Here at Author’s Digest, we don’t meet many contributors who have achieved recognition in both poetry and fiction, but this week’s guest is the exception.
Lois Swann is an award-winning poet and three-time novelist. In addition to receiving the Bohem Memorial Prize for her early poetry, excerpts from her current collection (Perfect Lover) were recently published by The Great American Poetry Show.
Her first book, The Mists of Manittoo, won the Ohioana Library Association Award for First Novels. A sequel, Torn Covenants, followed. Her most recent novel, The Painter, was self-published last year by AuthorHouse.
Lois, a mother of two, currently lives on Cape Cod with her husband, and we’re thrilled that she could talk with us. Today, she shares a bit about her background.
Lois, please tell us about yourself.
I am a native New Yorker which explains in part my world view at once open and closed. I am open to varied rhythms, themes, personalities, possibilities, settings, techniques: I am closed to technical laxity and constricted interpretations of events, circumstances, and history. I feel deeply a commitment to reveal the complexity of facts, to sink into the red heart of a story. My self-expression was early nourished by reading and writing poetry. The writing of letters proved to be my school for description of the familiar and the unfamiliar when I was far from home caught in pleasant exile as a college student and young bride. Having lived on the East Coast, the West Coast, in the Mid-West, and in New England blasts any possibility of my being a regional author. I am happily unbound by geography.
My progress has been graced by encouragement from my father and a father-in-law both of them inventors in their own right. My lifelong devotion to creating a Northeastern myth of Native Americans and Colonials must be rooted in the garden of my childhood, my father reverently explaining the presence of arrowheads in the soil. In his last days, ever unselfish, my father would urge me to leave his side to complete the work saying, “Don’t you have a book to write?” My father-in-law relishing my descriptions of the California coast urged me to publish rather than write for his private enjoyment.
Taking his advice I sought an editor from a similar locale to the main characters of my first novel. The research yielded me an association with Burroughs Mitchell, one of the greats, and an author’s life fostered by iconic personalities, a tutelage in amity, loyalty, and business hard to come by today. Luck also played a major role in my publishing drama. An invitation to have my papers and a manuscripts archived in Howard Gotllieb’s Twentieth Century Collection at Boston University was caught in a hedge at my home in Cincinnati, Ohio. Neighborhood children brought that letter to my door months later when the snows melted. There have been other strokes of good fortune that make my life and my life in literature breathe.
We’ll be back with the continuation of our chat with Lois Swann later this week. In the meantime, we encourage our readers to check out Lois’ work. The Painter is available in the AuthorHouse Bookstore.
Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by Author’s Digest!