"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Friday, July 9, 2010

My Interview with Lorrie Unites-Struiff

Lorrie: Hi Kiki,

It’s so nice to be here today. Thank you for inviting me.

Kiki: What is your favorite genre to read in, and what is it about that genre that attracts you to it? If you like a specific mix of genres, please state that particular combination.  
Lorrie : I’m a many genre reader. I like sci-fi for its world building and adventurous characters. I love thrillers for the fast paced action. Paranormal for the creepy feelings they stir. Horror is usually a good read, not the gory sort, but the fear factor that makes me shudder. And I like humor. Any of these genres, especially when mixed only adds more flavor to the read. 
Kiki: I feel the same!

Kiki: What is your favorite author to read in that genre, and why? Also, please tell me a little about the best book by that author you have read.
Lorrie : I really don’t know how to answer this one, Kiki. I have too many favorites, so it’s an unfair question.
Kiki: *giggles* You are not the first one to say that.

Kiki: Do you have a Favorite Book of All Time? Of course, please tell us what about that book makes it your favorite.
Lorrie : I also have many favorite books. But I will choose one of them that I have found especially memorable for this interview.
I loved Plum Island by Nelson DeMille and his main character John Corey, and I continued to follow his John Corey novels, plus all of DeMille’s other releases.

Why Plum Island in particular?

DeMille wrote in first person, from Corey’s point of view. The voice is spectacular. He “downs” himself a lot and comes out with such great “zingers” that I wish I could think of for my stories.

The adventure Corey falls into while recuperating from a gunshot wound is such fun. Here is an author, while his character is with a hot babe, speeding in a small boat across a wild churning channel in the most terrible storm of the century while mercenaries are chasing him in a larger boat, shooting at them, and DeMille has me rolling on the floor laughing. I’m sure many authors are capable of this effect, but DeMille impressed the hell out of me. Those are my kind of authors.

Then there is David Baldacci with his popular Camel Club series.

Peter David is one of the most humorous authors I have ever read, also. The novels he wrote for the Star Trek series are filled with his special talent for making readers laugh.

Nora Roberts is a great romance writer. In Northern Lights, her characters are all so sharp, clear and yes, flawed. Her research is phenomenal.
I could go on to write a novel on favorite books.

Kiki: What is the best book you read last month, and would you recommend it to a friend?
Lorrie : I read Dark Deceptions by Dee Davis. It’s another in her A-Tac series of the men and women in the CIA who are assigned the riskiest jobs.  And yes, I would recommend it to a friend. She is another author that always pleases her target audience.

Kiki: What are your reading habits like? For example, how many books do you read on average in a week, what format do you prefer to read in, what time of day do you read, and what setting is ideal for you to get lost in that book?
Lorrie : Kiki, before I began writing, I averaged, and I’m not kidding, nearly a book a day--depending on the number of pages. I remember once reading Exodus by Leon Uris and staying awake until five in the morning to finish it.

Now, my writing takes a big chunk of my time and I don’t read as much as before. Being on the computer makes my eyes burn after a long length of time, but—in the evening, some nights I get off the computer early and just curl up in my tilt back comfy chair with a book, I prefer a paperback, and sink into the prose. This is especially wonderful in the winter with the freezing temps outside, and a hot cup of tea by my side. Heaven.

Kiki: If pressed, could you chose a favorite from the books you have written? Why is it your favorite?
Lorrie : Gypsy Crystal is my first long piece of work. Previously I have written short stories and I do have a favorite character. Soon, I hope to put a collection of “Winnie” stories together into a novel length format.

I like Winnie because she is an older woman who lands into the most absurd situations  by her own doing.

Winnie was struck by lightning while standing under her cherry tree in the backyard. She had a near-death experience and now has the gift of seeing and speaking to the newly departed in the funeral home, but only until the casket is closed and the spirit moves on. Fat Phil drafted her into the COD (Call on the Dead) club, and their mission is to grant the dead one last reasonable request.
Oh my, poor Winnie. All I can say is her rap sheet is growing longer with each story.

Kiki: How do you become inspired to write?
Lorrie : Odd characters float through my head. I like to take these characters, toss them together, stir well, then see what sort of trouble they can get into.
Kiki: Love this analogy!

Kiki: What part of the story do you think is your strength to write?
Lorrie : I feel I still have much to learn, but I think my strength is coming up with twists for the reader. My characters never take the expected course. In Gypsy Crystal, Rita, my homicide detective has a serial killer to catch. She is with the task force and a FBI agent. May I say a yummy one? Does the task force pin the killer? We take an unexpected turn here. I don’t want to put out any spoiler alerts, so I’ll leave it at that.

Kiki: Please share with ABA readers something I did not think to ask you about.
Lorrie : I’m so elated to have a longer piece published. I feel like I’ve accomplished a goal. I hope to reach that goal post many more times.

The publishing world has changed drastically and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad. What is your opinion readers? Good? Bad? 

Lorrie Unites-Struiff
Can gypsy magic help catch a serial killer?
In my novella,” Gypsy Crystal,” Rita Muldova, my homicide detective has pure Roma blood. She wears a mystical crystal amulet that gives her the power to see in a dead victim’s eyes the last image he/she saw. What a career boost.
 Now, with the task force, she is hunting for the “Ripper,” a serial killer loose in her town that is targeting prostitutes. But, oh, oh, for this murderer, the crystal has stopped working.
A yummy FBI agent, Matt Boulet, has been on the Ripper’s tail since the killings started in New Orleans. He has a yen for Rita and they have a weird connection. Plus, Rita would like to jump his bones.
Rita’s mother, Anna, is a great seer whom Rita turns to in time of troubles, but Anna can’t offer  an explanation of why the crystal has stopped working. Anna does tell Rita the lore of their clan. Rita is both shocked and horrified of the tale.
Filled with gypsy customs and lore, the novella takes you on a wild ride into the mystical world of the paranormal with thrills and chills to keep you turning pages.

For more details, excerpts and reviews, visit my website at http://struiff.wordpress.com/
Gypsy Crystal is available in print and e-book formats at Amazon.


  1. Great interview girls I too love to curl up with a hot cuppa and read a good book on cold wintry nights. :).

  2. ME TOO! A cold, wintry night with a book and tea sounds sooooo good right now with the rash of 90's we have been having. There is not enough iced tea in the world to make that cozy! LOL

  3. Kiki,
    I'm sorry I'm a day late. My daughter had surgery yesterday, plus we had some wicked storms in our area.
    I didn't have time to be online all day yesterday. To tell the truth, I was completely exhausted by all the after surgery caregiving my daughter required.
    But, I'm here today and I do thank you for having me. You have a great site.
    I'm hoping a few friends and readers will drop by today.

  4. Great interview. I enjoyed it. I like thrillers as well (although I'm generally reading travel and non-fiction) and agree with your choices there.

    I like Robert Benchley for humor because it's humour as in English. That can get me rolling on the floor when all those around me are stone-faced and trying to move away from me.

    You're right, Lorrie, publishing has changed incredibly with all the books in print. I used to think 40,000 a year was the figure but recently read it was something like over 700,000! Hard to believe but with the increase in the small presses that specialize in e-books, innovations in technology, self-publishing and on and on, it's pretty scary.

    Guess anyone hoping to publish also has to realize that they'll be promoting up a storm. Maybe the future will be in marketing seminars and selling innovative ideas for getting a book in someone's hands.

    Should be interesting.

  5. No worries, Lorrie. Family first. I hope your daughter recovers quickly, and I have the same hope for her mom :)

  6. Sorry to hear about your family woes, hope all is well. It is nice to learn a little more about the lady behind the story.

    I too love a lot of different genres, but I tend toward reading the older 'hard sci-fi' and some fantasy. Currently, I have discovered Jim Butcher's Dresden files and am plowing through those - good writing and very funny.

    I was lucky enough to read both Gypsy Crystal and one of the Winnie stories - I look forward to seeing more.

    I haven't had much published (only a few short stories) so I can't commiserate with the views on the publishing world. I hope that I can someday :)

  7. Great interview! So sorry to hear about your daughter. Hope she recovers soon. Wishing you much luck with Gypsy Crystal.

  8. An excellent interview, Lorrie. I didn't know you read that many series books.

    I don't know about the publishing world, since I haven't gotten anything published yet, but I imagine it has changed a bit. Everything does, you know, with the passage of time. Just guessing, I would say it's not for the better.

    Keep up the writing and reading.

    Take care,

  9. I very much enjoyed Gypsy Crystal.

    But I'm seriously excited about the Winnie stories. I really love humorous paranormal, and Lorrie has a real talen for humor. Those Twi-vamps can get so angsty.

  10. Great interview lorrie. I reviewed Lorries book and it really is a good read.

  11. Hey Kiki and Lorrie-
    thanks for the interesting interview. I enjoyed it. It was like two interviews in one!
    I'm anxious to read Gypsy Crystal. My friend just read it and loved it! I, too, like many genres but there is nothing like a mix of sci-fi and mystery, both of which I understand this book contains.

  12. Great interview Kiki and Lorrie! I have Gypsy Crystal on my TBR pile. :)

  13. Hey Lorrie,

    I have not been published YET :) so I really don't much about the publishing world. I know we've talked about the chance of being recognized. And that makes me feel a little depressed. Seriously, with ebooks, how is anyone just starting out going to be recognized? That's like sending a reader into a huge bookstore or in this case handing them an extremely long list and telling them that they can only pick one book. What are the chances they're going to pick yours? IMHO, Slim to none if you aren't already known.
    See, depressing. :(

    My fav is Nora Roberts. She has humor, sex, suspense, sex, romance, sex, paranormal and, uh, did I mention she writes wonderful sex scenes? lol
    Laurell K Hamilton has a vampire series, Anita Blake, that include all kind of weres. (Werewolf, wereleopard, weretiger and so on.) As the series goes on, her MC finds herself deeper and deeper into the preternatural world than she cares to be. (Think dark Buffy the Vampire Slayer not Charlaine Harris's Sookie series.)
    The most recent book I've read and found myself laughing out loud was Unzipped by Lois Greiman. Talk about a wonderful voice!

    Ok I think I've gone on long enough. :) Congrats again, Lorrie!
    All my best,

  14. Thank you folks for sharing your thoughts and dropping by.
    Yes, getting your name and book in front of readers is no easy feat. But, when you have authors helping authors, like Kiki today, it makes jumping into the sea of new releases a little easier.
    So, thank you for inviting me to your blog, Kiki.

  15. You are welcome Lorrie. That is why I have this quote at the top of this blog "A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller I really believe we do better by helping each other.

    Please come back anytime :)


In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.