Monday, January 10, 2011

Whose Got Mystery Up Her Sleeve?

She's got mystery up her sleeve, I'm told. Come get a peek. Her name is Lorena McCourtney

She says:
I was raised in the eastern part of the state of Washington and graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Agriculture (yes, agriculture). I started work with a meat company that put out a couple of magazines, but I quickly realized that writing about raising hogs and making sausage was not what I wanted to do for a lifetime.
When I started writing again, I wrote short stories for children and teenagers, went on to short stories for women, and then turned to book-length romances. My next change was to Christian romances, and from there to Christian mysteries. My “Mission Statement” for my writing is that I want to use whatever talent the Lord has given me to serve him.
I am married, have one son, two stepdaughters, one granddaughter and three step-grandchildren. We’ve lived in southern Oregon for many years. I enjoy reading and hiking, and beachcombing the Oregon coast is one of my favorite activities. It is also when I do some of my best thinking about the characters and plots in my stories.

SDC: Wow! I didn't know you lived in Southern Oregon like me! We might be neighbors and not even know it! How about telling us about your book. I haven’t read it yet.

LM: “Here Comes the Ride” is Book #2 in my Andi McConnell Mysteries series. After acquiring her limousine in Book #1, “Your Chariot Awaits,” Andi has now started a limousine service. She has a five-day, live-in gig transporting the wedding party and Hollywood guests to what is looking like “the wedding of the century.” There’s the groom with cell phone welded to his ear. The bride who suspects she’ll be murdered at the ceremony. The over-the-hill movie star stepmother with an ambitious agenda of her own, plus blackmail, betrayal, and enough hot hostility to melt that life-sized sculpture of the bride and groom. And murder.

Along with chasing down a killer, Andi is trying to figure out her relationship with God and testing the limits of her aging anatomy with a skateboard. Plus the complication of her relationship with Keegan “Fitz” Fitzpatrick, the guy who is living proof that some men really do age like fine wine.

This book is right now available only as a Kindle edition, but a hardcover, large-print edition will come out in May 2011.

SKC: And you are writing in this genre, why?

LM: I did some 24 mass-market romances, then turned to Christian fiction and did 7 more romances. But among those 7 was one that included murder and mystery, and I realized I really liked including those elements. So my books since then have been mysteries.

SDC: Everyone is so different. Let's see about you. After a long day of writing or doing revisions in a story what is the very first thing you do?

LM: If the weather is at all suitable, I take a long walk. It clears my head and wakes my body after being glued to a chair in front of my computer all day.

SDC: How long have you been writing, Lorena?

LM: I started way back in high school with an article about my dad that was published in what was then the Alaska Sportsman. I wrote a few agricultural articles in college. Then marriage and motherhood intervened, and it was several years before I got back to writing. But by then I knew fiction was what I wanted to write. My first book was published in 1979, and I’ve been writing ever since.

SDC: It's neat to see how old dreams come to fruition, isn't it. How do you encourage other authors you meet who are struggling with the craft?

LM: Mostly I point out that having talent is great, but it may take considerable persistence to put that talent to use. I’ve never used a critique group myself, but I hear such good things about many of them that I may encourage a newbie to get into one. I also mention some really helpful books and methods: Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. Jim Scott Bell’s and Jeff Gerke’s books on writing.

SDC: What advice do you have for other authors just coming into the field of writing?

LM: Persistence is my biggest advice. As well as reading, reading, and more reading. But reading with an eye as to how a book you like is constructed. Why do you like it? Take the book apart and see what makes it tick in areas of both plot and characters. And study some books you don’t like, to see why they don’t work for you.

SDC: What other books are your reading right now? And Why?

LM: I’ve just finished Gina Holmes “Crossing Oceans” and Mary DeMuth’s “Daisy Chain,” both of which were heart-wrenching. I read both of them simply because I heard they were good. I’m in the mood for something lighter now, so I think my next read will be Nancy Rue’s “Boyfriends, Burritos and an Ocean of Trouble.” I’m also just starting Elizabeth Goddard’s “The Camera Never Lies.”

SDC: What excites you most about your writing experience?

LM: I love hearing from readers. How my books have impacted their lives and brightened their day.

SDC: And your newest project?

LM: I’m working on the first book in a series of shorter mysteries. I’ve written older characters in my last two series, and I really enjoy older characters, but this one is about a younger woman.

SDC: Where can the readers find you and what book is it you wish to share as a donation? What do you hope readers will get from your story?

LM: Readers can find me at my website  Or on Facebook where I have a personal site under my name, and a second one under Lorena McCourtney Author. For a donation, I’m giving away an autographed copy of the first book in the Andi McConnell series, ”Your Chariot Awaits.”

What do I hope readers will get from my story? A good dose of entertainment and a few chuckles, and, as Andi struggles with her new relationship with God, perhaps some help if they are also struggling.

SDC: We thank you for sharing a bit of your life with us, Lorena. And to the viewers. Tell us about the last book you've read and why you would like to win Lorena's book this week. We hope to hear from you now.

Congratulations to Sylvia Smith of Kinross MI. You'll be hearing from Lorena soon! Please come back again.



  1. I just read a trusty romance. I would like to read this book because I'm ready for a mystery. Haven't read one for a long time.
    Thanks for the interview. Now I know who Lorena is.
    Diane Vee
    Boise, Idaho

  2. Would you believe that I have been going through my Grace Livingston Hill collection and re-reading all of the books again? Just finished April Gold. I do have new books to read, but in-between books, I am reading the old ones. I also haven't read a good mystry for awhile and would look forward to reading Your Chariot Awaits. I have read other Lorena McCourtney books. I have all of the ones that she wrote from the Paalisades books, like "Escape" & "Betrayed". I used to subscribe to SteepleHill books, suspense, etc., but had to cut all of those out due to finances. Miss the suspense mystries.
    Also, I love fellow Oregonians!
    Thanks for the chance to win the book.
    debbiemcla (at) msn (dot) com

  3. All right ~ I love mysteries, and Ms. McCourtney sounds like a good author! I do hope I win ~ thanks for the opportunity and the interview!

    kjv1611as at gmail dot com

  4. Diane, Debbie, Amanda, and Christine - thanks so much for your comments on my interview. I'm slow responding because I was pretty well flattened by some kind of flu. I look forward to sending one of you a copy of "Your Chariot Awaits." Oh, if you'd like a free Kindle book, my "Invisible" is available as a free Kindle download now.

  5. Just finished Summer Snow. I would enjoy winning this contest to get familiar with a new author. I'm suddenly finding all kinds of wonderful writers I didn't know about before. I always have a good book going.

  6. The last book I read was Marta Perry's Murder in Plain Sight. Love the Andi McConnell series and I would be honored to have an autograhped copy. Her books make me laugh and there is a good bit of Christin witness in them. Because of Lorena and Kindle I am finding all kinds of good authors and books I would have never found out about.

  7. There's nothing like a Kindle, huh, Sylvia. I love mine too. And how right you are. Discovering new authors, or authors you haven't read before, are both part of the fun.
    Have a great day.

  8. I love Lorena's writing. Thanks for the chance to win one of her books!

  9. The last book I read is C.S. Lakin's new book "Map Across Time" it comes out next month and I loved it! I also have loved Lorena's books. The "Invisible" series was just hysterical! Her main character reminded me of my husband's aunt, she was so much fun and so spunk!

  10. As you all write in, keep Lorena in your thoughts and prayers. She's been ill with some kind of flu, which is why she hasn't had much chance to respond to your comments. We all wish her a speedy recovery.
    Blessings all

  11. I'm kind of coming up for air again. This stomach flu stuff is vicious. I'm so glad to see all of you on here. I appreciate your nice comments about my books. I'm looking forward to sending "Your Chariot Awaits" to one of you.