Interview with Robert Lee

When did you first start writing?
In a tent in Scotland. I enjoyed creative writing at school but the first time I really set about creating something was during a short camping holiday just over the Scottish border. I'd been kicking an idea around for a while and at the time had been reading many books, some of which I thought were amazing and a few which I thought were just terrible. Strangely, it was the terrible ones which spurred me into wanting to write as I rather arrogantly thought I could do better. Whether I did or not I'll never know as the book I came up with over the next three months, a 300 page novel called Experiment 7, has never seen the light of day. The one thing it definitely taught me though was just how much I love creating and telling stories.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small village in the north of England called Collingham. From there I moved to Leeds, a large city about 20 miles away which had a much bigger impact on my writing simply because it exposed me to a far broader spectrum of people and architecture. It had a much grimier feel too it, a pulse which I hadn't felt previously or since and it helped to shape some of the darker aspects of the characters and locations I use in my writing.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I love movies but at their heart they are inevitably flawed in a creative sense. They have limits imposed upon from both a budgetary and story telling perspective. Writing has neither of these things. I can tell a story on the grandest scale imaginable and at no point do I have to worry that I'm overspending or that the story is going to run over three hours. Writing is limitless and the fact that what I write I can now share with others is just fantastic. I like the freedom that being an indie author brings, the fact that what I write is exactly what the audience gets to read. My work hasn't gone through a committee or a harsh edit or been deemed too niche for a wide audience. Every word that is read is mine and how it want it to be, for better or for worse, and I love that I'm able to do that.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I every wrote outside of school so simply because I wanted to, was called Demon eyes. A friend introduced me a guy who was putting together a magazine and wanted a collection of short stories for the first issue. He asked me if I'd like to submit something so I set about writing my story which was about an police officer facing off against a creature that had been terrorising a city. It ended up about 20 pages long and wasn't great but he liked it enough to accept it. The magazine never got off of the ground but I kept the story and would occasionally go back to it and tinker with it over the years. I think its about 50 pages long now and definitely works better than it did back then.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to say something that's never been said before is a wonderful feeling to have. To be able to take the reader on a journey they have never or could never experience anywhere other than in the pages of a book is really special. Writing can change your perception of the world, a bad day a work becoming such a positive thing when given over to a story, a disappointing outcome to a situation being changed to work in your favour simply by you altering the narrative and writing it down. Words are weapons, bullets, kisses, cuddles, laughter and tears all rolled into one.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I use my iPad for reading simply because I always have it on me. I still prefer the feel of a print book but I can't deny that the iPad is far more convenient on a day to day basis when I'm on the go.
Describe your desk
Everything I've written has been using an old laptop so my desk is pretty much my lap or the cupboard under the stairs where my PC lives. I'm usually surrounded by scraps of paper from when I've been struck by an idea whilst out somewhere and had to scribble it down on the back of a receipt or newspaper so that I don't forget it later. I also have a few Bad Taste Bears which belonged to a family friend who passed away a while ago which sit next to my monitor.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favourite books would be Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show, Assassins by Shaun Hutson, Neil Gaiman's Stardust and Neverwhere and finally Fate is the hunter by Ernest K Gann. I love all of Barker's early works with The Great and Secret Show standing out for me as a work of incredible imagination, a similar feeling I get from reading any one of Gaiman's novels. Assassins I read when I was younger and I loved the visceral nature of its narrative, the harshness of its characters. As for Fate is the Hunter, I used to be a private pilot and this book describes beautifully the ingenuity of some of the early aviation pioneers when it came to solving what seemed like insurmountable problems.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been a platform upon which I can stand and show my work. Although I love to write, when it comes to marketing I know nothing so having them backing authors up and supporting what we do makes all the difference in the world. They provide the audience and the knowledge to reach that audience effectively and for that I'm truly grateful to them for all of their guidance and support.
What are you working on next?
Coming off of Vampyre, I really felt like doing something a little lighter. Vampyre took well over two years to complete and even after that I periodically kept going back to rewrite and sharpen certain elements of it before publishing. That's a long time to spend with such dark material so my next book has a much lighter tone to it. The first draft is complete and though I don't want to give away too much at this point, I will say that at its heart its a story about the relationship between 3 characters, one of which is pulled into the world of the other two and is far from prepared to deal with what he discovers there.
Published 2016-07-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Vampyre Dreams
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 149,280. Language: English. Published: January 23, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Horror » Crime
The latest in a series of brutal murders has left Detective Robert Park close to breakdown, his sense of failure being amplified when his only suspect seemingly becomes a victim of her own gruesome game. With the situation worsening, Park soon realizes that far darker forces are at work in his city than he could ever have imagined.