Monday, 10 February 2014

In the Limelight with Middle Grade Author L.R.W. Lee

I want to thank and welcome author, L.R.W. (Linda) Lee for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. So let’s get this book launch party started…

How long have you been writing, Linda?

Professionally, I’ve been writing since 2012, but I’ve written lots before that.

Wow, that’s not too long ago, you’ve certainly come a long way! Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Book 2 of the Andy Smithson Series: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning?

I’ll address that more from an overview of the series rather than book 2 alone. Andy Smithson is a seven-book allegorical, coming-of-age, fantasy adventure. When I was 8, I read C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and I knew I wanted to write a children’s fantasy adventure, but not just any fantasy adventure. I wanted to write one that was also an allegory with a deeper meaning. The specifics were not clear, but the passion was there.

I remember having a sense that I did not have a narrative of deeper meaning to share as I grew up, but I always looked for one. It was when I brought on a partner to help me grow a multi-million dollar company I had founded that I observed that my partner/mentor was teaching me philosophies for business, but also narratives that were significantly changing how I lived my life, making it more peaceful and meaningful.

After selling the business in 2012, I knew I wanted to share the uncommon life principles my mentor imparted to me with readers in the hope that after spending several hours with me, their lives might be better, not just having been entertained, but impacted longer-term. 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, and dignity to name a few. As you can tell, this is my passion to accomplish through my books!

As for the specifics of the Andy Smithson series, I’ve always loved books set in medieval times with castles and sword fighting, so the world of Oomaldee evolved easily in my mind. The specifics arose as I thought through what scenarios might help me create a riveting tale while also accomplishing my objective of imparting uncommon life principles as part of the story line without hitting kids over the head with lessons that killed the story line.

I believe there’s a memoir in your future, Linda! What sets Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning apart from other books in the same gene?

This series includes uncommon life principles and does not just entertain. Hopefully, parents will understand that allowing their kids to read this series will not only help with reading practice, but will also reinforce principles they seek to impart to their children. I don’t know of any other book that accomplishes this as an explicit objective of the author. It’s what I call a “full move”, accomplishing multiple objectives at once.

As an author, Linda, what is your writing process?

I start by inventing what a specific book needs to accomplish in the grand scheme of the seven-book series. From that, I put together a rough outline of the book. I think through the various characters that exist and think about how each needs to grow. This then has me invent the events I will use to produce said growth. From there, I flesh out more details with the scenes. For example, if a chapter needs a character to use a specific tool, I look back in the outline and invent where I will introduce said tool earlier in the book. Once I think I’ve got a solid outline, I go back and force myself to justify each chapter and specify how it moves the action along while accomplishing the goal of character growth. If I find I can’t justify a given chapter I nix it - no sense in writing a chapter that doesn’t accomplish anything. By the time I’m done with this process, I usually have the full book in my head and can move and dance with it. Only then do I begin crafting sentences.

Some people prefer just sitting down and writing. I can’t do that. I need to work through this process so I know where I’m going. It also significantly reduces rewriting and editing, which I do not enjoy. I also find that as I have the whole novel in my head, the characters start doing things I didn’t expect and the plot evolves from there. It always amazes me how rich the characters make the book when you let them loose in this structure.

Yes, sometimes those characters have a mind of their own. How long did it take for you to start and finish Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning?

It took me approx 7 months to write the second book, including the outline. I’m hoping to reduce my time further for book three and beyond.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

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.

What’s next for L. R. W. Lee, the author?

Book three, Andy Smithson: Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor is in process. I’m hoping to publish it in Fall 2014.

And I wish you success with your next book release! Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series—If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?

I’d definitely go back to medieval times or maybe renaissance times (accommodations were a lot nicer) when people lived in castles. I’d love to experience life in a king’s castle with hidden passages and all manner of mysteries as well as go on adventures with knights. Of course, I wouldn’t want to have to face off against a valiant swordsman… oh my…

Synopsis of
Andy Smithson Series: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 2
Eleven-year-old Andy Smithson 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?
Smithson Series: Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Book 2 is available at:
All other eBook versions:

Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Book 1 is available at:

FREE eBook (all versions):

L. R. W. is excited to announce that the free serialized podcast of book 1, Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury is now available at:
 iTunes store at
Her website at!podcasts/c18hh

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


  1. Sharon, thanks so much for having me on your blog today! The interview was a lot of fun, and you maybe right, perhaps there is a memoir in my future :)

    1. Now that would make for an interesting movie, Linda! LOL! Best wishes on your book launch, and I'm glad to be a part of it! Salute!

  2. Sounds like a fun read! I will have to check it out for my granddaughter! Great interview!

    1. The eBook of book one is free over on Smashwords if she has access to an eReader. I'd love to hear what she thinks :)

  3. I've seen this book everywhere, lately. They both sound wonderful. Congratulations to L.R.W.!

    1. LOL! Thanks so much SA. As for seeing these books "everywhere" lately, that's music to my ears. Hopefully many more folks will hear about them and word will spread *crosses fingers*

  4. Terrific interview for a terrific author and series!

  5. Sounds like a grand adventure! Great covers too!

    1. Thanks so much Dee! I love how the covers turned out. I'd put them up against Rick Riordan or Brandon Mull any day :)

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Angela! Linda was an easy interview - in a good way! LOL! That girl is sure focused! Cheers for the surf-by!

    2. LOL! You're funny Sharon :)

      And thanks so much for your comment Angela!

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Linda! It was wasn't it? LOL! Cheers!

  8. This is my second time hearing about this series today! I have to check these out. :) Awesome interview with Linda! Thanks for sharing. :)