Monday, December 14, 2009

A Talk With L. C. Lewis

Last week I had the privilege of reading Dawn's Early Light, book 3 of the Free Men and Dreamers historical series by L. C. Lewis. Even though this novel is part of a series, it was also written as a stand-alone book, and having not read the first two, the story great from the very beginning and I was able to get right into it. I love reading novels about historical events, especially when the author has thoroughly researched the events, and L. C. Lewis has really done well.

The Book
This third volume of LC Lewis’s War of 1812 historical fiction epic, Free Men and Dreamers, covers the British offensive against Washington D.C. Once Napoleon is subdued, and despite the commencement of peace negotiations, Britain unleashes her triumphant European conquerors on America. And their primary target? Washington. While attentions turn to the defense of the Capital, mercenaries threaten the Winding Willows and White Oak plantations, forcing enemies to become allies, fighting side-by-side with freed slaves to defend their homes and families. Mere miles away, the Capital’s defense now rests predominantly upon citizen soldiers and a most unlikely naval force—a rag-tag fleet called the Chesapeake flotilla—and the men who built it. But Britain’s house is also divided over the war, as the cost mounts in blood and money. Experience the pain and passion of five families—American, slave and British—as they endure the three darkest days of American history—the week when Washington burned.

L. C. Lewis (Laurie) was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself and her writing.

Me: Laurie, thanks so much for taking the time to visit.

Laurie: Thanks for this opportunity, Jewel! I’m delighted to meet your readers.

Me: Tell us a little about yourself.

Laurie: I like to say that I’m a 50-something, craft-challenged, LDS wife, mother and grandmother from Maryland. My husband and I have been married for 33 years now, and we have four kids and four grandkids. Though I always loved to write, my original vocation plan was to be a singer. For about ten years I performed quite a bit, but now I only sing in the car, the choir, or to my grandchildren.

Me: Sounds fun. You're just full of talent. What got you into writing?

Laurie: When I was about ten I began writing TV episodes. They were just for my entertainment, but I would dream about starring in them with my favorite male leads—Donnie Osmond, Bobby Sherman or Davy Jones, (wow . . . I’m really dating myself here!) I entered a few writing contests and won, but it was a Creative Writing teacher who made me feel I had promise. For years I wrote short stories and poems as gifts, and I authored some plays for Church use. When my children started leaving home, I began my first novel, “Unspoken,” a story about a husband and wife who are unable to forgive one another. I submitted it to Covenant in 2003 and it was accepted and published in 2004.

Me: Tell us how you came about writing this series.

Laurie: I visited Williamsburg, Virginia and I just felt such a strong spirit there. I was fascinated and awed by the industry and ingenuity of the people, and I decided to write a book set in a historic period. I was afraid to set it in the early 1800’s because I didn’t feel qualified to handle the Restoration, so I set the book in the 1850’s, but my editor advised me to rework the manuscript and expand the story. I set it aside for quite a while, and then I was asked to teach a year of Church History in Early Morning Seminary. I read whatever I could find on Joseph Smith’s life during that year, and I realized that the generation that would receive the Restoration was the first generation of American-born citizens. Their peers were the children of the Founding Fathers. I also became drawn by the many correlations between America’s history and the events affecting Joseph Smith’s family. When you lay American history over the Joseph Smith story, the hand of the Lord in this nation’s creation is so evident. After making these discoveries, I felt I was ready to move the book back a generation picking up the wonderful War of 1812 history in my own backyard, and the early Smith history.

Me: Well, after reading Dawn's Early Light, I loved the characters so much, I'm going to have to read the first two books;-) Are you currently working on any other projects?

Laurie: I hope to have book four, “The Morning Breaks” on the shelves by next Christmas, and I have a literary novel I’m shopping around. I also have a suspense/romance I’m really excited about. It’s in the early stages, but the plot-line is fascinating. I hope I can get that manuscript finished next year.

Me: I hope so, too. I look forward to reading your future books. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to get to know you:-)

To learn more about Laurie and her books, visit her blog at

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