Join me while I chat today with Laurie Lewis, author of AWAKENING AVERY. Readers may know her best as L.C. Lewis, the author of the historical fiction series Free Men and Dreamers. I know her because she is in my writing group, though she lives on the other side of the country. It's more of an online knowing, though I did meet her at the writer's conference last month.
Why did you switch genres and write AWAKENING AVERY? It’s not historical is it?
No, AWAKENING AVERY is current fiction, so it’s a nice diversion from my historical work.
What is the message behind the title, AWAKENING AVERY? (let's see how many times I can mention the title AWAKENING AVERY :D)
Our lead character is an LDS author/wife and mother who gets catapulted from her comfortable support role in the family to the lead after the untimely death of her wonderful husband. Although her husband, Paul, had been slowing fading for a long time, Avery had closed her eyes to the toll his illness and death had taken on her and her family. Her oldest son tells her he needs to get away to deal with his grief, and she is forced to face some hard truths—things are falling apart in her once perfect family, and instead of preparing for the eventuality of Paul’s death, she has been shriveling away. Avery needs to step up and take action, a daring thing that requires her to grow and stretch in ways she never imagined.
Is this story primarily about handling grief?
The Thompson family’s grief is the vehicle I use to address the major theme of the book, which is family vigilance. Their grief opens cracks in their spiritual veneer that weakens them, and makes them vulnerable, but hopefully readers will recognize that all of our families are vulnerable if we lower our vigilance for whatever reason. Another lesson from the book is the power available to us as we draw upon our families and friends for strength. The book is hopeful.
The themes are serious, but you call AWAKENING AVERY a chuckle-out-loud and grab-a-hankie read. Why?
Avery is grieving, but she goes through a summer of self-discovery where she opens her narrow world up to receive a host of quirky new friends. They all have life experience and strength she can draw from, and she discovers she has a few things to teach them as well. So it’s not a sad book. Parts are very tender—happy tender and sad tender— and parts are a riot. We’ve got some fun, crazy characters in here.
Your MC Avery is an author. Was that meant to be a biographical element?
No . . . I needed Avery to have a career that made her mobile enough to take this journey, and to provide her with a tool with which she could measure her personal growth. Writing her as an author fit that bill, and I already understood that industry. For Avery, her writing and the writings of another author—Axel Hunter—provide an outlet for expression . . . of her grief, her fears, her hopes. I think we all need an outlet. Hopefully one of our outlets is good friends.
What other projects are you working on?
I’m still promoting my Free Men and Dreamers series. Volume three, “Dawn’s Early Light,” debuted in December, and I’m hoping we’ll see book four on the shelves by late summer.
Thanks for the interview, Laurie. Awakening Avery sounds like a great read for mothers and wives. Look for it at Amazon.com and Deseret Book, that is if you don't win it by commenting on this blog...keep reading...
BOOK GIVEAWAY QUESTION: Laurie Lewis is sponsoring a book giveaway. To enter, answer this question in the comment section.
What event prompts Avery to seek out a ‘healing place” for herself and her family along Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast?
The answer can be found by reading chapter one of the book. The winner will be drawn on May 31st. Good luck!