INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Lurlene Mcdaniel - author of Losing Gabriel

Lurlene McDaniel

This emotionally-charged novel about three high school seniors who in the midst of planning their futures after high school are instead faced with present circumstances that force them to grasp what it means to make choices, take responsibility, and truly become an adult. Lani Kennedy has dreamed of becoming a nurse since her cousin Arie died of leukemia. Nothing will stop her from getting into the local nursing program. Dawson Burke hasn’t dealt with his mom’s death, and he’s angry at his dad for moving them to Windemere right before senior year. He grudgingly accepts that he must wait till graduation before he leaves. Sloan Quentin can belt out a song and knows that her band is her ticket to fame and fortune. When she discovers that her boyfriend—the band’s lead guitarist—is cheating on her, she finds comfort—and revenge—in someone else’s arms. When the lives of Lani, Dawson, and Sloan become entangled in unexpected ways, reality hits harder than anyone could have imagined.

Who I Am: Lurlene Nora (Gallagher) McDaniel
My Birthday: April 5, 1944… It only comes once a year, so I turn it into a festival and celebrate it for the entire month!
I was born in Philadelphia PA, grew up (mostly) in Hialeah FL, graduated from the University of South Florida, Tampa FL (go Bulls!) and currently live in Chattanooga TN—I’m an American citizen by birth, and Southern by the grace of God.
I have a brother, three years younger, married, and mathematically gifted. I am totally without math skills.
The books I write, the topics and subject matter, grew out of my firstborn son’s diagnosis of diabetes at age 3. Infinite reward that comes to me from my work…. when a grown reader lets me know that reading my books inspired her to seek a profession that helps others. I have wonderful letters saying, “Today I graduated from nursing/medical school.” Now that’s a gift of joy!

Did you like to read and write as a child?
You bet! I knew there was magic coming from those alphabet letters because when someone read to me, stories appeared!  I couldn’t wait to read for myself. I started writing in first grade, had a letter to the editor published in Miami Herald newspaper at age 11. I was hooked! And wanted to write even more. 

Is a moment in your writing career that stands out to you as "life changing"?
 When SIX MONTHS TO LIVE became a bestseller. I knew then I could make a career/living from novel writing.

What's your favorite part about the writing process? Inspiration, drafting, editing, publishing, etc.
 Editing what I’ve already written, polishing paragraphs and words so they shine…or at least glow in the dark!

Do you like your friends/family reading your work?
 You bet! My best reader and cheerleader is my son Erik, who’s always a gentle critic. He reads every book I write. What a guy!
Who would you thank most for where you are today?
 To God goes the glory.  Years ago when I was divorced, scared, a kid in college and another in high school, and wondering if I could turn writing into a full time job. He led me along a path that granted me an amazing editor and a wonderful agent---been with both now for 27 years. I thank Him every day.

Fun question: When you eat a taco, do you tilt your head, or do you tilt the taco?? :D
 Face first into those yummy crunchy tacos, lifted only slightly toward my teeth! And I stuff them full of every add-on too!

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