Monday, 11 March 2013

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Diane Scott Lewis

1. Tell me about your book Betrayed Countess and where you got your inspiration for it? 

I wanted to write in a time period not overdone, so I picked the pre-Regency, or Georgian era. Since the French Revolution was raging, I developed a French character who ends up in England after being duped by her guardian. Years ago, I’d seen a movie set on the wild coast of Cornwall, and that inspired me to set my story in that region. The Poldark novels were set there in the late eighteenth century, so reading Winston Graham’s classic stories was another inspiration.

2. Who has had the most influence in your life? What lessons did this person teach you? 

My father, though I didn’t realize it until much later. He taught me my love of reading and history. He also taught me never to deride other races and religions, and not to litter. I’ve carried all these lessons throughout my life. He’s gone now, and I wish I could have told him how much he meant to me. My mother always declares that I received my intelligence from him.

3. How would you like to be remembered? 

As someone who cared deeply about her family and friends, and as a serious historical novelist.

4. If you could interview anyone from your life, living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?

My father, for the reasons stated in question two. I know he had alcohol issues, and he was such an intelligent man-I’d like to discover what tortured him. I wish we’d been closer in my adulthood.

5. You’re given one million pounds/dollars/euros, what would you spend it on? 

Traveling through England to do extensive research for my novels, oh, and helping my family and giving to charity as well.

6. If someone came up to you and wanted to tell you about an idea or a book they were writing, what would you do? Or what advice would you give? 

Learn the craft, grammar, and how to plot effectively. Join a critique group to get feedback. And never give up on your dream, just polish and improve your writing. When I worked as an editor, I did give this advice to people, but a famous author friend also gave this guidance to me.

7. Are the names of characters in your novels important? 

Very important. Since I write historicals, I try to stay true to the time period and the region of my stories. I have a book I purchased in Cornwall of Cornish names, for my novels set in that region, such as Betrayed Countess. You don’t want a Tiffany in 1796. For my French novel, Elysium, I researched French names. Name your baby books are helpful, too.

8. Do you research your novels? 

Extensively. Before the internet I used to spend entire days at the Library of Congress reading primary sources to research the eighteenth century. I loved it there, and could have moved in!

9. Are you jealous of other writers? 

Yes! If I read a book and it’s poorly written with flat characters and an unbelievable plot, yet these authors have an agent and a major publisher, I’m astounded at their luck. On the other hand, when I read a beautifully written book, I applaud that author’s talent, and try to learn from them.

10. Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it? 

I’ve experienced lust at first sight, but I think it’s impossible to love someone until you get to know the, otherwise it’s only superficial attraction.

11. How do you overcome writers block? 

I have rarely experienced it. My major problem is finding enough time to write. If I stumble on how to progress in a story, I need to work on something else, or read a book, and inspiration will usually crawl back. I also get great ideas in the shower, and hope I remember them by the time I get out and rush to my computer.

12. Say you’re dead but are a ghost? You can’t be seen, can make objects float and walk through walls. What would you do? 

I’d travel back to the eighteenth century (time travel is included, right?) I’d also revisit my childhood, to appreciate the time I had with my brother and father. In the present times, I’d listen in on those agents and editors in New York, trying to figure out the business. Then I’d research how to resurrect myself!

13. How did you come up with the title for your latest book? 

For Betrayed Countess, it kind of says it all. The story is serious historical fiction, though the publishers keep listing it as Romance, insisting that genre sells better. There are enough romantic elements to please Romance fans. But I hope people who don’t usually read Romance will try it and see there is no formula, and the novel is full of historical detail.

14. What are your current projects? 

I’m polishing another novel set in Cornwall in the late eighteenth century, titled Ring of Stone. And revising a novel set in Virginia in the 1950’s about the Potomac oyster wars.

15. Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?

Although my books are primarily in e format, I still love paperbacks and hardcovers. Kindle has to come up with a way to make its ereader smell like a musty old, or brand new book. There is nothing like it. (I feel so disloyal to my ebooks, hangs head in shame)


Forced from France by her devious guardian on the eve of the French Revolution, Countess Bettina Jonquiere must deliver an important package to further the royalist cause. In England, she discovers the package is full of blank papers, the address false and she’s penniless. Stranded in a Cornish village, Bettina toils in a bawdy tavern and falls in love with a man who may have murdered his unfaithful wife. Tracked by ruthless revolutionaries, she must uncover the truth about her father’s murder—and her lover’s guilt—while her life is threatened.

    “This is insane.” Lisbette huddled inside her cloak, a gust of wind flapping the hood about her face. She slipped in the mud and splashed through a puddle, her skirt hem and petticoat now stuck to her ankles. Armand made a feeble attempt to steady her.
      When they entered the Basse Ville, the drab lower town shimmered in an outline of purple. To the east, the dawn light crept over the ancient battlements perched on the hillside behind them. Lisbette slowed again. “What if someone stops us? This seems more dangerous than remaining at the townhouse. Tell me who that scarred man is?”
   Armand clasped her wrist, almost caressing it. “That man is an acquaintance of Madame—my niece. Against her wishes, I … I’ve paid him to see the way is clear for you.”
   “I thought I heard you arguing with that woman. Was it over me? Maman promised she would join me here, soon. I need to stay.” Lisbette scrutinized her elderly guardian—or so he’d become over the last several days. Always thin, now he resembled wrinkled skin draped over bones. She trembled, his hand on her cuff a pale claw. “What if I’m caught and sent back, what will happen then? I should never have left Château Jonquiere to come to Boulogne.” 

About Diane

Diane Parkinson (writing as Diane Scott Lewis) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined the Navy at nineteen and has written and edited free-lance since high school. She writes book reviews for the Historical Novels Review and worked as a historical editor for The Wild Rose Press from 2007 to 2010. Her first novel, The False Light, a French Revolution historical adventure with romantic elements, was released in April 2010. Her second novel, Elysium, was released in April 2011. This adventure, with mystery and romance, takes place on St. Helena during Napoleon’s exile. Her sequel to The False Light, Without Refuge, was released in March 2012.
Her debut novel was re-released as Betrayed Countess in December by BooksWeLove.
She published a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey, called Miss Grey’s Shady Lover in December 2012.
She lives with her husband and dachshund in Pennsylvania.



  1. Diane,

    Loved your interview, especially where you talk about drawing Romance readers to your historical fiction. Since I'm in the same boat, I wonder the same thing. BTW, I'm reading Betrayed Countess and find it very enjoyable and well-written. Best of luck!

  2. Just read the interview, and I am very impressed. Since I am a new friend, I enjoyed your advice to new authors. We all need positive comments.

  3. Yes, the internet has really made research so much easier! I got my English degree when writing a paper meant endless hours in the library, laboriously copying quotes by hand, or paying to make xeros copies. These days you just copy and paste and there it is! Plus the world is at your fingertips at the click of a mouse! How sad that most people just use this marvelous technology to watch extreme porn or gossip about their friends!
    Good luck with your sales.

  4. Nice to learn a little more about you, Diane. Good luck with the book it sounds intriguing.

  5. Hi Diane,
    Nice to find out a little more about you. I love history too, and research in the local library was never a chore for me, it was a pleasure.
    Your story sounds interesting. They were very exciting and treacherous times.