Erin Lee is freelance writer and therapist from Southern, NH. Lee’s work has appeared in journals and magazines since 1995. She’s received numerous awards from the New England Press Association for her work as a journalist. “Wave to Papa” is her second novel. Lee is also author of “Crazy Like Me” with Savant Books and Publications, LLC, released in 2015. She has a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and works with children and families in crisis. When she’s not writing, Lee’s busy chasing her rescue therapy dog, Milo Muse.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I wrote my first book at age six. It was called “NIRE the Purple Aardvark.” Nire was my name spelt backward and purple was my favorite color. I’m not sure where the aardvark came from, but I’m sure it was because it was an unusual animal. Since, I haven’t stopped writing. I use writing as my own therapy and even in my work with clients as a narrative therapist.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I tend to write in large chunks and go back later to edit. I’m one of those people who needs to be in the right mood to write, but always follow an outline. I need to know what direction I’m heading in before I can get the words out. With that said, I’ll sometimes write the ending first and work my way back to the beginning.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? For me, the best way to overcome writers block is to read. It reminds me that I’m in love with the written word and always gives me inspiration. Discovering new authors and hearing new voices always gives me a new idea.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? I’m a plotter. Once I begin a novel, I spend every spare second plotting – from the shower to the commute, I’m always thinking up new ideas and putting them in outline form; anxious for the chance to get back to the story.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published? Traditionally.
6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? I’ve found it helpful to form relationships with other authors who are on the same journey. It’s great to cheer each other on, as well as to share frustrations. My best advice would be to network and support one another. I’m still working on that myself!
7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? When I published my first novel, “Crazy Like Me,” I was really nervous about reviews and feedback. I’ve found that people are genuine in their excitement for me and always have a nice thing to say. I am no longer afraid to put myself out there, which is exciting for me. It also helps me in new writing, silencing my inner critic.
8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? Dawn Winchester is sure Dan didn’t mean to hurt their toddler son Noah…again. With the media swarming her on the courthouse steps, her husband in jail, her teenage daughter already in foster care, and a determined case worker and vigilant court appointed guardian fighting to “protect Noah,” Dawn doesn’t know where to turn. Nobody cared last time Noah had an accident while in his father’s care…so why is everyone now set on destroying her family? Dawn believes in loyalty. What kind of wife would she be if she didn’t stand by her husband? But through the endless cycle of hearings, counseling sessions, and visitations, Dawn begins to fear she’s been fooling herself. What if she’d been wrong and put Noah in danger? What if this was all her fault? During his mandatory anger management therapy, even Dan starts to wonder if he might not be the man he thought he was.Dawn has already lost one child—possibly for good—and can’t bear the thought of losing Noah, too. But with the pieces of her life shattered all around her, can she put it all back together? Or should she salvage what she can and build a different life, broken heart and all? The bonds of marriage and parenthood are strong.But that doesn’t mean they can’t be broken… “Wave to Papa” is the story of one mother’s sacrifices and struggle to face the truth.
9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) I’m still learning about this whole process. Because I’ve worked with different publishers, I’m getting different feedback on the best ways to market and promote a book. This, to me, is a plus. My intention is to use both approaches. As much as I once dreaded self-promotion and marketing, preferring to spend my time writing, I’m learning it’s a great way to network with other authors and fans. Give-aways and blog tours, I’ve learned, are a must!
10.How long on average does it take you to write a book? It takes me about six months to write a book and another six months to edit.
11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. With “Crazy Like Me,” I had full say on design. I was able to work one on one with the designer to come up with a cover I believed would reflect my story. With “Wave to Papa,” I was able to suggest cover ideas but the ultimate cover decisions were left up to my publisher and the designer. I like the “Wave to Papa” cover more.
12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I have a rescue dog named Milo Muse. He is also a trained therapy dog. I spend time chasing him around and playing taxi cab driver to my teenage sons.