Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Awakening Avery" by Laurie Lewis

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!

Monday, May 24, 2010

At the zoo...

On the recent zoo field trip I asked my daughter's friend to take a picture of the two of us in front of the giraffes just because I *heart* giraffes...



I guess she got my best...half?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Of rocks and cathedrals

Me in front of St. Catherine's Cathedral in Sevilla, Spain

"A rock pile ceases being a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral."
--Anonymous

(Now my novel-in-progress is no cathedral, but you get the idea)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BLOG TOUR!

No, it's not a blog tour where you hop from blog to blog reading book reviews and possibly winning said books just for commenting...it's a hop-skip-and-jump-tour around my very own blog.

Woot! Woot!

First off, just wanted to point out in case there's any lingering question, in my current profile pic that is not the gold plates blazing before me. It's simply a birthday cake...my own, thank you very much. Someone wondered, so I thought I'd clarify.

Then there's that pesky goal for my novel. I need to seriously update my word count because words have been added. Words have been deleted as well. Can I count those? Can I get extra credit for everything I wrote but then had to delete? I worked hard on those.

But I digress.

"Will Write for Chocolate." Kind of goes without saying, though I would add to that, "Will Write for Chocolate and Book Contracts, Not Necessarily in that Order."

I'm a blogging fool. I blog every other Tuesday at the ANWA Founder blog. Sometimes it's repeated here, sometimes not, I like to keep you guessing, so you better check both "spots." I also have a vinyl lettering blog that I pretty much neglect whenever possible.

Moving on, notice the fine looking group assembled in the Merry Band of Sidebar Followers. I wish I knew you all. Really. :D Someday we'll have to get together and party at an upscale resort on the Canary Islands, or at the very least continue to enjoy lively banter in the comment section. That's always a good time. Welcome to all newcomers, especially the redhead with two r's in her name. I've spied your face on many a blog and was hoping one day you'd show your face here. (I have four redheaded children and three are girls, so that explains the stalker fascination.)

I love quotes and especially writer quotes and one of my favs is the first one in my Writerly Quote list. In fact, I wanted to put as my title for the blog THE WRETCH TAKES TO WRITING, but I could imagine my sweet husband kindly saying, "No, honey. Don't say you're a wretch. You're not a wretch at all."

Anyway, blah, blah, blahg... Stuff continues down the sidebar, but I don't know about you, I'm already bored with this tour. There's tons of blogs and websites I never have enough time for. There's my blog topics (seriously, like you care) and blog archives (that sounds very all-important-ish, but we know the truth about what lies there. Wait. What does lie there? I've never looked...), a link to Twitter where sometimes I tweet, then meaningful (?) awards and more blahgs.

My favorite part is the blog post itself. My dad says they're funny (so there!) and when I became famous for writing something more noteworthy than blogs I should publish them in a book.

That's what dads are for.

And husbands are for reminding you that you are most certainly not a wretch.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is it summer vacation yet?

I'm so busy I still haven't gotten around to procrastinating. I think it might be next on my list, though.

I've done some writing on my novel, I've done some reading too. I've done a lot of laundry (as the mountains of clean clothes will attest--apparently, I've done no folding of said laundry--again the mountains attest.) I've done a lot of wedding planning with my daughter, and a lot of Girl's Camp prep--vinyl lettering for 38 shirts among other things. I've given a mother-daughter lesson on Mother's Day. I've been to a temple open house with 60 youth and back, I've helped host a bridal shower, and even cleaned my house for the event. I've gone on a 3rd grade zoo field trip. I've attended a daughter's senior awards program. Still to come in about a week and a half's time is the wedding and Girl's Camp and a high school graduation, too.

No one finishes a novel in May.

Just saying.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I have not yet begun to procrastinate!

*A post in which I try to make up for not posting...in case anyone cares...*

So, yeah. I've been home from the Storymakers conference for a week now and still no witty and/or insightful posts on the subject. No need to feel cheated, though, it's everywhere. Truly everyone is talking about it.

Highlights...

--a class presented by Anita Stansfield--author of 47 novels.

47.

I don't believe I've read a single one, but the point is she wrote 47 novels while being a wife and mother. It gave me hope for my measly novel of 1 that I'd like to see published. (Who am I kidding...I'd like to even just see it finished--my current assessment [read "lie"] that I tell myself is that I only have three more chapters, then its done.) (And the truth is I've got way more than 1 novel idea gathering dust bunnies in my brain. This is what compels me onward--the other stories want their turn.) (It's a curse, I tell you.)

Wait, was I talking about something else...Anita. Yes. Probably the best thing she taught us was to place our families first and make sure they know that they are (that's key) and she taught us about prioritizing and having messy houses, etc.

--a boot camp assignment at Elana Johnson's table. In two words: She's good. (And she doesn't like italics where the author tries to tell the reader that they need to read a particular word or phrase with emphasis, so I purposefully italicized the words describing her!) I learned from every critique she offered, whether for my work or another's in the group. And she didn't totally tear my chapter apart--she said I was clever and it was overwritten in places. I loved that because I can totally go back and underwrite something. I can.

--literary agent Laura Rennert's class covering everything from query letters, creating a pitch, and key ingredients for successful fiction. She gave actual practical tips for succeeding in the quest for an agent. She boiled down the essential elements needed in a query--answer the questions WHO, WHAT, WHERE, AND WHY SHOULD I CARE? That's all an agent needs to know about your story. To come away from a class presented by a national market agent and not be terribly discouraged about my chances was also nothing short of amazing.

--Stacy Anderson's (She's an ANWA member) presentation on marketing and publishing. Again, actual useable information. That's what I longed for in some (many?) of the classes I attended, so hers was very refreshing. She had an excellent handout that she would probably share with you if you asked.

--hanging with friends/meeting new people/seeing famous people that I didn't take pictures of or with.

Regrets
-I wish someone would have told me how amazing Dave Wolverton was going to be and I would have signed up for his two-part presentation.
-Plus I missed out on Elana Johnson's query workshop which I knew would be awesome and afterward heard that it was. I just didn't sign up in time.
-feeling physically so tired and sickish the whole time. I was ibuprofen-popping everyday and that is so not like me. (Why can't we stay up late giggling and chiding Peggy for wearing an Edward shirt to bed (and talking shop) and then get up early for boot camp and attend classes aaaall-daaaay-loooong and feel just wonderful??!! It's not fair.)

There's more...so much more...plus I do have some pictures. There's always tomorrow...

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