Writer and prospective author that I am, I associate with lots of published authors and I like to learn more about them and their path to publication.
This week I'm interviewing Laurie Lewis.
Laurie was born and raised in rural Maryland, surrounded by the history-rich cities of Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore which provide the settings for her books. She is also a popular historical speaker and workshop presenter.
Laruie is a member of the LDStorymakers authors’ group as well as ANWA, a writing group for LDS women. She currently serves in her stake as the LDS Seminary Supervisor, working with the youth and Seminary teachers. She now combines all her loves—Church and American history, people, family and interesting locations—to produce family and historical dramas.
This is a photo of Laurie in Yorktown. She's always doing research to make her novels more accurate.
Laurie, how many kids do you have?
I had four kids in six years. Life was crazy wonderful. They're all grown now. Three are married, and they've collectively blessed me with four grandchildren with a fifth on the way. I always loved to write, but I waited until I was 46 to submit my first manuscript, "Unspoken." By then the oldest was married with a baby, and my youngest was a freshman at college.
Where do you currently live?
Tom and I still live in a little town called Mount Airy in Carroll County, Maryland, where we raised our family. We've lived here for 26 years.
Who are your books published through?
It's a little crazy around here because I currently have books under three publishers right now. I'm under contract with Covenant who published my first novel, "Unspoken" and the first two volumes of my "Free Men and Dreamers" series, "Dark Sky at Dawn" and "Twilight's Last Gleaming." They pulled out of the series, but readers wrote, asking me to finish the story, so I published volume three, "Dawn's Early Light" through an Amazon affiliate. I also submitted a romance to Covenant, but they don't handle literary romances, so I submitted it to Leatherwood Press who is about to launch it this spring.
This link, (http://laurielclewis.com/books.html) will take you to preview chapters, reviews, etc.
After writing your first book, how long did it take you to get published?
I got really lucky on "Unspoken." Covenant was the first place I submitted it, and they sent it back, asking me to rework some things. I resubmitted it a few months later and it was accepted. The process from first submission to it's debut on the shelves was probably about eighteen months.
How did you celebrate your first published novel?
I remember this so clearly. My daughter was a student at Utah State in Logan. I was visiting her at Easter time when the call came through. I was so nervous I walked outside so no one would see me melt down if the call was a rejection. When the senior editor said those words, "We've decided to accept your manuscript for publication," I screamed! My daughter Amanda, and all her room mates, cheered for me, then I called my husband and the other kids. It was awesome. Equally splendid was the day the box arrived with the first copies of the book inside. It was magical and surreal. I felt like a new mommy again!
Are your upcoming novels also about the Civil War era?
This will be a very busy year. My romance, (we are nailing down the title tonight) debuts in April. It's a story of a recently widowed LDS woman named Avery, from Baltimore, and an anti-religion widower from Anna Maria Island named Gabriel. Both of them see trouble brewing in their respective families, and they each seek a change of scenery in which to heal themselves and their children. But Avery's new neighbors are an ex-rodeo couple from Texas who run a real estate company. When Rider and Teddie arrange for the pair to "swap" homes for the summer, Avery's and Gabriel's tidy, private lives are invaded by a host of quirky characters who teach them to laugh and love again, and most importantly, they discover what things truly last.
Also, book four of "Free Men and Dreamers" my War of 1812 saga, is set to debut in July of this year. I'm trying to get the completed series out and on the shelves in time for the Bicentennial celebrations of the Star Spangled Banner.
It sounds like you're a very busy woman--how do you juggle all of your responsibilities and still make time to write?
First, I try to keep a good balance between the temporal and the spiritual. When I neglect my spiritual side, including family time, nothing else goes well for me. I write best when I have order in my life, so I can only neglect home and hearth for so long before my mind becomes distracted. It's as if I can hear the laundry calling out, "Wash me! Fold me!" That's when I need to set my writing aside for a time. Still, I tend to be most productive under stress. I like having definite deadlines and goals. And I need to turn off the Internet sometimes. I'm too easily distracted.
Thank you Laurie for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview!
No problem, Tina. Thanks so much.