Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome Lori Crane who writes historical fiction. She’s an avid Civil War buff. She also loves researching her ancestry and brings one of her forebears to life in her latest release Elly Hays. Lori is on a virtual book tour, and I’m pleased she found the time to include Writing Whims on her stop. Read to the end of the interview for information on entering some of the giveaways she’s holding during her tour.
Hello, Lori. I’m so happy you’ve stopped by today. I’ve only read your most recent released, Elly Hays, so I’m wondering if all your books have a common theme or thread?
Yes, my books are set in the deep south of early America and are written about my family. The Okatibbee Creek series begins with Okatibbee Creek, set in Mississippi during the Civil War. The sequel, An Orphan’s Heart, continues through the war and ends in Texas in 1890. The third, Elly Hays, goes back in time to the War of 1812 in Alabama to see how it all began for the Rodgers family. My other series, Stuckey’s Trilogy, though not about family, is about the place I grew up. The first, The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge, takes place in Mississippi in 1901. The sequels, Stuckey’s Legacy and The Curse of Stuckey’s Gold, which take place in coastal Georgia and back in Mississippi, will be released in 2014.
Why have you chosen to write about this particular theme?
My love for this time and place emerged from genealogical research. Most of my family came to America from England in the early-mid 1600s, so I have four hundred years of American stories to tell. I’ve researched my family tree since before the Internet was invented, and now, mumble-mumble years later, I realize there’s so much more to family history than birth dates and tombstones.
I admire how you’re able to take real people from your geneology and create stories about them. Are you planning to continue writing in the same genre?
I will continue the Okatibbee Creek series as long as I find interesting female ancestors to write about. Since there are more than 9,000 people in my family tree, most likely, yes.
Wow–9,000 people in your family tree–you’ll be writing forever! What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?
My favorite review was for Okatibbee Creek and said, “Thank you, Lori Crane for the professional, well researched material, but thank you even more for taking us down through history with a compassion seldom found today.” That really stuck out to me as someone who “got” it. That story was very dear to me as it was my third great grandmother’s life. I tried to write it in a compassionate and thoughtful manner that she would have been proud of, and that review made me feel like I accomplished that.
It’s always a wonderful feeling to know a reader “got” what we set out to accomplish. As a fellow writer, I’m always curious about the advice you give to other writers about receiving a bad review?
As everyone knows, you WILL get bad reviews. One bad review for Okatibbee Creek said there were too many names in the book, and it looked as if I was simply trying to mention all my ancestors. Well, the reviewer was exactly right. While writing the story, I gave a lot of thought to how many names were too many, and I admit there are a lot of names. But I did this for a reason. I did the math and found there are probably more than 200,000 descendants of the family living in America right now, and that number will double or triple within the next twenty years, so I would rather make those 500,000 people happy than to water the story down to please one reviewer. I tried to mention everyone, so if/when a descendant picked up the book, they would see their great grandfather’s name and know where he fit into the story. In my experience, I think the key to dealing with a bad review is to write the story in a way that you stay true to yourself. Then you can shrug off a bad review, knowing you wrote what you did for a reason.
That’s excellent advice. Thanks for giving us a little bit of insight to your stories. Now, for the giveaways!
1. EBOOK! Every comment on this post during the book tour (November 4-16) will be entered to win an eBook of the first or second book in the Okatibbee Creek series, Okatibbee Creek or An Orphan’s Heart. Your choice of Kindle or Nook. One winner will be chosen. Prize will be delivered by email. Winner will be posted here in the comments on November 17, 2013. Visit each stop of the tour to increase your chances. An eBook will be given away at each stop. Tour schedule is posted at www.LoriCraneAuthor.com.
2. $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD! If you sign up for Lori’s newsletter by November 16, you will be entered into the drawing for a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card. One winner will be chosen. Prize will be delivered by email. Winner will be announced in the newsletter on November 18, 2013. Sign up at www.LoriCraneAuthor.com.
About Lori Crane: Lori is a historical novelist specializing in the 17th-19th centuries of the American south. She is active in historical preservation as a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the American Revolution, United States Daughters of 1812, and the Historical Novel Society. She is also a full-time musician and a member of the Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.