1) Welcome Katy! Please tell us what you write:
Hello Megan, thank you for having me. I am excited to be here today to share about myself, but also about my debut novel, Real Virtue. I write Inspirational-romantic-suspense. I’ve tried to write contemporary romance, but no matter what I do, a villain ends up rearing his, or her, ugly head. For the most part, my stories are contemporary, but I am presently plotting a historical. Not sure if it will ever see the light of day, but I am having loads of fun with it! A few weekends ago, I attended a showing of 19th century fashion at my local university. The dresses were beautiful, and I loved hearing about why certain patterns and fabrics became the rage for the ladies in these times. A writer’s delight, for sure!
2) Tell us what motivates you to keep at writing:
What motivates me? Believe it or not, deadlines. Give me a deadline and it will be done. Even if the deadline is tomorrow. When my publisher gave me the final edits of Real Virtue she told me I had until five o’clock the next day to proof them. I got them back to her at 4:55. Whew! The saying goes, you want something done, give it to someone who is busy. An object in motion stays in motion. Well, I am that person in constant motion…just make sure you give me the deadline.
3) How does your faith affect your daily life?
I don’t make a move without God’s direction. When I have feelings of worry, I remind myself that worry is fear, and God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. I handle the task at hand, and trust He will provide what I need for it when I need it.
4) How much spirituality do you weave into your stories?
My stories are not sermons, however, I allow my Christian characters free rein when it comes to The Great Commission. As the story progresses their faith shines through as another thread, but more importantly, they demonstrate what the Christian life looks like. I want the inspirational arc to be revealed naturally through the story.
5) What is your general purpose as an author?
My general purpose as an author is my general purpose in everything I do¬¬—to glorify Christ. But the message I hope to convey to my readers through my stories, is that God is in the business of rehabilitating lives, and there is no one not worth His time.
6) What is your greatest challenge in your writing?
My greatest challenge is time. I home-school my children, and I am also the Children’s Ministry Director for my church. Both take up huge chunks of time, but they are commitments I have made, and I need to be obedient and responsible in carrying those duties out. If it means I start my day at 5AM to get my word count in, then that is what I do. People ask me all the time how I am able to write. I tell them the question isn’t how I am I able. The question is how much do I want it?
7) "Real Virtue" has a lot to do with gaming and gaming addiction. I am currently seeing a neurological chiropractor who treats a lot of children who deal with ADD and other neurological disorders. Recently I saw a sign in his office that said something to the effect of the neurological patients could not play any kind of video or computer game except for the motion control games, like Wii, because these games have negative neurological effects on the brain. My mind immediately went to "Real Virtue." During your research for "Real Virtue," did you come across any information on the effects of gaming on one's health (mental or physical)?
Yes, I did, but I will be honest and say I didn’t pay too much attention to the damaging brain effects, so I can’t give you any hard facts about them. I paid more attention to the addicting effects and how people use games as a means of escape and to avoid the problems they face in their real lives. I read many interviews where kids and young adults admitted to preferring their virtual lives over their real ones. In real life they can’t zap out of a situation they don’t like. They can in their virtual world.
I find it extremely interesting that your chiropractor would post this note, though. It means he is seeing more and more cases where people are experiencing neurological problems that are related to gaming, and honestly, I think it will only get worse.
8) Please share a little of your research for "Real Virtue." Did you play any video games for your research?
AHA! Yes, I did, but not at first. I was kind of afraid to open these accounts. They want credit card numbers so you can buy things for your avatar, and I could see how one simple purchase could get out of hand. I could also see the allure people might have to it with their bright color screens and beautiful people and amazing promises of the perfect life. There are many out there to choose from. There are adventurous games of travel to the violent variety, like wars and vampires. But then there are also the sites geared toward children. I suppose if you get them used to buying into these at a young age, kids will grow up thinking it is normal and will continue to do so.
9) I had noticed your characters were so real in "Real Virtue," Arlene (the main character's mother) especially, who deals with schizophrenia. Then I saw on one of your interviews on another blog that she was based on your mother, which made a lot of sense. Are any of the other characters taken from your real-life experiences?
Yes, Arlene is loosely based on my mom. Like my mom, Arlene suffers from the horrible brain disease, Schizophrenia. When I set out to write Real Virtue, I did not plan for Arlene to have this disease. Never in my wildest imagination did I think my story would link up with it either, but during my research of online virtual-reality gaming I came across an avatar with this affliction. You see, in Real Virtue, it is my heroine who is the gamer and takes her pastime a little too far. She is living a life that is a bit removed from reality…just like her mother. But in Mel’s case, she has the choice.
But, Mel is in no way based on a particular person in my life, other than perhaps my kids who, in my opinion, play too many video games. I see how they get sucked into a game and nothing around them matters anymore, not even their friends. I’ve watched my son’s friend go home because my son wasn’t talking to him. I put a one-hour limit on gaming in my house, because if I don’t they would play all day without even realizing it.
As for my hero, Jeremy Stiles, I WISH there was someone in this world he was based on. (SIGH) But seriously, I had to create a man who would outshine the virtual world Mel preferred. He had to be someone who could see the truth and stand by it, but still love her through it. The world could use more Jeremy’s.
FYI-I want people to know Real Virtue is not some high-tech computer story non-gamers wouldn’t understand. Only a small fraction takes place in the virtual world, just enough for the reader to get a feel for it. The rest is a small-town, coming-home story.
I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you, Megan for having me on your blog! Readers, I love comments and would love to hear from you.
And please keep in touch with me at my website: www.KatyLeeBooks.com
You will see links for Twitter and Facebook. Let’s connect and get to know each other!
Katy Lee writes higher purpose stories in high speed worlds. As an inspirational author, speaker, home-schooling mom, and children’s ministry director, she has dedicated her life to sharing tales of love, from the greatest love story ever told to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. Her fresh and unique voice brings a fast-paced and modern feel to her romances that are sure to resonate with readers long after the last page. Her debut novel Real Virtue is a finalist in many writing contests, and took second place in the 2011 Georgia Maggie Award of Excellence. Katy lives in New England with her husband, three children, and two cats.
And here is a bit about Real Virtue:
In a virtual reality game where she can fly, someone’s aiming to take her down.
Mel Mesini is a New York City restaurateur and an avid, virtual reality world traveler. But her successful life—both online and in reality—takes a swerve the night her father is seriously injured in a hit-and-run. To make matters worse, Officer Jeremy Stiles, the man who had once cut her deep with his harsh, rejecting words, is heading the investigation.
When Jeremy realizes Mel is the actual target, he plans to protect her—whether she wants him to or not. What he wants is answers, especially about this online game she plays. Is it a harmless pastime as she says? Or is she using it to cover something up? As a faceless predator destroys the things that matter to her, Jeremy knows he’s running out of time before she loses the one thing that matters most—her real life.
Real Virtue is available in ebook format, paperback in November. It is available on Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com and Soulmatepublishing.com
Thank you so much Katy for being on my blog and for the interview! I would highly recommend Real Virtue to anyone. I am reading it right now and I love it!