QUESTION: Hi Lorilyn. Welcome. Tell us what brought about the creation and writing of the Seventh Dimension Series.
ANSWER: Preceding the Seventh Dimension Series, I wrote a picture book, The Donkey and the King. The idea came to me after traveling to Israel in January 1991. If you remember, our entry into the Gulf War took place on January 17, 1991. I was in Israel in January of that year, taking a course at the Institute of Holy Land Studies as part of my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama.
I left Israel on January 16th, after an all-night trip from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, along with thousands of other weary travelers, hoping to catch the last remaining flight out of the country. Tension and fear filled the countryside.
Long before the U.S. realized what it was like to live under the threat of war, the Israelis had dealt with it every day of their existence as a nation. It was a way of life for them.
I experienced that reality when I was there. It wasn’t until 2001 and the attack on the World Trade Center that we came to appreciate the seriousness of what the Middle East and other parts of the world had been dealing with for decades. The Donkey and the King came out of that experience.
I had wanted to do a whole series of picture books, but picture books are expensive to produce, especially when you have to hire an illustrator. Publishing them is not economically viable as a POD book. I found it hard to sell at a price point that people would pay, and I couldn’t afford not to recoup the costs on future books.
After I wrote Children of Dreams, I knew I wanted to write more books, but I also knew I didn’t have the expertise to write fiction, and some things I wanted to write about from my life could only be told as fiction.
Once I saw my limitations as a writer, I went back to school to get my Masters of Art in Creative Writing. The thesis to graduate required the writing of a full-length novel. From my course work, I developed the first book in the Seventh Dimension Series, The Door, which included the animal characters from The Donkey and The King picture book.
I also included many things I had experienced in my own life—bullying, growing up in a single-parent home, failing in school, being falsely accused of plagiarism, getting into fights, making repeated trips to the principal’s office, and, overall, being a pretty unhappy kid. I could identify with that kind of teen even though I had experienced much of this at a younger age. Despite all of this, I also had a deep longing for God.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but I had some Jewish friends I went to school with, and their sense of community and commitment to each other was something I wanted. Could their God be my God? Essentially, I was jealous for their God.
The little dog from The Donkey and the King, Much‑Afraid, was also my childhood pet. Much of her story comes out in the book. The real Much‑Afraid, Gypsy, came to me during a thunderstorm, and when we buried her many years later, a sudden thunderstorm came up out of nowhere. We had to hurry as lightning flashed all around us. I vowed right then, when I was fifteen, someday the whole world would know who Gypsy was. I tell her story in my adoption memoir Children of Dreams.
I truly believe Gypsy was a gift from God. I could say more, but I’ll let readers read the book rather than summarize it here.
I have written five books in the Seventh Dimension Series. I still need to write the sixth and final book. Everything I write is backed by scripture. The third book in the series, The Castle, covers the passion week of Christ. The fourth book, The City, deals with the occult. The fifth book, The Prescience, is historical and apocalyptic with a great deal of fantasy. It also sets up the final book in the Seventh Dimension Series, The Howling, which will also be historical and apocalyptic.
A great deal of research goes into writing all my books. Even the second one, The King, required research into chariot racing in the first century.
Christian authors never talk about this, but I believe he or she is the one who receives the greatest blessing from writing. As I write, God speaks to me and shows me the story. An unexplained movement of the Holy Spirit takes place. I often tell people that I couldn’t come up with the plots in my books without God’s help. My stories are God-inspired.
The words I write will live on long after I’m gone, and someday I’ll stand before God and give an accounting for every word I’ve written. I’m consciously aware of the importance of making sure I draw people to God, giving them hope, and showing them that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The concepts of forgiveness, hope, and purity find their way into the fabric of my stories, pregnant with suspense, mystery, and hopefully, twists and turns that keep the reader guessing.
Who wants to read a predictable book? I must make the reader read until the very last page to know how the story ends.
QUESTION: How many books do you write in a year?
ANSWER: In 2016, I wrote two books in the Seventh Dimension Series, but this last year in 2017, having undergone breast cancer treatment, I was only able to write one book, Seventh Dimension – The Prescience. In the future, to cut down on stress, that is my goal, one book per year. I also have a full-time job providing closed captioning for television.
QUESTION: What project are you working on now?
ANSWER: Because The Prescience ends in a cliffhanger with the reader not having the slightest clue what will happen next, I feel compelled to write The Howling as quickly as possible. Any delay is because of the amount of research I need to do, which is a lot. I’m doing the research now and hoping, as has been the case with all five books, God will reveal to me the intricacies of the plot. I know how the Seventh Dimension Series ends and I know the plot points, but the fun part is weaving together all the fine pieces God has brought to bear before I even realize how beautifully they fit together.
The best part about writing for me is the intimacy that I experience with God. I am happiest when I’m writing on a book, and I can’t wait to get started on The Howling. My cover designer Lisa Hainline has already given me twenty-three possible covers, and now I’ve got to decide which one is the right one. What agony and ecstasy goes into creating a book. Once it’s finished and you receive that first copy in the mail, nothing compares to that satisfaction.
QUESTION: What advice would you give a new author?
ANSWER: Don’t write books to sell – write books that make a statement about what you are passionate about. Success shouldn’t be construed only in terms of numbers. Authors can’t make people buy their books. Success should be about writing them. Focus on the process, not the outcome. Leave the result with God. Ultimately, your real success should be measured in what you have given back to God with the gifts He’s given you. Whatever rewards He’s laid up for you in heaven will far surpass anything monetarily you might receive here.
Enter book contests. Whatever you can do to draw attention to your book will help your book to get noticed. Don’t know what good contests to enter? Here is a link to get you started: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/allis-self-publishing-service-directory/award-and-contest-ratings-reviews/
Turn your books into audiobooks. See my recent blog post about how to do this at the following link: http://john316mn.blogspot.com/2015/11/audiobook-narrator-rebecca-roberts.html
Join a small community of writers – like Word Weavers, a Facebook group, the John 3:16 Marketing Network (although we are only semi-active at the moment), the Author Independent Network, or some other group where you can be encouraged. Don’t be a loner. Become part of a “tribe.” And learn as much as you can about writing and marketing.
Lastly, never give up. Never, never, never give up. I’ve seen too many excellent indie authors get discouraged and quit writing. That makes me sad. Write until God tells you to “hang it up.” Otherwise, you might miss what God wants to entrust to you for His kingdom and His glory. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. And writing a book is one of the hardest things to do well. So don’t give up. As I once said, it’s always too soon to quit and never too late to start.
To learn more about Lorilyn, you can visit her website at http://LorilynRoberts.com
To learn more about her books, you can visit her Amazon page at: http://bit.ly/LorilynRobertsAmazonPage