Since the age of eight, L. R. W. Lee wanted to write a children’s book, but felt she did not have anything significant to share; she sought to change lives while entertaining. A degree in Accounting did not provide riveting fodder for a best seller, so she waited. Over a decade, she founded and grew a company, during which, she worked closely with a mentor from whom she learned uncommon thinking that changed her life. After selling her business in early 2012, she had time to write and, more importantly, something significant to share.
L. R. W. Lee lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband, daughter and son.
What inspires you to write?
As I mention in my bio, while growing my company, I worked closely with my mentor. Not only did he share with me business philosophies, but he also shared his personal philosophies. Over time, I slowly embodied many of these, assessing they produced a more peaceful and satisfying journey through life. I am passionate about sharing these philosophies as I believe they can change the lives of my readers, too. I weave these narratives through my writing, not in a preachy way, but in a way that kids can listen.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am definitely an outliner. For me, I have to know where I’m headed before I begin writing. This is why I spend considerable time designing and crafting my stories before I begin writing any actual words. I view my stories as puzzles. I know what I want to accomplish by the end of a book, and in the case of the Andy Smithson series, I sketched out what I wanted to accomplish throughout each book, so I am not wandering aimlessly. In this series there are approx four layers of plot – Andy at home in Texas with his family and the dynamics there, folks in the After Life, characters in the Land of Oomaldee, and then a layer of Andy at every point during the story including his conscience and what he’s thinking and how he is growing. I like to have the main conflicts mapped out for each chapter of the book and be able to answer the question, what is the purpose of this chapter/how does this chapter advance the theme of the book/series, before I begin writing. I try to write “tightly” with a minimum of rewriting.
As for character sketches, I begin with a rough idea of the types of characters I need to accomplish my objective(s) – wise elder, imperfect kid, jealous antagonist, etc. From these I let the narrative dictate their specific personalities and flaws.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I do not talk to my characters although I allow the story line to flow. Many times my characters surprise me by showing me things about themselves that I had not anticipated during the planning. When this happens, I run with it, modifying the original plan to include what they want to express. They are definitely alive and I interact with them through the storyline.
What advice would you give other writers?
If you find yourself getting “writer’s block”, recognize that you are just experiencing a missing narrative. When I say a missing narrative, I mean that you just haven’t invented a narrative that you need for a particular point in your story.
To think of your challenge as a “block” produces a story in many writer’s minds that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get around. Hold the narrative that you just need to give yourself time to invent a narrative. For myself, I find that it can take up to a week or two at times, but in the end, I always come up with a narrative to fit the story line.
Whatever you do, don’t stress over it. You only make matters worse.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I submitted to approx 10 agents and got the standard rejection letter. I quickly realized most publishers today are looking for folks with established author platforms to assist with marketing efforts. With this being my debut novel, I did not have this. I understood their hesistation to sign me. Relatively speaking, I represented a significant risk (unproven) relative to other, previously published authors that I can speculate they receive submissions from. It’s not personal. I get it. It is the marketplace.
Undeterred, I chose to self-publish. I took responsibility for my future. I was not going to allow the Establishment to muzzle my passion to share what I believe can be truly life-changing.
I anticipate that I will, at some point, approach publishers once I have a record of sales that can help them better assess their risk by carrying me. While my commission will probably be lower, I anticipate I can get wider distribution.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think paper and eBooks will peacefully co-exist now and on into the future. There are just too many people who like to hold a physical book in their hands while they read.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Middle grade fantasy adventure
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print