Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Interview: Lorrie Kruse

Yesterday you got to know more about Lorrie, now learn more about where the idea for A Life Worth Living came from and how it went from the idea stage to being a published novel. 

1. What was your inspiration for "A Life Worth Living?" A cooking experiment – one part man, one part woman, one part tragedy, one part conflict equals an emotional read. Actually, I was looking for a creative way to get a man and a woman together and came up with Matt’s accident but the book turned into something much deeper than I’d originally anticipated and I learned so much in the writing of the story. I definitely learned to appreciate my blessings.

2. Can you tell us a little about Matt's character and how his outlook shapes his story? Matt is really a fun guy. Nobody can say he’s perfect because he’s far from it. He’s messy and disorganized but he’s loyal, lovable, and he’d give you the shirt off his back. However, he can’t see what a wonderful person he is. Instead, he sees what he’s not, and when he’s injured, all he sees is an end to all of his dreams if he never walks again.

3. Can you tell us about Abby and how her background influences her side of this story? Abby is sweet. I don’t think there’s a mean bone in her body. But she’s not perfect either. She’s got love issues. Her father left her and her mother after her mother sustained a head injury in an automobile accident, leaving her mother disabled. After that, young Abby was passed from family member to family member, being shipped off to a new family just as she became accustomed to the prior family. Therefore, she’s learned that love hurts. She doesn’t want to hurt, so she runs from love. Needless to say, she’s shaken when she realizes Matt’s becoming more than just a friend.

4. Matt's accident changes his life. Without giving away too much, in what way to you think it is changed most profoundly? The reader quickly discovers Matt’s got a few insecurities when it comes to how he views his worth, even before the accident. He just feels he doesn’t measure up. I think he’s set the success bar so high that it’s impossible to ever reach the level he believes is expected of him. Of course, once he has the accident, he feels he’s slipped even further away from where he thinks he needs to be. Matt’s greatest growth is in learning that no matter what happens to him, he is loved and he is worthy of that love.

5. Abby's love life success and professional don't match up. How does this influence her decision making? Every time Abby’s let herself love someone, be it family love or romantic love, she’s been burned. She protects herself from love, but she still needs an outlet for her caring side. That’s what makes her such a great physical therapist. She really cares about her patients. Wrapping herself up in her work is safe. There’s no risk of becoming attached to a patient because they’ll soon be going home, back to their own lives. But if she’s in a situation that hints at romantic love, her internal need to protect herself will have her back peddling, trying to keep her heart safe. It’s kind of a catch 22. She wants to be loved, but she’s terrified of love.

6. Because this story focuses around a spinal cord injury, much time is spent in the hospital. How much research did you do for this story? At first, I didn’t do any research. In the early versions of the book, I just wrote what I thought made sense and made it up as I went along. Then, I found out you can’t do that. It’s a fictional story, but you can’t make it up. (Huh???) So I set out on a journey to learn as much as I could. I scoured the internet and read whatever non-fiction books I could find on the topic, but I didn’t stop there because I wanted as much realism as possible. One of my best sources was a major trauma hospital (St. Joseph Hospital in Marshfield, Wisconsin). They allowed me to come and interview their staff (trauma nurses, physical therapists, and a paralyzed social worker) for hours on end and several of the people I interviewed allowed me to repeatedly contact them with further questions. My other great source of information is a paralyzed man who lives in the same town I live in. Jeff let me ask him zillions of questions and he was so open with his answers. He’s the one who inspired me to write the mall restroom scene. I will be forever grateful to everyone at St. Joseph’s who helped me and to Jeff Mattmiller. Without them, A Life Worth Living wouldn’t have the texture of real life that brings out my readers’ emotions.

7. Although the majority of this story simply follows the characters, there is something of a mystery surrounding the night of the accident. How did you plan the details of this mystery? Hmmm. That’s a hard question. I knew I had to have unanswered questions that the reader would want to keep reading in order to find the answers. In my research for the book, I discovered that a person with a head injury often cannot remember the incident that caused the injury and often loses part of their memory before the incident, like a tape being backed up and erased. I put myself in Matt’s place…it would really bug me not knowing why I’d been out that night when I knew I should have been home, even more, when I knew for a fact that I’d gotten home, therefore, it’s a question that Matt often wonders about and one I hoped would entice a reader to want to know more.

8. Who are your favorite authors? Harlan Coben, Janet Evanovich, and Jane Porter. I could keep on going, but those three authors are definitely people whose books I can buy and know I won’t be disappointed.

9. Do you have any interesting habits or rituals when you write? Would you say that running around the house three times (exactly three times) and then rubbing the fuzzy tuft of fur between my dog’s ears fall under the category of interesting habits or rituals? Actually, it wouldn’t matter because I don’t do that. I’m a boring person. All I do is grab my laptop and sit down and write. The only writing necessity that I have is that I need quiet. I cannot write with any noise – no TV, no radio, no favorite music, no people chatting. I need peace and quiet and sometimes even that is too distracting. I often hear of writers who go to a coffee shop to write. How they can concentrate with noise all around them is beyond me.

10. can you tell us about any other books or projects you are working on? I’m working on a romantic suspense right now. I’m very excited by the plot in which Katrina’s mother has been murdered and Katrina’s police chief father has left a confession to the murder and has gone into hiding. Katrina doesn’t believe her father’s confession and the only person willing to help her prove her father’s innocence is a man she cannot trust. (As you can tell from that stunning paragraph, I haven’t spent much time on my blurb. Writing the blurb is soooo difficult. I put that off as long as I can.)

Thanks Del Sheree for letting me come talk about myself and thanks to all of you on the other side of the computer who read the interview. I hope you found A Life Worth Living to be of interest. Happy reading!


Visit Lorrie at her website to stay up to date on her books. 

A Life Worth Living is available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble