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Lori Handeland
Lori is a two time recipient of the prestigious RITA Award—Best Paranormal Romance for her novel BLUE MOON and Best Long Contemporary Series Romance for her novel THE MOMMY QUEST. Since paranormal stories of all kinds are so popular these days we asked Lori about her Nightcreature Novels and her most recent release THUNDER MOON.

With the werewolf a predominant Nightcreature in your novels, you have us all wondering. Do you believe in werewolves?

I don't believe in werewolves, per se, but I do believe in evil. At the heart of every Nightcreature novel is the struggle between good and evil. In today's world it's sometimes hard to see who and what is evil, but in the land of the Nightcreatures it's a little easier. Sometimes.

I also believe that there are things in this world beyond our comprehension and that magic exists everywhere. I try to remember these things throughout the planning and writing of each Nightcreature novel.

What function do you think werewolves play in readers' fantasies?

I've found that a lot of the readers who enjoy werewolf books are big wolf fans, which is true for me. The fantasy of changing into a beautiful wild creature for a set period of time, then being able to change back again is a common one. Who hasn't wished they could be a bird?

Why do you think paranormal stories of all kinds are so popular these days?

Markets seem to go in cycles, and the time for paranormal has returned, although this time I think it will stay for good because of the quality of the writers who have emerged this time around. For years writers have been saying that paranormal will be on the upswing as evidenced by the popularity of paranormal movies and TV shows, and eventually that prediction came true.

Why? I'm of the opinion that with the advances in science, technology and medicine there are so few mysteries left in this world, we have to go out of this world to find some. Man has always searched for the unknown; it's one of the things we do best.

Paranormal romance brings the mystery, the unknown, the challenge into a world we're familiar with. If there are monsters in northern Wisconsin, New Orleans or, like my most recent novel THUNDER MOON, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, they could be anywhere. The recently popular young, kick-ass heroine  has also come into her own. Young women are marrying later, staying in the workplace longer and competing in every facet of life. They want to see this reflected in their fiction, too.

You have an unbelievable ability to yank the reader through your story. Is this skill something that comes naturally, or do you work hard to maintain the suspense level so readers don't want to put your books down?

The Nightcreature novels have always moved at a fast pace for me. I'm not sure if it's the first person narrative, which makes things more immediate, or just the nature of the beast (ha-ha) in that the monsters are always there, somewhere, just waiting to pounce. I also made a conscious decision to write shorter chapters in these books to increase the pace. Combining suspense, paranormal and romance also insures that a lot of things have to happen in the course of one book - mystery must be solved, the creature revealed and the relationship at a point where it might have a prayer of working out - if not in this book, then sometime in the future.

What was your first paranormal story, and what prompted you to write it?

My first paranormal was a book titled D.J.'S ANGEL for Love Spell in the mid-90s. It was a guardian angel story, and I wrote it because my editor asked me to do something for their "Angel's Touch" line of romances. I'd always loved paranormal books and movies, and after I wrote D.J.'S ANGEL I continued to write several more paranormals for Love Spell (FULL MOON DREAMS, DREAMS OF AN EAGLE and a novella in TRICK OR TREAT, "Just After Midnight") before the bottom fell out of the market and no one would publish them anymore - but, of course, they're back bigger than ever!

The urban fantasy market is also exploding.  These are novels with a continuing heroine, several love interests and lots of monsters.  Examples of the genre include books by Laurel K. Hamilton, Kelley Armstrong and Kim Harrison.  My next novel, ANY GIVEN DOOMSDAY, will begin a new urban fantasy series for me and will be released in November, 2008.

What kinds of books did you read as a child? Did any of these provide an early influence on what you would subsequently write?

I was a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, which is probably why I started out writing western historical romance.

Then I discovered Stephen King in middle school, and I was hooked. (I saw him speak once at the University of Iowa, and he was every bit as fascinating as I thought he would be.) I was also hooked on Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney. I read everything they wrote over and over again.

I always wrote stories, and a lot of them were paranormal, or at least had paranormal aspects.

What authors do when they're not writing often feeds their muses. What do you do when you're not writing? What kinds of TV shows do you watch? What have been your favorite movies in the past couple of years?

My life is writing and taking care of my family. I have sporty teenaged sons, which entails quite a few hours of sitting on bleachers each and every week, and I enjoy that. This pastime also allows me to indulge my other pastime, which is reading. I take a book everywhere.

I watch three TV shows - "Lost", "Heroes" and "Supernatural." I just love them. The writing is superior and the characters fascinating. I'll wrestle the TV remote away from anyone when these shows come on.

I've been very disappointed in the movies of the past several years. Hollywood seems to have lost their ability to produce a movie that is a classic with a brilliant plot, fascinating characters, intriguing setting and an ending that flows logically.

What direction are your Nightcreatures novels taking?

The Nightcreature Novels have expanded in several of the books to feature monsters other than werewolves. MIDNIGHT MOON took place mostly in Haiti and was full of voodoo and zombies, as well as some other surprises.  THUNDER MOON has wolves but an exciting, and very scary,  monster straight out of Cherokee legend.

I am hoping to write more Nightcreature Novels in the future.  There's no telling what I'll come up with next.  That's half the fun.


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