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Interview with Lori O’Gara

She is a writer of contemporary fiction, fantasy, and real-life commentary. She has written eleven books, three of which with her co-author husband, Brendan O’Gara. She is an advocate of human decency, believes that magic is real, and love is a gift from the Divine. 

Lori is happiest with her feet in the sugar white sand on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. When not at the beach, writing or reading, she can be found wandering the stacks in her library, watching Doctor Who or spending time with her family.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I have written erotica under my own name. If a story needs a certain thing, I will write it. Yes, I have written about sex, dark humor, murder, and other topics that might make my Christian family cringe. 

“But Lori you are a Christian.” Yes…I am, and I write the truth, even in fiction. I have a unique view of Christianity that comes out in everything I write. I know I can almost see the eye rolls and hear the “Here we go.” So let me give you the short version. I call it No BS Christianity…No Brutally Suffocating rules just truth.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
I am currently working on a compendium book in the Necromancer Song series. We currently have four others, including a cookbook. 

This new book is called The Remnants of Eden. The premise is what if when Adam and Eve were banished from Eden there were other humans there who stayed, what happened to them generations later?

Q.3 What inspired you to write The Travelers’ Song?
My husband asked me to collaborate with him. I had not at that point written fantasy. My focus was contemporary fiction. His cookbook was the catalyst. I will let him tell you the story, but that is where this started.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I struggle a bit with male mannerisms, but for the most part, writing a male character is not difficult for me.

Q.5 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
Both, my husband and I do not use any formula. We start with a good character idea and then the character will tell us the story. We might have an idea of what type of plot we want, but our stories are very character-driven.

Q.6 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Believe in it?! Yes! When it hit me I usually just write. The words start out as trash but eventually, my brain settles into writing and my characters start talking to me again. Red wine and good music help. It also helps that I have a built-in accountability person in the same room writing with me. Even if he is working on his own projects.

Q.7 What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Scaling it down. We have constructed a world with multiple storylines happening and scaling that to fit in the constraints of a decent size novel was daunting. That is why we have compendium books and at least two more full novels in this series. I feel it will grow into a much bigger multivolume series.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I will be dead, so I won’t do much. OK, if I have to pretend, I don’t write…I would paint pictures.

Q.9 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I have written eleven books, of which three are co-written with my husband, Brendan, and three are nonfiction. Out of those, my favorite fiction is Almost There in my Perdido Key series and Believe in my nonfiction series.

Q.10 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
I am in the marketing department of the O’Gara Clan. Our marketing strategy is different depending on the book we are promoting. We hired a PR firm for our fantasy books and if that goes well we will hire a different firm for my contemporary fiction. 

My nonfiction is specific, so I market that myself. It is too dear to my heart to allow anyone else to take it on. We market on various platforms including television and partnerships.

Q.11 If you could be a member of any fantasy race, which would you choose and why?
I would be an elf in Rivendell. They are beautiful, compassionate, and courageous. I would love to be in that world.

Q.12 What is one stereotype about fantasy writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?
Fantasy writers have not disillusioned humans who avoid reality. We don’t create these mythical worlds to get lost in. We create what we wish existed in real life. Most of them do indeed love dragons.

Q.13 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t listen to the doubters! Yes, you can write and yes you are good at it! Now stop whining and write that book already.

Q.14 How do you describe your writing experience with Brendan O’Gara? If you have different opinions on a particular situation, how did you resolve it?
We don’t often disagree when writing or in other areas of life. He might get a little miffed off at me when I edit out his crazy jokes sometimes, but honestly, he trusts my decisions.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select him/her?
. For Travelers’ Song we hired a company and did not get to know the artist well. For all the others we hired Kellie at Kellie Arts. She is amazing. She came highly recommended. She gives you a contract that transfers copyright to you and licenses. She goes out of her way to make the customer happy. Plus her work is beautiful.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
The characters will tell you who they are. I write a few paragraphs about their personality and appearance. Usually, through that, I can see who they are easy.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I think that if we as readers allow other people to tell us what to read, we put our power of choice into the hands of others. Just because one person doesn't like or love a book does not mean I will when I read it. Often my taste of reading is not what is popular. 

As a writer, I do not read reviews. I know that my work is not for every reader, and I‘m ok with that. My readers, my tribe will find me. They will like what they read, they will love me and tell their friends. Worrying about reviews is a waste of good creative energy and time.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I want to meet Sylvia Plath, so much I want to tell that talented girl.

Q.19 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
Asking a writer like me to pick a favorite book is like asking me a mother to pick my favorite child! I am a huge LOTR fan, so there is that. Currently, I am reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. My go-to favorites are anything by Plath and Virginia Wolf.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
In essence my entire life has been part of my writer’s journey. I take parts of memory and infuse them into so many things I write. My experiences getting works published has been a roller coaster. I choose to focus my journey on writing, getting my words into the hands of readers in the hope that in some small way my work will touch their hearts and help them on their own journey.

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