Interview: LoRee Peery, Christian Novelist
Meet LoRee Peery
Christian novelist LoRee Peery writes romance fiction in which the characters learn through spiritual struggles how to come to terms with the Lord’s will. She has written for many years, and though she tried to quit more than once, she has always come back to it.
Peery is drawn to reunion stories because the past often needs to be dealt with before we can move on in life. Her novel Moselle's Insurance is the first in a series centered around Frivolities, a crafty, kooky shop in a small fictitious Nebraska town.
Peery attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. Rainbows hold special significance for her, since one appeared the day of her father’s funeral, reminding her of the promise of the Lord’s presence in her life.
And while nature is great, Peery believes it is the people God creates that are the real miracles. What could be better than a grandchild’s smile and a young voice greeting, “Grandma!” Well, maybe the hug that follows.
SB: How did you get your start as a writer? Who have been some of the people who most influenced your writing career?
LP: Ages ago, I wrote and submitted romance to popular magazines. They were no more than proofread practice. I took a fiction course with Writer’s Digest back when it was done via snail mail.
People who influenced me are my mentor Frenchy Dennis, early critique in a Christian writer’s group, editor professors I worked with. I grew more in six months thanks to the gracious generosity of RWA authors, than in ten years on my own.
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SB: You've tried to quit writing more than once. What made you want to give it up, and what made you change your mind?
LP: Chronic pain prevented coherent thought for a long time. I stopped writing for 18 months while I searched for an agent. A detailed rejection letter crushed me and all I did for three months was read. Then writers at a retreat encouraged me to reconsider that editor’s letter. She was interested or she wouldn’t have detailed specific changes. I eventually agreed with what she said and cut 20,000 words in my rewrite.
SB: You are a writer of edgy Christian romance novels. From a writing perspective, which part of that description is most important (edgy, Christian, romance, or novel)? Which part would be the easiest to remove from your writing (and what sort of books would that leave you writing)?
LP: Edgy may be a matter of perception. Christian is most important. His message of redemption is core to my writing. Edgy would be easiest to remove. I’m a romantic at heart and need the happily-ever-after.
SB: You have a special interest, in your novels, in characters who face spiritual struggles that help them come to terms with the Lord’s will. To what extent are these spiritual struggles autobiographical, and how much of it just comes from your imagination?
LP: Most of that struggle message is imaginary. In my own life struggles ensue if I ignore the nudging of the Spirit. The Lord sends a particular “notice for change” to me in three ways. If I don’t heed that attention getter, I struggle spiritually. Usually something I read, sometimes from the pulpit, a comment from a Christian friend or family member. When I “hear” it come at me three ways, I know it’s time for action.
SB: If you had to describe the ideal reader of a LoRee Peery novel, what would s/he be like?
LP: A person who has faced crisis or a turning point in real life, a lover of fictional take-me-away stories who needs a HEA. There is always hope.
SB: If you had to choose from these places for a writer's retreat at which you'd write your next novel, which would it be? (rank them in order)
• a working farm (requiring a half-day work from each resident each day)
• a cabin deep in a forest with no phone or wi-fi
• a beach resort
• an old homestead with 10-12 other resident writers
• a hostel situated near ancient ruins
• a ski lodge
• a studio on the campus of an ivy league university
LP: I picture Beth in Found in the Woods for a forest cabin. But I need a landscape and to see the horizon, so a working farm idea takes me away to when I knocked down fence posts the first time I drove a tractor, or put “kickers” on a Holstein before milking.
SB: Amongst the threads that run through your fiction, there is the theme of reunion. Why is this so important to you?
LP: I suppose it has to do with loose ends and my need for resolution. After all, I’ve lived with my father’s unsolved homicide for 37 years.
SB: Can you recommend 4-5 other authors that your readers are likely to enjoy reading? Which of each author's published works is your favorite?
LP: There are so many! I would say, “go to the Pelican site, pick an author, and read the blurbs and excerpts.”
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SB: You've said elsewhere that the outdoors is where you are most relaxed. Is this reflected in your most recent novel, Found in the Woods? How so?
LP: There is an element in nature that cannot be denied. Only God can be the creator. He sends me a personal “hello” any time my heart is open. And I wonder what heaven is like…will I have an outside job there?
SB: What is the most nerve-wracking part surrounding the release of a new novel? Is it easier to release the fourth book in a series, or the first?
LP: What a great question. Internet connections. I’m a writer who’d be satisfied with a word processor. Just use the computer to write! When I received the contract for Moselle’s Insurance, I was still on dial-up. There is no cable where we live. Frantic search for hi-speed ensued. Our acreage is low, my hubby had to down trees so the receiver and signal (see how non-techie I am) could connect. I suppose the gizmo on the elevator a mile away gets a satellite signal.
Now, with the fourth, it’s a matter of soliciting blog features. I always feel a bit guilty because I don’t blog. I can announce releases on Facebook.
SB: What should readers look for next from LoRee Peery?
LP: My first novella, Lezlie’s Lifeline, and Frivolities #5, releases August 3. I’m waiting to hear on a submission. And I’m still trying to resolve my father’s murder via satisfactory fiction. Of course, every writer has snippets of projects tucked away.
SB: And finally, is there anything you've been waiting for me to ask that I've overlooked?
LP: Something came to me as I was falling asleep last night, but I didn’t write it down. I have to capture those nuggets on paper or they’re gone with the wind.
This has been a terrific interview, thank you so much for your time.