Saturday, August 24, 2013

Interview with Author Y. I. Lee

I have been given the pleasure of an interview with my friend, author Y. I. Lee. (I know her as Vonnee). She is a talented writer and a very sweet human being. Her book, Through a Glass, can be found on Amazon and on Smashwords in e-book format.  She writes mostly YA and in the fantasy genre which happens to be a genre I love to read. Vonnee and I are Facebook friends and what this interview pointed out to me is that, not only was she born and raised in the town I currently live in, but she currently still lives fairly close. I do believe she and I are going to have to arrange to meet in person sometime soon!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, the eldest of three children. I loved to read, and from a young age my greatest joy was to curl up with a good book; over time I naturally progressed into writing.

At the age of ten I ambitiously attempted my first novel, but quickly realised I’d bitten off more than I could chew and gave up. I was staying with my aunt at the time and will always remember her words. “Wait until you’re older and have lived a little. In the meantime work hard at school, and perfect your English.”

Her wise words stayed with me, and the seed to write was planted. In the coming years in between a successful singing career, I continued to put pen to paper writing poetry and short stories. Over time, I found myself in the enviable position of being able to write full time, and my love of fantasy found its full expression.

I live in the beautiful county of Warwickshire with my patient and encouraging husband, Keith. Patient, because he’s often forced to wait for his meals, as I am lost in my fantasy worlds…encouraging because he lets me read my new books to him, and gives me honest and helpful feedback .

Do you use a pen name? Why or why not?
I don’t exactly use a pen name. I use the initials of my Christian names along with the complete surname.

What type of writing do you do? What genre do you write in? My books have no overt violence, sex, or bad language. There may be dark moments, but they are pertinent to the story. I write fantasy/adventure for youth/adult.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What was it about writing that drew you to it?
I suppose I was around nine or ten when I felt urged to express myself though writing. At school I struggled a bit with spelling, but excelled in composition, probably because I have such a vivid imagination. Writing gave me the power to create my own worlds, and express myself through the characters I invent.

Where do you get your ideas for your writing?
My ideas can come from something as mundane as a household item; like a TV channel changer. For example the changer could have a special button which if accidentally pressed…need I say more? Or it could be something a person says or does. I’m a bit of a people watcher. With fantasy, the sky’s the limit; all you need is the imagination. One of my books, The Shadowed Valley, was born out of personal tragedy.

What books/authors have influenced your writing?

Dana Pratola, Tommie Lyn, Karin Kaufman, Ted Dekker, John Bunyan, Frank Peretti, Caprice Hockstad, Sarah Witenhafer

What are your current writing projects?
At the moment I am in the process of writing the sequel to my latest book, Through a Glass. When that is completed and published, I have a children’s fantasy which was written some time ago, and is in the wings waiting to be edited.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you get through it?
Fortunately, for the past few years I have managed to avoid it…ideas keep flowing. However, when I’ve had a rare blank moment I just type; I find doing that wakes the imagination and gets things moving again. Also reading can inspire as does music.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? I can struggle a bit with showing vs telling. It’s something my editors’ and I look out for during the editing process. Also continuity can be a challenge, especially with a sequel.

What do you love most about writing?
It would have to be the freedom to give full rein to my imagination, and the opportunity to invent strange and sometimes scary worlds. Plus the enjoyment of control over the weird and wonderful characters I create. I love the excitement of knowing the beginning and the end of a story, while having no idea what’s likely to happen in the middle…the thrill of going along for the ride while trusting the story will culminate in the ending I’ve formulated.

Is there anything that you have learned about yourself through writing/pursuing your career as a writer?
Yes, I’ve realised I can be a bit insular. I’m basically a shy person and find it hard sometimes to express myself. Whereas writing allows me the freedom to be and to say what I would normally find hard to express. My writing is helping me to go deep inside myself, drawing out emotion and challenging my thoughts and feelings.

If you could become one of your characters for a day, would you? (and who/why?)
I’m not sure I would want to. However, if I did I would choose to be Irene from Through a Glass. She has a pretty torrid time in the book, but her companion, Stagman, is quite gorgeous! I would love to spend some time with him.

Do you have any advice for other writers? My advice is simple. Write for yourself, and keep writing even when you don’t feel like it. Perseverance and commitment is the key to success. Don’t be put off by what others say, or negative reviews. Make sure your book is well edited and as good as it can possibly be. If you love to write, then don’t give up. Stick at it!

You can find more of author Y. I. Lee's books on her Amazon author page. Please leave Vonnee some comments and let her know you appreciate her taking the time for this interview.



YILee said...

I enjoyed this. Thanks for giving me this opportunity, Becky.

Tonja Drecker said...

Sounds like a lovely book. Enjoyed the interview :)

Bethany Jean said...

Great post! I am reading "Through a Glass" right now, and loving it! :)

YILee said...

I'm thrilled you're enjoying it, Bethany.