In case you were wondering, last night’s presentation went really well. Splendid. Fantastic. Okay, enough adverbs for this blog. Anyway, we didn’t have a huge turnout—blah to the snow and icky weather!—but it was still a great experience. Cindy and I talked about our journey from proposal to publication and then promoting. It was a learning experience for us as much as the aspiring authors for whom we presented, and I hope we get the opportunity to present again soon. Believe me, I need the practice. (Thanks to Tobyn DeGraw for inviting us to speak in the first place.)
While I was speaking—or maybe after, I don’t know—I realized something about myself. Even though I was a little bit nervous, I’m actually fairly comfortable talking and/or presenting, about writing, even in front of a group. Granted, it was a small group, but still. Ask me to speak in church, and…ahhhhah, everything in me cringes. But have me talk about writing, being published, anything to do with the industry, and I’m okay. Who knew?
You’d think I spend a lot of time hanging out with authors or something. Or maybe it’s because my amazing coauthor Cindy and her husband Russ were there to cheer me on, as always. *shrugs* I dunno. I do know it helped that we presented together, simply because my brain has a tendency to draw a blank when a lot of eager faces are staring at me. Yeah. I’ve so got to get over that. Sheesh. Working on it. (Hence the need for more practice—but not at church, please!)
Anyway, it went well. And now that my week is halfway over, I’m feeling somewhat relieved because I’ve already finished half the stuff I mentioned in my last post, and even a few extra things besides. Now all I have to do is write a chapter to take with me to critique tonight, find all my tax deductions from 2009 to take to a meeting with our accountant, and pack my bags for my trip to Phoenix on Friday. Piece of pie. And can I just say I’m way excited for Phoenix? Yeah. It’s like a mini vacation, plus authors. So. Stoked. Squeee!
I digress. And now, on to this week’s author spotlight, which I totally didn’t forget, and which I’ve needed to do all week but haven’t had time until right now. L.C. Lewis, come on down!
Laurie is a woman after my own heart, as she loves music, acting, and writing all equally. She even admits on her website biography that she wanted to be a rockstar in her youth. Now, I’m sorry, I thought I was the only author who dared admit something so bold—and on my website. Since Laurie has proven me wrong in that aspect, I’ve decided we’re kindred spirits. Lots of things in common. You can read her full bio here.
You can find Laurie’s books wherever LDS books are sold, as well as the regular online sources. Or, if you’d like to read a few sample chapters, check out her website or blog.
As I was researching for this spotlight, I came across this interview, which I lifted from her website. I’d love to send her my regular interview questions, but—well, you’ve all seen my schedule this week. It’s a tad insane, which is why I’m going to cheat here and use someone else’s interview. Don’t worry, though. I wouldn’t do that unless I really got a lot out of reading it myself.
What made you decide to write a historical novel set in a war period?
Two of my sons were at EFY in Willamsburg, Virginia about ten years ago and I became so intrigued and awed by the richness of our colonial heritage that I began reading about the life and lifestyles of early America. Originally, I set the manuscript forward from where it now is because the scope of events in the early nineteenth century was overwhelming to me, but when I was asked to expand the manuscript, I couldn't resist the temptation to illustrate the history in my own backyard and to further research these amazing Americans who had captivated my interest for over a decade and who set the stage for the Restoration.
Which historical figure stands out to you?
Oh, without question it would be George Washington. He always looked so stern to me in those classroom prints growing up, but after reading about his personal life and his struggle to serve his country despite his intense desire for a private life, I have come to really respect and love him, and more importantly, I am so grateful to him. He was so revered that he could easily have set himself up as a king figure, but he was such a spiritual man that he understood that there was a divine plan for this nation.
How has your research changed you?
In so many ways. First, I relate everything to history now and my family gets pretty tired of that, I can tell you! But I hope I've learned one important lesson that crosses all times periods and situations, and it is that we must judge or evaluate a person's life based on the times in which they lived. If we try to measure them using hindsight and the values of another period, we may fail to see that they were a giant in their own time.
Which character in Dark Sky at Dawn most reflects you?
I don't know how it is for all authors, but when I write, each character reflects a little piece of me, or a sliver of my life experience at one time or another, albeit even as an observer. In this way I feel personally engaged in the conversations and thoughts, and hopefully, I can create a more vivid character and story for the reader.
Are you saying that Hannah's spiritual struggles are a reflection of your personal experiences?
Yes, in some ways. Our family went through a very trying period when we were living on prayer and faith. There were lots of days when life seemed so hard and heavy. We carried on with our lives, but often, as soon as the house emptied, I fell beside my bed and pled out loud with the Lord. Many tender, spiritual experiences came from those moments, but had I listened more carefully, I would have felt His arms of love around me even before I began my pleading. I wanted Hannah to reflect that struggle to learn to listen, to trust and to surrender ourselves to His will.
And that’s going to do it for this week’s author spotlight. Stay tuned for exciting news about my experience at the ANWA conference, and have a great weekend.