Saturday 28 December 2013


BLURB from Goodreads
From the After Life, ten-year-old Andy Smithson’s relatives initiated a curse 500 years ago. Now they no longer agree it should continue and one is willing to sacrifice Andy’s life to end it. Unaware of the disagreement and with no say in the matter, Andy is unexpectedly and magically transported from his home. He finds himself in the Land of Oomaldee, facing mortal danger at every turn as he seeks to find a scale from a rare red dragon, the most ferocious of dragon species, to break the curse and save his life.

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What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is L. R. W. Lee.  I was born in Upstate New York and I currently live in scenic Austin, TX with my husband, daughter and son.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
While I wanted to write a children’s novel since age 8, I never thought of myself pursuing writing as a career.  Growing up, due to the influence of the book Zoo Vet (no longer in print) and James Harriet’s All Things series, I wanted to be a vet of exotic animals.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?  
It’s only been a little over a year since I declared myself an author, pursuing writing as a career.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work? 
I began writing after I sold the company I founded and grew for 12 years.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest book is Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Book 1.  It is the first in a planned series of 7 books.  I summarize my book as follows: Ten-year-old boy magically brought to Land of Oomaldee to break 500-yr-old curse cast by dead relatives.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I self published

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
This book took me ten months from concept to completion

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Definitely more books of same genre for now.  I love writing for middle grade, although since this is a coming-of-age series, I will be moving into YA before the series is complete.

What genre would you place your books into?
Middle grade fantasy adventure

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Growing up, I was influenced by CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  I loved how Lewis had multiple plots moving simultaneously through his work.  I loved the complexity that I saw and was hooked.  I wanted to do that, too!

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I love Mermin, the wizard.  He is an sweet, old man who is always trying, despite his challenges be they a too-big clothes, a lisp, inventions that don’t work and more.  He is an authentic, charming self.

If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I would be the King because he has been through so much and learned a ton.  I can identify with his short-comings although I haven’t killed anyone – oh my!

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
Ideas come from all sorts of places.  I get a lot of ideas from books I read, my family (even though they hate being in my books
J), driving down the road and more.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I like to listen to music without words (if the music has words I get distracted and find myself listening to music and not writing
J).  I love to have a hot cup of decaf coffee at the table I use for my desk, looking out the window at the lake  that we have a view of…  great mood producer to be creative.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Absolutely!  I have several reviewers who read and offer suggestions, both friends as well as an editor and reviewers I have met over time.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Absolutely!  Every single review I read.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I had a reviewer give me a 3-star review.  I was able to contact him.  He was objecting to Mermin’s lisp throughout the book.  He thought it was ‘baby talk’.  When I explained it was a lisp, he upped the review to 5-stars and apologized for “being asleep” the first time through!  I was thrilled!!

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
The title I came up with.  Since I was working with a series, I knew I needed to have a common naming convention for all the books in the series.  So, I titled all seven books at once before publishing the first.  I knew I wanted a title that would sound ominous, since middle grade readers LOVE that!  As for the book cover, I had it professionally designed although I had considerable input and final approval.  I wanted a cover that would make it stand out from all the other similar books being sold.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I wrote the book and then picked the title for this one.  The second book is the opposite.  Not sure which is easier.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Naming characters is a lot of fun for me and, based upon comments in reviews, I believe readers love my approach.  Many names are meanings for the role the character.  For example, the protagonist’s best friend’s name Alden,  means ‘helper’.  Some names are derivations of names from mythology, like Mermin.  The King’s name, Hercalon, is a derivation of Hercules, which describes his character’s initial assessment of himself as strong and indestructible.  Some names are little used words in English.  An example, in Book 2, I introduce the Bellicose.  Bellicose means prone to attack, waring.

Are character names and place names decided after their creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I select the name based upon the role a character will play in the story line.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I look at what personality a character needs in order to accomplish their role and then invent accordingly.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I have a detailed chapter outline in place that answers the questions “what is the purpose of this chapter in the story?” as well as “how does it move the plot along?” and “what action happens in this chapter that contributes to the plot?” before I ever start writing.  This helps make sure I achieve the goal of the chapter.  Some people think this means my characters don’t have much room to evolve.  Not so.  I find that with boundaries in place, my characters are free to evolve.  They get more ornery, more boisterous, shier and more as a result.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
Good marketing!  You can write an okay book and marketed well, it will shine.  You can write an outstanding book without marketing and it will not sell many copies.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Writer’s “block” as many refer to it is just a missing narrative.  It’s not really a “block”.  I choose to think of it that way as it removes the “fixedness” of the concept of a “block”.  When I observe I am missing a narrative, I let that part “marinate” for a bit.  I know that my brain will eventually invent a possibility for a missing narrative and off we’ll go once again.  I think the more an author stresses over a missing narrative, the harder they make it to invent one.  Don’t sweat it!

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I love vacationing in Hawaii, a good cup of decaf French-press coffee, kinetic art (that’s art that moves!), Ansel Adams photographs and watching The Sound of Music, my absolute favorite musical to name a few.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Yes.  The main character, Andy, is based upon my son.  His parents are based upon myself and my husband.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Absolutely!  This is why I wrote the book in the first place.  Through personal experiences working with a mentor while growing my company, I learned many life principles that made my life significantly more peaceful and enjoyable including overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more.  I am passionate about sharing these narratives with my readers in hopes that their lives can be improved as a result of reading my book.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
I don’t have a preference although I do like the instant download ability of eBooks!

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
I would have to say the Harry Potter series is my favorite because I love studying how Rowling constructed her work.   I’ve read all the books several times.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
Funny enough, I’m rereading a Harry Potter book.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No.  There are some folks who just prefer the feel of a paper book.  I think that will always be the case.

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
Debatable.  I think TV and video games have taken over the creative process that books used to cultivate.  Now, kids are entertained without having to invent anything.  That is dangerous.  Innovation is critical to one’s future success in life.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
CS Lewis

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
Secret Garden, Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Children’s fantasy

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Be committed to the message you are passionate about sharing with others.  If you aren’t passionate about it, no one else will be and chances are, in the midst of rejections, you could give up.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I do.  My pen name is L. R. W. Lee

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, JK Rowling

Where can readers follow you?
Your web site ?  
Your facebook page?
Your Goodreads author page?

Your Twitter details?

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