Friday, May 24, 2013

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

Since the age of eight, L. R. W. Lee knew she wanted to write a book. Fortunately or unfortunately, she required of herself that she have something significant to say; she sought to contribute to others in a way that could change their lives. Because a degree in Accounting at Cedarville University, as well as work in public and corporate accounting, did not provide riveting fodder for a best seller, she waited. Upon selling her business in early 2012, she had time to write and, more importantly, something significant to share.

L. R. W. Lee’s favorite musical is The Sound of Music. She hates scary movies, but loves piano and strings music, sunsets in Hawaii and a good cup of decaf, French press coffee (yes, decaf!). She also loves Ansel Adams prints and all manner of kinetic art.  

VS: I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Lee: My situation is probably different than many.  After 12 years founding and growing a company, I successfully sold it.  I now have time, for the first time in my life, to write.  Because of this, I have time to write all day while the rest of the family is otherwise occupied.  Once everyone reconvenes at home, I’m focused on other things, although my brain still invents new narratives.

VS: How long have you been writing?

Lee: A little over a year as a declared author, but many years all together.

VS: What inspired you to write your book?

Lee: 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.  It is these life principles that I seek to share through my books.  I hope to help others better enjoy their journey through life.  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.

VS: What is a typical writing day like for you?

Lee: 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.

VS: Is your family supportive of your writing?

Lee: In general, yes.  But I’m clear everyone has many other things to do in a day as well.  When I can convince my husband to sit down and let me read what I’ve written (he won’t read it himself) I get good feedback.  Same with my son.

VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book(s)?

Lee: Ten-year-old Andy Smithson is magically brought to the Land of Oomaldee while he is doing dishes one night.  Unbeknownst 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. 

VS: What did you find to be the most challenging part of writing your book(s)?

Lee: Creating the world of Oomaldee as well as inventing the story arc for not only the first book but for the series all before writing the first word.  A lot of thought went into designing the entire narrative so I know where I’m headed and can get there in the end.

VS: What part of your book do you feel really stands out to you personally?

Lee: I think the part where Andy overcomes his fear of what might lie ahead and commits to doing all he can to save the Land from the curse and the evil that is coming, out of his love for the people.  This is at the end of chapter 10.  I’d say this is a defining moment for Andy and the book.

VS: If this is a work of fiction, what character is most like you?

Lee: I have to say either the King because he has learned much about himself and changed significantly as a result or Marta because she’s a mom.  She supports the efforts of those around her and encourages them.

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Lee: Yes. 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.

VS: What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?

Lee: Writing is all about diligence as well as your commitment to the message you are passionate to tell others.  If you aren’t passionate about telling your story, no one else will be. 

VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?

Lee: A good hook followed by suspense and continual rising action with unexpected twists and turns mixed in.  These keep me turning the pages.

VS: What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?

Lee: My main character, Andy, is based on my son and what he has done (or you might say what he has put his parents through as he’s grown up!).  I think having a person in mind for a character helps build believability.

VS: What do you feel as parents we need to do to help our children see success?

Lee: Be encouraging, but also share with them honest narratives of what the world is really like. 

VS: Where can the readers of The Writing Mama find out more about and your writing?

Lee: They can go to my website at

VS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama or Dad”?

Lee: Both the eBook as well as the paperback are available at or you can get the paperback and other gear, like T-shirts, at my website at  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, even if you don’t buy the book there. 

Also, I’ve started the second book in the series, Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning that I hope to have out winter 2013.
A middle grade (5th & 6th grade) fantasy adventure that entertains while teaching uncommon life changing narratives.

Publisher: Createspace
ISBN: 978-1482312645
ISBN -10: 1482312646
Available in eBook and Print
Publication Date: April 2013

You can find out more about L.R.W. Lee, her middle grade fantasy adventure series and her World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

Twitter: @LRWLee

Places where available:

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit  

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