I was born in Upstate New York. My family didn’t have a lot of money so my older brother and I were encouraged to use our imaginations to entertain ourselves. And use them we did – climbing trees and creating tree forts, using a quilt for a matchbox car city, making puppets and putting on shows, and much more.
I went to college and got a degree in Accounting. However, most folks frown on “creative accounting”, so I put my imagination on hold. My business interests eventually led me to founded and grow a successful company which, with my partner, I sold in January 2012, leaving me time to imagine and write for the first time.
I live in scenic Austin, TX with my husband, my daughter who is a Longhorn at UT Austin and my son who is in high school. The Sound of Music is my favorite musical. I hate scary movies. But, I love piano and strings music, sunsets in Hawaii and a good cup of decaf, French press coffee (yes, decaf!). I also love Ansel Adams prints, as well as all manner of kinetic art.
Title: Andy Smithson: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Book One)
Author: L. R. W. Lee
Page count: 220 pages
Genre: Fantasy adventure
Price: $5.99 eBook; $9.99 paperback
Tell us about your book:
Ten-year-old Andy Smithson is magically brought to the Land of Oomaldee while he is doing dishes one night. Unbeknowst to him, he is there to break a 500 year old curse. Andy learns that his quest is the Dragon’s Lair to find an ingredient critical to breaking the curse - the scale from an elusive red dragon, the fiercest of all dragon species. Andy nearly destroys the castle amidst adventures battling fire-breathing dragons, fighting vicious vulture attacks, escaping people-eating giants and more. I had a lot of fun interjecting humor throughout the book in the form of fart jokes that appeal to middle graders, but also more advanced word play for adult readers. One example, when Andy is faced with crossing a raging river, he speaks of overcoming the “current” problem. I love doing word plays like this. You’ll find these throughout the book, particularly in the prologue.
How long did it take to write the book?
Approximately 9 months
What inspired you to write the book?
I founded and grew a business for 12 years beginning in 2000 and successfully sold it in January 2012. In 2005, I chose to bring on a partner/mentor to continue to grow it. He taught me not only business narratives, but also shared his personal philosophies. He is Korean and therefore has many philosophies that you might call Eastern-based that are refreshingly different from Western-based philosophies I was raised with. Many of these, including overcoming frustration, impatience and fear among others, significantly changed how I think and act and improved my ability to enjoy life. It is these life principles that I seek to share through my books. I hope to help others better enjoy their journey through life.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I usually start with an hour of exercise. This gets my creative juices flowing because I think about what I plan to write about that day, organizing my thoughts. After that, I get a cup of decaf coffee (creates a good mood for me) and I sit down at my computer and begin committing to structured sentences what I have thought through. I do some research if I’m borrowing something from ancient works like King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, absolutely! It depends on what I’m writing about. My research involves Googling to get my arms around the subject in general terms and then I just read lots of books about it until I’m satisfied I know enough to write with it.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
There are many teachable moments sprinkled throughout the book. I’d say overcoming frustration, fear and impatience are important messages in this book as well as commitment and dedication to a cause because of those you love. I am passionate about helping others embody new ways of approaching these and similar situations. As a result, I have included on my website discussion questions for parents to work through with their kids.
Excerpt from book:
Sitting on his bed with the afternoon sun shining through the window, Andy tried to slow down his racing thoughts. It was all so overwhelming. It had been fun to think of himself as Chosen when that just meant he felt special. Now, however, he wasn’t sure. It sounded like a whole lot more than just retrieving a red dragon scale was about to happen. The weight of it all pressed hard. He was scared. He felt alone. For the first time since he had arrived in Oomaldee, he missed his home, his parents and (he couldn’t believe he was thinking this, but… yes…) even his big sister! He punched his pillow hard once, and then again and again and again. He stopped only when feathers began flying everywhere.
Why me? he thought. There’s no way I can do to this!
“You’re right, Andy! You can’t do this on your own. ” It was his inneru. “You need help.”
As his inneru said this, a second amethyst-colored stone landed on his bed, barely missing his head.
“Hey, watch it! You almost hit me in the head!” Andy said. As soon as he had said it, he felt stupid for yelling at no one. Where do these things keep coming from? he wondered. As before, he picked it up and it started pulsing. Then he heard a trumpet blast.
“Methuselah has appeared to you, Andrew Ferrin Smithson. It is the sword of your forefathers. You will become known by it. It is time that evil is extinguished from the land. This will be accomplished by your hand.”
“My forefathers? What do you mean?” Andy interrupted. The message paused.
“Your ancestors are from the Land of Oomaldee.”
Really? Andy thought.
“It is not I who gives Methuselah, but One far greater. It is given and taken as the times require,” the message continued. “You have been appointed to wield it for such a time as this.”
But I’ll screw this up. I know I will, just like I did when I almost tore the castle down. Whatever kind of evil this message is talking about sounds really bad. There’s no way I can do this, even with this sword, Andy whined.
“Stop!” Andy’s inneru interrupted.
Andy sat up, startled.
The message continued, “Take courage. You do not yet see your own abilities because you have never been tested. You have never demonstrated to yourself or anyone all that you can do. Put your fears aside and trust that you can succeed in the challenges that lie ahead.” The message completed and the sphere disappeared, once again, giving no indication who had sent it.
“This is not about you,” reminded the inneru.
I know… thought Andy. It’s about all the people in the Land of Oomaldee. It is about the King, Mermin, Alden, Marta, Hans and everyone I’ve come to love here.
“You don’t usually think about others first,” continued his inneru.
Maybe this is my chance to change that, Andy thought.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Both the eBook as well as the paperback are available at Amazon.com or you can get the paperback and other gear, like T-shirts, at my website at www.lrwlee.com. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Read, Review, Refer reward program where you can get a free copy of the next book.
Any other links or info you'd like to share?
Authors love to hear what you think of their work. It’s a vulnerable business inventing something and then putting it out there for the world to critique. Please tell me what you think by posting a review at Amazon.com, even if you don’t buy the book there.