A while back, author L.R.W. Lee was kind enough to feature me in one of her episodes of Book Nerd Paradise on YouTube. With the new release of her fifth book in her Andy Smithson fantasy series, “Vision of the Griffin’s Heart,” it’s time we get to learn more about her and her writing!
The story continues the quest of young Andy Smithson, who is collecting elements for a potion to break a 500 year-old curse on the land of Oomaladee. This time he must gather the talon of a griffin – if he can do so without falling prey to hostile griffins, herewolves and therewolves, and other enemies in this magical tale of wonder, friendship and courage.
The book has garnered great reviews on Amazon and from fellow authors (check out Lee’s website at http://www.lrwlee.com to find out more), but let’s hear from the author herself!
1. How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson? Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him?
LEE: Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.
2. How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?
LEE: It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.
3. Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?
LEE: I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.
4. What do you love the most about writing for young people?
LEE: Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.
5. Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite?
LEE: Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing and revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.
6. How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?
LEE: Usually about 6 months.
7. I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?
LEE: I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.
8. Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?
LEE: Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.
9. How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?
LEE: I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that.
Visit http://www.lrwlee.com/ to learn more about the Andy Smithson series, or visit L.R.W. Lee at her Facebook or Twitter pages.