Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning (Andy Smithson #2) by L.R.W. Lee
Eleven-year-old Andy Smithson returns to Oomaldee to retrieve the second ingredient needed to break a 500-year-old curse enacted to punish the current ruler for murdering his older sister when she was 15. Not one to forgive easily, Imogenia’s spirit is bent on thwarting Andy to preserve the curse and naively aligns herself with the evil, scheming Abbadon. Things go from bad to worse when a creature Abaddon conjures from the darkest magic steals the Stone of Athanasia, the source of the ruler’s immortality, causing the king and his wizard Mermin to fall gravely ill. Andy is forced to choose between retrieving the stone and saving those he loves or obediently going after the second ingredient. What will he chose? Will he be able to save the King and Mermin?
“LRW Lee has constructed a wonderful world full of adventure, daring deeds, and remarkable action tempered with the right dose of humor. This wildly addictive series will entertain middle grade students, who, like I, will anxiously await the release of book three.” – Sue Morris, Kid Lit Reviews
“There is a strong good versus evil theme underscoring the plot making it a clean story with no bad language but lots of exciting action and suspense. If you adore fantasy books with a medieval theme including knights and dragons, this story definitely fits that bill.” – Wayne S. Walker, Home School Book
Since the age of eight, L. R. W. Lee wanted to write a children’s book, but felt she did not have anything significant to share; she sought to change lives while entertaining. A degree in Accounting did not provide riveting fodder for a best seller, so she waited. Over a decade, she founded and grew a company, during which, she worked closely with a mentor from whom she learned uncommon thinking that changed her life. After selling her business in early 2012, she had time to write and, more importantly, something significant to share.
L. R. W. Lee lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband, daughter and son.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The ability to make all middle grade (and their parents) and young adult readers aware of me and my books in a good way J
I hate having to redo something. For example, if I’ve just finished typing something and the file is erased, it more than bugs me to have to reconstruct everything I’ve just written because typically I’ve poured a lot of thought into it and it never turns out the same.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
Yes. The Andy Smithson series is planned to be a 7-book fantasy adventure. Book 3, Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor is in process.
If you could jump in to a book and live in that world, which would it be?
Hogwarts, without question. Yes, I’m a closet Potterhead. Shhh…
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Absolutely. I see parts of myself in Imogenia as well as in Andy’s mom, Emily Smithson as well as Alden’s mom, Marta.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
The hardest working people are the luckiest people.
I really believe that. The more you work, the more opportunities you create. The more opportunities available, the greater the possibility someone who can make a difference will notice you.
What do you do in your free time?
Not surprisingly, I read. A. Lot.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
The Eternal Optimist
What’s your favorite season/weather?
Hands down, Spring is my favorite season. Everything is reborn and new.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
To me the sale of my first book was anti-climactic. What was very meaningful was opening the proof copy. I will never forget the moment I held the paperback of my first novel in my hands for the first time. It was meaningful realizing that artifact was the culmination of a year’s worth of work, but more, it was the physical representation of nearly 40 years of my becoming.
Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….
The Harry Potter series. No matter if it sounds cliché, the commercial success J. K. Rowling produced for herself with one idea astounds me. You can’t argue with success.
How long do you generally let a story idea ‘marinate’ in your brain before you start the book?
It depends. Rarely is an idea fully cooked when it pops into my head. Most times I let it simmer for a month, sometimes longer if it’s not quite at a point that I can fully write it. I usually start with an idea and ask myself ‘what if’ questions. When I have exhausted my litany of such questions and resulting rabbit trails, I write out a detailed outline, forcing myself to answer the question, how does each chapter move the plot along?
If you could take over the world, would you?
Having founded and grown a multi-million dollar company and knowing first-hand how demanding customers can be, I would never take over the world, even if I had the chance. I’ll leave that to younger, more naïve folks.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with music?
Definitely with music, but it has to be instrumental. If it has words, I find myself singing, however badly, to the lyrics J (major distraction).
What do you think of book trailers?
Unless you are a well-known author, my personal experience is that they are a waste of money. I say that because hardly anyone watches them unless they know you.
What’s your biggest challenge as a writer? How did you overcome it, or how are you working to overcome it?
My biggest challenge, especially as an indie author, is making people aware that I exist. I come from an entrepreneurial background so I at least understand many of the tactics, but it still comes down to using your time effectively to promote yourself and your work to as wide an audience as possible, while writing the next hit J
Character most like you in someone else’s book?
Luna Lovegood. I love Luna. She is always optimistic and looks for the good in every situation. As well, she is not overly concerned with what others think about her, rather she focuses on being herself. I am not, however, air-headed as she is sometimes wont to be.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
First, I don’t call it writers block, it only fuels the problem. Rather, I understand that what most call ‘writer’s block’ is just a missing narrative. Through time, I have found letting a scene rest for a time, and that could be up to two weeks if necessary, I will see something or read something that my brain is able to incorporate into the story to work through what I had not yet invented, thus working through the situation.
What drives you insane about the writing process?
Hands down, editing. You noticed my pet peeve above? Well, that applies to editing as well.
About how long does it take to write a book?
Six to seven months, although I’m working to reduce that further.