We welcome Maureen Lee, one time winner of the Romantic Novel Award to the blog today. Maureen was born in Bootle, on the outskirts of Liverpool during the Second World War. Later, she attended commercial college and became a shorthand typist. She started with short stories around the time the children began to arrive, and, she says, being a rather inefficient mother, at least had a hope of getting these finished.
In fact, Maureen sold about one hundred and fifty short stories, published in magazines all over the world, and also wrote two unpublished novels. These were followed by a successful full-length musical play, WHEN ADAM DELVED AND EVE SPAN, produced at a local theatre.
However, it wasn’t until 1990, when the boys had left home, (one still regularly returns with his washing), that I rented an office and got down to writing full time. Four years later my first saga, STEPPING STONES was published by Orion. It seemed only natural to begin the story in Liverpool and, following this, Orion commissioned me to write a trilogy set in ‘my city’ during the war.Since then, I have had a saga published every year.
I admire your tenacity, Maureen, and it’s a lesson to us all that a writing career can take a good deal of time and effort to build. So, tell us about your latest book and what inspired you to write it.
Is a sense of place important to you in your writing?
You won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year award in 2000. That must have been a great thrill, and certainly helped your career.
I can honestly say it came as a total surprise to me. I didn't have a speech prepared, forgot everyone's names and made a terrible show of myself. However, since then, I have felt a sense of pride to see myself described as an 'Award Winning Writer'. I was also short-listed and long-listed for two other books.
Are your books generally stand-alone titles, or do you ever write sequels?
What are your views on the new digital revolution. How has it affected you as a successful writer?
Many years ago I wrote three thrillers - not the sort full of gruesome murders and lost body parts - but quite mild with a touch of romance. However, my publisher turned them down and they had been languishing in a drawer all this time, the print getting fainter and fainter. Then I heard about Kindle, discovered the thrillers had actually been typed on my first computer, an Amstrad that took 3" disks. I had the disks put on a CD and put one of the books, DUSK, on Kindle at 99p. But my publisher was upset and offered to publish it in print form one of these days, so I took it off. I do miss being able to check daily to see where it was in the chart - it reached fifteen. All my other books are on Kindle, but not so cheaply.
That’s an interesting take on it. A pity your publisher couldn’t see it as an advantage or form of promotion. But now for some less serious questions. Do you manage to ignore the housework?
I do very little housework, which wouldn't matter if I didn't fret about the place being so untidy.
Which is your all time favourite author?
Charles Dickens - I love his books.
Do you have any little quirks or habits you carry out before starting work each moring?I always start my writing day with a tiny bar of chocolate that is less than 100 calories.
Do you still have an unfulfilled ambition?I would love to see one of my stories made into a film or a TV play.
Any superstitions about your writing?I never tidy my desk until the current novel is finished.
That has been absolutely fascinating Maureen. Thank you so much for sparing the time to talk to us. To find out more about Maureen Lee’s books, visit her website: http://www.maureenlee.co.uk/
Interviews on the RNA Blog are conducted by Freda Lightfoot and Kate Jackson. If you would like an interview, please contact me at:mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org