Author Spotlight with Lorrie Struiff
L.S. Hi Katie, thanks for inviting me.
I live in the borough of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, very near Pittsburgh. I’m a non-working mom and have two daughters who have left the nest. So, now is the time to fully engage in my passion for writing.
In my younger years, I taught at, and managed, a ballroom dance studio. It sounds glamorous, I know, what with Dancing with the Stars on TV, but very much unlike what you see. No choreography at all was involved. It was all freestyle and down to earth teaching. I did manage to reach gold medal status before I retired to take over the caregiving duties of an ill family member.
While caregiving, I began writing and I started a writer’s workshop at our local bookstore and managed it for seven years before I handed over the baton. Now I’m just a computer addicted writer and I love it.
K.S. Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
L.S. Panic is my middle name. Basically I am a short story writer and Gypsy Crystal is my first foray into a longer piece, but it will not be my last. When I hit that “writer’s block blank wall” or my muse decides to take a long vacation, I panic. Sheer, unadulterated panic sets in to the point where I try everything but stand on my head to grab a good storyline. Hmm. Maybe I should try standing on my head. I may go weeks in panic mode until something clicks in the gray matter to excite me. A good set of characters, a good plot, something that will get the juices flowing again. I can’t seem to work a story without the excitement of the “I can’t wait to tell this one” is there.
Many authors can work through the writer’s block. I think my panic state plugs up all my thinking.
K.S. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
L.S. In high school English class, we had to write a story for an assignment. Our teacher gave us a subject. Mine was “a magazine.” What sort of a short story could I write about a magazine?
I think I better confess right now to you and the readers that my brain works a little on the weird side. Even my writing group said I read and critique from a different planet.
Anyway, I wrote a story from the magazine’s point of view. How the people treated me in dentist offices, workplaces, in the home. I thought a sure failing mark was headed my way.
My teacher thought it very original, lauded the work to the class and gave me an A. He said I should become a writer with my wild imagination.
Here I am Teach, though many years later.
K.S. What genre do you write?
L.S. Lol. You are going to love this. I write, historical fiction, horror, paranormal, humor, romance, thrillers and to be honest, anything that catches my mood at the moment. I like stretching my wings. Why confine oneself to a certain genre? Gypsy Crystal is a combination of paranormal/thriller/romance. I had a lot of fun researching and writing the story.
K.S. What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?
L.S. Oh my, I have so many favorite authors. As in my writing in many genres, I also read many genres. If I have to choose only one out of DeMille, Baldacci, Jayne Anne Krentz, etc, I guess I’ll go with Nora Roberts. I admire her discipline. I have read she works at writing like a job and puts in many hours a day. If she does all her own research, my hat is off to her. After reading one of her books, I feel I would know the characters if they walked into my house. I could plant a garden after reading one of her trilogies, or say a spell and dance under the moon, or cook a feast for a crowd of people. She is so detailed. Her love scenes fit the characters. Northern Lights had it all, the setting, the distinct characters, the mystery, and the romance. She is a great author.
K.S. What does your family think of your writing?
L.S. My family thinks mom has a little hobby. “If it keeps her occupied, hey, we’re safe.” Lol.
I’m kidding, of course. They are happy that mom has a passion, an interest that makes me happy. And, I love them for that.
K.S. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book?
L.S. During my research on the Roma people, I was surprised at how much lore was involved. Also, did you know that the word “gypsy” is a slur? To call the Roma “gypsies” is denigrating. They are a proud people with rich customs and beliefs. The research was a great learning experience that held me rapt for days.
K.S. What inspired you to write your novel?
L.S. A friend invited me to lunch at a quaint restaurant. They had a fortune teller and of course we indulged. Well, the woman stuck in my mind and eventually, I based my character Anna, Rita’s mother, on her. Then I played the “what if” game in my head. Hmm, how about I give her a detective daughter with a few inherited gifts? Oh, we need a love interest for the daughter. A yummy FBI agent would fit right in. And, oh yes, a special serial killer the whole family can get involved with. And off I went into the wild blue yonder of my imagination.
K.S. Can you tell us a little about your novel?
Detective Rita Moldova peeked around the corner to make sure the hallway was empty. Making a quick right turn, she slipped into the autopsy lab to have a few minutes alone with the body. She tucked her white shirt tighter into her jeans and zipped her windbreaker to stay warm in the chilly room. The harsh odor of formaldehyde hit her nostrils and stung her throat.
Her heart twisted at the sight of the young, auburn-haired woman lying on the stainless steel table. A white sheet covered her to the navel; bruises blemished the once pretty face. Contusions marred the pallid skin from elbow to shoulder. The gash on the front of her neck gaped, exposing open veins and torn tissue.
Rita flipped her thick, dark braid back over her shoulder, snapped on one latex glove, leaned over the corpse, and peeled back an eyelid. In her bare hand, she clasped a star-shaped crystal hanging from the gold chain around her neck, an endowment from her maternal Roma bloodline. The crystal heated in her palm, warm energy pulsing up her arm to her shoulder. The face captured in the victim’s eye coalesced and stared back. Rita drew in a sharp breath. Bobby Driscoll! She had known him since high school, and now he worked as a uniform in her precinct. What the hell was going on?
K.S. Where can we find your novel?
L.S. Gypsy Crystal is for sale on Amazon, both in print and e-book formats.
K.S. Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?
L.S. Visit my website and read the reviews, plus follow my Gypsy Crystal page of Facebook.
K.S. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
L.S. I think one of best pieces of advice ever given to me, I’ll pass on.
“Have fun with your writing. When it becomes a chore and you have to push yourself with every word, stop. Only stay with a story line that ignites your passion. It will show in your novel.”
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