I’d like to welcome Lee Carey today. Lee has a wonderful outlook on life and it’s reflected in his writing. His motto: “Keep smilin’.”
Lee, I like to start at the beginning. Where did you grow up? Did your childhood contribute to your desire to be a writer?
I grew up on a poultry, hog, and turkey farm in what was once rural Virginia Beach. You might say my coming-of-age years were a mite different compared to the majority of ‘city kids’ attending my high school. So, in a matter of speaking, I shared stories ‘from the farm’ that widened eyes. However, my interest was more focused on sports, girls, and surfing, than studies. (The order is probably a bit reversed.) Anyway, I began my first novel in ’99, after selling my business, there were many, many times I wished I’d paid closer attention during English/Grammar class. If not for meeting the sweet UNC graduate I married in ’03, I’m not sure I would have produced any publishable novels. I owe most of my success to Kay. Every time I receive a royalty check, I take her to dinner, and that’s really far from enough for helping me achieve my dreams.
Concerning my childhood and writing, all I can say is that I’ve always loved telling about experiences and expounding on stories; some far-fetched to the point of ‘stretched’, but, that’s fiction.
Where do you live now? Do you use that locale for settings in your novels?
My wife and I reside in Paradise. Yep, there’s such a place. It’s called Sandbridge Beach, located on the Atlantic coast, two miles north of North Carolina. We have a few tourists enjoying the beach during the season, and then we have it to ourselves throughout the winter. The beach is a great setting to write while overlooking the ocean. My second mystery/crime novel “Dawn’s Death” and my first pet novel “Gabby…All About Me” were set strictly in Sandbridge.
What inspired you to write your most recent novel?
“Pets in Paradise” is my most recent pet novel. The entire premise came to me on the day we had to put our mixed lab, Gabby, to sleep, at the ripe old age of fifteen. This heartbreaking event of losing ‘my muse’, Gabby, I felt the need to express my feelings of where our pets go when they depart. Hence, “Pets in Paradise” evolved in my mind. The positive response from pet loving readers tells me I was on the right track about how people feel about their pets. I’m very proud of both pet novels.
Did you plan to write a series before or after you wrote the first book in the series?
Concerning a series, in the beginning, I didn’t know much about writing, but I liked my main character in the first mystery/crime novel, Bobby Harris. So, after writing “The Thin Line”, I wanted to have another one featuring Bobby. (Bet you can’t guess who he’s based on.) So, “Dawn’s Death” featured him. The final mystery/crime novel did not, but it did feature a main character from Sandbridge Beach.
Name three of your favorite authors.
My favorite authors are numerous, so I’m glad you asked for only three. I enjoy Wayne Zurl, Joe Perrone, Jr., and David DeLee. The last two mentioned are independent authors and top-shelf and highly recommended.
What are your favorite things to do when you’re not reading or writing?
When this author is not writing, which is most likely during the sunny, summer months, ( I can’t) because I enjoy fishing from the coastline, surfing, sitting on the beach with a few frosty, friendly ones, and spending time with my best friend/editor/and wife, Kay. However, I get plenty of ideas for characters as the tourists prance past…and I often ask myself, ‘who told them that bathing suit could go another year’. Life’s a beach, Pat.
Do you like to travel? If so, what are some of your favorite places to go?
When we travel it’s to North Carolina (God’s Country). I did the overseas thingy while serving two years in the Army, after being invited…(drafted). Been there…done that. When you live on the beach, where else is there to go? Fifty-fifty shot….mountains/beach.
How would you describe yourself personality wise?
Well, my personality is pretty basic, however compared to most folks today…I’m way up on the ‘happy’ scale. See, I look at life as pages in an exciting book. Every day is a new one, and it’s up to us to make the best of it. I refuse to share any ‘down’ with others who do not need or want to hear it, and, I believe even when there are clouds in our life, I know the sun is shining brightly behind them. So, I ask myself the question; would I rather deal (suck up) with what life has dealt me and make others happy, or trade places with those sweet people from the ‘greatest generation’ stuck in old folks homes, not knowing if anyone cares about them? The answer always comes back: “Thank you, God, for the life I have. Let me share some happiness with others…cause someday, I might be in their situation.”
I guess my personality gently steered me, after three mystery/crime novels, to writing uplifting YA/Crossover novels, and then to pet novels. The dark cloud passed from my mind and sunshine poured in as I penned those heartwarming novels. I’m proud of the emotions flowing from my fingers onto the pages, and I laughed and cried as my true feelings came to life in my characters. However, I still read mystery/crime and suspense novels because I’ll always have a kinship to them and their authors.
What’s your favorite color? Why?
My favorite color is blue. I prefer a light blue, sky blue (Carolina Blue). See, not being a fashion type of guy, blue goes with anything, and it makes me happy and look decent. When you wear shorts and flip-flops, colors really don’t matter…but as we discussed above, happiness matters a great deal. My favorite sign-off phrase is: Keep smilin’… And, when people ask me how I’m doing, I reply, “Finer than frog’s hair.” Now that usually rewards me with double take…and at times a question as to what it means. I quickly say, “Well, frogs are hairy, but it’s so fine…you can’t see it.”
How would you finish this sentence? If I won a million dollars, I would . . .
If I won a million, billion, or trillion dollars, I pray it wouldn’t change me, so, I’d give most of it away to deserving charities, hurting families, and especially to young people who really wanted to move forward in creating new businesses and inventions. They are the lifeblood of this great country we call home. I’ve lived long enough to know any amount of money will not make you happy…but, if you do something for those who lack the ‘financial boost’ or ‘chance’ to realize their dreams, you will leave something very positive behind. Time will fade the pages of my books. My exciting life and reputation will become a morning fog, burned off by the sun. However, lessons I’ve learned and passed down to others willing to hear and any heartfelt good deeds will certainly remain. To me, that’s priceless.
Keep smilin’ and enjoyin’ life.
My blog: http://lee-carey.blogspot.com/
My website: http://www.leecarey-author.com/index.html
My Amazon Author Page:
'Pets in Paradise' and 'Gabby...All About Me' are available in paperback
from my website. The others only available in Kindle.
Lee, you’re an inspiration to all of us! Thanks for being here today.