Interview with Lee Abrey

When did you first start writing?
My mother has a blackmail poem, which i wrote when i was 8. Yeah, it's awful. Though it does prove my answer - which is i started writing pretty much once i could.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Western Australia, with holidays often spent at cousins' farms. Much of the farming detail in The Birthday Dragon is lifted from those visits. Like Polo, i longed to escape from the most isolated capital city in the world, and am sure that's part of him that's come from me. Perth's not so bad now, with the internet, but back when i was a kid, it was like the end of the world.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always wanted to be independent when it came to writing and publishing - though i didn't have a clue how much work it was!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Telling stories. Creating characters. Making people think, laugh, cry. All good.
What's the best compliment you could get?
I think i already have it. Being compared to Philip K Dick, Terry Pratchett, Connie Willis, Douglas Adams, and Tolkien was pretty wild. Someone else said "...like Carry On Blackadder meets The Graduate - with added stimulants."
What are you working on next?
The character Jules who shows up in some of the Polo Shawcross books is someone i wrote about twenty years ago. I'm going to be revisiting the books i wrote about her, see if i can make them relevant and worth publishing. Her backstory is now linked to Polo, so i'd like to get it out there.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have a lot, i read almost anything (except romance, though i have read it), and read very fast. I'm currently reading Jeffrey Deaver (love his grammar and English usage jokes in amongst the violence and brain games). I also adore people like Terry Pratchett, (reading out of my recent library loans here), Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Jim Butcher, John Ringo. I love sci fi, like fantasy if it's not infested with made up languages, (not the biggest LOTR fan), and in order to not infect current series with someone else's style, i have been reading a lot of police procedurals and 'army' books. By 'army' i mean stuff by ex soldiers who now write fiction, usually about a thinly masked self fighting terrorists. Brad Taylor is hugely enjoyable, as are Andy McNab and others. I have read a lot of sci fi, and faves there included Poul Anderson, Ursula Le Guin, Jack Vance, and many others i can't remember even with Google's help.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Usually breakfast. Seriously. Love my toast and coffee. I lure myself out, then spring exercise on myself, which i get through by reading (when i'm on the stationary bike) and the promise of Vegemite.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first book i wrote was when i was 13. I think i still have it. The main character borrowed someone else's pony and rode in a show. Wishful thinking. Though a year later, i had the loan of a pony, and rode in a show. Third in the Ridden Pony, 12.2 hh and under. My only ribbon. If i can, i'll still chuck a horse in every story.
What is your writing process?
I used to waste a lot of time writing and writing, thinking 'it will make sense'. But i ended up with millions of words but nothing i felt was really publishable (and nobody else thought it was either, the few books i pulled out of the mass of words were rejected). Then i discovered Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method. Which works for almost any project, really. And paring each book down to 15 words, then building it back up again, proved the charm. Wanting to write, that's where i start. I also keep spreadsheets - of characters and their looks, ages, anything relevant, and of history in the books. And then there's all the details of the worlds, they need to be coherent and i have to be able to find them. I worship spreadsheets. And Windows neat search function that can literally find one line in a manuscript i wrote 10 years ago.
How do you approach cover design?
With trepidation. And an adoration of people who allow me to use/adapt/mess with their work under Creative Commons. I'm really pleased with the covers, they are more than i hoped for.
Published 2018-02-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Polo Shawcross: Dragon Outlaw
Series: Dragon Quartet. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 120,040. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
Book 4 in the Dragon Quartet, the notorious Polo Shawcross is desperate for a quiet life, but his family are still out to kill him. Back at Court in Sendren, Polo isn’t the man you want to leave alone with the queen, but the king still loves him. On the bright side, he’s out of the army. Polo’s sure he won’t fight again, but the war’s coming to Sendren. Is changing shape enough? Can Polo survive?
Polo Shawcross: Dragon Skin
Series: Dragon Quartet. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 102,900. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Book 3 and Polo Shawcross comes back from war both notorious and a hero, ready for bad women, good food, and a lot of sleep. His enemies have other plans, as do his friends. Soon he’s fighting for his life and for parts of his body someone wants as a souvenir. Can Polo learn to shape-change in time? Twisted adventure in a vivid new world where Men (or Women) might be Dragon.
Polo Shawcross: Dragon Soldier
Series: Dragon Quartet. Price: Free! Words: 104,330. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Second in the Dragon Quartet, sequel to High Rated pageturner, The Birthday Dragon. Polo is growing up, still getting into trouble, still in danger from his crazy family trying to kill him, or worse, be his parents again. Twisted adventure in a vivid new world where genesplicing accidentally creates real magic and Men (or Women) might be Dragon.
Polo Shawcross: The Birthday Dragon
Series: Dragon Quartet. Price: Free! Words: 105,900. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.93 from 14 reviews)
In the first of the Dragon Quartet, Polo Shawcross wishes for a new life. The Birthday Dragon brings a ghost who says he’s not one, a best friend who thinks he's gay, relations who want him dead, and a very bad reputation. Twisted adventure in a vivid new world where genesplicing accidentally creates real magic and Men (or Women) might be Dragon.