22 January 2014

Author Interview, Book Spotlight & Preview, Giveaway: Loralee Lillibridge discusses romance & mystery with a Texas flair

Fab Fantasy Fiction is pleased to welcome author Loralee Lillibridge whose Texas roots show proudly in her ALL THAT MATTERS, a contemporary romances, as well as The Joyful Noise Mystery Series for Bell Bridge Books that debuts this summer with BRINGING IN THE THIEVES. 


Loralee, welcome. May I get you a cup of coffee or tea? Perhaps hot chocolate? We've had quite a winter storm here, so I do think we'll both want to warm up a bit. I also have some chocolate chip cookie bars that I just baked, would you like one?

Thanks so much for having me here today, Emsy. I'd love to share a cup of coffee with you and I never turn down a chocolate chip cookie. <g>

(EVW) Both your contemporary romances and your new mystery series feature Texas locations. Could you tell us a little about your inspiration? I know you're not living in Texas any longer, but it looks like your heart is still there.
(LL) Yes, my heart will always be deep in my home state, but I do love the four seasons here in West Michigan. Growing up in the Hill Country of Texas, my love for horses and cowboys just sort of evolved naturally. We live in the country now not far from Lake Michigan and I wouldn't have it any other way. Lots of room for kids, grandkids and now, great-grandkids.

(EVW) Small town communities also seem to be a strong theme. What are some of your favorite characters to date? (I can't wait to read The Joyful Noise series as it just sounds like so much FUN!)
(LL) I've always lived in small towns and that's been a big influence on where I set my stories. ALL THAT MATTERS, the small town setting is similar to the town where I grew up. Buddy Lee and Faith are my very favorite characters and writing their story was one of the most emotional experiences I've had in my writing career. As for small towns, there's something special about sittin' and rockin' on the front porch with a glass of sweet tea and a piece of pecan pie that makes you want to say Ahhh! 
I think you'll like the JOYFUL NOISE mysteries series when the first book comes out. It's a fun story to write because I never know what the characters will do next. And of course, it's set in a small town, too.

(EVW) What's most intriguing to you about your "bad boy" heroes in ALL THAT MATTERS and BRINGING IN THE THIEVES?
(LL) Well, Buddy Lee Walker had a "bad boy" reputation because his daddy's in prison, but the truth is, he's got a heart of gold. He didn't think he was worthy of Faith because he came from the wrong side of the tracks, so it's up to Faith to show him love is really all that matters. The people in the small town of Liberty, Texas, have so many preconceived opinions about Buddy Lee that proving them wrong was the fun part of writing his story.

In BRINGING IN THE THIEVES, Joe Camps is an ex-con who must redeem himself in the eyes of the very conservative community of Ruby Springs, Texas.Getting mixed up with Frankie Lou and her JOYFUL NOISE singers wasn't what he had in mind, but in Ruby Springs, you never know who the bad guy will turn out to be.

(EVW) Looking at the description of BRINGING IN THE THIEVES it looks like this mystery will have a possibility of some romance too. Does it?
(LL) Yes, there's a hint of romance in the first book of the series that carries on into Book #2. I mean, it's just bound to happen in those small towns in spite of all that murder and mayhem, you know?

(EVW) What writer (or writers) provided the most inspiration to you growing up? Now? What's on your bookshelf?
(LL)Oh, wow, good questions, Emsy. Growing up I have to say my dad gave me the gift of imagination by reading to me at an early age. My dad was an artist and poet, as well as a preacher. There was always books in our house. I loved make-believe and books that took me places beyond my dreams. As I grew older, I read Nancy Drew (naturally) and of course, lots of horse stories and Westerns. My reading tastes bounced around until I found The Flame and the Flower by Lavryle Spencer and really loved the genre. From historical romance to contemporary romance to romantic suspense and cozy mysteries...I can't say I prefer one over another - I love 'em all! I am inspired now by so many writers, I dare not specify for fear of leaving some out. I have a wonderful group of critique partners who support me in so many ways, they are the biggest influence in my writing life now. I've also made wonderful friends through my membership in Romance Writers of America and the Mid-Michigan Chapter of RWA who continue to enrich my life every day. 

On my bookshelf are books by Eileen Dreyer, Kathleen Eagle, Deborah Smith, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Betina Krahn, Deborah Grace Staley, Robyn Carr, Laura Childs, Julie Hyzy, Susan Wittig Albert and that's just a few. To Kill A Mockingbird, The Help, Gone With the Wind...okay, I'll stop now. I'm finding new authors every day to add to my book shelves and my Kindle. The Internet has opened so many doors for new writers. I hope the good Lord lets me live long enough to read all of them.

     All the money in the world can’t bring you happiness if the strings attached are pulled so tight you can’t breathe.
      FAITH MORGAN couldn’t breathe.  Controlled all her life by a dominating father whose wealth influenced his actions and prejudices, Faith spent her teen years defying every rule Lionel Morgan tried to enforce. Her behavior gained her a reputation, but not exactly the one she longed for.
   BUDDY LEE WALKER was Boyd Walker’s son and mad as hell about it. He hadn’t been anybody’s boy since his mama died when he was six. When his daddy went to prison for a bungled bank robbery and armed assault of a police officer, sixteen-year old Buddy Lee shouted “Hallelujah!” and set about working hard to live down his daddy’s reputation.
      On the way home one night from his job as bagger at the local grocery store, young Buddy Lee came across Faith walking along the road madder than a wet hen, but a whole lot prettier. Seems her date turned out to be a jerk with only one thing on his mind, so she smacked him a good one and jumped out of his car. She’d disobeyed her father by sneaking out of the house to meet the boy so when Lionel Morgan caught Buddy Lee bringing her home, he blamed young Walker for being a bad influence on his daughter, calling him all kinds of names, starting with white trash.
     Buddy Lee took the blame without saying a word, knowing he pretty much had no choice against the town’s banker, and Faith discovered a friend she could trust. They were both seventeen. From that night on, Buddy Lee discovered himself up to his ass in alligators. But he kept on being Faith’s champion, barely staying ahead of the ‘gators because being Faith’s friend was the only good thing going on in his life right then and he knew it wouldn’t last forever.
   Now, six years later, Faith is back in Buddy Lee’s life asking for his help again, only this time she needs a favor that has Buddy Lee facing the granddaddy of all those alligators in his past. Will Faith’s startling request convince Buddy Lee to do something stupid—like agreeing to her cockamamie scheme?  Will their past friendship become a love that’s ALL THAT MATTERS? 

Tell-Tale Publishing Group, LLC
ISBN 9780983755203
Price $2.99
Publication date January 18, 2013


Make sure to say who your favorite bookish "bad boy" is 
in the comments below to be entered in the giveaway.


A fun, warm, small-town cozy mystery set in the world of choirs, glee clubs, and the gentle shenanigans of a close-knit church community.

There’s a sour note in the choir at Ruby Springs, Texas’s finest Baptist church. Somebody drowned the choir director in the baptistery. No one much liked haughty Poppy Rose deHaven Fremont, least of all Frankie Lou McMasters, who grew up being bullied by her. But Frankie Lou didn’t kill Poppy, even though it looks suspicious since they fought at a deacon’s meeting right before Frankie Lou found Poppy’s body.

Now it’s up to Frankie Lou—a preacher’s kid who fell from grace— and her devoted band of misfit teenage singers—the Joyful Noise—to prove her innocence and figure out who wanted Poppy dead, and why. Along the way Frankie Lou will catch the eye of sexy Joe Camp, a wrongly convicted ex-con with a golden voice.


A native Texan, Loralee Lillibridge currently resides in West Michigan with her husband of fifty-nine years. At last count, their family consists of twenty-three children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her contemporary romances have been published with Harlequin and Tell-Tale Publishing. She is presently under contract with Bell Bridge Books for a cozy mystery series. One of the founding members and past-president of Mid-Michigan Chapter of RWA, she is also a member of Romance Writers of America,  Sisters in Crime and a proud graduate of the Grand Rapids Citizens Police Academy. 

Keep in touch with Loralee


Watch a trailer for ALL THAT MATTERS