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Interview With Lee Emory

Meet Lee Emory
Interview by Sandra Moore

*Lee Emory writes her inspirational stories under the name of Whitney Eden.

1) Tell us a little about yourself -- age, married/single, children, how many books authored, etc.

My age? Shame on you for asking! I'm 59, married to a retired law enforcement manager, I raised six children two of which were my own. I have authored scads of books in over thirty years of writing, but have to date 8 books published and five inspirational short stories.

2) How did you become interested in writing?

The first thing I ever wrote was back in third grade, a school project. It was an Egyptian scroll that sat in the display case for many months. It was quite an achievment. Aside from that, my grandmother was one of those people who could recite reams of poetry from memory, and she loved to write when she was young. I guess the urge to be a writer came from her. My mother was also a talented writer, but she did nothing with it. In short, I'm just a chip off the old block.

3) What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

My biggest obstacle was that it took 27 years to get anyone to recognize my books and to publish me. There is no way to overcome a thing like that. If you're a real writer, you just write no matter what, and you keep trying no matter how long it takes. My first published book is LAST ACT OF GRACE, which is an inspirational. I'm proud to say it's won high acclaim from those who've read it.

4) What has been the highest moment of your writing career?

I'd like to think I have yet to reach that point. I'm not ready to put such a thing in the past.

5) Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write? Where do your story ideas come from?

My head is so full of story ideas, I haven't enough years to live to write them all. Usually stories come to me in the form of a title. Odd, I know, but what can I say. I write the story based on the ideas the title gives me.

6) Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer, or do you plot extensively before your fingers hit the keyboard?

It depends. Most of the time, I plot extensively. In the case of my third book in the Widows' Walk trilogy, I'm pretty much writing that by the seat of my pants. I'm so familiar with my characters by now I could recite them in my sleep. A new, in-depth book will be heavily outlined first. I may deviate from the plot a bit, but it gives me a place to start.

7) What's the nicest thing anyone ever said about your writing?

Lee is a superb writer. Her characters have real meat on their bones.

8) Who is your favorite character in your books, and how did you come up with that character?

I truly love all my characters, even the ones I hate. However, to date, I suppose I'd have to say that Abby Snow in the Widows' Walk trilogy is tops on the list. I consider that crusty old ghost her alter ego.

9) How do you deal with publisher rejections?

With years of blood, sweat, tears and perseverance. And don't forget prayer.

10) You are a publisher as well as a writer. What do you look for in a query/proposal/manuscript?

Of course this depends on the imprint, but for MountainView, I'm looking for books that are skillfully written, strong characterization and plots that are not too deeply toned toward preaching. I want characters who have strong faith, or are looking for faith, and in the end, solve their problems through that faith---without hammering their personal beliefs into the reader. In other words, I like a light, but meaningful touch with regard to the mention of faith. Don't quote too much scripture. Write your own book and let your characters show us what's happening through their actions and beliefs. People who learn to write intriguing proposals and synopses are the ones who'll be noticed. That goes without saying.

11) If you could give a beginner one piece of advice what would it be?

Read good books that are skillfully written. Now, compare your actual writing (mechanics and plot) with those favored books. How do your skills compare. Have you overused exclamations, em dashes, ellipses or certain words? Do your characters each have a voice of their own, so you don't have to keep using he said or she said tags in the work? There is a great deal more I can say on this subject, but I won't take anymore time other than to say read and follow every publisher's guidelines before you submit. I can't tell you how many people don't even both to find out that I'm a female, let alone submit in accordance with our guidelines. Do your homework. Learn your craft BEFORE you submit. Don't expect the editor or publisher to teach you how to write.


You can find more information about Lee's books at The Treble Heart Books Website.

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