Sunday, 27 October 2013

Meet....Lori Nelson Spielman

The Novel Cafe welcomes.....Lori Nelson Spielman

Today I am over the moon to welcome Lori, author of bestselling novel 'The Life List' to join me at The Novel Cafe. Huge thank you to Lori for taking time out of her busy writing schedule to tell us about herself and her latest book. A huge congrats on the success of your incredible debut novel!

1. For those who may not have heard about Lori, can you tell us a little about yourself?

First of all, thank you so much for hosting me today, Nicole. Now, on to the questions…

I’m just an ordinary woman who had a dream of being a writer, and because I’m so stubborn, I actually made it happen. I live in Michigan with my wonderful husband--a college professor (no, he wasn't my professor!) I have two step-kids and a cat named K.C. I’m an avid reader and runner, I love to sail and travel, and I enjoy baking. Like Brett, the main character in The Life List, I am a home bound teacher. I teach inner-city students in their homes or the hospital when they are too physically or mentally ill to attend school. But this year I’m on a leave of absence from the school district to promote The Life List, and hopefully to write book number two.

2. If you weren't an author what would you be?
Hmm, I guess I would be a home bound teacher, just as I was before the book was published. Though I truly love the job, my real passion is writing, so published or not, I’d probably still be writing, just for the love of it.

3. Tell us a little about your debut book, The Life List.
In a nutshell, it’s a love story between a mother and a daughter. Thirty-four year-old Brett Bohlinger embarks on a year-long journey of self-discovery after her mother passes away and leaves her an inheritance with one big stipulation — in order to receive it she must complete the items on a “life list” of goals she made for herself when she was 14. She reluctantly embarks on this bewildering and comedic journey through her adolescent dreams, surprised to find the life, and the self, she’d lost along the way.

4. What was your inspiration for the book?
The seed for The Life List was found in an old cedar box—a miniature hope chest I’d received for high school graduation. Over the years I’d place special things in the box. When I opened it a few years ago, I discovered a yellowed piece of paper entitled, Lori’s List—an abandoned life list I’d written somewhere between ages 12 and 14.
The crumpled piece of paper revealed a list of 29 things my adolescent mind imagined would make for a good life. I’d also added a sidebar called Ways to Be, which included such pearls as, Don’t talk about ANYONE. Laugh. Say “hi” to everyone.
As I stood reading the list some thirty years later, it pleased me that I had, indeed, accomplished many of my goals. I had made the cheer leading squad (phew, right?). I had my share of boyfriends, though they arrived much later than that young girl once hoped, thank God. I’d graduated from college and learned to ski and traveled to Europe. I was a teacher, a profession I loved. I had a good marriage. I even had a cat. But I didn't live on a lake. I hadn't designed my own home. I didn't have two kids, or a horse, or a dog.
As I read the list, I thought about how different my life would be if I’d fulfilled every goal my youthful heart longed for. In no time, my mind was racing. A story was taking shape. What if someone were forced to finish their life list—a list they thought they’d outgrown? In the course of several days, my story evolved. Soon, pages for Another Sky were piling up, becoming the manuscript that would later be re-titled, The Life List.

5. Do you have a Life List just like Brett? If so what would be the top three?
Yes, I do have an updated life list. My top three goals are: 1. Visit Italy. 2. Have a tree house overlooking water. 3. Live in a foreign country.

6. If you could describe The Life List in just 5 words what would they be?
Let’s see…I’m drawing from some of the reviews I’ve received where I hear words like inspiring, funny, touching, heartwarming, and hopeful.

7. How long did it take for you to write the book and how did you feel when you wrote that final word?
I wrote the first draft very quickly—in less than four months. However, my method is to write madly and badly! That’s right, I don’t worry about mistakes in my first draft. If I don’t know a landmark or need to do research, I simply type two X’s and continue. It’s during the re-writing that I spend the bulk of my time. Most of the following year was spent polishing and revising the manuscript.

And how did I feel when I wrote that last word? Absolutely thrilled and exhilarated, filled with joy and pride. But there was also a fair amount of self-doubt and skepticism. I knew the next step would be pitching the manuscript to agents, and that’s when the self-doubt barged in. I am a schoolteacher, not a novelist. What makes me think this manuscript is worthy of publication? But I took a chance and queried agents, and was lucky enough to be offered representation by the fabulous Jenny Bent.

8. What shall we expect next from Lori?
Hopefully many more novels! I’m currently working on book two, a story about a young woman who must seek forgiveness for a past mistake in order to move forward. But admitting her past mistake could cost her her job, her reputation, and her relationship.

Thank you so much Lori. The Life List is available to buy on Amazon..Click here now for your copy!


  1. Great review I will be purchasing this book ASAP :-)

  2. Thank you, Anonymous. I hope you enjoy!