I met Lee at the 2018 ACFW conference in Nashville. It seemed that every time I turned around I ran into her. After a while, it became a bit of a joke. Sad to say, I hadn’t read any of her books before then but have become a huge fan since.
Thank you, Lee, for taking the time to join us.
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Hi Sami, thanks for having me on your blog!
Where did you get the idea for your books? I have always loved the idea of starting over… and starting over on a warm beach in the low country sounds even better! That’s the core of my upcoming release, Low Country Hero.
How long does it take you to write a trade novel versus a Love Inspired novel? If I’m really focused, I can write a Love Inspired in 2 months and a trade novel in three. If I have a lot going on with my teenage daughter, or my pup, or my day job, writing either kind of book can take a bit longer.
What did you go with ABA publishers and not CBA? I still write for Love Inspired, a CBA line of books, but I wanted to reach a wider audience with sweet and romantic stories that include just a dash of faith. I’ve always gotten along well with atheists, people who have religious doubts, and people who’ve been hurt by the church—probably because of my mother who sadly was not a believer. People say “Oh, Lee’s a Christian, but she’s not one of those scary Christians.” Since God made me this way, I feel like I’m well suited to reach out to readers who wouldn’t pick up a CBA novel because they have a horror of being preached at. Secretly, though, I hope to draw some of those readers to my Love Inspired books!
I hear Low Country Hero releases this month. Do tell! That’s right, it releases on February 26th. It’s the story of two wounded people who turn to each other out of need and end up learning to trust and love again. The heroine has five-year-old twins who are struggling with selective mutism due to the upsetting things they’ve witnessed in their short lives. There’s a secondary love story between an older waitress with amnesia and her handsome, macho, sixty-year-old boss. And there are a slew of fun minor characters who contribute a lot of the book’s humor. It’s a big, sprawling story that was really fun to write.
Tell us a little bit about your typical day. Up around 5:30 for bible, devotional, and prayer time. Then I fix breakfast for my daughter and walk Nash the Goldendoodle. Then I get to work on my current novel at the local Barnes and Noble café, my favorite place to write because I’m surrounded by books. In the afternoon, I usually tend to my online classes; I teach in Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, so I get to mentor talented, highly-motivated students who dream of being published authors. It’s a terrific day job. Evenings, I might help my daughter memorize a Shakespeare sonnet, or have dinner with my gentleman friend, or spend a couple of blissful hours reading a novel. I generally crash by 10 p.m. Definitely not a party animal.
Who is your favorite author? Jane Austen, of course, with Georgette Heyer a close second. Or, wait, maybe William Shakespeare… or George Eliot… or Lee Smith. Too many to choose!
What is your favorite book? I definitely can’t choose!
Anything you want to brag about? My smart, talented daughter! She’s so much more well rounded than I’ll ever be. She’s a gymnast and cross country runner, edits her school newspaper, and is a social butterfly who’s resilient and hilarious. She’s off to college in the fall—wants to be an English teacher like Mom—and I can’t wait to watch her soar.
Now for the important questions:
Pepsi or Coke? Pepsi!
Candy, cookies, or cake? Chocolate chip cookies—warm if possible
Favorite food? Lasagne
Coffee or Tea? Coffee!
Favorite vacation? A warm beach
Favorite TV show? Big Bang Theory
Favorite Movie?. Casablanca
Any hobbies? Pets? Activities? Aside from work and family, my life revolves around my nine-month-old Goldendoodle, who requires a ton of exercise and attention. I love him to the moon and back, and everyone should follow his Instagram: Nash_the_Goldendoodle.
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