Behind The Words With Lori Roy

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Behind The Words welcomes Lori Roy author of the just released, bestselling novel, LAKE COUNTY. Let’s begin with where you’re from, where you live? Is writing your full-time job?

My name is Lori Roy. I was born and raised and went to college in Manhattan, Kansas. That is pretty much smack dab in the middle of the country. I currently live in Florida and have for the past twenty-seven years. I’m the author of six novels of suspense, and I write full-time.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing about twenty five years ago when I decided to leave my job as a tax accountant in the corporate world to stay home with my kids.

What does your typical writing day look like?

I usually start the day by walking my dog, a two-year-old labrador, and going to the gym. Then I get to work writing. If I’m writing first draft material, I usually get in about 2,000 words in a day. I’ll spend the rest of the day editing previous work or researching and planning.

Tell us about your latest release? Where the idea came from? Perhaps some fun moments, or not so fun moments?

My latest novel, which comes out June 1st, is LAKE COUNTY. After reading the work of Gilbert King, who has written extensively about Lake County, which is an actual location in central Florida, I became interested in the area and its history. I’ve also long been interested in the history of Ybor City, which is near Tampa, and its ties to the mafia. I would say the most fun I had with this book was when Marilyn Monroe walked on the page as a character.

Could you share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book?

Charlie Wall is another historic character in the novel, and I doubt people outside of Florida will know about him.  He is largely considered the grandfather of organized crime in Tampa. He came from an influential family and was ultimately forced from power by the Italian mafia.

Who has been the most difficult character for you to write? Why?

For any other book I’ve written, I would have an answer for this question, but with LAKE COUNTY, every character sprang to life quickly and easily. I can’t think of one that caused me any trouble.

If you could be one of your characters for a day which character would it be?

I think I’d like to be Ilene Holt, the mother of the young man who is the protagonist’s love interest. She doesn’t have a large role in the novel, but it’s an important one. She’s fiercely independent, shrewd and courageous. I might revisit her one day, because I’d like to spend more time with her.   

What’s your take on research and how do you do it?

I draw inspiration from my research. This includes traipsing through swamps, visiting small towns, studying history, interviewing people and undertaking a task such as dumpling making so I know what my characters are up against. A couple of my favorite research tools are two Sears catalogs I have, one from the 1950s and another from the 1930s.

Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write?

Pat Conroy and Toni Morrison were early influences on my work, and I like to go back to them when I’m stumped.

Do you have a secret talent readers would be surprised by?

I was once a tax accountant and am pretty good with numbers.  That seems to surprise people.

Your favorite go to drink or food when the world goes crazy!

I like a Woodford neat once in a while.

What is the one question you never get ask at interviews, but wish you did? Ask and answer it.

Does the writing ever get easier? No.

Quite the history lesson! Thank you very much for joining us today. 

Readers, here’s a quick look at LAKE COUNTY, which is available now.

Set in the 1950s, this thriller by Edgar Award–winning author Lori Roy reimagines the life of Marilyn Monroe, tying her fate to a dreamy teenager whose boyfriend runs afoul of the mob.

Desperate to break free of small-town Florida, Addie Anne Buckley dreams of following in the path of her glamorous aunt Jean—known to the world as Marilyn Monroe. When Aunt Jean plans a trip to Hollywood for Addie’s eighteenth birthday, Addie sees her chance to escape.

One thing stands in her way: her boyfriend. Truitt Holt is Addie’s first and only love and will be joining her in California. But days before Addie’s due to leave, Truitt does an about-face and gives her a painful ultimatum: stay and marry him, or they’re through. Addie chooses her dream.

Hurt and angry, Truitt unwittingly exposes the illegal bolita game he’s been running in mob territory. Now the Tampa Mafia is after him, and he has until midnight to cut a deal that will save his life and Addie’s. What he doesn’t know…his trouble with the mob has already found Addie and her family. She’s already in a fight for her life.