With flawed strong characters, characters you can relate to, Lorhainne Eckhart writes the kind of books she wants to read. She is frequently a Top 100 bestselling author in multiple genres, and her second book ever published, The Forgotten Child, is no exception. With close to 900 reviews on Amazon, this book was such a hit that Eckhart decided to make this into a series. As our Author of the Day she tells us more about what inspired the creation of The Forgotten Child and talks about her own experiences as the mother of a child who suffers from autism.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Forgotten Child is about.
The Forgotten Child is a romance I wrote at the beginning of my career, and is the second book I wrote after my very first published book which, after the rights reverted to me, is now rewritten and retitled, Saved. The Forgotten Child, though, was and is a far different story. It has a western romance setting about a woman finding her strength, a child finding love and support, a healing of family and is a complicated love story.
You create strong characters who are also flawed - why do you find this important to do?
Strong, flawed, imperfect characters are what life is about, and is what I know. The imperfections, life’s struggles -- good and bad, how we all deal with life and everything it tosses your way. What my struggle may be is far different from yours, which is what makes people interesting in my mind. And I often write about situations that are uncomfortable, characters I can relate to. Showing characters as real, flawed people, the good, the bad, all their imperfections, along with uncomfortable life decisions and struggles that many don’t want to talk about. Because even a hero often finds himself in a situation where the real life choices he makes will be considered by some as despicable, unforgiveable and will anger many. Except a hero that is truer to life and can overcome their deepest darkest obstacles is far more relatable.
Readers say that The Forgotten Child is a real tear jerker - was this intentional?
I never sat down to intentionally write a tear jerker. Instead it was the situation, the good the bad, the real-life struggles that found their way into this book that I believe touched so many people.
One of your kids has autism. How much of your own experiences have you written into this book?
Having a child with autism, I’ve experienced all the trials and obstacles still in place today and have faced very real closed doors. Add in professionals who surprisingly still do not understand autism, and I’ve learned firsthand that parents must become their children’s advocates to get them the help they need.
Although much progress has been made in the field, so much is still misunderstood. There’s still so much adversity, division, intolerance, judgements, and little to no funding for much needed help. A number of parents find themselves alone, but this wasn’t just my own experience. Having a child with autism brought me into an entire community of parents who were walking a similar path. Some fight for their children, and others do not, and that’s where the path ends.
The only similarity we have is the diagnosis, which, by the way, is universal and not limited to countries, borders, genders, or races. Every family is different. There can be hard times and challenges, and it’s not the same for every parent and child. We endure criticism and face conflicts with friends, family, professionals, and others in the community over what needs to happen, what we could or should have done. This can inflict so much pain on a family that’s already struggling.
The little boy in the story is just one child with autism, and as many parents with an autistic child are aware, if you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met only one! Each child with autism is as different as the next, but so many share one commonality: Unfortunately, it often falls to mothers of autistic children to make sacrifices to get their children the help needed. Each woman feels so very much alone in her struggle, because of the unknown, the uncertainty, not having the answers—and, let’s be realistic, many men will emotionally check out. Only in rare cases will a man step up and be the one fighting for his child, be a part of the solution. Many mothers inadvertently end up falling into the role of being both mother and father. It is a sad reality, and this story really did touch on a lot of these issues.
The Forgotten Child has close to 900 customer reviews on Amazon - what do you think made this book such a great success?
When The Forgotten Child hit the bestseller list on Amazon in 2013 and stayed there for two years, I realized then that fans were relating to the story. The Forgotten Child touched readers in a way I didn’t expect. How do you tell a man there is something wrong with his child? That alone seemed to resonate with so many readers that have been touched by Autism in some way, whether it is a child, a grandchild, or another family member. How it relates to a family, to a relationship? Will it destroy it or make it stronger?
Did you know from the start that you were going to make this into a series?
The Forgotten Child was written as a standalone title and I did not consider writing a sequel or introducing the Friessen Family as a series until the reviews and emails started flooding in from fans.
It was nearly a year later when I began writing what has now turned into a worldwide fan favorite. The Friessen Family series which introduced you to a dynamic powerful close family. Three brothers, a cousin their spouses and children. A series of stories now spanning twenty-two novels and novellas that fans have fallen in love with and just don’t want to say goodbye to.
What am I now working on? I’ve just finished writing The Parker Sisters, a series that spanned five books and five sisters set in Wyoming, another big family saga. But as I promised my fans earlier in the year, The Friessens will return in October 2017, with not just one book, but a return to the series, The Friessen family, with new stories, more complications and a brand-new generation.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
You can find me just about anywhere. Below is a handy list of links.
NEWSLETTER – Sign-up for my newsletter and I’ll notify you of all new releases, giveaways, special promotions and exclusive free reads available for my newsletter subscribers only. http://eepurl.com/bWwnOr
FACEBOOK FOLLOW -- https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLorhainneEckhart
AMAZON FOLLOW – If you want Amazon to automatically notify you via email with a link every time I push publish, click the yellow tab under my author picture here ➔ http://amzn.to/29cP3FE
BOOKBUB FOLLOW: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lorhainne-eckhart
TWITTER FOLLOW - I tweet about just about everything, deals, giveaways, and my writing progress on Twitter, follow me here➔ https://twitter.com/leckhart
PINTEREST - Is where I post my books, and everything about my series. See it all here➔ https://www.pinterest.com/lorhainne/
INSTAGRAM - Follow my island life on Instagram ➔ https://www.instagram.com/lorhainneeckhart/
WATTPAD: I have a big following on Wattpad, and frequently post chapter excerpts and free reads for my followers. https://www.wattpad.com/user/LorhainneEckhart
BUY MY BOOKS, available everywhere in eBook, Audio and Paperback – If you want to buy my books at major retailers, or just see what I have available, choose your favorite store below:
AMAZON ➔ http://amzn.to/29cP3FE
Barnes &Noble ➔ http://bit.ly/28Z0Lq5
iBooks ➔ http://apple.co/28VC61Y
KOBO ➔ http://bit.ly/28VC9e9
GOOGLE PLAY➔ http://bit.ly/28VC7mz
Audio books from AUDIBLE: http://adbl.co/28VCopy