Monday, July 2, 2012

Interview with Crystal Lee Author of Canopy

Today, I bring you author Crystal Lee; the lady behind Canopy.

Author of historical fiction, romance, and her science fiction series, Canopy. Also working on some non-fiction works on organic gardening in Arizona and an informative book on breastfeeding after breast cancer. All coming soon...

1.) Tell us a little about yourself. How did you start writing? 

I grew up with a dad that wrote screenplays constantly on an old clunky typewriter. I never, ever wanted to be a writer even though I was pretty good at it. But about 2 years ago I was struggling with some personal problems I couldn’t talk to a lot of people about, and I found writing cathartic. It started out as Twilight Fan Fiction, and after I entered The Writer’s Coffee Shop original romance contest in September of 2011 and won with what is now my 2nd story in my Canopy series, I started taking my writing seriously. It was time to publish…

2.) Do you have any other interests? 

Yes, a ton. I am an avid organic gardener and in Phoenix, Arizona that’s kind of unique since our climate is soooo hostile. I teach classes on organic gardening locally at Honeyville Farms. I’m publishing my first book on organic gardening basics next month and plan to write 2 more on the same subject geared toward our short seasons. I’m also a registered International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and have been a La Leche League leader for over a decade. I plan to write on the subject of breastfeeding after breast cancer down the road as well. I also used to be a Bradley natural childbirth instructor (also for almost a decade) and plan to write about unassisted birthing at home. A lot of my passions bleed over into my writing whether I want them to or not. They’re ingrained in me. I love helping mothers succeed with having the kind of labor, birth, and breastfeeding experience they want to have.

I also love to read and cook. Although since I started writing we’ve been having much less preparation-wise time consuming meals on the table. :D

3.) On your blog, you have a post about your Christianity. Does your religion have any bearing on your writing? 

Yes, it does. It’s not done on purpose. I actually try to keep religion out of my writing along with my convictions on childbirthing and breastfeeding but they just won’t stay out of every story. Some of them it’s easier than others, but it happens. It’s part of my passion once again, finds its way in there. I never intended Canopy to involve religion at all, but it took root and wouldn’t let up. As writers, we write about what we know. Only I like to tweak what I know and ask thought provoking questions and then present an entirely unique perspective on an answer or possibly on another question (sometimes it gets me in trouble). I, however, do not share what my religion is because I don’t think it has any bearing. I want my work to speak to anybody that reads it regardless of religious beliefs or even with an atheistic view point. I respect all opinions on religion. That’s one of the things I love about science fiction—it breaches those gaps and speaks to people on a basic level.

4.) Your Canopy books are romance novels that are based in science fiction. Do you have worries that some people will be put off by the sci-fi aspect? 

No, not really because the science fiction is in the background, the white noise behind the plot. It has an impact on the characters and the plot, but it’s not the main focus. I was writing a romance story and thought of the science fiction as the backdrop or setting. They could have been on a boat about to be devoured by a massive shark, and I still would have been writing a romance, not an action/adventure or science fiction story. But I classify it as science fiction because there are times that romances get a bad rap and get thrown in with harlequins. I have no problem with harlequin romance, but that’s not what I write. I like to think of it like the Oscars where the comedies get snubbed and aren’t taken seriously. I want this story to be taken seriously, so I put it under the category of science fiction instead of romance. I think it also gives it a little more definition so people know what to expect.

5.) I have to ask! Where did the idea of inhaling BUGS come from?

 Ha! I have a warped mind, and I’m always asking ‘what if’ questions. In the summers here in Phoenix it’s very hot (a lot of days at 110° or higher) and when it’s that blazing bake-your-skin-off hot, the only bugs besides wasps you see are usually clouds of white gnats floating along in your backyard. I remember one day looking out my back window and thinking, “if I walked right into them out in the sunlight I wouldn’t see them and could possibly breathe them in.” It grossed me out, but it also intrigued me to think about what could happen if they survived that. Would they latch onto my lungs for survival? And if they did, what would happen to me? Would I change? And the process went on and on and on and on. Then it turned into the vision of a mother dying in a hospital room and releasing those gnats into the air. Would the daughter breathe them in for her mother if she had rejected inhaling them all along based on her own principals? Would she do it to win her mother’s respect or love if that’s what all of society was doing and her mother wanted her to? The ending of book 2 was born. And I was a little more twisted than before. That was 19 years ago, and it hasn’t stopped. :P

6.) What have been the biggest challenges you've faced thus far in your writing career? 

Family opposing me. I showed one of my family members the first chapter to book 4 (the steamiest of all my books in that series) and they were appalled at what I wrote. We exchanged some heated emails and finally I gave up with them, realizing they were never going to like what I write so I stopped worrying about it.
Other issues have been gaining weight from writing so much and being too stationary. I’m normally a fairly active person but I get obsessive with my writing and have trouble stopping at times. I also struggle with having a messy house. I’m a fairly neat person.

The biggest issue though is worrying about possible backlash from the people I associate with the most that have no idea how I really think. They will be surprised at how passionate and steamy my stuff is. The people that know me best have always known I’m a very intense individual but there are some that might reject me. I’m okay with it now, but for awhile it kept me from wanting to publish. I’ve been ostracized before merely because of my childbirthing, breastfeeding and parenting choices. I survived that and can survive this too.

7.) Do you have any advice for a new author who wants to go the indie route

  Do your homework like mad. Don’t rush in. I’ve seen people do that; they go ahead and publish and have no idea how to market it or how to get an audience. You can publish any time you are ready, so why not do it right from the start? Also, develop a thick skin. People are going to love your stuff, but there will also be those that either don’t get it or hate it with a passion. That’s okay. I always think to myself that I want a reaction and the stronger the better. It means I hit a nerve somewhere, and when a nerve is hit it can mean there is truth to what I’ve said. Some people don’t want to hear the truth, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop telling it or pushing. My goal as a writer is to have an impact on the reader’s emotions. If I did that, then I succeeded (and hopefully they will love it rather than come after me with pitch forks).

8.) Do you have any other books in the works? 

Oh, you’re gonna be sorry you asked that. Here’s what I’ve got and will be publishing for the next 3 years (most of these are halfway done):
  • 2 gardening books (1 for summer and 1 for winter)
  • Currently writing the 6th book in the Canopy series (should be the final book)
  • Breastfeeding after Breast Cancer
  • Birth Your Way (this is a 6 week class I developed and taught myself. I’m turning it into a how-to manual)
  • A romance series called Swim, Tadpole, Swim (with a much older woman and younger man)
  • Scrapping Tin (a science fiction romance story involving robots and genetic manipulations)
  • Slick as Ides (a science fiction romance)
  • Shroag 50 (a time travel science fiction romance, may turn into a short series)
  • Hart Coursing: a series on Henry VIII (already wrote the 1st book and plan to write 2 more. Told entirely in POV and we get to see how he was actually a victim in a lot of what happened in his reign. I have a very unique perspective on him.)
  • Time of Salt (a science fiction apocalypse story of hidden identities and cults)
  • And right now I’ve been completely absorbed and obsessed with a very steamy series I’m writing for myself alone. I’ll never publish it because frankly, it’s too darn erotic and nobody I know would ever be able to read it. Call it my own little self indulgence. 
 You can find Canopy at all major e-book sellers today!


Summary:

As Earth’s pollution problems increase in the year 2042, Jash Lepitt has decisions to make. Does he take the responsible route, fusing by inhaling DOOGS: specialized alien species of gnats that will genetically enhance him? Or does he remain flawed; be discriminated against by a society rewarding fused people? Desperate to win over Lissy Darrish, he questions it because she’s a Danat—a purist opposed to changing the body. In addition to her convictions, she’s also falling in love with a Danat, Tryst Navar. Devoting his time to protecting her from Tryst is harder than it seems for Jash. Tryst witnessed a friend of his being attacked by aggressive DOOGS while on the job building houses in the treetops. What will happen when all three of them become involved in the secrecy of the canopy’s DOOGS? And will Lissy risk being with Jash when being intimate can possibly contaminate her? 

Don't forget, The Abigale Chronicles - Book Two releases tomorrow in print and for Kindle! If you haven't read book one, go get your copy today!

Well, that's it for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON! 


Jo

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much, Jo! I couldn't have done all of this without your support. It means so much to me to have you in my corner, cheering me on.
    I did notice, I made an error on this blog post. Woops! When it talks about my Henry VIII series, I meant to say it's told in Henry's POV. I left the Henry part out, and I never wanna do that. That man is sexy as hell!

    Crystal Lee
    http://crystalleeauthor.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Crystal! Thanks for the comment :)

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