Today’s post is my second Author Spotlight which I’m very excited to be able to share with you. I had plans to post this last Thursday, but my family had some schedule changes happen that made it just not work for that day. I had hoped to get it posted before today, but then our air conditioning went out and we’ve been dealing with that. Still have a couple of weeks according to the company before it’s taken care of. Thankfully, we have some very generous friends who have offered us the use of their home while they are not here. So last night, we were finally able to bask in some cool air after we got our family of 9 packed up and settled in at our friends’ home. Now, on to the purpose of today’s post: Author Spotlight with T.I. Lowe!
You know those authors you find that you MUST read everything they’ve written? You read your first book by that author and then you have to go and find their other books and read those. And then when you run out of books by that author, you realize you have to find out when their next book is coming out so maybe you resort to a little internet stalking—searching for their website and social media pages so you can be one of the first to know when their newest creation hits the market. And when that book is finally available and you realize you don’t have enough money to buy it, you start searching under couch cushions and every nook and cranny of the house, trying to find any loose change you can in hopes of being able to get just enough to get that book because you HAVE to have it. (Nobody else does all that? Please tell me I am not the only one!) T.I. Lowe is one of those of authors for me and I can’t wait to introduce you to her today! So let’s get on with the good stuff!
SMALL FEISTY WOMAN: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What does T.I. stand for?
T.I.: Tonya Inez. Inez was my sweet grandma’s name. She taught me how to make a proper pot of rice and how important it is to have God in the center of your life. I’m honored to be named after her.
SFW: I love that. I am named after my mom’s mom and my dad’s great aunt. I love having that connection to them.
SFW: How about a few more fun facts. Favorite color?
T.I.: From the looks of my wardrobe, the answer would be black and teal, but I’m not opposed to any color… Well, maybe puke green…
SFW: Favorite hobbies?
T.I.: I absolutely love to read. I actually enjoy exercising such as running, tennis, and fitness classes. Too bad I enjoy eating even more!
SFW: You’re doing much better than me! I just enjoy eating with no love of exercise to balance it out!
SFW: Favorite food?
T.I.: Chocolate, hands down. If you add caramel or peanut butter, even better! I have a nagging sweet tooth.
SFW: You had me at chocolate! 😉 I LOVE chocolate. I think I could even say I NEED it. That’s not too far of a stretch at all. 🙂 As far as I’m concerned, forget diamonds—chocolate is a girl’s best friend! (Have you ever been to a Braum’s? They have this Cappuccino Caramel Fudge Sundae that is amazing! But I digress. Moving on.)
SFW: When did you start writing? Was it a dream even before then?
T.I.: I used to write fictional stories in spiral bound notebooks all the way back in middle school. I’d say I’ve been dreaming about this world of writing for some time! I didn’t take my dream seriously until 2014, though.
SFW: Do you have another job besides writing fantastic novels?
T.I.: Mom! That’s first and foremost and I will be doing that first and foremost for the rest of my life. It’s a job I’m honored to not ever retire from.
SFW: Who or what has encouraged you most in your writing journey?
T.I.: One of my favorite school teachers has become a close friend of mine in my adult years. Teresa Moise is my mentor and has been encouraging me to reach for this writing dream way before I gathered the courage to pursue it.
SFW: I love that you are not afraid to put real issues out there in your books. What motivates you to write about some of the difficult topics that you write about?
T.I.: People who need to hear it motivate me. Jesus didn’t go to those without issues. He focused on the broken and showed them through Him they could be healed. He is my guide and so far the stories laid on my heart have been those of the broken.
SFW: Love this! It is so very true!
SFW: What do you hope people get from your writing?
T.I.: I truly hope they put the book down but not the story. I want it to linger with them. Each book has some point I hope they can relate to and learn from. Take for example Lulu’s Café. Not all of us have been physically abused, but most of us have been on the outside looking in on someone who has. We can be more aware of the signs and maybe make ourselves available to help the victim, or at least I hope. Also, Jessup who is an alcoholic in the book. We may not have a substance abuse problem, but hopefully the book can inspire readers to be more sympathetic to those who do struggle instead of merely judging them when we have no right to do that in the first place.
SFW: Lulu’s Cafe is the first book by you that I read. It hooked me and it stuck with me. I think every single one of your books has done that for me. The story has lingered, making me think, making me more aware.
SFW: I love the Bleu Streak Family. Will there be any more books about them?
T.I.: I love those characters as well. Thank you! My hope is to collaborate a book with Christina Coryell. We’ve talked about perhaps writing a book about Will at some point in the near future. Fingers crossed that’ll work out. She’s an amazing author and I think it’ll be a fun project.
SFW: Oh, I can’t wait! I love Christina Coryell’s work as well! I have no doubt you guys will knock it out of the park!
SFW: Is there one character you’ve written that you relate to more than others?
T.I: Savannah Monroe from Coming Home Again. I reflect many of the same insecurities as she does. She’s also fiercely protective of her family and quite stubborn.
SFW: Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
T.I.: Now, now, Julie! That’s like trying to pick your favorite child—a big No-No! lol I am working on a book right now that gives me goosebumps. Before This Day will be different from my normal style. A main character dies and the book is emotionally deep. I cannot wait to share that one and to see the reactions from my readers.
SFW: Sounds like we’re in for a ride! I love books that draw me into the story and make me feel. Your books already do that for me and it sounds like this one may do that even more so! I’ll be waiting for it, digging through my couch cushions. 😉
SFW: What makes the perfect writing environment for you?
T.I.: My home office with a cup of coffee. Some days I listen to the playlist I’ve put together for the book and so music is normally on in the background.
SFW: What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
T.I.: I journal stories sometimes several months before ever going to the computer to type them. I love writing scenes out in longhand and pondering character traits. Most of my notebooks hold information about the characters that I never share with the readers, but it helps me to develop them on a more personal level.
SFW: For the last part of our interview, please tell us a little bit about your reading preferences. Favorite location/time for reading a good book?
T.I.: Bedtime or in car rider pick up line at my children’s schools.
SFW: Favorite snack while digging into a good book?
T.I.: I’m not a big snacker. Usually I just read. It helps me to not eat. lol
SFW: Favorite genre?
T.I.: Romantic Comedy. I love to laugh, but love a sweet romance as well. I also love a good mystery. Give me a James Patterson book or Janet Evanovich (she makes me laugh too) any day and I’ll gladly get lost in it. Give me a good Women’s Fiction any day, too. Okay, so maybe I don’t have one favorite genre in particular…
SFW: What drives you crazy in a book?
T.I.: When the writer gets bogged down with too much background information. Let us as readers use our imagination some. It won’t hurt us…
SFW: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are some of your favorite books?
T.I.: Charles Martin for inspirational fiction, for sure. Loved his book Wrapped in Rain. Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury have to be mentioned. Nicholas Sparks has my heart with romance. Once I read The Notebook I was hooked. The Help was a book I read that has stayed with me, and I often recommend it to others. Janet Evanovich for her Stephanie Plum series. I’m quite inspired by James Patterson. The man can write most every genre. I like his murder mysteries and his sweet romances. Of course, the southern legend Pat Conroy. I’ve read most of his books. He reminds me of Jodi Picoult, Their stories are poignant and make you hurt, so I can only read them with a good bit of space between the next. I’ve read everything the magical Sarah Addison Allen has written and I’m impatiently waiting for her next story. Another favorite is Christina Coryell. Her new Backroads series is my favorite so far. I’ve recently read The Lady and The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof and all I can say is wow. Loved it! Honey, I could go on and on. I LOVE to read!
SFW: A few of those I’ve read or they’re on my TBR list, but it looks like there are some others I may have to check out!
SFW: Thanks so much for sharing with us today!
T.I.: This was fun! Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your blog!
T.I. Lowe is a fantastic author. She’s not afraid to delve into the grittier issues in life. Everything is not “okay” in her characters’ lives and through their struggles and pain and brokenness, she is able to demonstrate the power of God to heal and redeem. I also love the relationships she creates between her characters and the way they interact with each other. You feel like you know them, like they’re real and when her books end, you don’t want to say goodbye. I’ve also noticed that you never know when characters from one book or series make a cameo appearance in another book or series and I love that. It’s so much fun getting another glimpse of those characters you know and love. If you haven’t read any of her Bleu Streak books, I highly recommend those. The grittier issues are balanced by her demonstration of God’s grace and by her sense of humor that makes for some great fun and mischief. Really there’s not a book of hers that I wouldn’t highly recommend. I believe I’ve read all of her books and there’s not a one that I did not love. In fact, all of her books are what I call “re-readers” meaning that every once in a while, I feel a pull to read them again and I enjoy them just as much the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, . . . times. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve felt, I’ve thought with her writing. She has a way with words that speaks truth and hope. I hope you’ll take the time to check out T.I. Lowe’s books. If you like the type of writing I’ve described above, you will not be disappointed!
Oh, before I go, I want to make a quick mention of her newest series that’s out called The Resolutions Series. Until I Do is book one of the series and you can check out my thoughts about it here if you’d like. The second book in the series, Until I Don’t, just released this past Thursday. I preordered it and it’s currently sitting on my Kindle just waiting to be read! And though I haven’t read it yet, I’m sure it will be another powerful, gritty read that offers the beauty of hope.
Giveaway time! Click below to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for one Kindle version of Until I Do, the first book in Ms. Lowe’s Resolutions Series.