Lori lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she writes women’s and children’s fiction. RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART is her debut novel. She’s also the author of children’s books, RILEY’S HEART MACHINE and CONFETTI THE CROC, both written with the hope that children will celebrate what make them unique. She’s also written award-winning flash fiction pieces and her articles have been featured in various publications.
Lori serves on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Heart Foundation and is the president of their Pennsylvania chapter. She visits schools to speak about writing, about the human heart and about embracing what makes you special.
Besides writing and spreading awareness about Congenital Heart Defects, her passions include her two daughters, her husband, Mark, her Pittsburgh sports teams and running in 5Ks. Lori is a member of Pennwriters and she loves her local writing groups! She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and journalism. She also holds a paralegal certificate from Duquesne University and is a former Washington, D.C. paralegal. Visit her website at www.lorimjones.com
Get to Know Lori M. Jone
Where did the concept for Renaissance of the Heart come from?
I wanted to use my own journey of surviving divorce (with similar circumstances) and finding forgiveness and turn it into a character’s story. So, I took my own experience, married it with a “what if” scenario and threw in my love of Pittsburgh and football (added in some fantasy) and Renaissance was born. I’d heard Stephanie Meyer (author of Twilight) say how she got started by simply writing down her fantasy on her laptop while being a stay at home mom. Shortly after, I sat down at my own laptop and typed away!
In what city is the story based?
Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh does play a role in the story ~ it’s a character if you will.
Is this location familiar to you? Does it hold significance in your life?
It’s the town I grew up in and where I currently live. After living fifteen years away from the city, I gained a greater appreciation for the wonderful place I’d left behind. Being away from it allowed me to see how truly special it is, so I wanted to attempt to capture that a bit. Of course the story is about Amanda’s journey, but the culture and history of Pittsburgh play a role in her journey.
Which characters was the hardest to write?
For this story, many characters were based (loosely!) on people I knew. But Bradley was all new so he was a bit of a challenge. Since I don’t know a professional quarterback personally, I had to do a bit of research (and my football knowledge) and add some fantasy and fiction. The other challenge was Amanda’s teenage daughter, Lilly. Although I personally had gone through a divorce, I didn’t have any children at the time. So imagining what Lilly would have gone through – and Amanda’s perspective on having a teenage daughter – proved to be challenging, but also fun. Lilly turned out to be a fun character!
What drew you to working with the Children’s Heart Foundation?
Before my children’s book, Riley’s Heart Machine, was released (which is based on my daughter’s heart defect/pacemaker) I researched children’s heart charities to donate some proceeds to. The Children’s Heart Foundation impressed me with their mission of funding much needed research to end the number one birth defect, Congenital Heart Defects. More children die from CHD than all childhood cancers combined but is severely underfunded. So this was a cause I could get behind. I got involved by co-chairing Pittsburgh’s Congenital Heart Walks (this year will be my 4th!) and in 2012 became the president of the PA chapter of the Children’s Heart Foundation. I’m honored to serve such a fine foundation.
Who is Lori Jones?
Such a complex question! Well, as I describe myself on Twitter – I’m a mom, writer, Pittsburgh sports fan, CHF president, wife, and runner. But more deeply, I’m a spiritual person who values my family ( and my dog!) and friends greatly. I value laughter and recreation too. Life is short, have fun. Laugh often and love with everything you’ve got!
What is next in store for Lori Jones?
I’m about to finish the first draft of my third novel, Crossmatch, so the editing and querying process will then begin. I’m still querying agents with my second novel, Late For Fate, but that’s going slowly. I hope to then start work on my fourth novel. I have a few ideas brewing. Perhaps a spin off from Renaissance based on a few of those characters (they’ve been talking to me!). Also, I am currently reading a stack of letters my great uncle wrote to my great grandmother during WWII up until he was killed on D-Day. Reading them has sparked an idea for a romance novel. I have a lot of work ahead of me!
Tell us about Pennwriters.
It’s a statewide writers’ organization, but it has grown very valuable to my writing career growth. It was the very first organization I joined and led to some amazing conferences. It also led me finding my wonderful local writing groups and some lifelong friendships.
What two tips can you give writers wanting to join a writing groups?
That’s tough because there’s a lot of luck involved. But try to find a critique group full of writers who give you good honest feedback and are as dedicated to the craft as you are. I’d also recommend joining a writing group that does something other than critiquing. I found a group that gathers once a week to write together. It’s wonderful!
Where can readers find you?
Besides writing at local coffee shops, you can find me on my Facebook author page (www.facebook.com/LoriMJonesAuthor) and I’m on Twitter @lorijoneswrites. I also have a website at www.lorimjones.com and author pages on Amazon and Goodreads.
Thank you so much for interviewing me! These were fun questions!
About The Book
After her husband of fifteen years comes out of the closet, a blindsided, forty-year-old Amanda Lewis is forced to salvage what remains of her shattered heart and navigate a new life for herself and her teenage daughter. But will a sizzling secret romance with a famous young NFL quarterback lead her to winning the life she deserves or set her up for her biggest loss yet?
As she embarks on the journey of rebuilding her home, Amanda discovers that finding forgiveness and repairing her damaged self-worth are her biggest challenges of all. While searching her soul–and even searching inside her city’s history–she finds answers. But will answers come too late and can a broken heart ever be truly fixed?