Loree Lough

At last count, best-selling author Loree Lough had 70 books, 59 short stories, and over 2,500 articles in print. Dubbed “edgy, heart-tugging adventures” by reviewers, her stories have earned dozens of “Readers’ Choice” and industry awards. A frequent guest speaker for writers’ organizations, government agencies, book clubs, college and high school writing programs and more, Loree has encouraged thousands with her comedic approach to ‘learned-the-hard-way’ lessons about the craft, and 600 (and counting!) of her former students are now published authors. Loree splits her time between an Allegheny Mountains cabin and a home in the Baltimore suburbs, and shares both with her husband and a formerly-abused, now-spoiled Pointer whose numerous vet visits inspired the nickname ‘Cash’. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to write her at loree [at] loreelough [dot]com. “And please,” she adds, “visit my blog (www.theloughdown.blogspot.com) and my soon-to-be-improved web site (http://www.loreelough.com) where, if you’re patient, you’ll hear some hauntingly beautiful music.”

What Readers Really Want in Christian Fiction

I’ve been asking around, trying to figure out what real people want from fiction. Following are a few of my questions and the eye-opening replies I got from folks who are die-hard fans of Christian novels:

1. What is your least favorite thing about fictional characters?

I’m so tired of characters who are always the same.

Give characters bad habits. Let ’em have strange hobbies.

Let a character have a goofy pet, like a ferret or a mole!

2. What is your opinion on clichés?

Give me a cop who isn’t a “hot dog.”

Show me a politician who isn’t a crook.

Let’s see a good-looking computer geek!

3. How do you feel about descriptions of mechanical stuff?

Do readers really need to know how many feet of rope it takes to hoist a mast?

I don’t care which button a pilot pushes or which lever a mechanic flips!

Can’t a gun just be a gun? Don’t tell me what color it is or how much it weighs . . . just shoot it!

4. What’s your take on the guys in books “starring” gals?

I think it’s dumb that they are always such jerks.

It’d be nice if, once in a while, the dude is smart, brave, and nice.

Can we maybe have a guy who hasn’t been emotionally abused by every woman in his past? Please?

5. Where do you stand on characters’ “past suffering”?

Does every female have to be a rape or incest victim?

Why are there so many recovering druggies and alcoholics?

And amnesia? Ack!

6. And how ’bout Political Correctness?

It’s boring.

I know how I feel about things, so don’t try to change my mind in a story.

If you’re going to try to change my mind, make sure the story can support it!

7. Do you like plot twists and subplots?

Love ’em both . . . if they’re believable.

Hate ’em when they happen without so much as a hint they’re coming.

Hate ’em when they don’t make sense. If a character’s going to do something, it had better be explained to me so I can believe it.

8. What about crime solvers who aren’t cops?

You can keep the old ladies who put their crocheting aside to figure out whodunit.

You can keep the ex-cop-turned-private-eye, too.

And cops who work “off the clock” with angry, abrasive attitudes toward the department and other cops? Boring.

9. Any opinions on sex scenes?

If they remind me of a Valentine’s Day card, they make me gag.

Sex scenes that describe “the act” with no emotional components are dull.

I wish authors would recall their own experiences with sex and write about that.

10. And violence?

I fell off a step stool the other day and hit my head, hard. I was dizzy for hours. So how come characters in books can “take it on the chin” and carry on as if they’d merely stubbed their toes?

I crashed my car a while back. Didn’t total it, but it was too messed up to drive until the mechanics got hold of it. So what’s with these chase scenes where a car flies in the air and impacts the road at 65 mph . . . .and keeps on going?

I got into a fistfight in my youth. Nearly broke every bone in my hand. No way I could have clocked a guy in one minute then used the same hand to grab him by the scruff of the neck in the next.

Hmm . . . maybe Christian fiction readers should be writing the book review columns!

Love Finds You In North Ploe Alaska