After reading Her Vanquished Land, I approached Diane Scott Lewis about conducting an author interview. Her writing intrigued me and I wanted to know more about the woman behind the book. She agreed happily. So grab your favorite morning beverage and join us. Take it away, Diane.
What is your writing process?
I’m sharper in the early morning, so as soon as I wake, grab a cup of coffee, I’m at the computer going over my notes, research, and writing scenes. I’m in two critique groups, and often their ideas spark mine, to improve my writing. Or I think it’s perfect the way it is—which no writer should think.
Have you always liked to write?
I’ve always loved to tell stories, usually set in the past. I started out at age five illustrating my story and telling my mother what to write. I began my first novel, set in ancient Rome, at age ten.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Perfect your craft; attend workshops; attend conferences; network with other authors, and join critique groups.
If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I’d be a graphic artist.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I don’t respond to bad review usually. Most don’t say enough to respond to, just ‘they didn’t like it’. One reviewer took me to task for being incorrect about arsenic poisoning, when I’d researched it thoroughly. I knew I had my facts right.
What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
Promotion. Everyone is promoting, and vying for readers. We’re all trying to figure out what works best, but I’d rather be writing my novels.
Do you have a favorite spot to write? What is it?
I write in my home office, surrounded by lots of wood. But I’d rather work on a terrace in Greece overlooking the Aegean Sea.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
I have several published historical novels, and two self-published children’s books.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
A novel set in Greece in 1955. I was stationed in Greece years ago, and recently visited there where I researched for this novel.
Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
Red wine is my vice. I love the dries, but I can handle semi-sweet. I grew up near Napa Valley in California, so wine was always a part of my culture.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
She was creative, strong, loved her family, cared about the world, and did her best. I’ll need a larger stone.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
To fly; I used to dream that I could fly. I’d save airfare to Europe.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Spain; I’ve been in the airport in Barcelona, but I’d love to tour the country, see historic sights, and eat the food of each region.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
A cheetah, I want to run fast and wild.
Do you have any scars? What are they from?
I have a scar on my leg from a terrible accident I was in at age ten. A drunk driver hit our car head on. My mother and best friend received massive injuries, I dove under the dashboard and scraped my legs up. I was fortunate.
What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?
I was overly sensitive, and ornery. A conflicting combination. My favorite toy was an old stuffed dog named Rupert. I slept with him.
Title HER VANQUISHED LAND
Author Diane Scott Lewis
Genre Historical Fiction
Publisher BWL Publishing, Ltd.
In 1780, Rowena Marsh decodes messages for the British during the American Revolution. When the rebels overrun her home state of Pennsylvania, she flees with her family. Are the people loyal to England welcome anywhere in the burgeoning United States? Rowena struggles with possible defeat and permanent exile, plus her growing love for an enigmatic Welshman who may have little need for affection. Will the war destroy both their lives?
Rowena leaned closer, the tangy bush leaves tickling her nose.
“More will attack to the south. We must wrest control of New Orleans from Spain; that port’s important.” The foreign-sounding man crossed his arms. “And the New York Volunteers along with our navy are in the middle colonies. General Clinton believes we can control the south from Charles Town.”
She’d stewed this day over her brothers being in the perilous south—and no one had told her until her father’s admission in the library. But then, men joined to fight.
“I cheer our recent victory,” James said with little mirth. “Yet, I’d rather stay fairly near to this region. I have a mother to look after.”
Her cousin’s concern for her aunt gave her a brief warmth.
“Don’t be a lackwit,” the other man hissed as he kept scanning their surroundings. She couldn’t clearly see his face, only the movement of his hat. But his features appeared sharp in the feeble outline of lantern light. “Everyone has a mother. Family drags on a man’s duty.”
“Ah, you have reason to criticize me about duty?” James’ question burst out more like a challenge. “Family is important. My father and cousins fight for His Majesty.”
Rowena scraped a nail along a bush leaf. There was animosity between them.
“As they should, but the rebels could snatch yer uncle’s property if we don’t push them back. Yer family might have to flee or suffer worse repercussions.” The man thrust his hands on his hips. “Ye are needed in Philadelphia, not too far. To work as a courier, when required, and intercept enemy couriers.”
James grunted. “I’ll be there, if I must. I’m dedicated to the cause.”
“We’ll continue to scour the countryside for men to bring to our side,” the stranger said. “’Tisn’t easy anymore.”
“Many have given in and left. I attend the Refugee Club, where we dare to gather.” James shifted. “Did you bring what I requested?”
The stranger stepped to the side, to a thicket, bent down and returned with a canvas sack. “Here’s the flour and seeds I promised, but focus on our mission, bachgen. Meet with our contact at the Bachmann Publick House in Easton, tomorrow night. At eight of the clock. He has more details.”
“I’ll be at the Bachmann.” James shouldered the sack. He strode off, into the trees to the left, toward his horse.
Rowena grimaced again at the idea she and Father could lose their farm. And why had this stranger called James a ‘bachgen’? A word unknown to her. Her nose started to itch from the leaves. She rubbed, then covered her face with both hands. She wanted the man to depart before she crept back to her pony. Her nose tickled again. A sneeze was coming. She turned and crawled away, one hand squeezing her nostrils; but the sneeze broke through, too loud even muffled with her sleeve.
“Damn ei,” the stranger cursed with his foreign inflection. “Who is there?”
Should she run, hide? Rowena’s thoughts splintered. Footsteps started in her direction. Crouched low like an animal, she scratched her hands as she crawled farther through the brush. She slithered down into a ravine. Her heart drummed in her ears. The borrowed breeches nearly slipped from her waist. Among dirt and plants, she balled her body up behind a thicket of bushes, her forehead on her knees for a moment. She should have brought her father’s pistol.
The man’s footsteps crunched above her. Dirt sprinkled down. The lantern swung over the area in circles of light. Her skin goose-bumped. She heard his angry breaths. Rowena held her own as tightly as she could. The adventure she’d sought carried the real risk of her being killed.
Free to read on Kindle Unlimited!
I’m one of the authors participating in the Trick or Treat Binge-Read Giveaway and you can win a paperback copy of Her Vanquished Land.
Runs October 1 - 31.
Winner will be drawn November 1, 2019.
Diane Parkinson (Diane Scott Lewis) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined the Navy at nineteen, married in Greece and raised two sons all over the world, including Puerto Rico and Guam. A member of the Historical Novel Society, she wrote book reviews for the Historical Novels Review. Diane worked from 2007 to 2010 as an on-line historical editor. She has had several historical and historical-romance novels published between 2010 and 2019.
Diane lives with her husband in western Pennsylvania.
Social Media Links
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