I always say that the internet is about making connections and building relationships and no one can convince me otherwise. Back in May, from thousands of miles away, Author Lorrie Thomson sent me my first photo of The Glass Wives out in the wild! Returning the favor is sweet, indeed. Alas, I don’t have a bookstore nearby, but I do have this blog! So what’s the next best thing to being there with Lorrie in that store with both of our books? Talking about to Lorrie about EQUILIBRIUM here on Women’s Fiction Writers.
Please welcome Lorrie Thomson to Women’s Fiction Writers!
Debut Women’s Fiction Author Lorrie Thomson Writes A Story About Finding Balance And Moving Forward (Which Is Also Great Advice For Writers)
Amy: Congratulations on your debut novel EQUILIBRIUM! What sparked the idea for the novel? How or why did you decide to add the element of bipolar disorder to a story already strewn with the different subject of grief? (Kudos to you!)
Lorrie: Thank you, Amy, for having me on Women’s Fiction Writers. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and I’m a big fan!
Now, to your question.
As with most works of fiction, Equilibrium started with two questions: What if? and Why?
What if the mother of two teenagers was raising her family by herself a year after her husband’s suicide? Why did the husband commit suicide? The husband committed suicide after years of struggling with bipolar disorder.
For some unknown reason, bipolar disorder was on my radar. I kept hearing about it on television, reading about it in print media, and it seemed like a great place to start a story. Through research, I became more and more fascinated with the topic of mood disorders. We all experience fluctuations in mood. How do we know when we’ve crossed the line into a dangerous illness? Since bipolar disorder is hereditary, the question is a natural source of concern for the family in Equilibrium.
Amy: As a debut author, what has been the most unexpected part of your journey to publication?
Lorrie: I’m not sure whether this was entirely unexpected. But after you sign with an agent, be prepared for at least one round of revisions. When you sell, get ready for another. A great editor helps you make the story better and, hopefully, imparts you with knowledge that carries into your next project.
Amy: Would you share with us how you found your agent and what it was like to go from query to agent to editor/publisher?
Lorrie: I found my agent through a cold query. It really happens! I heard from a writer on a writers’ loop that a new agent was joining BookEnds, and open to women’s fiction queries. The query for Equilibrium quickly went from a request for a partial to a request for the full manuscript, and then The Agent Call. Lightning-quick, after seven years of querying three different manuscripts! I can still remember seeing Jessica Alvarez on caller ID, and thinking, this is it. Somehow, I managed to walk up two flights of stairs, phone to my ear, and flip through the notes I’d prepared for The Agent Call. Before Equilibrium went on submission, we went through a round of revisions. (There are always revisions!) And then The Wait, reminiscent of the days on submission with agents, and just as emotional. The day I accepted an offer from Kensington Books was just as exciting as I’d imagined. Toasts and jumping up and down. It continues to feel surreal.
Amy: You have two more books coming out with Kensington in the next two years! That’s fabulous! Can you share with us a little about the new books?
Lorrie: The 2014 book, What’s Left Behind, is about Abby Stone, a single mom who’s still grieving the tragic death of her college-aged son when his pregnant girlfriend lands on her doorstep, ready to offer her a second chance at motherhood.
I can’t yet offer a blurb for the 2015 book, but I will tell you the story features Celeste Barnes, Abby’s best friend from What’s Left Behind. The 2014 and 2015 books are stand-alones with connected characters.
Amy: How do you define women’s fiction? Does the label bother you?
Lorrie: I define women’s fiction as any story that focuses on a women’s journey from fracture to wholeness. That story may, or may not, contain romantic elements. Either way, the woman always saves herself.
The label doesn’t bother me within the publishing industry. Writers, agents, and publisher “get” the shorthand. Many readers “get” it too. But in certain company I call my novels book club fiction, a term that doesn’t leave out half the population.
Amy: What is your best advice for writers of women’s fiction?
Lorrie: Find a group of likeminded writers for critique and encouragement. Learn as much as you can about the craft of storytelling through books and workshops, both on-line and in-person. Read, read, read. Learn about the business end of writing, how to craft a synopsis and that all-important query letter. Then the challenging yet simple key: Never give up.
Lorrie Thomson lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. When she’s not reading, writing, or hunting for collectibles, they let her tag along for Casco Bay camping, paddles along the Saco, and “strolls” up 4,000-footers in the picturesque White Mountains.
To learn more about Lorrie and arrange for a book club chat, visit her website at www.lorrie-thomson.com. You can also find Lorrie @LorrieThomson on Twitter.