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Lenora Worth


Lenora Worth

October 2016 AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

(To view Author Spotlight archives, Click here)

SPECIAL NOTE: This month, Lenora Worth has agreed to give away a copy of Lakeside Peril to one of my lucky newsletter subscribers! Check out my CONTEST page for details.

 


Note - This is Lenora's second visit to my monthly spotlight page. If you're interested in reading the interview from her first visit, you can find it at http://winniegriggs.com/author_vip_worth.php

WG:   Welcome and thanks for making this return visit into my monthly spotlight. To start off, please tell us about yourself.

LW:   Hi, Winnie! Thanks for having me back! I was born and raised in Georgia, lived in Atlanta for six years after we got married and then we moved to Louisiana where I joined NOLA (the local RWA Chapter) in hopes of becoming a published writer. I attended LSU but never graduated since my courses were mostly writing related and because we had our second child. I left work in the field of marketing and communications to pursue my writing career. I sold my first book in 1993 and I've been publishing consistently since then. Now we live in Florida and I love it!


WG:   What do you do differently now than when you began your career and why?

LW:   Hmm. Well, I was very naïve back then. I learned what not to do-Don't ask a published writer to read your entire manuscript, even if that writer is a good friend. I did that once and she was very gracious but I realized I'd put her on the spot. So NO, JUST DON'T (unless they offer). And two, I wouldn't take rejections so hard. I had to learn that they are just part of the process but those first few were crushing and I had a "Woe is me," attitude that needed adjusting. Thankfully, I didn't let those early rejections stop me from sending out more proposals.


WG:   What piece of advice would you give your newbie-writer self based on what you know now?

LW:   See above : Seriously, I've become a bit jaded and tough through the years so I'd have to tell myself not to listen to the horror stories. The sky is falling. New York is shutting down the publishing world. E-books will kill print!

So-and-so got a multi-book, six-figure contract. You can't control the whole publishing industry, but you can control how hard you want to work to make your goals and dreams a reality. Also, ignore those who will try to bring you down. People you trust will let you down and stomp on your success but you have to keep on going. This is your dream. Don't let anyone else ruin it.


WG:   Back when you first started writing books you probably had certain expectations and assumptions about what your career would look like moving forward. How has the reality stacked up?

LW:   My dream became my reality. It's stacked up very nicely. I hoped to publish one book at least but the odds were so against that happening that I didn't have very high expectations. When I sold one and then another and another, I was so happy and excited but I never took it for granted. I've worked hard for twenty-four years now and I love every minute of it. Even the bad minutes! This is the best job in the world and the only job I ever wanted.


WG:   Have you set new career goals for yourself and if so would you like to share them?

LW:   I do have goals that I hope to reach. I'd love to write another single title. I've been blessed to have written a couple years ago but I think that is always on a writer's radar, to write that big, lush book of the heart. My immediate goal is to continue writing for Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense, my two favorites, and to continue branching out into some Indie publishing, too. I think it's important to know the markets and to watch the trends. It keeps me current.


WG:   What changes in the publishing/book industry have most affected your work since you were first published?

LW:   Well, I think e-books have affected all of us. The mold of traditional publisher had to be rebuilt and the various markets have certainly changed. And Indie publishing has been like the Gold Rush but that seems to be settling down. I tend to be cautiously optimistic about both and I try to study the markets and then I just get down to work. Social media plays a huge part in a writer's life, too. It's a necessary tool for promoting our work so I'm always learning about how to utilize that. It's a good time to be a writer. We have lots of opportunities that weren't available when I first sold.


WG:   Are you anticipating any future changes in your own career- a new writing venture, a new genre or form, changing your publication format?

LW:   Not too many changes but I'm always open to what's next. Right now, I write for LI and LIS and Tule Publishing and Gilead Publishing. I like having several projects in the works. That never gets boring!


WG:   Has your writing process changed over the years and if so, how?

LW:   I've learned to write fast and to edit tightly. I still take my time and let my stories simmer but I'm writing more books back-to-back now. I started out writing one or two per year and now I average three or four per year, depending on how the contract dates fall. I like having at least three titles out per year, if possible. Sometimes more.


WG:   What is your favorite social media platform and how does it factor into your work? Do you use it primarily to interact with fans or for promotion, or in some other way?

LW:   I enjoy Facebook more now than when I first signed on. It's a great place to visit with readers. I like Twitter because it's a bit more quirky and interesting. I haven't ventured into too many social media sites because I spend most of my time writing. But I do love being able to engage with readers so I've also been attending a lot of readers' luncheons and events. That is such fun!


WG:   Speaking of which, how do you most like to interact with your fans?

LW:   Ha, see above. Reader Luncheons are great because you get to meet people one-on-one and actually talk to them. I prefer this venue to sitting at a lonely book-signing!


WG:   And what are your go-to methods when promoting a book?

LW:   I have always said word-of-mouth is the best advertising. I learned this in my marketing days and it has stayed with me. If you can get a buzz going about a book, you'll sell a lot of copies of that book. So I try to keep my covers out there and I try to alert readers through my newsletter and social media and good old fashioned handwritten notes and cards.


WG:   Are there any new authors you've just discovered and can't wait to see more from?

LW:   So many! I love Katherine Reay's witty books. I read Rachel Hauck's The Wedding Dress this summer. I have books all over the house, waiting for me to read. I enjoy reading a lot of the LI books in all the lines from contemporary to historical and suspense!


WG:   Do you believe in writer's block? If not, what is it that causes those tough writing days? If you do, are there any tricks you use to get past it?

LW:   I think people do suffer writer's block but it hasn't been that bad for me. If I get stuck with one project, I work on another one for a while. I have to admit after coming off a big contract that covered three years and adding on novellas from other publishers, this summer I took a long break to refill the well. And then I panicked because I had nothing. No new ideas pushing at me. I'd sent in some proposals that got rejected and I thought my career might be over. But then a new idea popped into my head and I'm back on track. I think taking that time off and getting a bit frustrated, too, helped me to snap out of it!


WG:   Do you find it useful to talk to other writers? What does having a community of fellow writers do for you?

LW:   Having good writer friends is so important. These are our people! I feel most comfortable with my writing buddies because they understand what I'm going through. I always tell people that is one of the best perks of this career, the many friends I've made across the country and some from other parts of the world. Talking to other writers about plots and rejections or the business side of writing is so important. I'd be lost without my writer friends!


WG:   Did you ever receive a piece of advice- on life, love, writing, anything!- that really stuck with you and informed any aspect of your writing career?

LW:   Yes. Don't compare yourself with others. You might not be the next Nora Roberts but you can be the first YOU!


WG:   What question do you get from your readers over and over and over again? And how do you respond?

LW:   They usually ask where do I get my ideas? I tell them I go and sit in Wal-Mart for a few hours. I love people watching! But I mostly get ideas from articles I read or the evening news or just by putting two different people into one forced existence to see what will happen. Readers also love to know about my schedule which is very boring. I don't get started as early as I used to but I usually work about six hours per day. Sometimes more on a tight deadline.


WG:   Everyone gets negative feedback from time to time- from reviewers, editors, readers. Has your reaction to these changed over the years?

LW:   As I said, I've learned to be tough. I just found a message yesterday on Facebook that a reader had sent back in 2013! She'd found a major mistake in one of my books and she was concerned. I know about the goof but the book is out there and it's too late to change that edition. I texted her back and told her how upset this made me and I thanked her for alerting me. She had a right to be concerned so I appreciate her. Some reviews or comments can really bring me down but that is just one of the many things I have learned to deal with over the years. I've learned that people can be in a certain place when they criticize a book so I try to thank them and be kind. Not always easy, however.


WG:   On the other end of things, what is one piece of positive feedback you've gotten that really stuck with you in a good way?

LW:   I got a letter a while back from a reader who said the book she'd just read made her think about forgiveness. She went on to say that because of my book, she had finally found the courage to forgive someone from her past. I was very touched by that letter and thankful that my story had helped her to heal and find a way to forgive the person who'd hurt her. Those type letters make up for the bad reviews and the notes pointing out errors or typos! This is why we write, to give readers entertaining but enlightening stories.


WG:   Is there a book that's been knocking around in your head that you've never gotten around to writing? What would it take to get it down on paper?

LW:   Yes. It's that long, lush single title. A book of my heart that apparently no one else seems to like! I've written the first few chapters but to get it all on paper I'd have to take a few months off and go find a tiny apartment on the beach with no phone, tv, or internet and just write. One day I might just do that!


WG:   What is one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

LW:   I have a wicked sense of humor that gets me into all kinds of trouble!


WG:   Tell us about your upcoming plans.

LW:   I'm hopeful about the next contract. If all goes well, it will be a multi-book contract and I'll be venturing into new territory. I can't share the details but I can say that the first book is a dream book and it's been calling to my heart. I can't wait to write it!


WG:   And before we close, tell us how readers can get in touch with you.

LW:   They can find me at www.lenoraworth.com, and please LIKE my Lenora Worth page on Facebook or friend me on my Lenora Nazworth profile, or follow me @elnoraw on Twitter. And please, sign up for my newsletter. I just started it this year, so I'd love to have more readers signed up there!


WG:   Thanks so much for coming back to update me and my readers this month. It was fun 'chatting' with you, as always!

LW:   My pleasure, Winnie!