Please welcome Barbara Lohr to Authors4Veterans.
Welcome Barbara, please tell us about your connection to the military.
My husband is a Vietnam Vet, a graduate of KMI military school, once in Louisville. Being a vet is an important piece of who he is. He even has a Vietnam Vet license place holder. Serving our country is more than a job. It’s a calling. I’m really proud of him and anyone who answers that call.
Yes, thank you to your husband for his service. You’re right, it is a calling. Where are you from, where do you live? And do you have one of those day-jobs?
Milwaukee is my hometown. I graduated from Dominican High School and taught briefly at Pius High School. Some of my family still live in that area. I love Milwaukee and Wisconsin. We have the best state fair ever, with real cream puffs, Italian sausage and butter dipped corn. During any visit, I have to visit Culver’s Custard and Mama Mia’s. (Good memories are often associated with food, and that appears in my books.) Summer Fest is fabulous along the lake. Milwaukee offers the solid Midwest values that have shaped me. When I was growing up, my summers always included a trip Up North. And every Wisconsinite knows that’s the North Woods, where my great uncle had a cottage outside of Land O’Lakes. Those were special times.
I grew up near Lake Michigan and later moved to Chicago, followed by South Bend. That lake remains a powerful draw for me and my family. One of my series, Man from Yesterday, is set in a Lake Michigan beach town. The other series, Windy City Romance, is based in Chicago, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Although now I live in the South, I’m very Midwest.
Wow, a hometown girl for sure. Tell us about your latest release and share one detail from your current release with readers that they might not find in the book?
My latest release is Late Bloomer, the 4th book in my Man from Yesterday series. Carolyn, an English teacher, travels to Santa Fe to help her grandmother recover from a broken hip. In the airport, she runs into Brody, a former student. Ten years ago, he caused havoc in her classroom. He was the problem she didn’t need that first year of teaching. Now she finds Brody has matured into a caring guy who helps her overcome a paralyzing fear of heights. But she struggles with the age difference. Brody has his job cut out for him. Meanwhile her grandmother Mama V is dating a younger man she met in rehab. You can see where this story is going. Carolyn’s grandmother helps her deal with life as it is now, not as it was––a conflict we all face some time in our lives. (Note: The Man from Yesterday series, Books 1-4, was released as a box set on Sept 8, as I fled the path of Hurricane Irma.)
Readers may not know that I actually taught in Room 207 (although I had no Brody lounging in a back seat, making things tough for me.)
Secret talent – Since I’m on Facebook, everyone probably knows all about me! I don’t think I have any secret talent. My work carries many pieces of my life. I think that’s true of all authors.
I think you’re right there, we tend to share pieces of ourselves in our stories. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
Getting into their heads is always the challenge. Talking like a guy, acting like a guy and, most important, thinking like a guy. Growing up with three older brothers has helped. I actually like writing from that viewpoint.
Are there other military charities you support? If so, please tell us which ones.
We support the local Military Family Relief Fund. Two years ago I joined other authors in a box set benefiting the Wounded Warriors program. Toys for Tots at Christmas. There are so many efforts.
Thank you for all you do for our veterans. Do you write military characters in your books? If so, how did you research them?
Yes, definitely. I regularly read the newspaper, and there are many military stories so sources are not a problem. In the novella Summer Riptide, Kevin is a vet who returns suffering from PTSD. The star quarterback in high school, Kevin returns irrevocably changed. But he brings Rufus with him, a mutt he rescued in Kabul. They heal each other, along with Mandy, his high school sweetheart.
Having Kevin as part of Gull Harbor seemed necessary. From what I’ve read, military forces often come from our small towns. I can’t depict an idyllic setting where romance blooms without including military families and the challenges they face. That’s just not life. Sarah in the Man from Yesterday series owns the local bakery. Her husband Jamie serves in Afghanistan. They were high school sweethearts. She is raising two small boys with the help of her mother. That’s a familiar scenario for many families.
My next book will have a Vietnam Vet. I have used that character type before. They can be fun with their wisdom and their quirks. In Stanley’s case, he is a real influence on his son Ryder.
What would you choose as your specialty if you were in the military?
I’d probably be in communications since marketing and communications has been the core of my career.
Do you have anything you would like to say to our members of the military and their families?
We’re with you. We value the sacrifices made by you and your families. The news clips I see on TV when a service man or woman shows up at a school, surprising his or her child bring tears to my eyes. The rehab stories make me marvel at the strength of both husband and wife. Your service humbles me. Your tenacity leaves me in awe. We salute you.
Thank you all for participating in our Fisher House charity drive.
You can find more out about Barbara on her website.
You can also follow her on Facebook