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Author Spotlight, Bestselling Christian Author Lori Copeland

It is my great honor to present an interview with Bestselling Christian Author Lori Copeland!

1. Lori, your Brides of the West series is coming out in brand-new packaging. What’s the overarching theme or concept of Brides of the West?

Lori: The series theme is young mail order brides in the old west. Since travel and distance was often a big obstacle for these women, it wasn’t uncommon to resort to marrying a man the girl had never met. Can you imagine in today’s world how odd that would be to today’s woman? It would take a lot of courage to leave home and strike out on a life-changing adventure, but the main characters Faith, June and Hope choose to find a mate this way.

2. What was the original inspiration behind the concept and characters of the Brides of the West series?

Lori: Oddly enough, the series started with the first book, Faith. The readers wanted more, thank goodness, so my editor suggested that we make Brides of the West a three-book contract. From there, the series had developed a devoted following who wanted more of the adventures, and since I’d fallen in love with the characters, I was only too happy to continue with three more books, Patience, Ruth and Glory.

3. What drew you to writing about mail order brides in the old west?

Lori: Because of the sense of complete dependence in the Lord’s leading in those days—that and the fact that the elderly aunt whom they had been living with gave the order: find a husband! Aunt Thalia was getting old and she sensed the girls would have to be pushed out of the nest instead of gently nudged. This was often the case for women living in the old west where men were not as plentiful nor available. A girl married young in those days and the 3 McDougal sisters were thought to be destined to be old maids unless drastic action was taken.

4. Which characters surprised you the most over the course of writing this series?

Lori: Patience turned out to be a handful. Her personality and sense of dependence led to some merry chases and improbable situations. But her faith seen her through thick and thin times, of which she had many in finding her Mr. Right.

Glory was also one of my favorites to write. To tell a story about a young mountain woman with complete innocence of the world was a joy. Her sheltered life left her completely unprepared for marriage and what a union with a man requires. She proves able to rise to the occasion with a lot of chuckles along the way.

5. You’ve set several books in this general time period. What is it about the old west that keeps you coming back?

Lori: I’ve wondered about that often. I would have loved the simpler times, my ancestors’ strength, and integrity. They got their news from a monthly newspaper—no twenty-four-hour “breaking news” to shatter their sense of peace. They heard about events months after they occurred, so no cause for immediate alarm. They read their bibles at night, the women did handiwork, men whittled or played a fiddle or guitar then blew out the light and slept soundly. There were no riots. Deadly missiles that could wipe out practically the world didn’t exist. They got sick and either died or recovered. Chemo wasn’t invented, and drugs were things like cough syrup or a good ole swig of hard liquor. They worked hard and respected each other. Life wasn’t easy, but it was life, not an emotional roller coaster. What a lovely world that must have been.

6. What does it take to research the period where and when your western romances take place?

Recalling stories that I remember from my grandmother and grandpa. Reading lots of books on the old west and remembering that while they faced a whole other set of problems than we do, most faced them honorably. Outlaws and common criminals thrived, this world has always been imperfect, but our ancestors didn’t seem to be consumed with hate and discontent.

8. Can you share some examples of how your faith impacts your storytelling?

Lori: It is difficult to tell a love story without incorporating today’s values. I’m hearing the boos and hisses now! I sound like I think that I’m the perfect model of Christianity, and I am so far off that road! Does a romance writer have to be the model of innocence? No. Does a writer have to be an axe murderer to write a thriller? No. A writer must reach down to the very depths of themselves and root out the story he wants to tell. When I reach to my lowest depths, the only stories I want to tell is those of God’s amazing love and forgiveness.

7. What are the challenges (or benefits) of writing “romances” from a biblical worldview?

Well, not everyone believes the bible. Beliefs are as varied and diverse as strawberry ice cream and liver. I wrote in the secular market before entering the Christian market. It took a long time to find a place where I could write my convictions and tell my stories, but after many years of prayer, God moved me into the Christian market. There, I could write stories that I hope would inspire and boost many young readers in their Christian walk. My granddaughters can read my books and know Grandma knew and believed in the Lord. Her stories were simple stories told with truth. Her secular stories were told with the knowledge that she was writing truth in a different form. The stories were told with realism—the world as it is. I wanted to write roadmaps for young people. A “don’t do as we do, do as we say”. I’m never sure if I’ve achieved my goal but I am confident that I have worked hard and faced many setbacks to fulfill my purpose.

9. Why is storytelling such a powerful way to communicate truth?

Lori: It’s the joy of writing God’s word in story form. Some ask how truth can be fiction? Fiction is often truth revealed through a higher source. Often, I am frustrated with my lack of ability to tell a realistic story and a truthful story. A writer can lead a reader anywhere he wishes, through a dark but realistic world, or a Mary Jane Simply Peachy world. My goal is to write stories about the real truth—how not everything you are permitted to do is wise. Consequences hurt.

10. What are the best things readers can do to support their favorite authors?

Lori: Oh goodness, buy their book! Write a book review on Amazon or Goodreads– anywhere. Sometimes even a bad review will make an author reassess their goal. I have never seen the need to berate an author or to be unkind—which writers do encounter, but most authors love to hear how their work has affected a reader. Be kind but be truthful.

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