I’m excited to have my friend Lori Altebaumer on the blog this week. Not only is she an awesome Romantic Suspense author, she’s an amazing, godly woman. I hope you enjoy getting to know her and learning more about her most recent release, A Far Way to Run.
She’s offered a paperback of her book as a giveaway so be sure to comment on this post by July 5 for a chance to win.
Welcome Lori! Introduce yourself and tell us a little about your family.
I’m a wandering soul with a home keeping heart. I love old things, mountain streams, classic books, and anything that makes me laugh. When I’m traveling, I enjoy visiting places with a rich history or breathtaking scenery, with colorful, friendly people and delicious food. The first thing I pack when I’m preparing for a trip is my stack of books to read. And I always travel with my best friend and partner in crime, my husband of thirty-two years, who keeps me laughing along the way.
But once my wandering soul is satiated with fresh adventure, my home keeping heart tugs me back to the familiar comforts of home and the company of my children and grandchildren, where I can sit in the porch swing and remember all the wonderful things I’ve seen.
My family is my greatest treasure. With two married adult children (twins), a two-year-old grandson and another grandson arriving any day now, one of my greatest joys is having everyone at home, gathered around the table to enjoy (or at least consume… I’m a writer, not a chef) a home cooked meal together.
Congratulations on the new grand baby! How and when did you start writing?
While other little girls may have been playing with baby dolls or dressing up like princesses, I was pretending to be an author… erudite and insightful, scribbling away in the scholarly confines of my leather scented library. Now I’m an author … pretending to be erudite and insightful, typing away in the confines of an unused bedroom that smells like dog treats thanks to my writing companion, Badger (a longhaired Dachshund who is scared of the dark and dead bugs… hence his title of writing companion instead of guard dog).
I didn’t start seriously writing, though, until I was in my late forties. A career change around the same time my kids were preparing to leave home along with a husband whose words were to “do what makes you happy” gave me the opening to try writing. It took a while to gain any traction and feel like I was getting anywhere, so if this is you just getting started, hang in there. Perseverance will take you farther than any amount of raw talent.
Supportive husbands are the best, aren’t they? What genre do you write and what inspired you to write that particular genre?
I always imagined I’d write historical novels of adventure and romance, so I was a bit shocked when the story that stuck through to completion and becoming my first published novel was a contemporary romantic suspense. I struggled with why this was the genre I found myself writing when I’d spent most of my years drawn to reading historical romances set in the Old West. Those are the stories I imagined myself telling.
What showed up on the paper were modern day people struggling with a lot of modern-day brokenness. I did spend some time talking to God about this. I didn’t want to write anything that wasn’t glorifying to him, and I wasn’t sure how books where the plot centered around something wicked and sinful would do that. But God released me by showing me my heart’s desire is to tell the story of good overcoming evil. Afterall, that is his story.
Good vs. Evil is at the core of everything in this world, which is why we need hope! How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing?
I would struggle more to figure out how not to. In fact, I’ve toyed with the idea of not making God apparent on the pages with the thought of reaching a more secular audience and sneaking them a glimpse of our Creator. I haven’t been able to do it yet, though. God makes his presence known to me all day.
The Holy Spirit within me guides and convicts and redirects everything I do. If I ever get stuck in my writing, I know it’s because I have disconnected myself from my Father by neglecting time in his Word and prayer.
As to how I incorporate Christ and hope into my writing, I wish I could claim that much insightfulness. The truth is that I never plan when or where Jesus is going to show up on the page. He just incorporates himself, usually taking me by total surprise. And as for the hope, I can’t imagine trying to write if I didn’t live a life of hope. What would be the point? I wouldn’t be true to myself—or God—if my stories didn’t have hope.
Great perspective. What do you hope your readers take away from A Far Way to Run?
We live in a broken world. No one is immune to the wounds it inflicts on our hearts. But the trauma and tragedy, the pain and suffering… those are not the end of the story. They are moments of refining that strengthen us for our roles in God’s larger story. We don’t have to like them (or be grateful for them), but we can use them for God’s purposes. Nothing that we have done or that has been done to us disqualifies us from having an irreplaceable role in God’s plan.
What a great lesson. Which character in A Far Way to Run was easiest for you to write and why? Which character presented the biggest challenge?
Levi, my heroine’s prodigal brother, was surprisingly the easiest to write. I think, perhaps, because he is a little part of each of us. The part that wants to do what is right but isn’t always sure what that is or how to overcome the ease and temptation of doing wrong. He had come down to the “nothing left to lose” place in his life where he no longer wanted to hide his weaknesses, and became a sort of open book with his tortured soul.
On the other hand, the hardest to write was the male protagonist. He had made mistakes and been wounded, but he was still working to keep those wounds hidden behind a curtain of anger and toughness. He didn’t know what to do with the heroine who pulled back the curtain and saw he actually had a tender heart. He was a challenge to write because I didn’t want readers to hate him, but he didn’t want anyone to like him.
What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
I love exploring the possibilities of what could be. What are we capable of when we know who we are and whose we are? And I love when I’m working through that question and God showers me with something fresh—a new empathy, understanding, or perspective—something so bold that I know it didn’t come from me but from the Holy Spirit. Those things don’t always make it into the book. They may just be moments for myself, but they are both thrilling and humbling.
Has a reader ever blessed your socks off? How?
With the simple sentence, “I felt closer to God after reading this.” That’s what it’s all about.
No better compliment! What’s next from you?
My current work in progress is another romantic suspense, but it won’t follow the series of my first two set in Turnaround, Texas. I’m excited about it because I get to explore the journey I’m on right now along with my character.
The chaos that has attempted to overtake us these past few years has left me sometimes uncertain about what I should be doing? What does God expect from me? My heroine in this book has lost her identity and is no longer sure where to call home—or what home even is. Chaos has taken advantage of a childhood wounding to shut her off from the world until she’s faced with a situation she can’t turn away from. Will she—or can she—become who she was meant to be?
Thanks so much for a wonderful interview, Lori. Your heart for God shines through, as always. I pray the Lord will continue to bless your writing journey as you put Him first in all you do.
Join the conversation. Do you like reading romantic suspense? What about stories infused with hope in Christ? Do you have any questions for Lori?
Be sure to comment by July 5 for a chance to win Lori’s book! Keep scrolling to find the comments section.
A Far Way to Run by Lori Altebaumer
Click the book cover for purchase link
Shayne Wright returns to the Texas town where she grew up for a funeral and accidentally gets caught in a human trafficking scheme gone wrong. When she stops to render aid at an accident, she ends up with a gunshot wound to her shoulder and a target on her back when the trafficker believes she stole his money.
Her plan to stay the night at the old family farm becomes complicated when she finds it has been leased to a man working through some past demons of his own.
Former military sniper Ethan McGregor is here on a reconnaissance mission for an organization that fights human trafficking. The complications keep coming when her prodigal brother shows up. When he tells Shayne and Ethan he saw a woman being held against her will, Ethan’s interest intensifies, thinking this might be the human trafficking he’s here to uncover. Shayne, on the other hand, wrestles with trusting her brother.
Her conscience propels her to search for a way to help, but knowing the woman is being held at the place where she’d been assaulted makes her wary. It doesn’t help that she’s kept the attack a secret. The one person who knows her secret is also obsessed with her. When he abducts her, she finds out her strength to face evil is stronger than the shame she fears.
Possible Triggers: Sexual Assault, PTSD, Sex Trafficking
Multi-published author Lori Altebaumer describes herself as a wandering soul with a home keeping heart. Her tag line of head in the clouds, boots on the ground, and heart in His hands isn’t just a catchy phrase, but sums up the way she lives her life. Lori has enjoyed both traditional and independent publishing. Her debut novel, A Firm Place to Stand, has been recognized as 2020 AWSA Golden Scrolls Awards winner as well as being selected as a finalist for multiple Selah Awards and the BRMCWC Director’s Choice Awards in 2021.
Her work has been included in multiple compilations including Arise to Peace published by Right to the Heart and The Power to Make a Difference published by Lighthouse Bible Studies. Lori enjoys engaging with all facets of the writing industry and people who are passionate about the craft of writing. A life-long Texan, she loves her Southern roots, things that make her laugh, and the company of family and friends.
Please share Lori’s interview on social media to help spread the word about her new release!
If you missed last week’s interview with Ashlyn McKayla Ohm, find it here.