DSP: For starters, tell us a bit about you, we like to get to know our authors as a person!
Lee: I grew up in a small town in Western NY (Alden) and have loved writing stories my whole life. Family was always very important to us, and was a value taught to us by my parents. I have two brothers and two sisters who are all older. I’m currently living in MA with my family. I actually didn’t study English in college; believe it or not I majored in theatre! I’m an accomplished musician; I play the flute, french horn, a little piano, and I sing. I also love horror movies - the more B-rated the better! I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. I love crafting, crime shows, and music. My favorite holiday is Halloween, and we do it up good at the Ryder house.
DSP: Nice to meet you! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book?
Lee: In my dreams. I dreamed the whole story.
DSP: So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc
Lee: I usually write in the evening when my kids and hubby are home. I sometimes write in a notebook, other times on the computer. I keep a notebook around so if I get an idea I jot it down so I don’t forget.
DSP: Who is your favorite character in your book, and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with?
Lee: I love MOLLIE! I’ve always wanted to write an Irish character and Mollie was it. She’s a spitfire, let me tell you, but with a bard’s heart. She’s a lot like me.
I had trouble writing Max. I like to think that everyone is innately good, and writing a “bad guy” character was hard.
DSP: Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing?
Lee: No, as I’m writing I actually type a little notebook of the characters and what they’re like so I can keep myself as true to them as possible. Other than that, not really.
DSP: Do you foresee any more books to continue this story? If so, do you think we can get a taste of what’s to come?
Lee: Yes, absolutely! Two more books in this series. In the next book, they meet a character called The Duchess, who is based on a friend of mine who’s a model. One of her pictures is really striking and completely wrote the whole character and backstory of this character in minutes. The 2nd story takes them to Louisiana, but they don’t know that at first.
DSP: Other than this most recent story, do you have any ideas for different books that might be published in the future? Care to give us a teaser?
Lee: I know for a fact I’m going to write Mollie’s story and possibly Jess’ backstory as well. I’m playing with the Idea of Jess’ story; maybe I’ll do a book of back stories!
DSP: Who is your greatest inspiration to write? What person makes you believe in yourself, and how?
Lee: My greatest inspiration to write is my kids - I write my books for them to enjoy. My parents are a huge inspiration in my life. They taught me to believe in myself and not care what anyone else thought of me. I live my life on lessons taught by my mom and dad. There are so many people who believe in me and my writing: my mom, my dad, my mom-in-law, and my dad-in-law are huge cheerleaders for this endeavor. My husband was skeptical at first, but he’s actually starting to believe in the series. My friends Christy Sloat, Becki Brannen, Candice Simpson, Kellie Mckay, Heather S., Robin Willis, Sarah Sprinklepants, Angie, Tianna S. JK Accini, my best friend Luann, Raebeth, Jamie, The Fae Girls, all my friends from high school, and so many more - just all of them have been BIG BIG cheerleaders for this project.
DSP: Do you have any aspirations to be similar or comparable to another author? Why?
Lee: I kind of hope to maybe get either a comic book, graphic novel, maybe a movie done of it. I would love Wendy and Richard Pini to draw it. They’re my all time favorite artists they drew my favorite comic series Elfquest which has affected much of my writing over the years.
DSP: What has been the biggest high since becoming a published author?
Lee: My sister-in-law Denise telling me that my brother Butch read the first 2 chapters and now must read the rest because he couldn’t put it down!
DSP: Have you named the computer you use for writing?
Lee: Mr. Computer. We also have Mr. Kindle.
DSP: Has becoming an author changed you, or the way you think about certain things? If so, how?
Lee: Not really, BUT I start seeing my characters in people, as silly as it sounds. Like I found Bullitt at the grocery store - he was a cashier. I haven’t met Ash yet. Lucie is my daughter.
DSP: What is your greatest fear about being an author?
Lee: People won’t like my books.
DSP: Which of the characters in your book do you feel is the most like yourself, and in what way?
Lee: Mollie. I’m quite a character, and I have a silly sense of humor that completely makes my kids slack jawed at time. Her poetic heart is definitely mine. Her speaking in riddles is my husband - he does that with the kids to make them think.
DSP: From the first word to the moment it became available for purchase, how long did it take you to write and publish this most recent novel?
Lee: 6 months
And now, for something completely different…some slightly off-the-wall and possibly irrelevant questions to let you get to know Lee on a more...personal level!
DSP: Are you planning to bring sexy back?
Lee: Hmmmmm, well,The Duchess sure is sexy.
DSP: If you could be any cartoon character for 24 hours, who would you pick and why?
Lee: Taz. He’s always been my favorite character, but I also love beaker and the "yip yip" guys from The Muppet Show. It would be cool to be Miss Piggy - HI YAH!
DSP: How many ridges are there around a quarter?
Lee: As many as they want to put there.
DSP: Do you believe in fate or destiny?
Lee: Fate. It was fate that I was given the inspiration to write this book, and one day I’m destined for greatness!
DSP: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Lee: He’s going to chuck wood until his teeth fall out and he’s got so many splinters he looks like a porky pine!
DSP: What are your thoughts on string?
Lee: String, string, is a beautiful thing, I love to tie things with string.
DSP: Boxers or briefs?
Lee: Boxers! Briefs are too showy and I can’t steal them from hubs.
DSP: Thong, g-string/v-string, or other? If other, please explain.
Lee: Well, I always thought a thong would make a great sling shot...
DSP: What is your favorite song?
Lee: Favorite songs of all time: Imagine (John Lennon), Thriller (Michael Jackson), Judgement Day (Doreen Taylor), Perfect For Me (Doreen Taylor), Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better, anything at all by Lady Gaga!
DSP: Do you have any tattoos? If so, how many, what are they, and where are they on your body? (PG-13)
Lee: I don’t, but I would love to get a butterfly angel tattoo with my son Nicholas’ name in his memory.
DSP: What’s your favorite candy? Ice cream?
Lee: Favorite candy – SWEDISH FISH! I have a SERIOUS Swedish Fish obsession. I absolutely love Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Phish Food ice cream - it’s killer! YUMMILICOUS
DSP: If you had to pick a CB handle, what would it be?
Lee: Cheesecake. It’s one of my favorite foods, although I could have an alter ego Mollie, and she would talk with an Irish accent.
DSP: Would the 8-year-old version of yourself kick your ass or praise you for what you’ve done with your life?
Lee: She would go, "Whoa, DUDE! I didn’t know I was going to do THAT!" (I was a shy tomboy back in the day.)
DSP: What is the last song you listened to?
Lee: "Happiness," from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown - The Musical
DSP: Do you have any talents you haven’t shared with us?
Lee: I love to draw. I’m bad at it, but that doesn’t stop me. And I am great with Halloween makeup, considering that’s my favorite holiday. I made up my husband as a werewolf once - he was washing makeup out of his hair for a week.
DSP: If you could meet one person (real or fictional, alive or deceased), who would it be, and what one question would you ask?
Lee: Princess Diana, I admire her big time for all her work in the world. And the question I would ask her is, "How did you stay true to yourself despite all the attention, pressure from the palace, and pressures from the outside world?"
Another one is Judy Garland. She was my IDOL when I was young and I respect her as an artist and as a woman. I would ask her who her inspiration was and I would tell her to stop taking the drugs that took her life.
DSP: Imagine you’re the sole survivor of a plane crash at sea, and you awake stranded on a deserted and uncharted island in the Bermuda Triangle. Nobody knows you’re there, and you have nothing but the clothes on your back. You’re all alone, and there’s terrifying sounds coming from deep within the jungle. Late that night as you’re starving, a large suitcase washes up on the shore. You open it up. What’s in the suitcase?
Lee: My FAMILY!!! They came looking for me bringing supplies and a big bag of books!
Beautiful interview, Lee! Thanks so much for the insight into what makes you tick. Never tried to use a thong as a slingshot though, you'll have to let us know how that works out for you. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the readers out there?
"I would like to thank the academy, Dr. Who, Star Wars, Scotty, all my reader and author friends for this prestigious interview, I have the best fans ever and I love Ashley!"
Aww! Well I love ya back girl, and I'm sure the readers (and the Dr., and Scotty, and even Chewy) love you too. It's been a blast having you here today! We're really glad you stopped by, and we hope for nothing less than the greatest successes for you. Definitely come back in the future and update us on all the great things you've accomplished (and let us know about the thong slingshot)! Chewy says hi...