Lori Copland is a versatile and
prolific writer who began her career in the secular writing market
before making the switch to the CBA market in 1999. She is enthusiastic
about her writing and passionate about her faith. I hope you will be
blessed by spending time with her and sharing her journey.
You began your
writing career in the secular market. Can you tell us what prompted you
to switch to the CBA market?
I have believed in God for as
long as I can remember, but I know that there were years I did not
serve Him to the best of my ability. In the secular market, I struggled
daily that my work could influence young girls and women in a way that
did not line up with my own personal values. My secular books do not
reflect my spiritual beliefs, and I knew that if God did not open a
door for me in a market that I could enthusiastically write my love
stories, then I would have to stop writing. Thankfully, He did open
that door in 1999, and I wrote the Brides of the West series for
Tyndale House. I now enjoy my work and look forward to telling my
stories, knowing that they now line up with my values and beliefs. It
is my prayer that they lead young women down the path that God has for
them when they fall in love.
There is a lot
of debate today concerning the perceived restrictions in the CBA
market. Since you have written for both markets, do you have an opinion
about that? Is it even a valid debate?
This debate is the very reason
that I left the secular market. I eagerly welcome the “restrictions,”
though every publisher is different on what is acceptable. Life is not
pretty, it can get ugly, violent, and socially unacceptable, and these
are the very acts God sacrificed His Son on the cross to forgive. If an
author cannot accurately and truthfully portray the problem, it is hard
to offer the solution. Hard issues should, and in my opinion must, be
portrayed to make a difference in hurting people’s lives. In order for
God to take an impossible situation and offer a new path to those who
desperately need guidance, we must be honest and transparent in the
stories we write. God has given the Christian fiction author perhaps an
even larger congregation, an even bigger way to touch the masses. Some
people might never pick up a Bible, but they will read a good book, and
if it is fiction and accurately portrays God’s truths, it’s a vital
tool in growing His kingdom.
mysteries, contemporary fiction, historical fiction . . . over 100
titles in print! Your favorite?
Most often I write in light
tone, like Morning Shade, Brides of the West, The Western Sky series,
but sometimes my mind wants to dig a little deeper, challenge the
reader to more spiritual awareness. My new historical book, The One Who
Waits for Me, has its lighter moments, but it’s deeper in faith, trust,
and human kindness.
Another personal favorite is a
contemporary book I wrote for Zondervan several years ago, Monday
Morning Faith. I have not personally been on the mission field, but my
oldest son, his wife, and their children work tirelessly in the field,
so I feel I know a little about missionary life. After hearing stories
and seeing pictures from their trips, my husband and I are dedicated to
serving God by financially supporting my son’s ministry, School to the
So to answer your question, I
love writing historical and contemporary, but it is too difficult to
pick one title and call it my favorite!
What do you
enjoy most about writing historical fiction?
Writing historical fiction is an
adventure. I enjoy the character traits that I’m able to portray during
a particular period of history, along with the ethical and courtly code
of men, woman, and children. I love a society where a man’s word was
his handshake, women were treated in a respectful and courteous manner,
children did not rule the household, and parents and grandparents were
respected and cared for in their old age. Most of all, God was a common
and shared belief in almost every household, His goodness not to be
whispered but touted by all who believed.
What has drawn
you to write a series set just months after the Civil War? Was it
difficult to capture different races in your story?
The Civil War, with all its
atrocities and tragedies, forever changed our country. The One Who
Waits for Me is set against the backdrop of the waning days of the
Civil War, as soldiers were returning home. Most have hopes of a better
life, and that is where my story picks up. Pierce Montgomery, Gray
Eagle, and Samuel are going home to an uncertain future. Pierce wants a
glass of sweet tea and to claim the land he’s purchased. Gray Eagle has
no specific plans other than to check on his Cherokee family. Samuel
wants to take over his aging papa’s pulpit.
It is difficult to accurately
portray different races without including prejudices and often views
that I have never felt, much less think about. I have received some
from readers when I remain true to historical traits,
and that’s a minus point, but in general I’ve discovered that mankind
is alike. There’s good and bad in everyone, and it would be difficult
to write a story without objective traits, and at times I find it
challenging to balance between fact and not offending my readers.
romance is the common thread in all of your work. Why does this draw
you? What do you try to encourage in your readers’ relationships?
It is said that any good story
contains an element of romance, and I like that approach, but I also
write romance focused. Two very different types of stories. I prefer
the former because I’m a storyteller at heart, and I can best tell my
stories the way they form in my mind. A romance must be focused
squarely on hero and heroine. Everything else is portrayed in the
background. My stories tend to want to focus on everyone, with a main
heroine. I love small town settings, with varied and flawed characters.
With that said, when it comes down to it, I write what the publishers
will buy from me.
you tell us what a typical writing day looks like for you?
It starts with a good cup of
coffee, French vanilla creamer, and I’m on my way to my computer. I
usually work until around noon, and then stop the writing process and
focus on other business matters, unless I’m on a deadline, at which
point that’s my only focus until I push the SEND button. I’ve used
several motivational working habits over the years, coffee shops,
libraries, but this past year I simply go into my office, sit down, and
work. There’s no easy way to share how to complete a full manuscript
other than weeks and months of hard, focused work.
When I go to bed around 11 PM,
I’m still plotting, planning, and stewing. What can I say? Writing is
difficult; having written is the best part.
How has social
media impacted your career?
Without the media it’s
impossible for a book to gain the kind of exposure it needs. Word of
mouth is good, but the more often your name is in front of the reader
the better. I work with what I consider to be one of the best media
agencies in the business, and with every title my sales grow. Internet
proves to be one of the most valuable avenues for marketing.
most unusual response you have ever had from a reader? The most
I have gotten letters from fans
praising other authors’ titles. I still receive mail from readers who
purchased at a used bookstore my books written for the secular market
and was sorely disappointed in the material.
The most surprising and
outlandish response I received came a few years back. The misguided
reader accused me of writing a “thinly veiled” lesbian book. I’m still
shaking my head over that one.
These types of letter are hard
to read. Fiction writers, in order to remain true to facts, often must
portray the not so pretty side of mankind. Material, taken out of
context, can be devastating to a reader, and I caution the fans to take
into account the time and mind-set of various periods in history before
passing judgment on the story and on the author.
What has God
done in your life through your writing that is most exciting to you?
The most exciting thing to
happen in my writing career is the formation of Hidden Bluff Ministry
and School to the Nations. This is a playful teaser, but very shortly
you will be able to read on my Website my personal story on the way God
worked to start this now thriving ministry. Though it is unlikely that
I will ever be on an overseas mission field, I will strive to serve
these missions through my work, and with God’s strength.
Do you have
any words of encouragement you’d like to share with your readers?
I’d like to share what
encourages me, sort of like a personal weather forecast. Life is sunny
with occasional violent thunderstorms. We all get the “call” in the
middle of the night, the one that tests our very souls, but it becomes
clearer to me every day that God is in charge. Do the best you can with
what you have, and learn to be a lemonade connoisseur. Plenty of lemons
will come your way, but stay close to the Father, and through it all
you’ll have the sweetest of faith, hope, and love to help you reap the
rewards God has in store.
I’ve started to daily include
one favorite verse in my devotions, found in Romans 14 (The Message)
It’s a gentle reminder of how I want to live my life: “Eventually,
we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of
judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going
to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in
Scripture: ‘As I live and breathe,’ God says, ‘every knee will bow
before me; every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am
God.’ So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking
care of your own life before God.”
Ford has been a resident of
Alabama for more than ten years. Originally from Georgia, she holds a
Bachelor’s degree in English from Brenau Women’s College. She has spent
the past 9 years in sales and marketing and has been an avid reader of
Christian Fiction for more than 20 years.
A mother of two teen sons and married to a technical writer and Army
veteran, Kim’s life is full and blessed. She and her husband also
volunteer as teachers for a resident rehab program for women with
life-controlling issues. She uses her fiction to encourage the ladies
she teaches. She blogs at: Window
To My World