Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Author Interview -- Jeff Lee -- Author of The Ladies Temperance Club's Farewell Tour

This is my first author interview and I am very happy that Jeff Lee, Author of The Ladies Temperance Club's Farewell Tour, has agreed to be my first "victim"!

This book was read as a Kindle edition, and was an extremely amusing read. If you liked the "Stephanie Plum" series by Janet Evanovich, then you will like this..

So I hope you will enjoy the interview. I had so many questions to ask him so I hope you enjoy the interview.

  1. How long have you been writing and have you always wanted to write?

I’ve been writing since my early teens (to give you an idea how long ago, JFK was in the White House). That was mostly short stories and poetry that was so bad you wouldn’t even recite it in a milking shed. My major in college required a lot of radio and TV script writing, and from there, I ended up as a copywriter in advertising. But for the past 10 years or so, I’ve been working hard at becoming a novelist.

  1. How does an army chef move on to being an author? The two roles couldn’t be more different.

Trust me, I was a loooong way from being a chef. When I joined the reserves, I was told they were going to train me as a combat engineer. Typical for the military, they ended up sending me to cook school. As far as I can tell, there really was no connection between that and writing, though. 

  1. Which writer/s inspire you?

I’m a huge fan of Janet Evanovich, Michener, Fannie Flagg, Elmore Leonard and particularly, William Goldman (The Princess Bride, Marathon Man, Magic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and a ton of other works). I’m in awe of their ability to put a ton of words in their characters’ mouths that both impart a fair amount of exposition and sound real at the same time.

  1. Which genre of books would you prefer to take on holiday with you?

What can I say? I’m a humor and comedy junkie from way back. Particularly if the author manages to toss in a good killing or two, or a failed revolution, or a comically corrupt politician or public figure.

  1. How many hours a day do you spend writing?

That’s a tough one to answer, because I also work as a freelance copywriter. Between the two pursuits, I usually average 2 to 4 hours a day. 

  1. I read this book in Kindle form. Have you published in paperback?

Not yet. I plan to, though. Just as soon as the Ladies Temperance Club begins to sell in larger numbers.

  1. Your characters were all so individual. Did you base them on anyone you know?

Some were – Vonda and her waste-of-skin boyfriend were actually based on a couple I met. The husband really was supporting the two of them by selling bogus annuities to his oldest and dearest friends. The rest of the characters weren’t based so much on people I knew, but actors and actresses I knew of. Like Kathy Bates, Bruce Willis, and a few others. 

  1. Your book made me laugh when reading it. Does it make you laugh when you’re writing it?

Hmm, sometimes, yes. Sometimes,no. You have to remember that by the time a book gets published the writer has been living with every single word for, sometimes, years. Between the rough draft, edits and rewrites I’ve been over Farewell Tour so many times the jokes have long since lost their punch for me.

  1. I really loved the characters. Which of the characters was your favourite?

That’s a tough one to answer. I mean, I created these guys, so in some ways, I feel like their parent. So, I can’t really play favorites. But I have a special fondness for Fish, Kenny and Einstein (so much so, that I’m getting ready to publish a book that will star them). I also love Vonda, Francine and Kay; and Bob and his Icelandic-speaking cousin. And don’t forget the strange couple that own the rural bistro in the middle of Idaho.

  1. Had you been to any of the locations you mentioned in your book, like Groom Lake near Area 51 or Quartzite?

I haven’t been to those two places yet, but I plan to, along with the Little Al’e Inn. I have actually eaten in that bizarre, jungle-themed restaurant, and been to Palm Springs. And, yeah, I’ve been to Las Vegas a few times (unfortunately, the casino where Kay overdoes it with complimentary Long Island Ice Teas was torn down years ago. It was a fun place, though).

  1. How much research did you have to do into the locations mentioned in the book?

I did a lot, mostly to get the feel of certain locations, but Google made it pretty easy. Fun, actually. Then again, some of the locations, like the towns of Udell and Hanley, exist only in my alleged mind.

  1. Is there going to be a follow up to this book, and if so do you plan to make it a series?

While writing The Ladies Temperance Club’s Farewell Tour, I fell so in love with Fish, Kenny and Einstein that I knew I had to give them a novel of their own. It’s the sequel, and it’s titled Hair of the Dog. The book takes a kind of Get Shorty-like satirical look at Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Our three heroes are hired by a Beverly Hills jeweller to recover his wanna-be starlet girlfriend’s missing Lhasa Apso. How hard could that be, right? But before they know it, the client gets whacked and now everyone is in the crosshairs of a psychotic hit man who wears black Armani and talks like Marilyn Monroe. Anyway, that’s the “elevator pitch” version of the story. And if everything goes right, Hair of the Dog should be available on Kindle, some time in August.

And yup, I would love to grow these two novels into a series. I mean, there’s sooo much about Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Hollywood to get satirical over.

(Sorry about the length of that last answer. Maybe I should dial back a little on the Starbucks.)

Thank you so much Jeff for answering my questions, and thanks for being the first "victim" of my author interviews. I do appreciate you taking the time. Good luck with this book and the follow up.