Friday, February 7, 2014

Interview Friday with Author L.R.W. Lee of the Andy Smithson MG Fantasy Series

From an early age L. R. W. Lee knew she wanted to write a children’s book. Her imagination for such a book was cultivated early on as her family didn’t have a lot of money. She and her older brother were encouraged to use their imaginations to entertain themselves. And use them they did – climbing trees and tree forts, using a quilt for a matchbox car city, making puppets and putting on shows, and much more and her creativity and imagination grew.

VS: Mr. Lee, I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama once again. You recently just released the 2nd book in our series, which is a great accomplishment. What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life while writing a series?

Lee: I’m spoiled in that regard. I founded, built and sold a multi-million dollar company in January 2012. Since then, I’ve been free to write full time so I don’t face quite the challenges as many authors. I write while everyone is out of the house and then transition to non-writing activities once they all get home again.

VS: How long have you been writing?

Lee: Professionally, I’ve been writing for approximately 2 years now.

VS: What inspired you to write your books series?

Lee: On one level, reading fantasy adventure novels inspires me to write. I enjoy the worlds others create and I want to add my own twist for my readers. At another level, I write because I am passionate to share uncommon principles that made my life significantly more peaceful and meaningful with my readers. In so doing, I hope to introduce them to these principles so they can lead more enjoyable lives as a result. A few of these uncommon principles include overcoming frustration, impatience, fear, and jealousy. As well, they include understanding why it makes practical sense to tell the truth, and understanding that success in life comes from responsibility, diligence, dignity to name a few.

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

I start with an hour of exercise during which I organize my thoughts for writing and work through specific parts that aren’t as clear as they need to be. After that I spend about 2 hours working social media and talking with fans. After that I focus on writing what has been ruminating for several hours of the day. I usually write for 3-4 hours until my brain can’t invent anymore and then go back to social media and anything else needing my attention. Sometimes it’s the next episode of the book 1 podcast, other times its website updates and more.

VS: Is your family supportive of your writing now that you’re into writing a book series?

Lee: Yes. I’m proud to say that my husband read the first book in the series during our vacation this summer and my daughter, a Junior in college, read it after a bit of arm twisting (no, she was not harmed in the process J). Only my son has not read it. I think he’s afraid of finding himself in the pages, and, in some measure he’d be right.

VS: This isn’t your first publication so what was the first thing you ever had published?

Lee: My debut novel was Andy Smithson: Blast of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 1 and I published it in April 2013

VS: Can you share with us a little about your current book in the series?

Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning is the continuation of L. R. W. Lee’s well-received debut novel Blast of the Dragon’s Fury and the next offering in this seven-book Andy Smithson allegorical, fantasy, adventure series for middle graders.

In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Lee continues to weave a tale of mystery and intrigue as the main character, Andy Smithson, who is now 11-years-old, returns to Oomaldee to retrieve the second ingredient needed to break a 500-year-old curse enacted to punish the current ruler for murdering his older sister when she was 15. Not one to forgive easily, Imogenia’s spirit is bent on thwarting Andy to preserve the curse and naively aligns herself with the evil, scheming Abbadon.

Things go from bad to worse when a creature Abaddon conjures from the darkest magic steals the Stone of Athanasia, the source of the ruler’s immortality, causing the king and his wizard, Mermin, to fall gravely ill. Andy is forced to choose between retrieving the stone to save those he loves or obediently going after the second ingredient. What will he chose? Will he be able to save the King and Mermin?

You won’t want to miss the non-stop action, drama and thrills on this adventure that is Andy Smithson: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 2.

VS: What did you find to be the most challenging part of writing the second book in your series?

One word. Editing. I hate revising what I’ve done, but I do it because I know it makes the experience so much better for my readers. After I do my edits, I turn it over to a professional editor who cleans it up a lot more.

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

Lee: The relationship between Andy and the king. There are several touching scenes in this book that I felt very deeply as I was writing. Every kid, let alone adult, wants desperately to be loved and accepted for who they are, warts and all. Andy comes from a home where he doesn’t feel that acceptance and when he finds it in this land, he soaks it up.

VS: What character is most like you in the series?

Lee: Alden. He’s a loyal friend who is willing to support the hero and will initiate action as events merit.

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

Lee: I’m working on the third book in the series, Andy Smithson: Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor which should be out in Fall 2014.

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

Lee: Believe in what you’re doing and stick to it. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. And, if there is a reason you are passionate about writing (like me sharing uncommon life principles), only you can hold that narrative and see it through.

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

Lee: Dynamic characters who grow through a riveting plot that includes many seemingly insurmountable difficulties.

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

Lee: I think the biggest thing is to create a character who is flawed. Readers know they are imperfect and can identify. I create flawed characters through description of what they look like, how they speak/think/act and their expressions as well as how other characters react/interact with them. Readers believe a character whose older sister describes him as “pathetic”.

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

Lee: I believe success in life comes from responsibility, diligence and dignity. Culture today does not espouse these principles, but as a human being working and playing around other human beings, our children need to understand and be able to act with these principles. Master these principles and one can’t avoid being successful.

VS: Have you received any awards for your writing?

Lee: Not yet, although my first book, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Book 1, has been voted on and is ranked first on the Goodreads Clean Indie Reads list.

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


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

Lee: Yes. Thank you for your support! It is you that I write for and it is gratifying when I hear feedback from you as I have over the year since publishing the first book in the series.
Also, I am very excited to announce that the free serialized podcast of book 1, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is now available on the iTunes store at as well as on my website at!podcasts/c18hh

 As well, as part of my book launch tour, you have the opportunity to win 9 fantasy adventure ebooks from highly acclaimed authors. To enter go to my website at!giveaway/chq4

1 comment:

  1. VS, Thanks so much for hosting me today on this stop of my Book Launch Tour! I so appreciate your interest and enjoyed sharing my story with your followers. I'm interested to hear any comments or questions any of your readers have, so don't be shy... Bring 'em on! :)