Thursday, January 17, 2019

Once is not enough for Lori Handeland

We welcome Lori Handeland to CLC today, and we're excited to feature her first women's fiction novel, Just Once. She's here to tell us more about it, as well as some other fun facts about herself.

Lori Handeland is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than 60 published works of fiction to her credit. Her novels, novellas, and short stories span genres from paranormal and urban fantasy to historical romance. After a quarter-century of success and accolades, she began a new chapter in her career. Marking her women’s fiction debut, Just Once (Severn House, January 2019) is a richly layered novel about two women who love the same man, how their lives intertwine, and their journeys of loss, grief, sacrifice, and forgiveness.

Lori sold her first novel, a western historical romance, in 1993. In the 26 years since then, she has written eleven novels in the popular Nightcreature series, five installments in the Phoenix Chronicles, six works of contemporary romance about the Luchettis, a duet of Shakespeare Undead novels, and many more books. Her fiction has won critical acclaim and coveted awards, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal Romance (Blue Moon) and Best Long Contemporary Category Romance (The Mommy Quest), a Romantic Times Award for Best Harlequin Superromance (A Soldier’s Quest), and a National Reader’s Choice Award for Best Paranormal (Hunter’s Moon).

Lori lives in Southern Wisconsin with her husband. In between writing and reading, she enjoys long walks with their rescue mutt, Arnold, and occasional visits from her two grown sons and her perfectly adorable grandson. (Bio adapted from Lori's website.)

Visit Lori online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

Imagine having 24 years of your life abruptly erased—by the only man you’ve ever loved. That’s the chilling reality for two women with nothing in common except their intimate connection to Charley Blackwell. His first wife, and “ex” for nearly a quarter century, Frankie Sicari has finally gotten over the pain of Charley’s betrayal and made peace with growing old alone. Over their 23 years of marriage, his second wife, Hannah, has gotten used to Charley’s globe-trotting lifestyle as a photojournalist and his demons.

Life for both women takes a tailspin when Charley returns home from a National Geographic shoot in Africa—not to the D.C. apartment he shares with Hannah but to the house in Milwaukee he shared with Frankie before their divorce. More disturbing, Charley thinks it’s 1989, the last happy year of his and Frankie’s marriage, and has no memory at all of Hannah—a woman he thinks is “cuckoo” for claiming to be his wife.

Driven by three indelible characters, Just Once is a richly layered and deeply affecting novel about sacrifice, grief, forgiveness, and love. 

How did you decide to foray into writing women's fiction, after writing so many paranormal, urban fantasy, and historical romance novels?
It was because I'd written so many novels that I ended up writing Just Once. I'd never believed in writer's block, wouldn't let myself because I had so many stories in my head and, thankfully, contracts to write them.

Then my life went ka-boom. An only child of a now-single mother, when she had serious health issues and multiple surgeries, she needed me and of course I was there. I was also writing back-to-back trilogies for two publishers. I got 'er done, but I gave myself a bad case of fried author brain.

My agent asked me: "What book would you write if you only had one book left to write?"

The idea for Just Once had been swirling in my head for a long time. I'd tried to write it but gotten nowhere. But this time, when words were failing me in romance, they came to me for this book and brought back my love of writing and my need to write. Just Once has been a blessing in many ways.

What is a favorite compliment you've received on your writing?
Some of my favorite compliments are when readers tell me my characters are so real they feel like they know them. (Even the vampires and the werewolves!) Then an author knows she's really done her job.

If Just Once were optioned for film, who would you cast in the leading roles?
I'm thinking Michael Keaton or Dennis Quaid for Charley, Diane Lane or Rene Russo for Frankie and Cameron Diaz or Jennifer Aniston for Hannah.

If we were to visit you in the town where you live, what would be the first thing you would take us to see or do?
Depending upon the time of year, we'd take in a Brewers game, a Bucks game or a Packers game. Not only are the stadiums/arenas works of art but you get to meet tons of people and eat great Wisconsin food--like cheese curds and custard.

What song is currently stuck in your head?
"Bohemian Rhapsody."  I watched the Golden Globes, was thrilled when the movie and Rami Malik won because I loved them both, and now "I see a little silhouetta of a man, scaramouche, scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?"

You're welcome.

If you were to empty your purse right now, what is the strangest thing you would find?
Matchbox cars. I always kept a few in my purse when my boys were small to settle them down. Then, when they were grown, my friends were having grandchildren and they came in handy a few times. Now that I have a grandson of my own, I may as well leave them there.

Thanks to Lori for chatting with us and to Jennifer Musico for arranging the interview.


Janine said...

This sounds like an interesting story.

Lori Austin said...

Hi, Janine! Thank you. I'm very proud of this book.

Lori Handeland

Janine said...

You're welcome, Lori!