Guest Author: Lori Handeland

Today’s special guest is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author who knew from the age of ten that she wanted to be a writer. Her first published work was a western historical romance in 1993 and she now has over sixty published works of fiction including novels, novellas and short stories.

Previously she’s won awards in paranormal and urban fantasy as well as contemporary and historical romance. Her depth of talent in writing across different genres is amazing, and she's now done it again! Her story JUST ONCE marks her debut into women’s fiction.

Among her many accolades and awards, she has won two of the RWA prestigious RITA awards (Best Paranormal Romance – Blue Moon; and Best Contemporary Category Romance – The Mommy Quest); the RT Award for Best Harlequin Superromance (A Soldier’s Quest) and a National Reader’s Choice
Award for Best Paranormal (Hunter’s Moon). Wow!


A huge welcome to Lori Handeland who joins me today from Southern Wisconsin.

Lori, welcome! Thank you for being with me.

Thank you for having me!

I’m very interested to see that you’ve taken the pathway to women’s fiction. Did you deliberate for a while in making the transition or was it more a case that the story you were burning to write better fitted this genre?

Both. LOL. I deliberated about writing JUST ONCE. Having a very successful career in romance I kept putting it off, but I kept mulling JUST ONCE for several years and eventually the opportunity presented itself.

You describe JUST ONCE as the story you “Just had to write” and that it’s a story that has been sitting with you for many years. It has been described by Publisher’s Weekly as a “gripping...tearjerker”. Can you tell us about the story and whether it posed any particular challenges for you?

JUST ONCE was one of those books that just pour out of you, something that has happened to me only a few times. However, because of the multiple timelines and POVs, there was a lot of note taking, chart making and rewriting. JUST ONCE took me 3 or 4 times as long to write as it’s taken me to write a book
before. But I was so invested in these characters and this world, it didn’t seem like very long. I loved writing JUST ONCE more than I’ve ever loved writing anything before.

I think that says something in itself! We’re always told to write from the heart!!


I read that you were a student teacher when you first came across Kathryn Falk’s book “How to Write a Romance and Get it Published”. You’ve described this as a life-changing experience as you learned about Romance Writer’s of America and joined your local chapter and started honing the craft of writing. Apart from joining RWA, what other advice do you have for aspiring authors?

The only way to fail is to quit. Keep writing, keep learning, keep going. Every page you write is a page you didn’t have before and with every book you learn something new that you can apply to the next book. It’s a process—forever.

I’m assuming that JUST ONCE won’t be your only foray into women’s fiction, but do you intend to continue writing romances and do you have any other stories that are burning into your brain demanding publication?

I do plan to write more women’s fiction. I just finished a proposal for a book set in 1967-The Summer of Love—which I’ve been calling “Stand by Me with girls.” This is definitely a burning my brain book and hopefully I’ll have more news on that soon.

I do hope to write more romances in the future, but right now my writing hours are full of 1967 and Vietnam.

Any other news you’d like to share?

I want to continue writing women’s fiction, along with more romance and I just ventured into the world of screenwriting with the screenplay for JUST ONCE, which has been submitted to a production company.

Fingers crossed!! I loved writing the screenplay and hope to do more of that in the future as well.

I have everything crossed for you and hope to hear that JUST ONCE will go into screen production. Thank you for joining me today, Lori. I haven’t yet read JUST ONCE, but am looking forward to doing so.

Thank you!! I hope you enjoy it.


To find out more about Lori, you can visit her website:

I hope you'll join me next Saturday when I interview fellow Aussie author, Clare Connelly. Until then, Happy Reading!

Best wishes,



About the Blogger:

Alyssa J. Montgomery is an Australian contemporary romance author who is published by Escape Publishing (Harlequin Enterprises, Australia). She also 
writes medieval romance as Alyssa James.


Latest release: Seduced by the Enemy (April 4th, 2019) Escape Publishing (Harlequin Enterprises, Australia)

Next releases: Seduced by the Stranger (October 4th, 2019); The Magic of Christmas (November 12th), Seduced by the Billionaire (April, 2020) - all published by Escape Publishing (Harlequin Enterprises, Australia) . 

See Alyssa's website for her other books or go to the Harper Collins site:   .


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