Faculty encouragement leads to alumna’s first novel
Kim Loraine returned to college to set a good example for her children and earn a degree in early childhood education. And she did.
She also finished her first novel – “the ultimate dream” of someone who always loved writing and reading.
When a children’s story submitted for a class assignment earned her a “have you ever considered being published” response from a Brandman faculty member, Loraine decided it was time to do more than dream. “That was the moment I decided I could write a book and finish it. Probably a week later, after the semester was over, I started writing the book that ended up being my first novel.”
That was about two years ago. Since then Loraine, a fully online student at the time, moved to Japan with her family, finished her degree (March 2014) and found Soul Mate Publishing, which signed her up to write a series of four works of contemporary women’s fiction, also known as romance novels. The first, “Restoration” was published earlier this year. “Renovation” was published last month. Both are available on Amazon.com.
“Some romance novels are all sex and no plot. Mine are definitely on the sensual side but it’s always plot drive. Personally, I think when I read books, it’s not believable if a modern couple isn’t engaging in that. I do think that’s why romance gets a bad rap, because of the bodice rippers. But there’s a lot of really wonderful stories out there that are really well written,” said Loraine, who names author Nora Roberts as a big influence. “I wish I could be her.”
If it all sounds unbelievably easy, it wasn’t. At one point, Loraine, her husband and two children were living in one room with two full beds and a kitchenette while waiting for a house in Yokosuka, Japan, where her husband is a civilian working for the U.S. Navy. Writing was done during sessions at Starbucks and between homework assignments.
Now she’s in the middle of finishing the fourth book in the Golden Beach series, and hoping to finish it before her third child is born in April. Although she relied on YouTube travel videos to help her see the locations of her first novels, the fourth one will take advantage of her own travels in Japan and the people she’s met there.
“I love Japan. It’s wonderful. The people are so kind and helpful,” said Loraine during a Skype interview.
Her first novel is set in England and inspired by her love of the television program “Dr. Who.” “I started watching it because I was teaching music and my students kept telling me I would love it. I watched the first episode and hated it, but they told me to keep going, so I did. One of the actors is who I view as one of my main characters,” she said.
She had originally intended to write one book and then move on, possibly to another genre such as young adult fantasy, but while watching her son take a swimming lesson, an idea for the start of the next book popped into her head. “I can make a series out of all these,” she remembered thinking. The second novel shifts the focus from the main characters in the first book to a secondary character.
Once she completes the fourth book in the series, Loraine hopes to return to her original idea of shifting to young adult fantasy where she wants to make sure there are strong female hero. She and her family will stay in Japan until at least 2017 and possibly beyond. If they return to the U.S. she hopes to eventually teach first grade.
“Unless I suddenly have a best seller. Most people can’t make a living writing. My hope is to complete a master’s program and then get my teaching certificate,” she said.
Loraine said she values her time as a Brandman student, saying it taught her to be self-reliant. “It was really good for me because it made me accountable helped me to grow rather than to look for ways to get out of assignments,” she said. She had started college right out of high school on a vocal music scholarship. But the program fell apart, leaving her with many humanities credits and very few generation education credits.
Marriage and a first child followed before she decided it was time to go back to school. “I basically had to start over.” She studied at the University of Phoenix for two years before the university cancelled the program. She tried again at Western Washington University but found their online program difficult to use. “I figured that out pretty quickly and transferred to Brandman. It (Brandman) was a wonderful experience.”
Feedback, she said, was super instructive, particularly on writing assignments and helped her become a more concise writer.
“I cut so much from ‘Restoration’ that I first thought was so important.”
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