Interview with Lee Edward McIlmoyle

Published 2017-01-29.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the east end of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in a housing project we nick named the White Survey, which was a large, sprawling complex of over a hundred and fifty units. I lived in #19 for most of my pre-adult life. I think my oldest remaining friend, Scott, lived in #142. Living in the survey for so long, I learned to get along with people of various backgrounds and not to look down on people if I could help it. It also inspired me to write about the chaos of people entering your life unannounced, which is a recurring theme in my work, I think.
When did you first start writing?
Childhood, in the 1970s. I was into storytelling even as a boy. My most distinct early writing memory is of writing a fanfic adventure of Rom the Space Knight, with little crayon drawings of battles taking place in the margins.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have several books on the go right now, a bad habit I picked up somewhere. The book I'm working on today is 'THE APPROXIMATE DISTANCE TO LIMBO, part of a series called 'a Dream of New York City' (starring Richard Burley, my hapless alter ego), which takes place in NYC, but more so in the mind of Richard. I started writing Richard as a NaNoWriMo experiment, to exorcise some demons that my genre fiction wasn't able to. 260,000 words later, TERMINAL MONDAY became my second published novel.

I've scrapped a lot of that Richard stuff and moved on to an epic SF novel called The CONSTANT SEA of NIGHT. I hope to complete the first draft this year. It's a series of ten novella 'acts' with nine different protagonists, all set a hundred or so years in the future. It deals with politics, futurism, sex, medicine, sociology, death, and the Apocalypse (of course).
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I submitted a very good short story to a publisher. It was rejected. I submitted another to another publisher. Same thing. I submitted a novel. Same deal. Then I wrote TERMINAL MONDAY, and figured it probably wouldn't find a publisher either, regardless of whether it was any good or not. Since I thought it was remarkable, and since ebooks had become the Big New Thing, I figured I'd give self-publishing a try, and started collecting all of my past writings and publish them in sets. I still haven't become a rich and famous author, but I'm not as worried about that as I once was. I like writing for me and then sharing the results with whomever is interested.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords hasn't made me an overnight success, and I still haven't received my ITIN so I can get paid, but I think Smashwords is a great place to start, and may yet surprise me. I like the community, the fact that new books are coming in all of the time, and the opportunity it presents to new authors, regardless of what stage in their writing career they are at. That said, the lack of feedback (at least in my case) has been a little disappointing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Emptying my head of one more story (or set of stories, as my collections and even my novels tend to drip with subplots and asides). I also like the opportunity to tune out the real world and focus on the process of writing fiction, because it's one of the few times I feel truly content. Not joyous; writing is work, and not a lot of fun in the traditional sense, but I enjoy the process, for certain values of the word 'enjoy'.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love them. All three of them. I like to imagine what it would be like to have them over for dinner. I also wonder what wine goes with fans.
What are you working on next?
PERPETUAL TUESDAY, the proper sequel to TERMINAL MONDAY, is my next upcoming project, featuring Richard and Andy again. I'm also working on THE UNINVITED GUEST (Crime Noir Mystery quadriptych), PASSAGE TO BUJAH (YA Dystopian Sci-Fi trilogy), LINKTALES vol. 2 (Sci-Fi/Fantasy short story omnibus), and CUSTOMS AND ROAD SONGS OF LIMBO (assorted short stories). Then I shall sleep. And maybe record an album or two. And paint. And then write some more. 2014 is going to be very busy.

The CONSTANT SEA of NIGHT, most of the titles mentioned above, AUTHOR UNKNOWN, and a 'storyplaying' board game I'm developing, called LinkWorlds.
Who are your favorite authors?
In no particular order: Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Robert Anton Wilson, Robert Heinlein, Elizabeth Bear, Neil Gaiman, Tad Williams, Jack Whyte, Guy Gavriel Kay, Warren Ellis, and Alan Moore are my usual answers. I'm also a fan of Karen Burkey, Adam Knave, and Alison Miers, whose last novel I swear I will finish reading some day.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Bipolar Disorder. I can't sleep more than four hours a night, these days, without my brainmeats waking up to annoy me at 3-4 AM every single day. I get a lot of work done before my wife wakes up at a much more human hour.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Making art, music, book covers, or occasionally doing commercial graphic design for paltry sums of money. I also have been active in local civics and politics, but I'm planning on stepping back from that stuff for a while, to focus on my career for a bit. It's easier to fix problems when you have money, and the first thing I need to fix is moving my wife and I out of this apartment, which is falling down around my ears.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Mostly through my email, which used to notify me regularly of new books from my favourite authors. I haven't seen much of that lately, which leads me to believe my spam filters are overdoing it again. I also check out stuff from my twitter feed, every now and then. I have too many indie authors on Twitter, and I don't read fast enough these days.
What is your writing process?
I sit down, open up my antiquated PowerBook, pull up one of the many book files I'm not currently finished writing (in Scrivener), pick an empty chapter heading (or create a new one), and start writing until I understand what the chapter is about. Once I've figured that out, I try to figure out how to end the chapter (if I didn't know the ending at the start), and save. Then I go make tea or dinner. The next day, if I'm not too busy, I do it all over again. The rest is subject to change. Preparing to write a book takes a while, but it's a bit of a different process, involving voodoo and single malt scotch.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, but I remember the first story I ever read that DID have an impact on me. It was a children's story (in the 1979 edition of The Canadian Children's Annual) about a group of kids who try to save a snowman from melting, by storing it in an abandoned refrigerator. At the age of nine, I found it very moving.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm a graphic designer by trade, so I try to use my various skills and eye for captivating cover art to do something different within the confines of a wraparound cover. I only occasionally use hand-drawn illustrations, though I am a pretty good illustrator when I want to be. I rarely ever use photography, simply because it doesn't interest me as much as my current fetish, which is vector logos and vector illustrations. I think photographic covers all bleed into one and lose their impact quickly, even with all the ginchy Photoshop filters and effects added. In the future, I want to use more 3D graphics.
What do you read for pleasure?
Rock biographies. I'm a hopeless rock n roller, and love reading stories that inspire me to make more music.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kobo Touch. I may eventually upgrade, but only so I can have a back-lit Kobo Touch.
Describe your desk
Chaotic. I have a desktop PC and a Mac laptop on the same desk, with piles of books and discs and notes and bills and a drawing tablet I rarely use eating up the remainder of the space. Some time in the new year, I'm going to clean all the stuff off the top and get a USB keyboard controller to compose digital music with. I have no idea where the tablet will go then.

I bought the keyboard. It's covered in headphones and sticky notes. The art tablet still occupies a corner of the desk. The rest is still piles of pill bottles and unopened mail and notes for stuff I'm not working on at present. Oh, and a sculpted newt figurine with a cup of coffee in its paws.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have too many faves, but a few that are relevant to what I'm currently working on are Out On Blue Six by ian McDonald, Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith, and the Otherland series by Tad Williams. These books and some others I'm not recalling off the top of my head have me thinking in a bent futurist vein, not entirely like Warren Ellis, but at least not too much like Chris Claremont, both of whom are strong influences on my writing as well.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Oh heavens, I don't think I have a successful marketing strategy. In truth, most of the money I've made from writing comes from ordering POD copies of my books from Createspace and selling them directly to my friends and relatives. I don't consider that a successful formula by any measure.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Rom the Spaceknight? No? Okay, I think the first real piece of planned fiction I started working on many years ago was a novel I called Another Fine Mess. Naturally, I didn't get beyond the planning stages of that one, which taught me my first really important lesson in writing: never overplan, lest ye condemn thine fledgling story to crib death.
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Latest books by This Author

Lee in Limbo's The Limbo Record Review
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 132,240. Language: English. Published: July 11, 2018 . Categories: Nonfiction » Music » History & Criticism
A collection of over fifty album reviews written and posted online from between 2011 and 2017. All reviews have been updated and corrected. All embarrassing gushiness still intact.
Athena's Eyes
You set the price! Words: 1,840. Language: Canadian English. Published: March 12, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
A man. A dog. A loss. A lifetime ago. When is love true, and can it be for someone other than another human being? And when you look into Athena’s eyes, do you see yourself?
Unplanned Detour To Limbo
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 153,430. Language: Canadian English. Published: January 27, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
A hefty collection of speculative fiction in several flavours, featuring students and labourers, detectives and dames, spies and assassins, murderers and con men, and perhaps worst of all, a slightly oversexed, overweight aspiring author of little consequence. The road to Limbo is long. Have a safe journey.
The Back Roads of Limbo
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 70,850. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Private Detectives. Giant squid. Secret agents. Sultans and Djinn. Thieves and sorceresses. Children and a band of Gypsies. Crime in a city run by angels. Man's best friend. Working in your sleep. Christmas dinner. A writer takes a long walk. Psychic vampires. And a man who rescues his protégé and then loses the love of his life.
Return Trip (The Approximate Distance To Limbo, Act 2)
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 69,080. Language: English. Published: January 29, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Richard Burley has met with a life-changing event: his death. But it doesn't end there.
Sudden Departures (The Approximate Distance To Limbo, Act One)
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 66,290. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
Richard Burley has finally come out of the mental hospital, over a year after checking himself in, and almost three years after the events of TERMINAL MONDAY. He says that all he wants to do is help and repay debts, but are his friends and family really glad to see him, or do they wish he'd stayed away? And what has become of his friends in the meantime? This story is just one dark possibility.
Angela The Huntress - a Tale of Euroboros
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,970. Language: English. Published: December 27, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Richard Caslon hopes to secure his immortal soul by corrupting the soul of an innocent young woman. However, he doesn't realize he is about to be offered a very dangerous choice: redemption, or damnation. Before the night is through, allegiances will be shifted and more than one soul will be changed forever.
Never Apologize; a Dream of New York City
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,250. Language: English. Published: December 25, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00 from 1 review)
Richard Burley is suffering from writer's block, and takes a long bike ride to clear his head. He covers more ground than he'd ever imagined possible, as the first snow of the season begins to fall, and he is confronted by possibilities he'd never considered before.
Dream Job: a Dreamtropolis Tale
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,770. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Erotica » Sci-Fi Erotica
Morgan's adventure begins with a dream of a woman dying, and then learning the truth behind her dreaming and waking world deaths. What Morgan learns is that the civilized, futuristic world she has called home for most of her life has a dark secret it will do anything to protect, and she'll need to unravel the web of lies if she hopes to keep her sanity and her life intact.
Winterlude, A Sterling Carcieri Christmas Mystery
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,010. Language: English. Published: December 22, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Jeannie's Christmas Eve dinner goes more or less according to plan: Dinner, drinks, a little armchair sleuthing, and a night to remember. Breakfast with Sterling proves to be short-lived, however, when he rushes off to finish a case, and she is left to fend for herself. Fortunately, she won't be alone for long, but she may not enjoy the company, when the whole truth about her family comes out.
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