Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Authorsday - Diane Scott Lewis
1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? As soon as I put pencil to paper as a child, I knew I loved to write stories. I also loved to read, which inspired my imagination. I’d create scenarios in my mind, adventures in ancient Rome, time-travel, and pen little stories around them.
2. How did you pick the genre you write in? I always enjoyed historical movies as a child, being transported into the past, an exotic island or a different country and time. That’s why I love historical fiction, reading and writing in the genre. I don’t like to follow a formula, so Romance was out. Writing mainstream Historical Fiction with Romantic Elements fits me perfectly. (see my novel blurb below)
3. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants? I’m definitely a “pantzer”, which can be a liability. When I first wrote The False Light, the plot wandered all over the place with no outline to follow. The first judge who looked at TFL said I had enough story elements for several novels. I worked hard to narrow the focus of the story. I’m still a pantzer, but a more disciplined one.
4. What drew you to the subject of The False Light? I like to write “fish out of water” stories, that is putting a person into a strange place they’ve never lived in before and watching them struggle and thrive. I knew I wanted the story to take place on the wild coast of Cornwall, England. Everyone was writing Victorian or Regency, so I chose the earlier time-period, the late 18th century. Since it was the time of The French Revolution, my perfect heroine was a noble French girl thrown into the lower classes of England. The story grew from there.
5. Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it? Yes, most of the books I found locally focused on the Victorian era. I had to travel to the Library of Congress for in-depth research on the 18th century. What a fantastic resource!
6. How many rejections have you received? With this novel, over a hundred. That was from my query letter for the most part. I must write the worst query ever!
7. What was the best writing advice someone gave you? A well-published author told me to never stop improving my work, and never give up trying to sell it.
8. What was the worst? Did you know it at the time? “Write what you know” is the worst advice for an historical author. I did know it at the time. We must dig deep into the past and investigate places we’ve never been or know little about. Meticulous research is the key.
9. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book? I’d rewritten and polished this novel for over ten years. Tired of rejection, I spoke with a good friend of mine, wonderful western writer, Ginger Simpson, and she recommended her publisher, Eternal Press. They loved my prose and offered a contract. I’ve received excellent reviews and readers have loved my story.
10. What would you like to tell potential readers? Since my publisher is primarily an e-press—though the book is also out in paperback—readers and bookstore owners tend to narrow their eyes and wonder if my novel is any good. There are so many excellent writers published by e-presses today. Even the so-called big publishing houses are now slipping into e-press venues. Don’t judge the novel on the type of publisher, but on its own merit. The False Light has received excellent reviews at The Historical Novel Society Blog, Examiner.com and won a CTRR award from Coffee Time Romance. The e-book is available at www.eternalpress.biz; and the paperback at www.amazon.com. For more info, please visit my website: http://www.dianescottlewis.com
Diane Parkinson grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined the Navy at nineteen and has written and edited free-lance since high school. She married in Greece and raised two sons in Puerto Rico, California, Guam and Virginia. She writes book reviews for the Historical Novels Review and has worked as an on-line book editor. Diane served as president of the Riverside Writers in 2007-2008. She published her first historical novel, The False Light, with Eternal Press in April 2010. She writes as Diane Scott Lewis and lives with her husband and dachshund in Locust Grove, VA
Forced from France by her devious guardian on the eve of the French Revolution, Countess Bettina Jonquiere must deliver an important package to further the royalist cause. In England, she discovers the package is full of blank papers, the address false and she’s penniless. Stranded in a Cornish village, Bettina toils in a bawdy tavern and falls in love with a man who may have murdered his unfaithful wife. Tracked by ruthless revolutionaries, she must uncover the truth about her father’s murder—and her lover’s guilt—while her life is threatened.