Friday, August 5, 2016

Don't Let the Dragons Fool You: Interview with Author L.C. Lewis

Yesterday I highlighted this new book. Today, I have the opportunity to interview successful author L.C. Lewis about her latest book, The Dragons of Alsace Farm!

Yesterday, I highlighted this awesome-looking book that was recently released. Today I have the opportunity to chat with successful author L.C. Lewis about her latest release, The Dragons of Alsace Farm!

I haven't had the chance to read the book yet, but it sounds fascinating to me, especially with the dementia aspect after writing my book Still Time about a caretaker her mother in law suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

1. What is the story behind your interesting title?

Great question. I wrestled over that title for months, even up to the day I submitted the manuscript, and I still worry whether it will resonate with readers, but my heart told me this was the name for the book, and I’m crossing my fingers that when the last page turns, readers will agree it was the perfect title.

Here’s how I came up with it. Agnes survived the bombing of the Alsace region of France during WWII, and when her family moved to America, they named their farm after their homeland. Alsace Farm is the setting for most of the book.

The dragon reference ties into Agnes’s past, and a mystery in the book, so I can’t give that away, but because of events in Agnes’s past, “dragons” became the catchphrase for everything that challenges or frightens her.

2. Alsace Farm... Is it based on a real place? What inspired this setting?

I knew the Alsace region of France and Germany had long been a contested area, both before and during the WWII so I chose that location as Agnes’s homeland. It figures into the story line in several important ways, and despite her family’s move from France to America, The dragons from the past came with them to their new home on Alsace Farm.

Alsace Farm is very real, or at least, it was. My parents had a beautiful little farm along a creek in Maryland. The layout of Alsace Farm is almost a duplicate of their farm, with the house sitting on a knoll above the winding flow of a creek that surrounded their farm on two sides. Having a familiar setting eased the writing of the book. I could so clearly see where things were happening as I wrote.

3.  What inspired “The Dragons of Alsace Farm” and why did you choose to include a character with dementia? 

I had planned to write a book that spanned from WWII to the present, with the same basic story line of “Dragons.” In my mind, my mom’s farm was always the setting, but she actually became the inspiration for Agnes’s character too. We saw changes in our mother’s actions and mood. Everything became harder for her, but she used her intellect to compensate for her failing memory, and her charming personality to camouflage her problems, even from her family physician. We finally found a doctor willing to test her, and the diagnosis was dementia.

That’s when I decided that instead of simply making my character—Agnes—a WWII survivor, I’d also give her the challenge of dementia, which opened opportunities to discuss this heart-wrenching disorder, and the effects is has on the patient and the loved ones helping them adjust.

More opportunities for learning came. Soon after Mom’s diagnosis. a young couple with mild disabilities moved into her home for a few months. Mom believed she was helping them, and they felt they were helping her. I was fascinated by the way these three disabled people strengthened one another and themselves through serving each other, and I wanted to introduce that element into the book somehow as well.

I spoke with two friends who are also family therapists, and they suggested I use abuse or drug addiction as the challenges or “dragons” my young characters would face. I remembered a sequel I had written years ago to my first novel, “Unspoken.” I never published it, but I loved the personal dynamic of the emotionally broken characters, so when I began drafting “Dragons,” I placed them in the story, and had them fill that helping role with Agnes.

It sounds like I quilted the book together, and I guess, in some ways, I did.

4. Which chapter was your favorite to write?

My favorite chapter to write was also one of the hardest because there were so many psychological elements to illustrate. One scene in particular plays out in my mind like a movie. It’s chapter twenty-seven, but twenty-three comes in as a close second for favorite. These are the chapters when Noah comes into his own, when he loses himself through helping Agnes, and in the end, finds the answer to the question that most plagued him—what kind of man was he?

I was nearly in tears during the scene where Noah struggles to pull Agnes out of the mental rabbit hole. I could see his arm shaking as he extended it to her, praying she’d reach out. I could hear the huskiness in his voice, and feel Agnes’s fatigue and willingness to surrender to the tug of the dragon—dementia. It was very personal, and cathartic.

5.  What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I hope to have three more books out in twelve months. I hope to have a political suspense novel out by Christmas. It’s currently titled, The Shell Game, but that could change. I love the two protagonists, and it’s stuffed with psychological twists, action, and mystery, from the first page.

I was delighted to be invited to write a volume for the very successful “Destination Billionaires Romance” series. My DBR romance launches in March. I’m also rewriting a novel I wrote for the LDS market (Awakening Avery) to launch into the national market.

I also have an outline for a new historical romance, a new volume for my Free Men and Dreamers series that carries the next generation west, and I woke up from a dream the other night and ran to my computer. After a half-hour I had a love-triangle romance outlined and ready to go, so I have lots of ideas. I just need more daylight!

Thanks so much for the interview. I so appreciate the chance to introduce more readers to The Dragons of Alsace Farm. I hope readers will visit my web site and sign up for my newsletter at here. I offer at least one free book to my followers each month.

Have a great day, and always remember love!