Posted on 06/08/2016 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
On her thirtieth birthday, Lori King set a few goals for the new decade of her life: become healthier, get a tattoo, write a book.
When she accomplished the latter, it was a fairytale at first. She wrote Fire of the Wolf in three weeks, secretly shipped it off to a publisher, and had a contract for it within another fortnight.
Then her dream come true became a nightmare. The bank where she worked as a loan originator decided that she’d violated their code of ethics’ morality clause by publishing an erotic novel and fired her.
It’s not something King remembers fondly, but her story does have a happy ending. After just three years of full-time writing, she’s making four times as much as she did at the bank.
Here’s what the author of 28 novels has to say about her journey from imaginative youngster to office worker to self-supporting indie writer.
SADYE: What was your writing background?
LORI: I’ve always been a “creative” person, which is my mother’s nice way of saying I was a lying little brat when I was little.
There are stories of me telling the teachers I was kept in a cage at home and fed with the dogs, and stories of me telling the teachers I had a modeling career outside of my elementary school life. I was always coming up with a new story to tell someone.
So, when I hit junior high I had an English teacher who taught me to put my creativity into words on paper, and thus my love for writing was born. ...
Writing a book was something I’d always told people I was going to do, but it seemed like a monumental task, and I think I left my own fear keep me from ever finishing a full-length novel. When I took on the bucket list, I didn’t think about the “big picture,” I just knew I had to check some boxes.
SADYE: While you were working in banking, did you ever imagine you might quit to become a full-time writer?
LORI: Of course! From the moment the first book contract landed in my inbox, I had grand dreams of becoming a famous author like Stephen King and JK Rowling. If I’d have known then how much work just BEING an author was, it’s possible I would have run away screaming!
Even when I received my first royalty check, being a full-time writer was more of a fantasy than a real possibility. I figured it wasn’t responsible to take a chance on that kind of career when I could have a stable 9-to-5 job.
SADYE: How did you process the firing?
LORI: Being told that writing a book with adult romantic themes was against their code of ethics morality clause was quite a slap in the face. I knew that not everyone would like my books, but to be treated as if I was doing something morally wrong was harsh. I was angry, and hurt, and humiliated to be pushed out of my career.
They had no right to make me feel ashamed of my stories, but being a private company, they had every right to choose not to employ me. After a consultation with an attorney, I decided not to pursue any legal action because my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to do anything but write.
It was my husband who pushed me to take the bull by the horns at that point and jump in headfirst. Thank God for his support and encouragement. He told me to keep my head high because I’d done nothing wrong, and most likely I was fired out of jealousy over my success. I held onto his strength and went for it.
SADYE: Have you heard anything about the bank’s reaction to your success?
LORI: I am still friends with some of my old co-workers (ones who were just as surprised by my termination as I was) and they both support and encourage me. They just have to be careful not to do so while at work.
The others I couldn’t give a shit in a bucket about. It would be nice to send them a pic of me on the NYT best-seller list when it happens, though. I won’t rule out the option.
SADYE: What would you tell your younger self to do differently, with hindsight being 20/20?
LORI: Start sooner. Stop worrying about what others will think and write what’s in your heart the moment it’s there.
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Categories: Author Interview