Lori Foster published her first book in January 1996. Since then she has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times bestselling author. She has also received many awards for her writing, including the Romantic Times “Career Achievement Award” for two genres. Lori is a strong believer in giving back to the community. Along with another author, Lori hosts an annual Reader and Author event. The proceeds benefit many causes including a battered women’s shelter and an animal adoption organization. Readers can find visit her at her website, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

PonyTails (PT): Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?

Lori Foster (LF): For Bare It All, book two in the Love Undercover series, Reese is the hero. I was writing about Logan and Pepper from book one and then suddenly Logan called his buddy Reese, who I found out was also a detective. He said he had some secrets – and I had to keep writing to find out what they were.

Weird, right? I’m always as surprised as the reader! But that’s what keeps it fun, I guess.

Anyhoo… Reese was a secondary character and then, because of how big he was on the page, I knew he’d be book two. Rowdy and Dash also showed up in book one, and I knew right away they’d demand their own books as well.

Much of Bare It All was worked out in the first book. Reese met Alice, and we all knew right away they’d be perfect for each other. How that would happen, what would propel them into a romance, wasn’t crystal clear, so I had to wait for Alice to tell me some things, and for her to work out some stuff with Reese…

Yes, they talk to me a lot – often when I’m trying to sleep!

PT: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

LF: I write well with chaos. If the house gets too quiet my mind wanders away from my book. I usually have the music playing pretty loud (and yeah, I sing along and bounce in my chair) with a few candles burning and my many pets bugging me every few minutes. My desk at home faces the pond so I can see the fish jump and the occasional hawk snag a meal.

My desk at the lakehouse faces the lake so I can see the fishermen go by, the skiers and boaters… I like water and find it very inspirational.

PT: What has been your biggest adventure to date?

LF: In writing? Or in life? If you mean in writing, then that would definitely be when I wrote Joe Winston ( Say No to Joe? ) and both Kensington and Berkley wanted the book. To call it an adventure would be an understatement. I doubt anything writing-wise can ever equal the excitement of being wanted by two publishers who kept upping the ante. Fun, fun, fun!

In life, well you know, having kids are adventures that never ends. Lol.

We love the outdoors so we’ve visited lots of local caves and rock bridges, etc… But topping it all was the underground river during a lot of rain. The river was high enough that we had to duck our heads in places to fit through the caves. And it was so dark! Not for claustrophobic people, that’s for sure. For anyone who’s a real adrenaline junkie, though, I’m sure it would seem pretty tame.

PT: As a romance writer, what is your idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?

LF: My husband and I are not, and never have been, party people – unless it’s an afternoon family party. When we go to the movies, it’s usually a matinee. So with that in mind, I like easy, slow evenings where he cooks me something delicious for dinner (he’s turned into an amazing cook!) and then either the theater (not too late) or a good movie on the television, dressed in our comfortable clothes. Just us, quiet time, being together.

PT: What are you reading right now?

LF: “The Best Man” by Kristin Higgins. It’s delicious. But I’m reading it slowly because I don’t allow myself to read it except for when I’m on the treadmill. See, I’m trying to con myself into getting a little more exercise. So far so good. I spend 20 to 30 minutes a day (minus weekends) on the stupid torturous device. Only the awesomeness of the book is making it possible. This is my first Kristin Higgins book – recommended to me by my Facebook followers – and wow, does she ever weave a wonderful tale! I’m hooked.

PT: When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

LF: There was no one defining moment. It sort of crept up on me, at first telling me I was a daydreamer, and later telling me I was too introspective, and maybe fanciful. I started by creating stories in my head. Yeah, you can imagine what most thought of that. 😉 And then I wrote a few longhand, just for my own entertainment with no real thought of ever trying to sell.

I think it was when I attended a small local writer’s conference. At that time I’d written about 4 books. They were terrible – definitely not something I’d want in print. But without realizing it I was teaching myself to write. Anyway, at this conference I talked to some unpublished writers – several who had been working on a single book for years. I had that “wow” moment, and thought maybe I had what it took.

PT: Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

LF: Stella Cameron has been an angel on earth, giving me wonderful advice whenever I needed it. She will always be my hero.

At a local conference, before I’d ever sold, I met Stella. We hit it off and she was so kind that she offered to look at my work. I drove home (squealing all the way) and snatched up a manuscript, then drove back to the conference hotel. Stella sat on the bed in her room and read through several pages with me anxiously watching, my stomach in knots. And she said something life-altering. I don’t remember the exact words, but she told me I would definitely sell, that my voice was special, and that she was impressed.

That was really welcome praise, considering I’d been working on selling a book for two years. It had been revised, then revised again… and each time I sent it off I had to wait another 6 to 9 months.

Later that same day she sort of trapped a Harlequin editor in the elevator and asked if she was going to buy my book. (At that point the editor had had the revised manuscript for over 8 months.) When the editor waffled, unsure, Stella said she would just give my manuscript to her own editor with her recommendation – and the Harlequin editor said, “No, I’m buying her.”

I still smile when thinking of that. After waiting all that time, Stella got an editor to commit to me in an elevator at a conference hotel.

How could I not revere that woman?

Oh, and besides all that, Stella is an AMAZING author! I still love her work.

PT: Do you have any tips for readers who are looking to become published authors?

LF: Write what you love. Don’t share your work with anyone until it’s DONE. Don’t give up.

Thank you to Lori for visiting PonyTails today. Please watch for our review of Bare It All to go live on June 1, 2013.

Part of the BookTrib Blog Tour

About Bare It All:

As the person responsible for taking down a brutal human trafficker, Alice Appleton fears retaliation at every turn. No one knows about her past, which is exactly how she prefers it…until the sexy cop next door comes knocking.

Detective Reese Bareden thinks he knows what makes women tick, but his ever-elusive neighbor keeps him guessing like no other. Is his goal to unmask Alice’s secrets? Or protect her from a dangerous new threat? One thing is certain: their chemistry is a time bomb waiting to explode. And with no one to trust but each other, Reese and Alice are soon drawn into a deadly maze of corruption, intrigue and desire-and into the line of fire….

Bare It All is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions.