Cate: I’m happy to welcome Lorrie Unites-Struiff to the Author Spotlight. Lorrie, will you please share a short bio with us?
Lorrie: Thank you so much for inviting me, Cate. You have had so many prolific authors on your blog that I am honored to even have been considered for a guest spot.
I live in the borough of West Mifflin, about twenty minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with my husband. I have two grown married daughters who live very near to me. I have been writing for about ten years, short stories mostly, and Gypsy Crystal is my first venture into a longer piece.
I’ve led the writer’s workshops in my area for seven years and have recently passed the baton to allow myself more time for writing.
Cate: Please tell us about Gypsy Crystal and and where it's available.
Lorrie: Gypsy Crystal is a fast moving thriller with a touch of all the right ingredients. I stirred in a bit of gypsy custom and lore, added a dash of romance with a yummy hunk, and then spiced it up with a little paranormal twist. It is listed now selling in the top ten on Fictionwise for Eternal Press. Gypsy Crystal is available for MultiFormat e-readers and will soon be offered in print.
Cate: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Lorrie: Rita Moldova’s best-kept secret, a crystal amulet that shows her the last image a victim had seen when they died and has helped propel her career as a homicide detective – until prostitutes start dropping.
A ritual killer dubbed the Ripper by the media is terrorizing her town and it’s Rita’s job to help end his killing spree. The problem – Rita’s mystical amulet, passed down through her Roma bloodline, has failed for the first time in memory to do its job – and it’s making it a real bitch for Rita to do hers.
To make matters worse, the FBI has sent in hunky agent, Matt Boulet, to lead the case – and Rita finds herself attracted to him.
When Rita visits her mother – a gifted seer in her own right – and her uncle to glean what she can about the history of the amulet and the lore of their clan, she learns much more than she bargained for, and the truth is too much for her to swallow.
As the investigation continues, Rita learns she can’t deny the lore of the ancients, or her growing feelings for Matt Boulet.
Cate: I love your story’s unusual premise. What inspired you to write about the theme?
Lorrie: A fellow author and good friend invited me for lunch at a quaint restaurant for my birthday. We didn’t know a gypsy fortuneteller would be present. Lol, of course we took advantage. I was enthralled with listening to her peg so many things about me and not in generalities. I kept my mouth shut, not offering any clues to my life. The woman lodged in my mind and became Anna, Rita’s mother, in Gypsy Crystal.
As an aside, many of her predictions have come true.
Cate: How do you develop your plots and characters?
Lorrie: I usually choose characters first. Strange, I know. I write backwards. I like to take a few odd characters, mix them together, then see what sort of a plot I can come up with to have them play off against each other.
Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Lorrie: I wish they would. But, alas, they don’t. The only interruptions I have from them is during the day. As the plot line or a scene runs through my mind I’m constantly walking into furniture, grabbing the wrong food item to make for dinner and generally trying to multi-task writing in my head while doing other chores. I’ll confess-- I don’t multitask well. The story takes over and I never know how dinner is going to turn out. Lol. My poor husband.
Cate: What's next for you?
Lorrie: Next in line, ahem, to work on at least two of my unfinished projects. One is another novella with Connie, a sheriff, hunting for her uncle’s murderer. I will say androids are involved.
And Winnie Krapski, my older widow who is annoyed with her recent gift of spook-speaking. She is drafted into the COD Club—Call on the Dead—by Fat Phil and their mission is to grant the newly departed a last reasonable request so the soul may truly rest in peace. It’s a collection of short stories of Winnie’s misadventures. She is a hoot.
Cate: Any other published works?
Lorrie: I have short stories in various magazines. I do a lot of genre hopping, from humor to horror. Check out my website for the list.
Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Lorrie: Fast paced action.
Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Lorrie: The most challenging for me is finding the blocks of time to write. I can’t write in spurts as some do and real life keeps getting in the way.
The most rewarding is when fans tell me how much they enjoyed the story. That makes it all worthwhile.
Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Lorrie: “Wow, I never expected that to happen.”
It’s hard to surprise readers. If they are like me, when I read I try to guess where the story is going and what the characters will do next. When I have planted enough forewarning and still hear, “wow, I didn’t expect that to happen,” I find it of great interest.
Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Lorrie: My TBR pile is taking over my house. I’m currently reading an older one, The Whole Truth by David Baldacci. His Camel Club series was great. I love so many authors and books they have written, Nora Roberts with her Northern Lights, Plum Island is a favorite by Nelson DeMille. I have followed his main character though all his adventures. Really too many to name or I’d take up three pages of your blog.
Cate: I have the same dilemma! Where can readers find you on the web?
FaceBook, personal page and Gypsy Crystal Fan page.
Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Lorrie: Yes. If you decide to read my book, and I hope you do, please let me know your thoughts about the adventure.
Cate: Readers, Lorrie is giving away a book to a random commenter. She'll pick a winner next weekend, so keep commenting! Be sure to leave your email address so Lorrie can contact you if you win.
Thanks again for being my guest, Lorrie. Best of luck with all your projects.