Lori Soard - Unique Characters, Zany Senior Citizens and Twisting Plots
A natural-born storyteller, Lori Soard grew up hearing stories from her Appalachian family. When she was little, she and her dad made up stories together and she was always surrounded by words, books, and oral storytelling. As a young girl, she loved reading and started to pen her first stories just for her own amusement. It wasn’t until she took a journalism class as an elective while getting her bachelor’s degree that she wrote something and had it published for a small payment of $25. A light bulb went off for her and she realized you could make a living writing. She never looked back. As our Author of the Day, Lori tells us all about her Cupid's Crossing Series.
Please give us a short introduction to what the Cupid's Crossing Series is about.
Cupid's Crossing series is set in a small town in Indiana where true love always wins. Unique characters, zany senior citizens and neighbors who always root for one another and help their fellow man. Cupid's crossing is the type of place we'd all like to live and is a compilation of neighbors and towns in small Indiana towns I've lived my whole life.
Can the books be read as standalones? How do the stories tie in with one another?
Yes, each book is a standalone, but you will see see some characters reappear after the first book in the series, so you can catch up on what they've been up to. However, they are a small part of each new story, so if you haven't read other books, you won't be lost.
Why did you pick the small town of Cupid's Crossing as the backdrop for your story?
I love the small Hoosier town where I live. I love the quiet beat of the days and that when you walk into the bank or the library you are greeted by name. I love that people may know more about my business than I'd like but at the end of the day they also know my heart and they step up and help when I need it most. Cupid's Crossing is a fictional town, but is based on real towns in Indiana.
Of the wealth of characters you created in this series, who is your favorite and why?
Libby is my favorite. She is a feisty senior citizen. It's pretty hard to get on Libby's good side, but she also has a heart of gold underneath all her bluster. One of my scenes in the first book, Libby just took over. I was laughing so hard that I was crying and I hope my readers get the humor of her as well. Maybe they have a feisty elderly parent or an aunt and this reminds them of good memories of their own.
Your books also touch on difficult topics, such as Alzheimer's, why did you take this approach?
My own grandmother suffered from what they called dementia back then but today I think we beginning Alzheimer's. She lived with us and while there were sad moments, there was also joy and laughter. She'd even laugh over some of the things she did.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I often listen to music while writing. Sometimes it is Christian music, but not always. I ALWAYS have a dog on each side and usually a cat I'm battling off my laptop keyboard. I also write content for my day job, so an average day is 8 hours of writing and another two hours of fiction writing. I'd love to get to the point where I can just write the fiction, but income-wise, I'm not there yet.
How were you able to incorporate your personality into your books?
All of my characters have a little bit of me in them or someone I know. I try to look at the world through their eyes and think the way they'd think, because we are all so unique. I honestly believe God sends certain people my way for inspiration or to remind me of people I used to know whose personalities are unique. However, none of my characters are really based on a single person but more a compilation of personalities I've known.
Which book in this box set is your personal favorite?
My favorite is CHANGE OF HEART, Sinclair's story. She is so angry at God and at life but at the same time she loves her little son fiercely. I love the way she gets past that anger and starts to see how God has moved in her life and changed things and people. It really is amazing when you look back over time and realize what God has done in your life or the lives of others. Sinclair is a perfect example of that.
Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
So many that it is hard to name them all, but I particularly love Jane Austen and her voice and way of grabbing at the mores of her day and translating them for us. I also love Mark Twain for his humor. Current day, I enjoy Nicholas Sparks, Dean Koontz and an occasional Stephen King. I read widely in my own genre as well.
Which of your characters has been the most challenging to write for?
Any scene with Libby is hard to write because she just takes over the story. I always outline my books and Libby will come on scene and suddenly match up two people I wasn't planning on, take the other seniors on a crazy police chase through town or who knows what else. I have no idea how it happens, because I've never been a writer whose characters take over. Not the case with Libby. She is nuts but I love her.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
Just the one I mentioned above. The rest, so far, have been pretty well behaved. LOL
What are you working on right now?
I just started Book # 5 in the Cupid's Crossing series - still untitled. I've been laughing and crying my way through it so far. I honestly think it might be the best plot I've ever come up with. The backstory is powerful and the story is filled with the power of God's grace and the story of His plan for us.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
They can visit me at LoriSoard.com or find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. I love to hear from my readers and encourage them to sign up for my mailing list for regular news and special offers and to email me with their thoughts.