Friday, November 28, 2014

Author interview *special holiday edition* with LoRee Peery

“Dahlia Delisi. She personified chic.”

“Dahlia’s low, no-nonsense voice and classy style had captured him in high school, but she’d been way out of his league.”

“Since he’d fallen for her, every woman he’d met came up short in comparison…”

These are lines (above) on the first few pages of A Blessed Blue Christmas by LoRee Perry.  
The holiday story is a Christmas novella written for Pelican Book Group’s Christmas Holiday Extravaganza. According to the book blurb (and I paraphrase), the holiday story centers on two main characters--Dahlia Delisi, a store owner whose faith is faltering and Sloan Letheby, newly transformed after a brush with death that brought new meaning to his faith in God. 

The author LoRee throws in suspense elements to her story which you will have to read to find out what happens. It's also a love story not just between the main characters but with their individual relationships with God. 

LoRee is known for writing stories that are "Redeeming Grace with a Sense of Place." She said, "Grace to a Christian represents God’s unmerited favor. I did nothing to be redeemed by the blood of my Jesus Christ. Sense of place can be construed as literary. My stories are set in Nebraska so a sense of the state and its people is bound to be on the page. I try to reveal God’s redeeming love for His children through my characters."

Ready to learn more about LoRee as an author and her book, A Blessed Blue Christmas? Read my special holiday edition author interview with LoRee Peery (questions from Alexis in bold, answers by LoRee not in bold)...

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Alexis: The opening scenes to your book A Blessed Blue Christmas are set at Christmastime. What is it about this holiday season that inspires you?

LoRee: What doesn’t inspire me about Christmastime? The only thing that mars the season for me is obsessive marketing…that means Thanksgiving gets lost. I try to avoid shopping among the masses. My home is an oasis with favored decorations, books, family memories, and music of the carols.

Simply said, what is your holiday story about?

Dahlia Delisi has poured her life into her store, The Blue Dahlia. Once her faith was strong, and her life was on a different course. But when Sloan Letheby left town, Dahlia drifted away from God. Sloan Letheby has been transformed. His brush with death brought new meaning to his faith in God, and he needs to right old wrongs. However, there's a murder plot in the way of his reunion with Dahlia. Can he find a killer before it's too late? And can Dahlia accept him...and God, back into her life?

Is there a special meaning behind the title? If yes, please explain.

You ask good questions, Alexis. I had to go back in my memory bank and don’t have a definite answer. It probably came to me as the result of several things. Maybe I heard Elvis singing “Blue Christmas.” Part of my preparation for each story is collaging. I was drawn to the picture of a black-haired beauty with striking blue eyes who brought to mind the mystery of Hollywood’s famous unsolved crime, The Black Dahlia. Ideas spark ideas and unless the Spirit prompts me differently, I go with what comes to mind.

What is The Blue Dahlia mentioned in Ch. 2 of your book? Explain its significance to your story.

The Blue Dahlia is the boutique Dahlia owns. Her business is where U.S. Marshal Sloan goes to speak with her sister-in-law, who is employed by Dahlia.

Dahlia is your leading lady and Sloan is your leading man. Give my readers a glimpse into your sketches of these two characters.

Dahlia and Sloan grew up in a farm community south of Lincoln, Nebraska. They were crowned King and Queen of the Christmas Ball their senior year. And then attached to each other’s side for the next six months, during school hours. He was a track star and she played an instrument. After graduation he moved away to go to school in the East. She traveled west to college. Life happened and kept them apart. Losing touch with Sloan created trust issues in Dahlia’s heart, and he lived with regret.

How did you create the names for your main characters? Do you have any advice for aspiring authors on how to choose captivating and creative names for story characters?

Finding names is always fun. I consult a list I’ve compiled list and a couple baby name books, one that adds scripture. I say the names out loud and the H/h names together. This year I had to come up with an alphabet grid because I realized that I’d used similar names for two stories…an upcoming release features Deena and Simon, names too similar to Dahlia and Sloan for my liking. I try to use one syllable in one name and two or three for the other. But it doesn’t always work out that way.

As per advice, authors should be comfortable with the H/h names because he or she will be living with them for months. A long time ago I heard a writer suggest authors should select soft sounding names for heroines and those with a hard sound for heroes.

Not too soon after the start of the story, Sloan says a prayer. Do all of your characters believe in God? How did you incorporate faith into your storytelling process?


I believe Christian authors have a responsibility to bring Christ into our stories. Not all my characters start out as believers, but they end up committed and become willing to follow the Lord’s leading. It’s hard not to sound “preachy” and I am probably guilty of that on occasion, when I speak through characters. Many believing authors connect God’s message without making sin and salvation blatant. In A Blessed Blue Christmas, Sloan’s quiet belief and the pastor’s Christmas Eve message impact Dahlia.

Why is Sloan so fixated on Dahlia (besides the obvious reason—he’s smitten)?

Sloan always regretted not contacting Dahlia and telling her what happened to make his family priority when they parted for college.

What was the most challenging part of writing A Blessed Blue Christmas and what was the most rewarding?

The challenge had to do with the plot against Dahlia’s brother and coming up with a farm accident that was planned. The most rewarding, as always, is when characters come to the end of themselves and change because of relationship with the Lord.

Describe your writing routine. Do you have a special place you write? Do you have a favorite food that helps you during your writing process? How often do you write?

I try to write something every day but life happens. It may only be journal entries, but words come out of me somehow, somewhere. I have just this year leaned the satisfaction of completing a first draft without any editing. My goal was to average 1,000 words a day for 30 days and I had 36,000. However I come up with a first draft, I then continue to layer from beginning to end, with a lot of cutting and pasting and repositioning, until I’ve got the story down.

When I’m planning a story I often go to the kitchen table, where I can spread things out and fill out questions pen to paper. In most rooms of the house, and my SUV, I have notepads. For some crazy reason, insight comes in the shower, or when I’m driving! I write the first draft on a PC in my study, the room upstairs that used to belong to my son. The walls are lined with eight crammed oak bookcases, and lots of my favorite things. Sometimes I play music, often my fingers fly in silence. Except for galley proofs, I print and edit on paper, from my easy chair during commercials. That’s how I learned to proofread on the job and things still jump out at me on paper clearer than on the screen.

I like chewy candy and when I’m working things out, as in thinking hard until sometimes my brain hurts, I chomp on gummies, cherry bites, black licorice, or salt water taffy. So far, I haven’t loosened any fillings. My reward for completing tasks is melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.

What are you hoping readers will remember the most about A Blessed Blue Christmas? What’s the take-home message?

That question could be considered a spoiler, but I’ll say off the top, Dahlia needs to learn how to trust. I believe if a reader is to get something out of Christian fiction, it’s up to the Holy Spirit to give the reader a message.

When was A Blessed Blue Christmas released and how much does it cost?

A Blessed Blue Christmas was released in 2013 as part of the Christmas Holiday Extravaganza. Last I checked, prices vary from 79 cents to $2.99.

Complete this sentence: My ultimate favorite Christmas song is_________.

My favorite Christmas song is “Joy to the World” because the title is followed by the reason for Christmas: the Lord is come. I like all traditional carols and “O Holy Night” never fails to give me shivers or bring a tear…I don’t care much for modern Christmas songs.

~*~
*Exciting news for my readers*: LoRee has agreed to give away one free e-book copy of A Blessed Blue Christmas! If you want to win, simply answer LoRee's question below. Leave your answer in the comment section found at the end of this blog post. The book giveaway contest starts today (Friday, Nov. 28) and will end Monday, Dec. 8 when I announce the winner who will be selected by me via an old-fashioned random drawing.

So here's the question from LoRee for you to answer:

Have you ever felt lonely and blue at Christmas? How did you overcome?

~*~
Author Bio:
A Nebraska country girl, LoRee Peery attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. The call of a cardinal draws her to look for the distinctive flash of crimson. A meadowlark’s melody always transports her to the farm where she grew up. A rainbow holds special significance, since one appeared the day of her father’s funeral and means the promise of the Lord’s presence in her life. She clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. You can find her at www.loreepeery.com or the Pelican Book Group site http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk


Connect with LoRee:



Buy LoRee’s book A Blessed Blue Christmas:

Pelican Book Group http://tinyurl.com/mf2392f

Amazon http://tinyurl.com/kwd2vvr

Barnes & Noble http://tinyurl.com/ktmlsnd

ChristianBook.com http://tinyurl.com/lfvv7xj


4 comments:

  1. Alexis, thanks for spotlight interview. You have a beautiful place here.

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  2. Gotta love a great Christmas story! I have had some hard Christmases. I just try to focus my energy on the good side to everything that's in my life instead of the details that I would tweak if I could. I think gratefulness is the key to happiness.

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations, Raelee! You WON! LoRee will be in touch with you to make arrangements for you to receive your prize.

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  3. Oh, Raelee, I'm sorry you've had some sad Christmas memories. Another key to happiness is to use what is behind us to better what is ahead of us. So be thankful for the past because it has helped make you who you are today.

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