An interview with Lee Winter
Updated: Nov 8
Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
I am really finicky at the supermarket. At the checkout, I group all the items by food group, all the veg together, then fruit, tinned goods, and so on. And I make sure the barcodes are facing the check-out operator for ease of access. I always think it costs me one second to put it on the conveyer belt to be less frustrating for them. My regular checkout woman, a sixty-year-old, arthritic, warm soul who hates having to hunt for barcodes, just adores me! And nonetheless, yes, I realise how ridiculous I sound so I’ll just see myself out now…
If we opened your browser history, what would we find?
Too many Amazon pages for books and gadgets – I love browsing tech. Random insanity and tidbits for researching my next book. Perhaps a few AO3 fan fic pages. Not much in between.
What is your favourite genre to read, and why?
Sci-fi lesfic, like Fletcher Delancey’s stuff; or lesfic romance, but very specifically stuff with detailed plots and ice queens, such as Roslyn Sinclair’s works.
What are your favourite pizza toppings?
I love the combo of prosciutto, diced pear, tiny sliced Roma tomatoes (cherry tomato-sized), and shavings of mozzarella.
Sing in the rain or dance in the streets?
Always singing in the rain.
If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
If it’s dead or alive, I choose Maya Angelou, my mum, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. If it’s alive only, I’ll have an actors’ dinner: Pamela Rabe, Lana Parrilla, and Eddie James Olmos.
What is your motto in life?
Everyone, no matter how broken, deserves to love and be loved. I put that in every book. The motto I try to live by but generally fail at is: Live life without fear.
Tomorrow I absolutely refuse to…
Argue with someone on social media who’s being deliberately insulting. I’m trying to be better, but bah!
Tell us a funny incident/embarrassing moment in your life.
At one time in my life, I was a newspaper humor columnist for a few years and had become quite well known. I was sent to a specialist for a particularly embarrassing medical exam, and midway through it, with my eyes watering and the doc’s hand halfway to Siberia, the man pipes up, “Oh hey, I loved your column today.” I could have *died*. Look, man, these things only work if we all pretend we’re complete strangers who know nothing about anyone and will never see each other again. He totally broke the fourth wall!
How long have you been writing for and when did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
Since I was 12. I always wanted to work with words, so I became a journalist at 19. I didn’t realise being an author was an option back then or I’d probably have tried to do that instead.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
The plot. I’m well known for my twisty plots, so they have to be nailed down before I get to anything else.
When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood?
I don’t. I just write it. Sometimes it’ll come together, sometimes not. One thing I learned as a journalist with strict deadlines is I don’t have the luxury to not be in the mood. So I push through. Sometimes that can pay off if I motivate myself while doing it or if the characters get chatty.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself/or a new writer?
Get better with fan fiction. Get all your errors and experiments out. Persist. Write often. Find out what the readers are loving and hating and adapt. Read books, too, the good ones, the popular ones, the ones that get blogged about, so you get an understanding of what the standard is like out there and what it takes to get people interested.
What’s your next project?
Vengeance Planning for Amateurs (working title) is my first romantic comedy. I’ve just begun it. It starts with a stolen stuffed penguin and a muffin baker furious at her long, pathetic history of being seen as a doormat by her exes. So she makes a bucket list of vengeance plans to fix that.
She sticks up an ad at a local crime book store for a henchperson to help her out. A most unexpected woman applies to assist her in her vengeance doings.
ABOUT YOUR BOOKS:
Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?
The Red Files came out in 2015 and that journey was surreal. I didn’t even have any plans to write a book. I was emailed by the publisher at Ylva and asked if I was interested in writing her a book. Astrid had seen one long and popular fan fic I’d written and really liked it. After checking she wasn’t a scammer (LOL), I agreed to come up with a new book for her. I spent every Sunday, from 7 am to dusk, writing, for 18 months.
Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?
I have two. Natalya in Requiem for Immortals was such a powerful character, being an assassin/cellist and all, so much so that I heard her voice in my head. She stayed in my brain for a month after the book finished, whispering her thoughts on all manner of things. Bess in Breaking Character. I was madly in love with her, I’m not going to lie. She’s my favorite because I drool like a fool over her.
Where can readers purchase your books?
Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Winter/e/B014P0NGYW%3F) and Ylva (https://www.ylva-publishing.com/authors/lee-winter/#1446752234305-4c284587-b53c) and pretty much everywhere. If you go to my webpage, all the links at various sellers are under each book on the Bookshelf page, too: http://www.leewinterauthor.com