WG: Welcome Lenora.
Thanks for stepping into my spotlight this month. To start off,
please tell us about yourself.
LW: I was born in
Georgia, but I’ve lived in Louisiana for over 25 years. I’ve been
married for 32 years and I have two grown children. I attended LSUS
but never finished because I became pregnant with my second child
and used staying home to raise him as a good excuse to finally start
writing. I’ve worked in marketing and public relations and I wrote a
weekly opinion column for the Shreveport Times for about five years.
I now do freelance work for a local magazine, too.
WG: Let’s talk about
your own personal road to publication: Is there some
individual, group or event that you can point to as the
catalyst/impetus that set you on the road to becoming a writer?
LW: I always wanted to
be a writer (from the fourth grade on.) I was the youngest of seven
children and I grew up on a farm, so books became my means of
escaping. I loved to read and still do. When I got married and moved
to Atlanta, my husband worked at night and a friend loaned me some
romance novels to read. I was hooked and I knew that’s what I wanted
to write. When we moved to Louisiana, I joined the local RWA
chapter--NOLA (now the NOLA STARS) and met several wonderful
mentors--Penny Richards, the late Sandra Canfield and the late
Suzannah Davis. These three women taught me so much about writing.
WG: Tell us about your
LW: Even though I’d been
writing all my life, I got serious after joining NOLA. I had a stack
of rejections, but I still decided to stay home after my second
child was born and write full-time. Those were lean days--I had to
give up shopping for a while. In 1993, I sold my first book to
Avalon. I was thrilled, but I was also sick with the flu. When I got
the call, I actually thought I was hallucinating! Since then I’ve
written over 30 books for three different publishers.
WG: How many books did
you complete before you sold your first? Have all/any of them sold
LW: I’d written four
books before I sold the first one. I’ve sold all of those except my
very first book. But I still plan to write that book one day.
WG: What changed most
about your life as a direct result of joining the ranks of published
LW: I guess the most
obvious change is being able to do what I love--write--and to be
able to do that at home, with my family around. The second change is
that I can now go shopping again! I’m able to contribute to my
family’s income and well-being and that is very important to me. I’m
not rich by any means, but my husband just retired so I feel good
about being able to help out with the finances. The other things
that give me joy are being able to travel and meet other writers. I
have so many close friends who understand this business and help me
through the rough spots.
WG: What about your
Do you maintain a set schedule? Is there such a thing as a typical
day for you?
LW: My typical day
starts around 7:30 with yoga, then breakfast with my husband and
reading the paper. Then I get dressed and head upstairs to my
office. I read e-mail, then I get busy writing. I usually write from
ten a.m. to around 3 PM. I take a coffee break around 11 or so, then
go downstairs to eat a late lunch and fall asleep watching Ophra!
WG: Do you have a ‘mood
setter’, something you use to get you going when you sit down to
setter--DEADLINE. Seriously, I just like to get in my office and get
to work each day. Sometimes I play music or light a candle.
Chocolate and coffee help, too, of course.
WG: Do you do a lot of
up front plotting before you start or do you just dive in?
LW: I am a seat of the
pants writer. I don’t do much upfront stuff. I just get a scene in
my head or I ‘meet’ characters and see where they want to go. I have
this strange thing that happens with each book. I can ‘see’ the
entire story moving like a fast-forward movie inside my brain. The
hard part is getting that on paper.
WG: Do you normally
start with storyline or with character or with some combination of
LW: I usually start with
characters. Sometimes, I’ll get this idea and go from there, but
mostly the characters start the story for me.
WG: Do you find certain themes or
character archetypes making recurring appearances in your stories.
LW: Since I write inspirational,
forgiveness and redemption are big themes in my work. And love
conquers all. I love a tormented hero or a beaten-down heroine--I
like it when they rise to the occasion and overcome obstacles and
WG: Has anything about
the way you work changed since you became a published author?
LW: Not much--I pretty
much do what I’ve always done. Now I just know how to do it a little
better--to the point of always having steady work. That’s all I ask
for--steady productive work and stories that readers can enjoy!
WG: Is there anything
else you'd like to tell us about your process?
LW: Just that writing is
very hard and it is sometimes very lonely. The business side of
things can really bring you down sometimes. But … if you are a
writer, you will find a way to write. If I can do it and become
multi-published, I know others can, too. It’s a beautiful dream, but
it is also a business and you have to know the business and set
goals and work toward making those goals become reality.
WG: Do you have a
favorite sub-genre as a writer? as a reader?
LW: I love all types of
books. I read several different type books, sometimes moving from
book to book.
WG: Is there a genre you
haven't been published in yet that you'd like to try your hand at
LW: Yes. I want to write
an historical. That’s on my list to do.
WG: Do you have any
advice to offer writers still striving toward publication.
LW: Listen, learn, and
work hard. Don’t be so stubborn about listening to good advice, but
don’t get so many opinions that you lose your own voice and your own
stories. And don’t give up.
WG: Is there some piece
of advice you received or bit of ‘conventional wisdom’ that you wish
you had ignored?
LW: I had a so-called
friend tell me once that a scene in my book didn’t belong there. I
DID ignore her, because I knew that scene needed to be there. That
book sold and became one of my bestsellers. You have to go with your
WG: What do you find to
be the most rewarding thing about being a writer? What do you
struggle with the most?
having steady work and being able to sit in a room with a view and
write. Struggles--always waiting for the contract on the next book,
wondering if you’re done and you won’t have another contract.
WG: When you’re not
writing, what do you do for fun?
LW: I love to shop. I
like to cook when I have time. I enjoy reading all my favorite
authors. I like long walks and just relaxing with my family.
WG: I love to collect
quotes, all kinds of quotes - inspirational, quirky, motivational,
profound, etc. Do you have a personal favorite you'd like to share.
LW: I love quotes, too.
I guess one of my favorites is Agatha Christie’s “The best time to
write a book is when you’re doing the dishes.”
WG: Please tell us about
your current project.
LW: I just finished a
book that I’m very excited about. The title is Secret Agent Minister and it’s a Love Inspired Suspense due out next year. It is very
action-packed and completely different from anything I’ve done
before. It was way too much fun to be called work, but I did work
hard on that book. It was one of those stories that came through my
mind after a NOLA workshop with Merline Lovelace. Merline and the
participates did a “what if?” for the opening scene and she
suggested I should write the book. So I did! So I’m excited and I
share this to show writers that going to workshops is important. I
got this book from that tiny idea!
WG: Tell us about plans
for future books.
LW: Right now I’m
working on a LIS continuity set in Texas (along with some of my dear
LI friends) and a suspense set in Texas.
WG: And before we close,
tell us how your fans can get in touch with you.
LW: You can write to me
through Steeple Hill or visit my website at http://lenoraworth.com.
CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS