Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Leslie Smith Dow is an Ottawa-based author of print and e-books including the award-winning historical biographies Adele Hugo: La Miserable and Anna Leonowens: A Life Beyond the King and I. A veteran journalist and freelance writer, she enjoys travel and reading improbable-but-true stories. Read Elissa Barnard’s review of the re-issued e-edition of Adele Hugo in www.localxpress.ca at https://www.localxpress.ca/local-arts-and-life/adele-hugo-still-haunts-author-443323.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I just finished The Kill Keppler Club, a short story inspired by a visit my son and I made to Prague, where we found ourselves lodged next to the house where Johannes Keppler, the famous astronomer, lived four centuries ago.
Goose Lane Editions have also just published an e-edition of my award-winning book, Adele Hugo: La Miserable, with a new Afterword detailing a fascinating attempt to authenticate a painting which may be of Adele, and just may have been painted by legendary French painter Edouard Manet.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like to write in bed, or lying on the floor beside the fireplace. I get really cold when I am writing!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I absolutely love The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B by J. P. Donleavy–madcap, yet unbelievably sad. Jane Austen cloaks hilarious satire in prim and proper societal mores, while Gabriel Garcia Marquez combines historical fiction with a kind of psychedelic mythology. These are all different writing styles which I admire for the authors’ abilities to create several different worlds operating at once, all perceivable in radically different ways for those who look hard enough.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two short stories: Voodoo Vortex and Magic Carpet Ride, part of the Badass Hippie Tales series. I was inspired by the quirky small mountain town where my brother resides, and also by the unique and somewhat crazy characters I have met during my lifetime. Badass Hippie Tales allows me to roll everything into one big sticky pie–and bake!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I use Facebook (www.facebook.com/lesliesmithdow and Amazon (www.amazon.com/author/lesliesmithdow) as well as Twitter (@lesliesmithdow)
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write, write, write! Do it every day. It is like practising a sport. You will get better.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Several supercilious experts have told me that there was no way I could master a particular topic because I did not have the brainpower. This was the best thing they could have done for me, because I went right out and proved them wrong! Don’t let others’ attitudes influence you!
What are you reading now?
Ancient Rome, by Nigel Rodgers. The book is so heavy I have to sit at a desk or it will crush me.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I am going to Rome on a trip in the spring and I hope to be able to finish an intriguing short story I have started about a guy who lives in Ostia, in a slum apartment building, but mysteriously has quite a bit of money. I am hoping to discover how he came by all of this cash.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I would bring my Kindle, which would allow me practically all the books I could read. These would include everything written by Jane Austen, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Agatha Christie.
Author Websites and Profiles
Leslie Smith Dow Amazon Profile