reserve for social media and exercise. If I don’t exercise early, it simply does not happen.
What’s your favourite genre to write, or even to read?
I write women’s fiction, also known as book club fiction. Although it’s my favourite genre to read, I also enjoy reading outside of my genre, and I believe that makes me a better writer. My favourites-shelves include suspense, YA, literary fiction and memoir.
What inspires your work?
When searching for a story spark, I look to my own fears. And then, through my characters, figure out how to stand up to them. Even though my 2013 release, Equilibrium, and my September release, What’s Left Behind, both deal with the loss of a family member, the story perspectives are very different.
As with most works of fiction, Equilibrium started with two questions: What if? And Why?
What if the mother of two teenagers was raising her family by herself a year after her husband’s suicide? Why did the husband commit suicide? The husband committed suicide after years of struggling with bipolar disorder.
For some unknown reason, bipolar disorder was on my radar. I kept hearing about it on television, reading about it in print media, and it seemed like a great place to start a story. Through research, I became more and more fascinated with the topic of mood disorders. We all experience fluctuations in mood. How do we know when we’ve crossed the line into a dangerous illness? Since bipolar disorder is hereditary, the question is a natural source of concern for the family in Equilibrium.
At the heart of the story is Laura, the young widow who’s spent all of her adult life caring for her sick husband, Jack, and putting herself second. And Darcy, Laura’s 15-year-old daughter who grieves her father fiercely and pushes her mother away, right when she needs her the most.
What’s Left Behind is about single mother Abby Stone, who’s still grieving the tragic death of her college-age son when his pregnant girlfriend shows up on her doorstep to offer her a second chance at motherhood.
BTW, the 2015 book will deal with a different type of fear.
Are your friends and family supportive of your writing career?
I’m fortunate that my friends and family are all extremely supportive. My husband’s the one who reminds me to take bookmarks and cover flats wherever I go. For a while there, I had a fun “Where’s Bill?” feature on my Facebook page—photos of my husband, Bill, reading Equilibrium on various New Hampshire mountaintops. One of the highlights of my debut year was when my daughter’s high school book club read Equilibrium. I spoke to the book club and fielded their many, intelligent questions. Yup, the mother-daughter story has great YA-crossover appeal!
I’ve enjoyed sharing my writing journey with the women in my book club. (I love book clubs!) I told them about my first book deal by reading my mini-synopsis, and asking them whether that sounded like a book they’d like to read. Lucky for me, they were all quite enthusiastic. Then, I let them know the title, release date, and author’s name. Surprise!
One of the best days of my life was the Equilibrium launch party at my local indie bookstore. How else would I have been able to gather family and friends from so many different parts of my life?
How do you manage your time?
It’s a constant challenge! Every day, I recommit to my schedule, and remind myself that the only thing that matters is the work-in-progress. Everything else is extra.
Are you self-published or with an agent?
My agent is Jessica Alvarez of Bookends. “Equilibrium” (September, 2013), “What’s Left Behind” (September, 2014), and my as-yet-untitled 2015 novel are published by Kensington Books.
Did you find it difficult trying to get into the industry?
It’s a very challenging profession to break into, but not impossible. I’m living proof!
I started writing with an eye toward publication twelve years ago, determined to give it a go when the youngest of my three children was three. The first manuscript resides in my crawl space, and shall remain there. But that first novel was a necessary step, a lesson I needed to learn. Equilibrium is the second novel I completed. It went through many drafts before garnering interest from first an agent, and then a publisher. During that time, I wrote a third unpublished novel. All in all, I queried agents for about seven years.
If getting into the industry hadn’t been a challenge, I probably wouldn’t have wanted it as badly.
How do you keep motivated?
It all comes down to the saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. My motivation comes from my desire to tell a story well, and then share that story with readers. To that end, I’m fortunate to have a publisher—Kensington Books—that shares my vision.
Lorrie is participating in Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research. As such, she has generously donated a signed copy of Equilibrium—listed under General Fiction, and a signed advance release copy of her forthcoming novel, What’s Left Behind, listed under ARCs/Advance Releases. The auction runs from May 1-31.
To check out Lorrie’s work, click here to see her Amazon Author Page.
Lorrie also blogs for: http://musingsfromthemug.com/