Friday, May 17, 2013

Interview with Author L.R.W. Lee of the Andy Smithson Middle Grade Series



Praise for L. R. W. Lee
“Her humor is visible and the book has many clever touches in this multi-layered story.  L. R. W. Lee is a strong and determined writer with a well-thought-through plot and vivid characters and situations.”
                       Barbara Bamberger Scott, Editor
                            A Woman’s Write

About the Author
Since the age of eight, L. R. W. Lee wanted to write a book that not only entertained, but also impacted people, changing lives. She began her creative journey by placing 3rd in a writing contest in middle school, and winning an essay contest in high school.  After a career in public and corporate accounting, she became a mom and accomplished business owner.  After 12 years of growing her business, she successfully sold it in early 2012.  Now L. R. W. Lee has turned her creative energy and talent to writing her debut novel, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Book One).



Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary.

Ten-year-old Andy Smithson is magically brought to the Land of Oomaldee while he is doing dishes one night.  Unbeknowst to him, he is there to break a 500 year old curse.  Andy learns that his quest is the Dragon’s Lair to find an ingredient critical to breaking the curse - the scale from an elusive red dragon, the fiercest of all dragon species. Andy nearly destroys the castle amidst adventures battling fire-breathing dragons, fighting vicious vulture attacks, escaping people-eating giants and more.  I had a lot of fun interjecting humor throughout the book in the form of fart jokes that appeal to middle graders, but also more advanced word play for adult readers.  One example, when Andy is faced with crossing a raging river, he speaks of overcoming the “current” problem.  I love doing word plays like this.  You’ll find these throughout the book, particularly in the prologue.

There are many teachable moments sprinkled throughout the book.  I’d say overcoming frustration, fear and impatience are important messages in this book as well as commitment and dedication to a cause because of those you love. 

I am passionate about helping others embody new ways of approaching these and similar situations.  As a result, I have included on my website discussion questions for parents to work through with their kids.

Can you tell us about your publisher and how the process worked in getting published?

I am self publishing so I learned a lot as I worked to get my book published.  I went through Createspace for the paperback.  I had them design the cover as well as the inside, knowing that what the book looks like matters tremendously when it comes to attracting customers.  While they were doing that, I had several people read the manuscript and give feedback.  I have to say, the last couple weeks before the final manuscript hit the presses were hectic in making changes and revisions.  After that, Createspace coordinated with Amazon and uploaded the manuscript to create the eBook version.  They then got both the paperback and eBook pages up on Amazon, and here we are.

How did you get the idea for this book?

I founded and grew a business for 12 years beginning in 2000 and successfully sold it in January 2012.  In 2005, I chose to bring on a partner/mentor to continue to grow it.  He taught me not only business narratives, but also shared his personal philosophies.  He is Korean and therefore has many philosophies that you might call Eastern-based that are refreshingly different from Western-based philosophies I was raised with.  Many of these, including overcoming frustration, impatience and fear among others, significantly changed how I think and act and improved my ability to enjoy life.  It is these life principles that I seek to share through my books.  I hope to help others better enjoy their journey through life.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I usually start with an hour of exercise.  This gets my creative juices flowing because I think about what I plan to write about that day, organizing my thoughts.  After that, I get a cup of decaf coffee (creates a good mood for me) and I sit down at my computer and begin committing to structured sentences what I have thought through.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Inventing the story arc for this book as well as the rest of the series.  I love to think about how all the details need to come together and then reverse engineer the process, plugging the various pieces in earlier.  It’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

What is the most difficult part of writing?

I struggled with what to title the book as well as boil down the novel into a one paragraph description for the back cover.  It’s just not an easy task choosing what main theme will best represent your work in a way that will draw readers to buy it.

How has publishing a book changed your life?

It hasn’t, at least not with my family!  I still do the grocery shopping, run errands for the household and more.  But seriously, when I tell people I’ve published a book, most times I get a response that speaks respect for someone who has the tenacity to not just have an idea, and not just start writing, but has the focus and diligence to see her idea through to completion in a form that others can enjoy.

What are your plans now?

I’m currently writing the second book in the series, Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning.  This book picks up after Andy has been back home for 10 months.  It’s situated in the Sea of Mystery on Sometimes Island.  The danger and peril quotient increase as Andy seeks another clue to break the curse.  Relationships also deepen.

What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Be passionate about the message you want to communicate.  Without passion, the hard times will snuff your creativity and cause self doubts.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership?
My favorite part of writing is inventing worlds out of nothing more than words.  To me, words are magic!  Everyone’s reality is just words.  To be allowed to construct a world or people or a scene out of nothing but words and have readers trust me with that, is a privilege.   The greatest challenge to writing to this group is communicating the messages I am passionate about in a way that readers can get for themselves without preaching.  At times, this is a big struggle for me.  I know what significant change happened for me, personally, that fuels my passion for writing – I just want to tell people about it!  However, in the context of a book, I can’t.  This adds a lot of challenge for me.  The character of the inneru came out of this conflict, so much good can result!

Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?
    • You can find me at my website at www.lrwlee.com
    • Both the eBook as well as the paperback are available at Amazon.com or you can get the paperback and other gear, like T-shirts, at my website at www.lrwlee.com.  While you’re there, be sure to check out the Read, Review, Refer reward program where you can get a free copy of the next book.
Authors love to hear what you think of their work.  It’s a vulnerable business inventing something and then putting it out there for the world to critique.  Please tell me what you think by posting a review at Amazon.com, even if you don’t buy the book there.

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