Books by Melissa Bowersock

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Author Interview: Lois Lewandowski

Today I’m chatting with my Indies Unlimited buddy, L.A. (Lois) Lewandowski. I’ve recently read her first novel, Born to Die: The Montauk Murders, which I found extremely engrossing. Here’s the description:

Born to Die – The Montauk Murders is set amongst the glitz and glamour of the Beau Monde. The 80th birthday of Miranda Richards, an art-world icon, boasts the party of the summer at her exclusive mansion on Long Island. Old resentments and convoluted relationships bubble to the surface as an eclectic, A-list cast of characters celebrate at a Masked Ball. The luxurious trappings of success, however, don't hinder the agenda of an invited guest with a score to settle. Friends and family are left to wonder--- Will I be next?

Lois, what inspired you to take on this multi-character who-done-it?

Hi, Melissa. Thank you for having me on your blog. I have always loved murder mysteries, particularly those of P.D.James. One evening after watching the movie Gosford Park I decided to write an Americanized version of the story. I created the character of Miranda Richards, an homage to art and fashion icon Iris Apfel. I think older women are much more interesting to develop as a character.

More interesting all around, I’d say! ;-)Did you have to keep copious notes to remember who did what, and when? I’d think you’d need a scorecard with this book!

You’re right — the timeline must be perfect or the reader gets confused. A person who reads murder mysteries will look for clues from page one. The author needs to plant enough clues without giving away the murderer. There are always a few red herrings along the way.

It was obvious to me that you loved many of the characters in the book. Which one was your favorite?

Miranda Richards is my favorite character. At eighty years old she still has it all together. She has had a colorful life, with several husbands and lovers. She lives elegantly, the way only the privileged live, but she is not a snob. She shares her joie de vivre. And, she entertains with fabulous food. Scrumptious food and experimenting in the kitchen is a hobby of mine.

I have to ask; did you do research into the lifestyle of the glitterati, or is that your normal environment?

I live on a budget, unlike most of my characters. At one of my book club meetings a women asked me if I was rich! That is not the case. I do appreciate the finer things in life. For me, to be able to cook and present a wonderful meal to friends with a carefully chosen wine is a gift. I have always enjoyed reading books about elegant living, music, art, fashion… I decided to write what I enjoyed reading.

A surefire prescription for a good book. I also write what I want to read. That way, we at least are never disappointed! And then you completely switched gears with your second novel, My Gentleman Vampire: The Undead Have Style. Can you describe the differences in the writing processes? Which book was easier to write? Why? 

I had already started on the sequel to Born to Die when, unfortunately, I had a bout of health problems that required bed rest and — oxycodone. One day while recuperating in bed I had a crazy idea. What would happen if a heart-broken writer became best friends with a gay, tango dancing vampire? I put the other manuscript to the side. The vampire story, in first draft form, was done in a matter of weeks. It is an odd story, but I guess drugs will do that. Look at Edgar Allen Poe.

LOL! That’s a great story, and totally understandable. Sometimes you just have to follow the muse, even if it means shelving the latest work. I’m not quite sure why, but vampires and the tango do seem to have a natural resonance. How did these two things come together in your mind? 

Tango is extremely sexy and requires strength and style. My vampire and human share a passion for ballroom dancing, and they enter a member guest competition at a local vampire nightclub. As I said, the story presented itself and I wrote it. I followed the characters through this adventure, rather than dictating their exploits. 

On Amazon, it says Volume 1. How many books do you have planned for the series? 

While I was writing the latest murder mystery I kept a file on my desk for the second book in the vampire series. When an idea occurred to me I wrote it and saved it. I have recently begun the second book. I feel the story will go darker. Dragos, the vampire warlord, is not a lighthearted vampire. I think I am going to write shorter pieces, almost in a serial form. Readers have been patiently waiting… By the way, while traveling in the Caribbean I met a man from Transylvania named Dragos. The description of Dragos in the first book is his likeness. Since he is Romanian he has been an incredible resource and a muse. The characters will end up in Romania, at Dragos’ castle. That I know. 

What pressure do you feel from your readers to write the next book in a series? 

I realize I disappointed the women who loved Born to Die when I didn’t immediately work on the sequel. In January they will be pleased when I release A Gourmet Demise. The funny thing is that now I am receiving complaints from women who want the next installment of the vamps. That is why I may serialize the stories. I want them to be happy, and I also don’t want to lose their attention. 

What advice do you have for aspiring authors? 

First, don’t rush to publish. Educate yourself by reading the top writer’s blogs like Indies Unlimited. Build your network carefully with supportive writers and readers. Don’t spam your network. When you are ready to publish, hire a professional editor and formatter. Always present yourself as a professional. You are your brand.

Lois, thanks so much for sharing with us. I have a feeling we may add to your troops of readers waiting for those next installments. Congratulations in advance on the January release.

For more information about Lois, you can visit her author page here:

Lois’ blog is where she shares recipes and lifestyle tips here:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lois. It's interesting to see where your stories came from. And I love your food connections.