Rocky Mountain College hosted novelist Elisa Lorello for a fiction reading event in Losekamp last month. Lorello is a successful author and writing coach who has written seven novels and one memoir. Collectively to date, she’s sold 500,000 copies worldwide and her books have been translated in multiple languages. She is known for having produced bestselling romance works such as “Faking It” and its sequel “Ordinary World.” Her other novels also include “The Second First Time” and her newest work, “Pasta Wars.”
After an introduction by English professor Precious McKenzie, who invited Lorello to RMC, Lorello read an excerpt from “Pasta Wars.” As she read, the auditorium was notably silent as many in attendance seemed thoroughly captivated by the story. Following the reading, Lorello took questions from the audience and offered tips for student writers and aspiring novelists.
“I enjoyed the reading, and I especially enjoyed the Q&A because that’s when I got to engage with the audience and have a conversation with them,” said Lorello. Among other things, we talked about “women’s ction” as a genre, character development, and a little bit about the writing process.
On the topic of which genre her novels are classified in and whether the distinctions of women’s fiction, modern romance, or “chicklit” are appropriate or not, Lorello clarified things. “I would have to answer ‘both.’” she said. “In one way, to call my novels chicklit, women’s fiction, or modern romance could be considered appropriate because there are characteristics from those genres that exist in the stories I write. However, they are also restrictive because they exclude and discourage a male audience from reading my books. I have a very small male readership, and they tend to be secretive, almost embarrassed about it. Last night I met with a book club, and one of the members described my novels as ‘relationship stories.’ I think that is probably the most accurate out of all the genre descriptions, but it’s not a catchy label or marketing term.”
During the event, Lorello stressed the importance of taking a character and putting them through the wringer. A character has to want something and somebody else or something else has to be standing in the way of the character receiving it. When a character is placed in uncomfortable situations or has a goal to strive for, the story springs forth naturally. The narrative weaves itself as the characters are tested and shaped by the circumstances crafted by the writer.
Lorello also spoke at length about sources of inspiration and how writers can find a basis for a story from unlikely places. She spoke about how a chance encounter with a celebrity gave her the idea for her novel “Adulation.”
For more on Elisa Lorello, visit her website elisalorello.com.