F. D. Lee

Biography

I live in London with my husband, three cats and a guinea pig. As anyone who has ever been owned by animals will know, I and my husband are very much at the bottom of the pecking order!

I grew up in a comic book shop, and there's only two ways one can go with that kind of beginning. I went the geeky way. I love comics, sci-fi and fantasy, as well as board games and RPG. I'm not hugely into collectables, but there are few things that I horde; books mostly.

In addition to the above, I love the cinema and theatre, and will go whenever I can afford to! I also like studying and learning - currently I am looking into the changing representation of women in fantasy. I would happily and proudly call myself a feminist, and have consciously tried to make my own writing representational of women, but also to show non-traditional masculine characters and roles as well.

While I hope I don't shove these things down my readers' throats, I think it is important that literature reflect not just the world as it is, but as it could be. I think this element is particularly intrinsic to speculative/genre fiction, and it is one of the reasons I have always been so drawn to the genre.

My favourite authors are quite varied, though I would have to say that Terry Pratchett is my number one. Others include Max Brooks, Grant Naylor, Stephen Baxter, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman, Suzanne Collins, Anne Rice, Steig Larsson, Elizabeth Gaskell, Joseph Heller, George Orwell, Jerome K. Jerome, P. G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.

I'm always very happy to chat about my books or general geeky things, so please feel free to contact me on Facebook, Twitter or email faith@fdlee.co.uk.

I am also keen to support other self-publishers, so if you would like to discuss the process with me, again feel free to get in touch!

Smashwords Interview

Describe your desk
Lol! I don't actually have a desk, but I am lucky enough to have a room to work in. I mostly write from home, with my laptop on my lap (at least, when there isn't a cat there).
My writing room is also my book cave - I have bookcases along two of the walls; the other is taken up by two windows and the third with a sofa bed. The bookcases started as a mixture of short and tall, but as time has gone on I've had to replace the short bookcases due to lack of space. I currently have about one or two shelves free, but no space for anymore bookcases so I foresee some difficult choices ahead! My writing room/book cave is also the place where I keep my geeky nick-nacks: posters, dolls, figures, lego, toys, lunch boxes... all the usual stuff that mounts up when you're in a few different fandoms.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
This is an interesting question.

I grew up in Bournemouth and Poole, which are seaside holiday towns on the south coast of the UK. They're quite odd places to live (though I suppose most places are, once you get to know them). Bournemouth and Poole both have varied economies, with some areas being very rich - Sandbanks, for example, was for a long time one of the most expensive places to live in the UK - and others very poor. This, of course, has had an influence on me and my writing. In my novels, you'll find characters from the very wealthy ends of society and those from the poor or marginalised. Having said that, I don't hold that one's economic status is the only aspect of their personality - but it is true that wealth (or lack thereof) can influence the experiences you're is exposed to growing up, and the types of people you might meet (for better and for worse).

There are also large communities of foreign students who come to learn English. This is excellent, as it saves the area from becoming quite insular, and means that there are a number of different cultures around you. In fact, I trained as an EFL teacher and taught it for many years. Teaching English was fascinating, as it pushed me to analyse my language, how it fits together and the ways it can be manipulated. Many years later, this interest led me to do a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics, specialising in social linguistics.

I think (hope!) that this interest in language can be seen in my writing. At one end of the scale, I'm not afraid of a joke or a pun! In fact, in my second novel, The Academy, I spend about thirty chapters setting up a pun! All that work for one line - but I think it pays off. At the other end of the spectrum, I'm very conscious about how language works between people, the ways in which it can be used to present one's identity but also how that presentation is received; how directness and indirectness, hesitations, pauses, and word choice can completely change the meaning of something that at first seems relatively straight forward. I try to use this knowledge when my characters are speaking to each other, and I think it gives the reader a lot enjoyment to see how these factors play out. Character is very important to me, as a reader and writer. A plot can be amazing, but if the characters don't seem real, I find I lose interest.
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