Meet author Lori Closter

Lori Closter is a wife, mom, and grammy fulfilling her dream of giving people hope and faith through stories. A lifelong Northeasterner with degrees from Cornell and Temple, she was writer/assistant producer on educational films for National Geographic. She has published several stories, and her coming-to-faith novel Topping the Willow and feature screenplay version have been multiply recognized in contests. Lori and her retired pastor husband now live in coastal NC.

Tell us about your newest book.

Topping the Willow is a contemporary, mature Young Adult novel for ages 15-99. A rebellious New York teen accidentally puts her ambitious attorney mother into a coma, and winds up spending the summer on a Vermont horse farm owned by Christians—where she learns about God, forgiveness, and faith.

What inspired you to write Topping the Willow?

As a lifelong reader, I’ve always known I would write a book—but not about what. When a family member told how she’d been the last to see a vacationing family before a tragic accident, I knew it was the set-up for a novel even as she spoke. When I later learned two of my cousins knew this family, 1500 miles away, it became personal. Then I had to figure out the story …

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Brittany Warner, 15, “hates” her mother—but never meant to put her into a coma. The guilt-ridden teen winds up stuck for an entire summer on a Vermont horse farm run by Christians. When family secrets threaten her very identity, her risky decisions create a dangerous spiral that endangers herself and Will, a hot young believer. But a greater love is at work, giving her hope…

What genre do you focus on?

I’m straddling three—but all deal with family and personal relationships and are meant to bring hope. 1) My stories are secular women’s fiction, from a Christian worldview. 2) My faith-based YA novel Topping the Willow and 3) my feature screenplay version are gritty and realistic, but with clean language—and hopefully non-preachy. As Frederick Buechner said, “I always hope to reach people who don’t want to touch religion with a ten-foot pole.” And writing a screenplay is a different skill, which is why this project has taken me years to develop.

Why do you write?

I came from an outwardly normal family with deep dysfunction. It’s taken my whole life to see it clearly. So I began writing to process pain and achieve forgiveness and freedom. As I matured, I came to understand God’s hand and grace at work in our lives, and wanted to depict that realistically.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

The usual modern hurdles—a website, social media, publicity, reviews … but also, persevering despite what has seemed very strong, long-term spiritual opposition. Months ago, I again felt so stuck that it was as if I were slogging through concrete. Then one morning God allowed a real concrete truck to block my driveway completely, proving I wasn’t imagining it! I had to laugh.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

Being creative, as God designed us to be, brings great satisfaction. But the very best feeling is of impacting His Kingdom. The full harvest isn’t in, but not long ago I clearly discerned the words in prayer, “It is beginning, the fruitfulness.” So inspiring. When I hear my novel positively affected someone, it’s a huge blessing.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

As a young child, I was terrified of death for the same reasons as Brittany in the opening scene of the novel: my parents said that someday I would die, and the world would go on forever without me. Talk about trauma. Little kids need better than that. Also, the horse subplot is based on real life. I owned that horse for two awful years; careful what you wish for. But it became a huge God story, and an abridged version—spoiler alert—is on my website in the About section.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I’ve been honing my craft for a long time. But more importantly, I’ve gained deeper and deeper insights into God’s lovingkindness and purposes for suffering. I hope it shows in my writing. He wants us to know him personally!

What is your favorite pastime?

Spending time with my husband, family, and friends. My six little grands are spread over the East coast; we’re an I-95 family, but at least we don’t have to fly. And reading, of course.

What are you working on now?

I’ve drafted True North, a sequel to Topping the Willow, which may become a Narrowgate Farm Trilogy. I don’t know of many—or any?—contemporary series that seriously trace the spiritual growth of a contemporary teenage girl in a realistic way, and hope I do it justice. And if anyone would like quarterly email updates, please shoot me an email with YES in the subject line; I’m currently between servers.

Other info:


Amazon link to book:

Library of Congress Control Number, to request a library buy the book: 2022360943

Social media links:

Facebook: Lori Closter

Instagram @lori_closter







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