WD: What is your profession (outside of writing)?
LK: I am a legal secretary. I really like my job, although I wish I didn’t have to work. There’s nothing I’d love more than to be able to just stay home and write and make jewelry, but I fear I’d become one of those recluses who never leave their house.
WD: Do you have any hobbies?
LK: I just can’t sit still for long, so I’ve got lots of things I like to do to keep myself busy. I love making jewelry and have turned it into a little side business. Nothing spectacular, mind you. I can’t quit my day job, but I earn enough to keep my little hobby going. I also like crocheting. I have gotten into making socks, but don’t be watching for the Lorrie Kruse sock brand at your local store anytime soon. It takes way too much time to get a pair of socks done, but it’s something I can easily do while watching TV or traveling.
WD: What person or event made you interested in writing?
LK: A lifetime ago (and, truly, it was almost a lifetime ago as my son was only a few years old and he’s now 17), I was reading a John Sandford book, one of his Prey series, and I came up with a story idea. I thought about contacting him to let him have my idea, but I just never got around to doing so. You know how that goes. The story idea stuck inside my head, though, and I thought that I’d read enough books. Why shouldn’t I write one? I mean, as long as I had the idea, right? So I sat down and wrote a story. Not the one that had come to mind and, admittedly, not a very good one. But it was enough to get things rolling for me.
WD: What method do you prefer writing in: long hand, typewriter, or computer?
LK: No doubt about it – Computer. I can type almost as fast as I can think but I can’t handwrite that fast. If I try to handwrite anything, I lose a whole lot of thoughts as I fumble around. There’s nothing worse than losing a great idea!
WD: What other books have you written?
Written? Or, written well? :0) I wrote several books before I knew what I was doing. It was so much easier writing back then, before I had to pay attention to things like grammar rules and plot. Nothing like “plot” to slow down the writing process. :0) Since none of those books are anything I’d want anyone reading, I guess then I have to say that at this moment, A Life Worth Living is all there is. However, I am working on a romantic suspense that’s about half-way done. Unfortunately, Keep Your Friends Closer has been temporarily shelved because I thought that maybe I could get a collection of short stories completed more quickly. Not sure what I was thinking there, but, oh well.
WD: What was your journey like from writing the first pages to getting the book accepted on A Life Worth Living?
LK: Oh, my. That’s quite a question. Whew. Well, there was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Seriously, when I started writing A Life Worth Living, I was not a very good writer. I have learned so much since those first words and the finish product reflects that. When I first wrote A Life Worth Living (which was “The Accident” back then), I just wrote whatever sounded logical to me as far as Matt’s medical condition. Matt was also a very angry jerk and Crystal was beyond self-absorbed. I discovered I couldn’t just make up stuff. How odd. It’s a fictional story from my mind, yet I couldn’t make stuff up? I interviewed several trauma nurses, physical therapists, and a few paralyzed people. I soaked up whatever knowledge I could find on spinal cord injury. And then I poured a whole lot of that knowledge into Matt’s world as well as a whole new appreciation for my health into my own life. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through a slush-covered parking lot thinking about how lucky I am to not have to be wheeling a wheelchair.
A Life Worth Living has gone through quite a journey on its way to publication. It’s been entered into numerous contests and has finaled in many. It’s landed upon many agents’ desks (and was unfortunately rejected by all). But the happy ending is that I submitted it to Storyteller Publishing, who loved it, and it’s finally published! Yay! See me doing a happy dance.
WD: Who is your favorite character in A Life Worth Living?
LK: Hmm. Can I say Kaylee, Matt’s 2-year-old niece? I love the way she calls Matt ‘Unka Matyou’. I really think Kaylee adds a lot to the story even though she’s not a main character. She brings out the softer side of Matt.
WD: What was the hardest part of A Life Worth Living to research?
LK: Having to live within the confines of reality. I really wanted Matt to go through the book struggling with his desire for a full recovery and then get his wish at the end of the story. However, I discovered that if he were going to recover, that recovery would happen early on and, sigh, that just didn’t work for the plot.
WD: What authors are your favorites to read?
Well, John Sandford, since his stories were what inspired me to write. I love Harlan Coben’s characters and his writing. He’s just got a great style. And, speaking of great style, Janet Evanovich. Wow. If I could be half the writer she is, I’d be…well, half the writer she is, which would still be a darn great writer. Another writer who I think is someone to keep an eye on is Jane Porter. I don’t recall how I came across her books or even which book of hers was the first I read, but I really enjoy her writing. However, the writer I have most enjoyed in recent past is Jeff Lindsay with his Dexter series. There aren’t many authors I’ve come across where I’ve felt the need to devour their works, but from the first Dexter book I read, I was hooked and I read every book of Jeff Lindsay’s back to back. It was a sad moment when I read the last word of the last book because it was the last word of the last book. I’m eager for Mr. Lindsay to get those typing fingers moving and get another book out there!
WD: If you could be any character in anyone’s book, who would you be?
My first thought was which character of Jane Porter’s went to Hawaii? I very much would love to be lying on a sunny beach in Hawaii (with a ton of sun screen). But, seriously, when you get right down to it, I don’t think there’s any character I’d want to be. While they all have happily-ever-afters, they all have their challenges along the way. There’s things I’d love to change in my own life, but, all in all, I like my life and I am very happy with the person I am.
WD: What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?
LK: Run! As fast as you can, run! Truthfully, if you have a writer living inside you, you’ll discover you can’t escape it. If you can, then you shouldn’t be writing because it is not an easy task. So, you’ve got this writer inside you that you can’t escape and you need to know how to handle that writer. Learn everything you can about writing so you do it right and hopefully don’t have to write the same story multiple times until you get it right. Join a critique group, but the challenge there is finding a group you blend well with. It really needs to be a person or group of people you feel comfortable with and whose opinion you respect. The two most important things though are to develop a thick skin (you will be rejected multiple times – it’s just a sad fact – and you’re going to hear criticism upon criticism about your writing and your story because you just can’t please everyone) and to be very persistent (chances are, you won’t get lucky enough to get a publishing contract on your first try, or your second, or even your thirtieth). Oh, and enjoy yourself. Life’s too short to be doing things you don’t enjoy.
WD: What are your experiences with using a Writer’s Critique Group?
LK: For as frustrating as it can be, I highly recommend anyone who writes being a member of a critique group. We all want to hand a chapter to our group and receive nothing but positive responses, but, seriously, that’s not the way to improve your writing or the story. A Life Worth Living has turned into the great story that it is thanks to my writers’ group. They pushed me in directions I never would have gone on my own.
WD: If you have questions for Lorrie, she’ll be visiting all day.
Thank you again, Lorrie, for joining us today! We wish you the best of success with A Life Worth Living and your writing career!