Q&A with Bestselling Author Lori Foster
1.You’re known among readers for your take-charge, sexy, alpha-male heroes. What do you think are the qualities that make a hero “alpha”?
Honor would be number one. Alpha heroes always try to act with honor. They’re human, so they make mistakes, but it’s never out of deliberate cruelty, abuse or negligence. They can be serious, humorous, brooding or outgoing—but an alpha hero cares about others and acts with good intentions.
Alphas are also leaders. Not because they’re pushy, but because they have the guts and control and poise to step up and take charge when others are rattled, scared or uncertain. Where others might falter, an alpha will look for a plan and be competent enough to execute it.
And alphas are independent. If something affects them, they learn how to do it, deal with it or delegate it. That includes things like changing a diaper, cooking, cleaning—right up there with understanding weapons they might be required to use, how to defend themselves and others, and…how to keep a woman happy. When an alpha falls in love, it’s for life.
2.Between your husband and three sons, you’re well acquainted with the ways of the modern man. How has being surrounded by males influenced the way you write your heroes?
A lot of the dialogue from my male characters is something I’ve heard my husband or sons say. They are, all four of them, hilariously funny—and my two adorable grandsons are turning out the same! (I don’t think the Fosters make female children.) How the heroes banter with each other, the type of humor they use, the camaraderie, the physical reactions—many of those come from my real-life guys. They’re cocky and competent, but humble and responsible, too. That said, my husband and sons are not mercenaries or trained gunmen or anything like that, so readers shouldn’t draw too many comparisons from fiction to the reality.
3.If you could write a sequel to any of your Harlequin books, which would it be? Is there one particular hero or couple your readers always ask you for more of?
I’m actually writing them! My Buckhorn family—Sawyer, Morgan, Gabe, Jordan and Casey, whose stories most recently appeared in Buckhorn Beginnings, Buckhorn Forever and The Buckhorn Legacy—has always been one of my most popular series. The books are older now, but readers say they stand the test of time. Every week at least one reader asks me to continue with the family. I recently did just that with the story of Shohn Hudson (son to Sawyer, brother to Casey), “Buckhorn Ever After” (in the Animal Attraction digital anthology), and my plan is to write even more stories for the other offspring. Readers can check out the series on my website: http://lorifoster.com/connected-books/#buckhorn.
4.How do you figure out what kind of woman to pair with each of your heroes? Is there one process you follow as you brainstorm every story, or is it different every time?
I know it’s weird, and it’s doubly hard to explain, but I don’t really brainstorm, and I don’t consciously decide on a heroine for a hero. For me, things just sort of…happen. Take Rowdy Yates in my newest Love Undercover book, Getting Rowdy. He was in the first book, Run the Risk, as the brother of the heroine. I hadn’t really thought about Rowdy’s book yet, although I knew he’d have a book. Then while writing Run the Risk, Rowdy went to a bar. I didn’t know he’d be going there. I didn’t decide to send him there. I was just writing and that’s where he went. And inside the bar, he spotted Avery. Again, I didn’t plan her. I was writing along, minding my own business, and Rowdy went into a bar and met Avery and Avery turned out to be “the one.”
For me, the characters do much of the work. I just try to stay out of their way. My job, as I see it, is to accurately portray what the characters are saying or doing, not to say or do it for them. I hope that makes sense! (Clearly I could never be a teacher because I have no idea how the “process” actually works out as well as it does!)
5.Speaking of Getting Rowdy, Rowdy Yates just might be your most unforgettable hero yet, thanks to his street smarts, his larger-than-life good looks, and his single-minded pursuit of his goals, not to mention the long line of women clamoring for his attention. What were the challenges of writing about an independent, commitment-shy man finally finding love?
The challenge, for me, is always getting the balance of what the characters know and when in proper sync with what the reader knows and when. For instance, the hero and heroine rarely realize they’re in love as quickly as the reader does. What Rowdy perceived about himself, about Avery and about their relationship was far different from what the reader was able to perceive, given that the reader gets the whole story—the background, the current conflict, the emotions from both characters. There are things Rowdy does that readers are going to hate, and there are things he feels so strongly that—I hope—the reader will feel them, too.
People are molded by the childhoods they have, the lives they live, other people around them and the choices they make. Rowdy is very much a product of all those things, and at least in my opinion, he shows that people might bend, but they don’t have to break. They can use experiences to grow stronger, to learn from hardships and use that knowledge to help protect and care for others. What’s harder to learn is that personal measure of what you deserve, too. That was the challenge for Rowdy.
Rowdy is my new all-time favorite character ever. I so hope readers like him as much as I do!
About the Author:
Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has routinely released six to ten books a year and has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestselling author.
Lori believes it’s important to give back to the community as much as possible, and for that reason she ran special contests in conjunction with a publisher, facilitating many first sales for new authors. She routinely organizes events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.