Thursday, June 11, 2009

Laurie Lewis Interview

Last April I met Laurie Lewis at the LDStorymakers conference. I've long admired her patriot books, so it was a thrill to finally meet the author. Laurie is a dedicated writer. I saw her many times working away on her laptop in between sessions. I will review her new book which will be released in the fall, but in the mean time I wanted to introduce her to you with an interview.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Thanks for hosting this interview, Kathi! I really wanted to be singer. I pursued that dream for a while performing in an annual program. So much fun! But I’ve loved to write since I can remember. When I was young, I fancied myself writing TV episodes rather than books. I think I was intrigued by the idea of getting to go on set to see my work come to life. To some extent that’s still a part of my writing style. I like to envision what I write. I don’t know if other authors do the same thing, but I need to see it in my mind’s eyes to feel I’ve hit a scene properly.

Tell us a little bit about your new book.
Well, my new book, Dawn’s Early Light, is the third volume of my historical fiction series, FREE MEN and DREAMERS. It’s scheduled for a fall release and I’m so excited about the subject. The series is set against the backdrop of the War of 1812, a fascinating period that connects to the Gospel in ways many people have never imagined. This is the first fully American-born generation and the very generation being prepared to receive the Restoration. When you put American history into that context, you begin to see the hand of the Lord in remarkable ways. Dawn’s Early Light specifically touches on a sliver of history that is quite timely. It tells the story of the attack on our Capital as understood from the perspective of five families—two are white American, two are British, and one is an American slave family.

Tell us about your other books.

They are all very character-driven novels. My first novel was a family story about love and forgiveness published in 2004 and titled Unspoken. FREE MEN and DREAMERS illustrates the turmoil in Europe and America by introducing characters caught up in the period’s political, social and religious tumult. Book one, Dark Sky at Dawn, (2007) illustrates the hypocrisy that plagued America. Class distinction and slavery continued to separate people who were struggling to become “one nation under God”. The war adds new tension to a nation at the breaking point. The primary characters are Jed Pearson who inherits a large plantation from a grandfather with a tainted past; and Hannah Stansbury, a spiritual young woman from the gentry whose family has its own secrets. In Twilight’s Last Gleaming, (2007) the couple struggles to answer the demands of nation and family when both cry for their devotion.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
So many things can spark a new story. Current events, a question, a place. Several settings have inspired books. Unspoken was the result of two places I loved—a Christmas tree farm and an fruit farm in Smithsburg, Maryland. FREE MEN and DREAMERS was born during a trip to Wiliamsburg, Virginia. And music . . . Music greatly influences me when I write.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
No one specifically, but many do indirectly. What I mean is that whenever I read someone else’s work I find elements I admire that I know I need to improve upon. Some create characters that are so real they stay with me after the book is closed. Some have a way of driving tension that makes me so anxious I have to walk away for awhile. I do love Nicholas Sparks’ work, but our styles are very different.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? I live in a small town in the same county where I grew up. It’s a good mix of rural/suburban community less than an hour from Baltimore and Washington. Where would I live if I could live anywhere? The place wouldn’t matter to me as much as the people. People are what make any place exquisite. I’d want to live as near my children and grandchildren as I could.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
Haha! My kids would tell you my office has the ugliest floral wallpaper in the world! I have a nice window that looks into the front yard and next to it is a portrait of our children and grandchildren. I’m surrounded by a big wrap-around desk stuffed with research books and scriptural material. It holds my computer, a dying plant, a portrait of two of my children kneeling by a poster of my first book, and one of those filing cubes from Staples with a small American flag sticking out of the top!

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I watch a little of both. I fell absolutely in love with the John Adams mini-series. As I watched it I kept saying, “Yes, I got that part right in the books!” I also enjoy Lost, Heroes and a crazy sci-fi show called Eureka.

How has being published changed your life?
Well. . . (I’m chuckling. . .) I tend to impose a lot of self-inflicted deadlines and pressure on myself, so in some ways writing was more “fun” before being published. But there’s no denying the joy I feel when someone enjoys my books. And I love that my family is proud of what I’ve done. The people stuff, that’s what makes it wonderful.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
I’m already beginning to run contests to build up my readership of Dark Sky at Dawn and Twilight’s Last Gleaming before Dawn’s Early Light hits the shelves. You can check these out either on my blog at http://www.laurielclewis.blogspot.com/, or on my web site at http://www.laurielclewis.com/. I will be involved in some virtual book tours and some actual booksignings this fall, and I’ll host a launch party in October. More details will be posted on my web site and blog as the date nears. On September 19th I’ll be joining fellow LDStorymaker Liz Adair and other notable authors at the Annual Western Reserve Writer’s Conference in Kirtland, Ohio, so we’d love anyone who can make it to sign up and come out. I’ll be featured in Anne Bradshaw’s new Family Home Evening tell-all book, (hahaha) Famous Family Nights, due out this fall. In the meantime, I hope readers will begin the journey to 1812 Maryland by beginning the series with Dark Sky at Dawn.

Thanks, Kathi!
You're very welcome, Laurie.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the interview, Kathi! Great questions!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was more than happy to do it. Can't wait for your next book!

    ReplyDelete

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