The only thing diminutive about bestselling novelist Lori Foster is her size. At 5'3," she's not exactly tiny, but the only family members she towers over these days are her toddler grandson and Tootsie, their Chihuahua, their 23 pound cat, Liger, Liger's brother Grim, and Kiki, a rescue cat. Everything else she does is supersized, from her commitment to having her work published and the standards she has set for her writing, to her philanthropy, love of family and her joy in helping others. Even her characters are larger-than-life --- alpha men and women who break boundaries and bring passion to everything they do, whether it's gunning down the bad guys, fighting for the underdog or making love.
Lori's mighty imposing herself, undoubtedly possessed of more than her share of alpha traits and energy. She refused to give up on her desire to see her work in print. She completed ten novels before her first book, IMPETUOUS, was sold. It was published in 1996. Since then, she's maintained a pace that might have felled a lesser person, often writing six or more romance novels every year. Having cracked national bestseller lists with JAMIE in 2005, there's been no stopping her. In the past six years, her novels, and anthologies featuring her work, have claimed a combined 115 weeks on The New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. HARD TO HANDLE reached the No. 2 spot on the New York Times' list. She's the recipient of the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for both Contemporary Romance and Series Romantic Fantasy.
"I love alphas, period. Men, women, young or old, I enjoy characters that take charge of their lives, help others when they can, who are productive members of a society --- contributing rather than detracting from situations. Alphas are, in the purest sense, leaders," says Lori.
That said, there's no doubt that the trio of heroes she's created for her back-to-back novels, WHEN YOU DARE, TRACE OF FEVER and SAVOR THE DANGER, published in May, June and July 2011 respectively, are strong, skilled, relentless and kind of scary. Her male protagonists --- Dare, Trace and Jackson --- are connected to each other by their work. Each is an undercover mercenary, committed and specially trained to fight and win. Each combats corruption by whatever means necessary. None of them expect to fall in love. But the women Lori has created, put in extreme, dangerous situations, and challenged to be stronger than they ever thought possible, are not like anyone --- mercenary, government or "civilian" --- that Dare, Trace or Jackson have imagined. Molly, Priscilla and Alani are far more than they appear. Each is stronger and more courageous than even they know. Behind those soft exteriors lie three women ready to do anything necessary to protect those they love. They just haven't realized it yet.
Recently, Lori's latest novella, READY, SET, JETT was featured in the anthology THE GUY NEXT DOOR. It gave readers a sneak peek at one of the characters that appears in WHEN YOU DARE.
In addition to her other considerable accomplishments, Lori is recognized for her efforts to help other writers. This includes a contest she ran to give others a chance to have their work read and critiqued. Her editor agreed to read those submissions that Lori liked best to help determine the winners. Through that connection and others, about 15 of the writers who entered made sales. "That isn't to say I have a great eye for talent," says Lori. She notes that "it just points out that when freed of unimportant restrictions --- margins, spacing, the submission process --- writers can really shine."
Has success changed Lori? Well, she did become a clue and answer to both "20 Down" in the August 14, 2004 New York Times crossword puzzle and USA Today's October 13, 2010 Quick Cross game, so that may have gone to her head. Of course, there's also the time her novel FALLEN ANGEL grabbed Ellen DeGeneres's attention during a poolside location shoot and ended up adding to the fun of the comedian's March 31st, 2008 program. And there's Lori's bestseller streak, which shows no sign of abating. Her big diva moment came when she and her husband Allen indulged in a 38-foot RV so they could travel with their dogs. When asked, Lori sums up how success has changed her life, saying "we were all pretty happy before I ever published, and if I never published again, we'd still be a happy, close family. But success has enabled me to reach out to a lot of people. I love helping others in ways that I think are productive. And before being published, I was still kind of shy. Public speaking would have given me the hives. Now, I love it."
The help Lori has been able to give others is not inconsiderable. In addition to her own contributions, she has spearheaded fundraisers and events among authors and readers that have generated donations for a variety of causes. In 2005, she, Ohio author Dianne Castell and bookseller Linda Keller, decided to host a reader and author event to benefit a local non-profit. Now in its seventh year, the Annual Reader & Author Get Together has grown from 100 to over 300 attendees in June 2011. This year's proceeds will benefit One Way Farm, a home for abused and abandoned children. June will also see the publication of THE PROMISE OF LOVE, the fourth anthology Lori has organized in conjunction with a major publisher. As with the Get Together, proceeds from the book will go to One Way Farm. It includes a new novella from Lori, SHELTER FROM THE STORM.
Lori and her husband were both born, raised and continue to live in Ohio. They have three grown sons and a grandson. Sunday is always family day and they can be found at home ready for any or all family members to ring the bell. Other days, writing and the business of writing take over, whether at home or at a nearby campground. Both are avid "RVers" and have a number of favorite locations near lakes where they like to settle in for a bit. They also enjoy hiking, swimming, and just relaxing. They have a soft spot for the Kentucky countryside, which is featured in Lori's MEN WHO WALK THE EDGE OF HONOR. Lori is a huge fan of Mixed Martial Arts and rarely misses a UFC match.
Lori is currently at work on her next novel, A PERFECT STORM, tentatively scheduled to be published in spring 2012. It will mark a return to the world of mercenaries and the sort of action and danger faced by Dare, Trace and Jackson in 2011's WHEN YOU DARE, TRACE OF FEVER and SAVOR THE DANGER. Visit her website, www.LoriFoster.com