Hi. I'm Lenora. I'm happy to be here with these other great writers. Let's see-tidbits about me? Well, I love shoes. I have a lot of shoes. I grew up on a farm in Georgia so I didn't have a lot of money to buy shoes when I was growing up. I wore the same pair to school day after day. But I held my fist up in Scarlett O'hara fashion and promised myself one day I'd have lots of shoes. And so I do. And I make sure other people have shoes, too. I'm on the local board for Dress for Success. So I contribute my time and donations of clothes, shoes, and financial help to make other women feel good about how they look so they can find a job and get back on their feet--wearing fabulous shoes, of course. That's two tidbits--shoes and Dress for Success. The other tidbit--I love action movies--spys, saving the world, anything DIE HARD and anything James Bond.
My first name is actually Tommie, after one of my grandmothers. My middle name--Lenora--came from the other grandmother--Eleanora. My mother turned it around and stuck Tommie (I spell it Tommi) on front. And that's how I got my first name.
Character names drive me nuts. They have to be just right. I sometimes spend a whole afternoon researching the perfect names for my characters. If the name is right I can finally settle down and write the book. I love picking out names. I like names that have a little bit of symbolism and history. But sometimes in spite of all my research, my editors will ask me to change a name. I go into a mini-tizzy fit but I find another name and try to get on with things.
About my books--I love writing Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense. I always wanted to write love stories (I wanted to be a writer at an early age but I discovered romance novels when my husband and I moved to Atlanta, GA, and he worked at night so I'd stay up late reading. But I always wanted to write books with a bit of a faith element in them so I had a lot of "God" moments but I found a home with Steeple Hill and I don't take that for granted. I try to write books that are emotional and truthful and sometimes painful to write and read. I love writing suspense--it's a great way to get rid of angst without actually doing in any harm!
My favorite suspense? Right now, it's my January book "Heart of the Night". Eli Trudeau just grabbed me and wouldn't let go. He had a tormented soul that needed healing. Writing his story was both joyful and painful because I think I've been in that desolate place where he landed at times myself. I had fun with the book, but I also truly felt for Eli. I'm so glad he's found his happy ending.
My favorite author? Oh, that's tough. I have so many I don't think I can name just one. I love all of my LI and LIS sister writers and I try to read as many of them as I can. I love Margaret Mitchell simply because she never gave up. I love Flannery O'Connor for her grittiness and her boldness. I love Southern writers.
My best writing friend? I have lots of those too, and they are treasures to me. I have a strong group of friends who live over in Texas. They kind of rescued me once when I was going through a rough time. They include Eve Gaddy, Janet Justiss, Rosalyn Alsobrook and Kathy Garbera and Denise Daniels, who actually lives in Pennsylvania. (Long story on how we found Denise but we all love her!) We all write different things in different genres but I know if I called any one of them in the middle of the night, they'd be there for me. And I have very strong friendships with a lot of the LI gang. Steeple Hill has some wonderful writers who are also great, caring human beings. They try to keep me straight!
My most loyal fan? My husband is a strong supporter, but I wouldn't call him a fan. He never reads my books! I have several fans who correspond with me with just about every book that comes out. I keep in touch with them and they bless me with their words of encouragement. I'm just thrilled that people actually read my books!
Why am I so excited about this blog? Well because of all the smart, talented women here and because I get to be a part of that. I never blogged much until recently and I credit the women here for helping me make the transition. It's fun once you get the hang of it. And I hope I'm doing this right. This group is exciting because they care about their work, their readers and their fellow writers. And they want to spread the word about our stories and God's love and grace. What more could I ask for? Now if I can just make sure this comes through okay!