I recently had the pleasure of reading some of the works for Lori Lopez. I was an immediate fan. I find her writing to be very cerebral, surreal, poetic and very striking. Just approaching it from a readers standpoint, I felt compelled to ask Lori to do an interview for me. The following is the culmination of that interview. I was not disappointed, and you won’t be either!!! Enjoy!!
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A. An indie author with an overflowing imagination, being a writer is part of my definition. But I am also a poet, artist and songwriter, as well as an actress and activist for animals, the environment, and abuse. Part of being an author involves promoting your work, and that was a difficult thing to learn. I can be rather introverted and focused on the creativity, the solitary concentration of writing. Networking and promoting online is easier than in person, but it also distracts me and takes up a lot of time. I am trying hard to find a way to balance it all, including having friends again. I was without any for a while, just my two sons and me fighting to survive. I have met some wonderful people online who enrich my life daily. But I don’t know how others juggle it all. Are their days longer than mine? Am I missing something? I’ve always felt a little bit “off”, a rather eccentric individual. Since I march to a different beat, perhaps the ticking and tocking of Time is just as irregular for me.
Q. Tell us a bit about your family…Married, single, kids, etc…
A. I am a divorced mother of two grown sons who share my talents and dreams. We’ve been working together for years to achieve them. There have been setbacks, and for almost two years my oldest son has been ill from physical conditions and crippling anxiety. Our life has not been without pressures for a very long time. Most of mine I have had some degree of anxiety as well. I don’t drive for that reason. But I’m optimistic that he will soon recover his stability and health. He’s incredibly bright, and he’s surrounded by love and support. He has an amazing brother, Rafael, who has been there for him so much! I am extremely proud of him, proud of them both. I wanted to say this for anyone who suffers from such problems. It isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Many of us are going through similar battles.
Q. What is your favorite quality about yourself?
A. Well . . . I enjoy having talents and being quirky. I enjoy being a horror fan. I am also proud to be someone who cares about others, including animals, and cries easily and wants to make a difference. I’m no saint. I’m complex. I can be innocent and guilty at the same time. But I think what I like best about me is that beneath my sometimes serious and sometimes comical exterior, I am a good person at heart. At least I try to be.
Q. What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
A. At this point in my life I am torn between two quotes that I have on my desk: “Never never never quit!” by Winston Churchill, and “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Author George Eliot said that. To me they represent unwavering determination and achieving one’s potential.
Q. What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
A. Finally publishing my fiction and verse; being read and respected as an author. This means a great deal to me. On a personal level, being the mother of two terrific young men.
Q. Now, this is a personal question for me! I’ve read several of your works, and your writing is very surreal. Have you ever considered writing lyrics? And if so, would you be willing to?
A. I am basically a poet who dabbles in prose. I write novels and stories with that sense of rhythm and rhyme. For a couple of decades since the early Eighties, while being a military journalist and then writing court papers before homeschooling my kids, I actually composed more than fifty songs . . . some good and some bad. I hope the good ones will be recorded eventually. The lyrics to a quantity of them were published in my first volume of verse, POETIC REFLECTIONS: KEEP THE HEART OF A CHILD.
A. I think as soon as I learned to write, the creativity kicked in. Before that, however, I was conjuring tales in my head. I feel that I became the writer I wanted to be during the past fifteen years, developing and self-publishing books and stories.
Q. What inspired you to pen your first novel?
A. A news report on a Chupacabras sighting near the Mexican border. My sons performed as Mexican folklore dancers from a young age. I came up with an idea loosely basing two brothers on them. It started as a screenplay, which garnered some interest. But I wanted to write books, and it turned into a trilogy then a trilogy of trilogies. The first book in the series is my novel DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS. I hope to release Tome Two by the end of this year.
Q. How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
A. You ask some interesting questions, Susan. I grew up in a small Wisconsin town. That environment is reflected in some of what I write. I also spent a few summers in the Northwoods region of the state with my grandparents and an aunt who was like a sister. I truly felt at home there, and at peace. That experience has stayed with me; it helped me cope with an abusive childhood. I have an abiding love of trees and forests and Nature. These, too, will often be featured in my tales.
Q. Tell us your latest news. Do you have anything new in the works?
A. I entered a contest in January of the previous year, a challenge to write a novel in one month. This was tough for me because I do not write fast. The process is usually slow and meticulous. I had to push myself each day, no matter what was going on in my life (my son being sick, for instance), to put down over sixteen hundred words on average. Not just any words; they had to be good. Not just good; I wanted them to be great. In the end I won the contest. My novel AN ILL WIND BLOWS was chosen as the best out of those completed. I surprised myself, crafting a novel I feel is one of my best stories thus far. And I plan to unveil the E-book version this month.
A. It depends on the project. I slipped some personal details into my first novel. Some of my short stories are completely made up. But for various ones like “Bad Mood” and “Penned” from my OUT-OF-MIND EXPERIENCES collection, I drew upon a few details or inspiration from real life. In “Unleashed”, a short story published in both OUT-OF-MIND and CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES, I used the name and description, a bit of the history and attitude of a pet, an adopted alley cat named Midnight. For “Beyond The Stump”, my youngest son and I were going to watch my older son practice soccer with a team. I told Rafael, let’s sit over there beyond the stump. Then I stated that the phrase would make a good title. And so it did. “Bedeviled” evolved from a friend’s mushroom guidebook.
Q. What are you reading now?
A. Your questions! I am not reading any book at present. I hope to read the stories and books of some talented fellow authors I know in the near future. Right now I’m swamped with trying to finally finish reading through my second novel so I can do the artwork for the cover and release it. I just submitted a few stories to more anthologies. Just published my latest poetry column. I’ve been launching a steady stream of eleven digital titles since October: three books and eight individual stories. More to come this month. I wish I could find a chance to just sit and read these days, but that brings us back to my time dilemma.
Q. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A. The closest thing I’ve had to an actual author mentor, I would say, is Billie Sue Mosiman. She has been publishing for as long as I wish I had been, since I began writing songs instead. She’s far better established with a following, yet is a genuinely laid-back and sweet lady. We recently started talking on Facebook, and she asked me to co-admin with her a group for authors and readers called Book Summit. It’s a privilege to know her and share our perspectives on writing and life.
Q. What new author has grasped your interest?
A. I’ve become acquainted with a number of talented indie writers online. The ones I have read the most at this point (due to editing for them as a favor) and vastly admire are Geri Small-Graham, whose brilliant memoir on abuse titled STONEWALLS is near completion, and horror author Jerry W. McKinney. Jerry is close to finishing his first story collection and is already gaining a rabid, I mean, avid flock of loyal fans. But I’m his Number One Fan. (Shhhh, don’t tell the others!)
Q. Do you think Americans are reading less than they have before? Why or why not?
A. Before HARRY POTTER and other recent book series, this might have been true. Then the E-book Revolution happened with gadgets making reading cooler, the latest trend. I don’t believe it’s a fad. Even short stories are seeing a rise in popularity again. I hope to do the same thing for poetry as well. And self-publishing is tied right into it all, enabling authors with merit to compete against the “chosen few” the big publishers deemed worthy. And just in time, because the publishing industry was becoming harder and harder to break into for new voices. I was among those who had been rejected for years and might never have been heard. Sure, there is a lot of garbage flooding the market alongside the good. But more than ever, the readers can decide who deserves to be read. For someone like me that intentionally defies convention and has a unique style, my writing may not appeal to everyone yet there does seem to be an audience for it. And I can reach them now.
Q. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
A. Besides the ones already mentioned, I have long been a fan of Lewis Carroll, Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman and more . . . What strikes me? I love wordplay, and Carroll had such a marvelous affinity for it as well as the most fanciful yet sarcastic sense of humor. Mary Shelley gave birth to the most beloved monster of all time. That is quite an awesome achievement! Poe had this brooding and macabre style that I adore. King, well, he is the king of popular modern horror fiction, in my opinion. Dean Koontz blends humor and horror, something I like to do. Neil Gaiman is very imaginative in an offbeat manner. Oh, I have to mention J.K. Rowling, because she has a very clever and creative style too.
Q. The perception of the horror writer is that he/she is just a little bit weirder than most. Do you find yourself — and other horror writers — to be more idiosyncratic than the average person?
A. Oh yes, we are an odd bunch from what I’ve seen. Myself, I have always been very individual in thought and behavior since I was little. I would hang out in cemeteries; collect dead birds and squirrels to bury in my mom’s flower garden (I just felt so sad for them lying there along the road). I spent a lot of time reading. As a little kid I was a fan of Where The Wild Things Are and The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow; Scooby-Doo, The Addams Family and The Munsters on T.V.; movies like Frankenstein, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and The Blob . . . My mother didn’t understand why I was so strange, why I liked so much weird stuff.
A. Real horror. Creepy people who do awful things. I grew up just fifteen miles from where Ed Gein was living in a mental institution. The Manson slayings were headlines during my youth. It was truth, it wasn’t fiction. Wasn’t make-believe. That terror was not like the fun thrill I got from Horror.
Q. Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
A. I don’t feel my stories need that. I write my tales for more than one age group, for a general audience. Like classics that have endured, that are without explicit content, I hope my stories will be considered timeless and reach a broad audience.
A. Yes, I have ideas that creep me out. My Bone Man character in the “Fossil” story series is a brutal character who wears shards of bone piercing his flesh from his victims. A story I wrote called appropriately “Creep” contains descriptions that made my son Rafael shudder (he isn’t a horror fan). I try not to go too far, but I can come up with some frightening material. Another story I have in progress is borderline, so I am trying to keep it chilling while remaining within the parameters of tasteful terror.
Q. Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
A. As I mentioned, the Chupacabras thing is a prime example. For my novel AN ILL WIND BLOWS, I incorporated the image of birds (and other creatures) falling from the sky, which was in the news at the time, and wove the theme into a segment of it.
Q. How would you describe yourself in three words?
A. Dignified, silly, imaginative.
Q. If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?
A. WOMAN’S EYES EXPLODE FROM TOO MUCH FACEBOOK
Q. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, fictional or real, living or dead, famous or not famous, for a week, who would it be & why?
A. A week away from my computer? From my writing? Are you insane????
Q. If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
A. They’re Coming To Take Her Away, Ha-Haa!
Q. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
A. I love Meryl Streep. She’s older, but she could probably pull it off. There’s also Jamie Lee Curtis. Love her too! Julianne Moore is about my age. She would be good. Or maybe they could cast someone unknown, and it would be her big break. That would be nice.
I would like to take this opportunity & thank Lori for taking the time to answer my questions. It has given myself, as well as the blog fans, an opportunity to see inside the wonderful, surreal and very cerebral mind that is Lori R. Lopez!! I truly feel that a little insight into an author makes the reading experience much more enjoyable…Thank you again so very much Lori!! You can get more of Lori and her amazing books at the following links:
Lori’s Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/lorirlopez.author
Amazon Page – http://www.amazon.com/Lori-R.-Lopez/e/B003WJFUN8
Lori’s Column & Other Projects- http://trilllogicinnoventions.com
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/LoriRLopez
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LoriRLopez
Twitter – lorirlopez
🙂 🙂 🙂