Interview with Lee Rawn

Lee Rawn

Interview Date: 5/7/2012


Lee Rawn, author of the novel "The Solstice Conspiracy", lives in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. There she has found a wealth of writing inspiration from the mountainous terrain to the diverse citizens populating the area. She is known for writing and performing comedic short stories, has taught numerous workshops covering many aspects of the writing process, and has been actively involved with the Shuswap Writers Festival for many years.
"The Solstice Conspiracy" follows Beth Brinson, a young girl who takes on the task of restoring a withering garden. She discovers that, although her steps are small, her efforts open the door for renewal. Nature readily responds. Without her knowledge, her project ignites a despondent fairy population with much needed vitality. A cautious cooperation unfolds between human and fairies. However, not everyone is pleased with this development. Although written for a younger audience, the story has attracted readers of all ages

When did you start writing and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I had the idea to illustrate a book and asked my author son if he would write a children’s story. He agreed but soon forgot. Deciding to write the story myself, I jumped in. This was eighteen years ago. I believe the significant event was actually the discovery of writing as a creative venue for expression.

Kev's response: Sons are like that, we can be senile....

If you had a super power, what would it be (assuming said power would be reasonably “powerful”)?

Teleportation. It’s best to call first before materializing in your mother’s kitchen, thus avoiding the unpleasantness of shock and heart attack. Come to think of it, I see that a great deal of planning would be involved. Let’s go with levitation.

Kev's response: Oh, I don't know, I think shocking some people would be fun!

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

I take in and enjoy many superhero movies, but I’m going to go with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the series. Joss Whedon really knows how to tell a story. And in support of Buffy being a superhero, the inscription on her tombstone ( Season Five) says: “She saved the World...a lot”

Kev's response: Indeed. She also had supernatural strength and speed. She definitely fits the description!

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

Inspiration comes from many sources including my own life experiences. Often a story unfolds from the memory of an incident, a visual image, a place. Also, I am greatly influenced by others’ stories. We absorb inspiration just stepping out the door.
What motivates me, is when a story nugget materializes in my brain. Thinking gears go into hyper-drive and I can barely type fast enough to keep up.

Do you pre-plan your stories or are you a by-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

I begin with an idea, but soon it’s the characters who decide where the story will go. Once the personality of a character is established, there are certain ways that the character would act and react. I’ve loosely laid out the plot, like setting up the chess pieces. In the end, I’m often surprised and pleased by the journey my characters and I have taken.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have to set a schedule where you sit down to write?

A little of both.- If I’m inspired, I’m there, or stampeding thoughts might thunder into the sunset without me. At other times I decide on a time to write. Sometimes I edit a few pages first. This usually sparks ideas and then I’m off and running.

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

I enjoy writing and reading fantasy. However, it’s important for me to be able to relate to other worlds, finding some common ground with our own. In my YA novel, “The Solstice Conspiracy”, I strived to create a balance between our world and the wonder of ‘other worldliness’.
I also enjoy writing comedic short stories.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

The thinking process, -how ideas flow from my mind to the page. I can almost feel those neural pathways growing.- I also enjoy editing. It’s like cleaning out your closet and hauling things to the thrift store. I love the cleanness and energy of the story after a good edit.

Is there any part of writing that you don’t enjoy?

None that I can think of.

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

Hmm, where to begin? I often talk to myself, ask questions and answer them, call myself ‘we’. Not the royal ‘we’ more like “Okay, how are we going to get out of this one?” Worse is when I answer,”It’s not my problem. You figure it out.”

Kev's response: Talking to one's self is just fine. It's when they respond that I have issues. I mean you.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I work on one novel at a time, but break thing up by writng a few short stories here and there.

In my evil plot to take over the world, do you advise that I use highly intelligent, self-motivated minions, or simple ones, and why?

When using intelligent, self-motivated minions, it is wise to make certain they are truly on board with your goal. I feel to pull off world domination, you will need these intelligent people to support and uphold your claim. Admittedly, this puts a strain on your own genius if any of these minions are wont to question and suggest over much.
Simple minions should be employed as well. Mix it up a little. Be an equal opportunity employer. They will love you for it. (For a while at least)

Kev's response: Hmm, an equal opportunity evil overlord. I must reflect upon this theory!

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

It’s a whole new reading world out there. I think that traditional book form will continue, but more as print-on-demand. (I will keep my bookshelf for my favorite volumes) E-books are less expensive, easy to obtain, and are growing in popularity.

What are your current projects?

I’m writing my autobiography. What makes my story more important than others? Nothing. We all have a story. What is spurring me to write this is a look at pivotal moments. How a word or event alters one’s course. There’s a lot of funny stuff as well, and some rougher experiences. My thought is that after reading the book, you will either want to hang out with me, or ride me out of town on a rail. (Tar and feathers optional).

Kev's response: Tar and feathers? I find that people often give me fruit and vegetables when I break into a comedic routine. I just wish they would hand them to me instead of throwing them....

Do you have advise for others about self publishing?

Be sure to edit well. Even better, hire a professional editor. Your book has to be the best it can be. You don’t want to be hit with a bad review. People check out reviews before purchasing an e-book.
Also, choose a book cover that will stand out. Keep in mind that your cover will be thumbnail size. -Think color and energy.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)? You’ll find information about my novel, ‘The Solstice Conspiracy’, the blog ‘Writing Tips Weekly’, an art section of my paintings, and some short stories.

Kev's response: Lee, thank you for joining me, and especially for the advice on my minions. I shall put that to use soon (once I find more intelligent minions. I wiped out the last batch based on a previous interview's advice...).

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