Writers@Work: An Interview with Stacey Lee
I am delighted to welcome Stacey Lee to the blog today! She’s the award-winning author of several books for young readers. And she’s coming to Milwaukee! Join Stacey Lee on Saturday, April 6 at 2:00 PM for a very special parent-child event at the Lynden Sculpture Garden. For more information and to purchase tickets, check out the event website. -Rochelle
Tell us about your books.
UNDER A PAINTED SKY: a Chinese girl commits a crime in self defense, and flees down the Oregon Trail along a runaway slave, disguised as
OUTRUN THE MOON: the daughter of a launder impersonates an
heiress to get into an all-white girls’ school, but her plans are shaken up when the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake hits.
Both Under a Painted Sky and Outrun the Moon are historical novels. Can you talk about why you choose to anchor your stories in historical events and how that helped you tell your story?
I love how historical fiction allows us to time travel to a place we would not otherwise have access to using the vehicle of the individual story. Using a historical event is a great way to provide depth for the overall story by allowing the reader to compare and contrast what’s happening with the protagonist to the events happening in the world around her, and having those two elements interact and collide.
What kinds of conversations do you hope to inspire in your readers?
Any and all! I am happy if a story provokes conversation to begin with. Once a story is out there, it is up to the reader to take away from it what they will. Often, readers comment on the emphasis on female friendships, the diversity of the cast, and the parallels between what’s happening in the world then, and now.
You are a former lawyer and a parent plus a busy author. What are your secrets for getting writing done?
I think I’ve had to be selective about the activities I can realistically do. I rarely watch TV, for example. I haven’t seen any Marvel movies. My kids tell me that’s sad. But honestly, I’d rather be writing!
What advice do you have for writers hoping to break into the kid lit market?
I think it’s important to not quit on your worse day. Competition is tough and there will be many ups and downs. See the rejections as opportunities to work on your craft. If you are a writer, you’ll have that bug for life, so keep on.
What are you reading now?
Robin LaFever’s COURTING DARKNESS—her fourth book in her His Fair
Assassins series about assassin nuns in medieval France. I’m also
reading THE NIGHT DIARY by Veera Hiranandani with my son, a story
written in journal form about a girl living in India at the time of
its independence. Both are immersive and wonderful.
About the Author
Stacey H. Lee is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary young adult fiction. A native of southern California and fourth-generation Chinese American, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain.