11 September 2011

Guest Blog: Diane Scott Lewis

This week, we're welcoming historical author Diane Scott Lewis, as she celebrates the release of her latest novel, ELYSIUM.  Diane has generously offered to give away an electronic copy of the novel! Here's the blurb:

In 1815, after the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte is exiled to Saint Helena.  On this remote island, Amélie Perrault, the daughter of Napoleon’s head chef, is determined through healing herbs to rise in importance and is fascinated with the fallen French Emperor. When her beautiful singing voice catches Napoleon’s attention, she is drawn into his clash with their British jailers, court intrigues and a burgeoning sexual attraction.

Napoleon is soured on love. Since political maneuvers fail to release him, he desires freedom no matter the risk. Amélie suspects someone in their entourage is poisoning the emperor. Will she uncover the culprit in time and join in Napoleon’s last great battle plan, a dangerous escape? 

**An Interview with Diane Scott Lewis**

Your novel, Elysium, released in April, is quite controversial. What prompted you to write it?

Many years ago I read a book called Desiree, and became interested in Napoleon, who was a vivid character in that story. After reading biographies on him, I was fascinated with his exile on the remote island of St. Helena. The British went to great lengths in his imprisonment and I began to sympathize with this man who was hemmed in by soldiers and watched in everything he did. Warships even patrolled around the island constantly. My biggest question was, could he have escaped given the right situation? I found a book on that very subject: Revelations Concerning Napoleon’s Escape From St. Helena, by Pierre Paul Ebeyer, 1947. It’s a strange read and I used nothing in the author’s speculations for my story, but it proved that others have thought about the possibility of the ex-emperor’s escape.

You also bring up the poisoning theory. Don’t many Napoleonic scholars refute that?

You’re right, they do. But what if an assassin had been sent to the island to ensure Napoleon never returned to power? Such a prospect was investigated in The Murder of Napoleon by Ben Weider and David Hapgood, 1983. I found it intriguing enough to include that possibility in my novel.

History doesn’t show Napoleon as a great lover, yet you include a romance in Elysium. Why did you decide to go that route?

I found that a more interesting my story theme: Could the ex-Emperor of the French have accomplished such an audacious act as escape if a clever and compassionate woman rallied his soul and earned his heart? It made for a sexier story.

Tell us about your fictional heroine.

Amélie Perrault delves into healing herbs and is determined to be more important in her emperor’s entourage than just the chef’s daughter. When one of Napoleon’s valets hears her beautiful singing voice, he suggests she sing for the emperor. Cultivating her garden, she sings like the siren Calypso calling Odysseus to shore. At last catching his attention, she uses her herbal tinctures to strengthen the emperor and, eventually, save him from an assassin’s poison. Yet she finds herself falling in love with him.

And what is Napoleon’s reaction to this young woman?

Napoleon is jaded where love is concerned. He wishes to preserve his imperial dignity—his faithfulness to the Hapsburg wife who deserted him back in Europe—while the world watches his persecution. Amélie, however, touches his heart with her intelligent advice and selfless devotion. She is the little bud who scents so many of his moments, but now she’s turning into a desirable woman. How long can he resist her allure?

Where can people purchase your novel?

You can visit my website: http://www.dianescottlewis.com
For the ebook version, please use this link:
Or you can purchase the paperback or ebook at Amazon:


Jen B. said...

I have never given Napolean's imprisonment much thought. But it does raise come interesting issues. I don't think any fortress is 100% unbreakable. Thanks for the giveaway.

The Afflicted Girls said...

There is always so much that remains unwritten in history until a novelist gets drawn into the subject, and begins delving, and speculating, and using intuition. I suspect Diane has been hooking into a few unknown facts that not only add to this interesting historical episode, but maybe even solve some old mysteries. I had this experience myself. I very much look forward to reading Diane's book, and wish her great success with it.
Suzy Witten

lgm52 said...

I've not read much about Napolean, but this book sounds interesting! Thanks for the chance to win it.

Trish said...

I too, was fascinated by the book Desiree. I also remember the movie they made of it, with Marlon Brando being Napoleon!

I am very interested in reading your take on his imprisonment!