By Isabel Swift
I met Lee in one of those virtual encounters that are commonplace now, but remain conceptually amazing to me: the links we forge from shared interests and common passions without ever actually meeting – or needing to!
The internet also allows us to virtually check each other out – so I visited one of Lee's blogs, Tote Bags 'n' Blogs (Join us for the latest news, views, and reviews from authors on authors...) and found a boatload of posts from authors I know & love. She has her finger in a lot of pies, with websites, reviews and a business but took the time to share her thoughts – though she noted she was more used to being on the publishing rather than the writing side of a post!
One of the best jobs in the world…
When I was young, I wanted to be a writer and an artist. I wanted to create. I wanted to fill the world with color and beautiful words that touched the soul: words that inspired strong emotion and also made you smile; colors that evoked passion and shouted ‘Look at me! Here I am!’
My favorite places to hang out included the art room at school and the library. I could get lost in both. I didn’t have to worry about not being good at fractions or formulas… or conversation.
But my roots belong in a conservative family where art and writing didn’t sound like promising careers and professions like medicine, law and business administration did. I held out for art college but then life happened and here I am today with a business administration background, a whole lot of color and lots of wonderful words to get lost in.
I’ve got one of the best jobs in the world. I work with some of the best, award-winning authors in the romance industry on administration, publicity, and promotion. My clients range from the newly published to the fully established, New York Times bestselling authors, and every day I’m surrounded by a lot of words… and a lot of gorgeous colors, too. I’m doing everything I love to do most. It’s perfect and totally suits me.
I fell into this job quite by accident – it’s funny how life often leads us in a roundabout way to the path we were always intended to take. I’ve been an avid reader since forever, and several years ago, just after my husband and I moved to Washington state, I was looking for a fun hobby as a way of making some new friends. I happened across a website looking for reviewers.
I still remember the first book they sent me to review. It was a 600 page eBook… Yikes! I didn’t think I’d get through it – 600 pages of reading at my computer?? Gah! But I did get through it. And I enjoyed it too.
I guess I had a knack for reviewing because pretty soon I was reading and reviewing over 14 books a month and loving every minute. It was fun and it got me really interested in learning about writing and publishing industry.
It also made me start getting ideas about putting pen to paper for my own stories. But again, life happened. I reconnected with a then-category romance author at a book signing and like a typical aspiring writer, I got into an email correspondence with her over the next several months.
She just happened to need some help with the business side of writing due to her packed schedule and time constraints and asked if I could help. It was only supposed to be for a short while because I wanted to get back to my own writing… but I fell in love with the job and word of mouth from my clients sealed the deal.
I still work on my own writing when I have time, but I’m not in any rush for now. I’m having way too much fun with my day job! I’ve got a small website and I deal with authors and readers every day. I get to do all the fun stuff like watch an idea for a story grow step by step and bloom in full color. I’m lucky enough to help with research, read chapters or brainstorm through difficult scenes, design bookmarks and flyers, set up contests and plan fun ways to publicize the book.
As a team, the author and I get to work on different ways to keep her/their name in front of readers, even during months when there is no new book on the shelves. We come up with smart ideas to get the most bang for her buck and still make an impact on the reader in a strong way. It’s interesting and unpredictable in so many ways, it keeps me on my toes and keeps me smiling – in color!
So tell me, when you think back to your childhood hopes and dreams, did you ever think then that you’d end up in the profession you’re in today?
Thanks for giving us the chance to get to know you!