Loree Lough

At last count, best-selling author Loree Lough had 75 books, 63 short stories, and over 2,500 articles in print. Dubbed by reviewers “the writer whose stories touch hearts and change lives”, she has earned dozens of “Readers’ Choice” and industry awards. This summer, Beautiful Bandit (#1 in “Lone Star Legends” series from Whitaker) joins Loree’s 2009-10 releases, Love Finds You in Paradise, PA and Love Finds You in North Pole (Summerside), Tales of the Heart and Prevailing Love (Whitaker), and Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry (Summerside). Maverick Heart (Lone Star Legends #2) comes out in January, 2011, while the release of From Ashes to Honor, #1 in her “First Responders” series (Abingdon), will coordinate with the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Accidental Family, #3 in the “Accidental Blessings” series (Love Inspired) and Love Finds You in Folly Beach, SC are slated to hit bookstore shelves May and June, 2011, respectively. Visit Loree at http://wwwloreelough.com.

It’s a Cake Walk!

CakeWalkThe other day, a friend called to invite me to lunch.

“Sorry,” I said. “Much as I’d like to, I have a book due soon.”

She harrumphed into the phone, then asked (in a bored monotone), “So how many books do you have due?”

“Between New Year’s Eve and Easter? Six,” I groaned. (To those of you thinking, You cannot groan a word, trust me. Oh, yes, you can. But I digress.)

“Only six?” she huffed. “Ha! As fast as you write? That’ll be a cake walk!”

Cake walk, indeed, I thought.

There are two distinct schools of thought regarding the ease or difficulty of a cake walk. My pal, obviously, stands on the “It’s effortless!” side of the line. Thanks to some research I dug up while writing a Civil War−set novel, I believe the exact opposite. According to the information I gleaned from books, articles, photographs, and interviewing history-teaching college professors, the dance is extremely physically demanding. (Why, even Scott Joplin mentioned its complexity and difficulty way back in 1902 in his “The Ragtime Dance”: “Let me see you do the rag-time dance, turn left and do the cakewalk prance, turn the other way and do the slow drag. Now take your lady to the World’s Fair and do the rag-time dance.”)

If only my buddy’s mind-set was more the exception than the rule. She, like hundreds of other avid readers, honestly believe that it takes only slightly longer to write a novel than it does to read one. (And to add insult to injury, they feel that they’re being quite generous, adding a few hours—or even a day—to the tally of their time spent with book in hand versus our time making one happen.)

So on behalf of every author who has ever been forced to endure the “Writing a book is a cake walk” mantra, let me gently set the record straight.

First, authors need a solid idea that can be hammered into a plausible storyline. Next, we must create dynamic characters who will “live” the story . . . and provide each with a believable background, mannerisms, speech patterns, and motivations. Then, we must come up with an authentic setting and time period, convincing conflicts, pertinent plot twists, satisfying (if not enjoyable) endings . . .

. . . and we must do all of this before we begin researching the time period and locale, and interviewing real-life people who are presently doing what our characters will be doing for a living. (Otherwise, how will we know what to ask these busy, hard-working folk?)

Only then can we begin the work of writing scene after scene that will eventually become The Novel.

Yes, some of us can accomplish all of that in a month (or less, provided we bar our doors to ensure peace and quiet, stock up on coffee and chocolate, and invest in the ergonomically correct desk chair where we’ll sit for twelve to fifteen hours a day). And some of us take months—even years—to check every item off of our My Work in Progress lists.

Whether I’m Writer Type A or Writer Type B isn’t at issue here. The issue? Writing a book is not, not, NOT a cake walk! And even if you tend to agree with the “it’s eezy-peezy” definition, you can be certain that dancing isn’t part of the process.

Well, at least not until we’ve typed The End.

Or when our editors say “Job well done, writer!”

As the book finally hits store shelves.

And when royalty checks prove it’s selling well.

But you know what? Even then, it’s probably not the physically demanding kind of dancing, because for one thing we’re pooped! For another, we’re already busy, checking items off the next My Work in Progress list.

I sometimes celebrate having completed the process by going to the kitchen, where I cut myself a generous slice of moist marble cake with fudge icing.

Now that’s my idea of a cake walk!


Maverick Heart