Meet Lori M. Lee.
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Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! I’m the author of multiple SFF books and speculative short fiction. I’m also enamored with unicorns, enjoy marathoning TV shows, and daydreaming about magic, manipulation, and family.
Out of all the novels you’ve written, what was the most challenging to complete?
Definitely the sequel to Forest of Souls, which I’m still writing. I spent a number of years working on FoS, and while I had an idea for the sequel, so much changed through the revision process that I had to scrap everything and start from scratch. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that no amount of stress eating will make my brain work any faster in terms of chipping away at the block of a new story to reveal the shape of the plot beneath.
What are your thoughts on covers? Yours are gorgeous!
Thank you! Everyone says to not judge a book by its cover, and in theory, that’s excellent advice. But in practice, it’s almost impossible not to. A cover has the not inconsiderable responsibility of convincing a reader to pick up a book (or click on it) and read the summary. It’s so important to get right, and I’ve been extremely blessed to get some amazing covers!
Are you then guilty of buying a book (or not) based on the cover itself?
I’ve definitely purchased books based on their cover haha. I’ve also held onto books I had no intention of reading simply because I loved their covers so much. In all other aspects of my life, I’m super practical, but I have a weakness for books!
Tell us about your publishing experience – the good, the bad, the beautiful.
The good: I’m fortunate in that I found an agent I love and who I work well with on my first try. So many authors have had to switch agents for various reasons, but I’ve been with Suzie for 8 years, and I couldn’t be happier.
The bad: I’ve definitely gone down some pretty dismal paths (mentally) the last few years, and there were times I wanted to quit writing altogether. But the thing is—if I’m not writing, then I don’t really know who I am. Some authors will tell you that’s unhealthy, haha, and maybe it is, but so much of who I am is tied up with my love for writing, and that’s okay with me.
The beautiful: Because I’ve been around since before the We Need Diverse Books movement, I’ve had the distinct privilege of being able to witness the publishing industry and the book community evolve into a more inclusive, more welcoming place for marginalized books and writers, and it’s been truly wonderful. There’s still a long ways to go, but where we are now compared to where we were back in 2010 when I first began querying gives me a lot of hope for the future of publishing.
This June, “Forest of Souls” is released: what inspired the story?
It was a bunch of different things coming together, like how the different Power Ranger zords come together to form Megazord XD But primarily, I wanted to write an epic fantasy, because I hadn’t done that since I was a teenager, and fantasy is my first and fiercest love. Then I wanted it to be about two girls who remained friends throughout the entire book, mostly in furious reaction to a string of books I’d read where the best friends shunned each other for 90% of the book before reconciling at the end. I guess I spite write? lol.
What really spoke to you – from favorite or least favorite character trait, a moment in the story, etc – about your main character Sirscha in “Forest of Souls”?
Sirscha’s greatest fear is to be insignificant, or invisible, so she spends a lot of energy and time trying to prove herself. She’s constantly seeking this external validation that I think others will relate to, and I definitely relate to that as well because I wrote in her some of my own insecurities as a teenager.
What was it like receiving (or seeing) your first fanart or fan letter?
Getting reader emails is THE BEST THING EVER. Also, I completely freaked out the first time someone created fanart for my characters. I spent a lot of time in various fandoms, writing fanfiction and drawing fanart for beloved series, so it means so much when someone cares enough to do the same for my books. That was a really special time in my writing life, and one of my biggest writing goals is to someday publish a book that will spawn a fandom XD
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
If you’re a fan of preorder goodies, keep an eye out for more news on that front soon 😀