Lee: Deception is my first YA novel—I’d previously written five novels for adults—and it’s been thrilling to be so widely welcomed in the teen market. I’ve gotten great reviews and tremendous support from book bloggers and readers, along with positive reviews from North American industry magazines such as Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. The best part is hearing from teens who loved the book.
Scott: How much research did you put into your books? Did you have to spend much time reading about the paranormal or did you already have a wealth of knowledge in this area?
Lee: My knowledge came from reading countless books with a paranormal or fantasy slant, since I was a child. So not so much research as spending the time creating a believable world where ghosts, both benevolent and evil, exist and the ghostkeepers that control them.
Scott: Of all of the characters you have created, who is your favourite and what about them appeals to you over the others?
Lee: I love Emma Vaile, who is the lead character in the Haunting Emma series, of which Deception is the first book. I think she’s a girl a lot of teens can relate to, even though she’s got these unique powers as a ghostkeeper. Like any seventeen-year-old, she’s dealing with separating from her parents, school, boys, and trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. She’s a nice mix of toughness and vulnerability and has a great sense of humour, even in the face of evil ghosts trying to kill her.
Scott: Is there any reason why you chose to write for the YA market rather than the adult reader with Deception?
Lee: I originally wanted to write a contemporary Gothic mystery and when I started plotting it out, I kept making the character younger and younger and these powers as a ghostkeeper were emerging that weren’t really suited to an adult Gothic. At the same time, I’d been reading a lot of YA literature and was loving it. The longer I worked on the idea for Deception, the more I realized it was really a YA novel that I wanted to write.
Scott: With many supernatural themes in your books, do you have a favourite power that you would love to have yourself?
Lee: There are five powers to ghostkeeping and most ghostkeepers only have one power, either summoning, compelling, communicating, dispelling or reading objects that belonged to the dead. Emma is unique in that she has all five abilities. I think I’d love to be able to read objects, to know the person who owned an artefact and experience their memories of that time.
Scott: As a writer it is interesting to hear what other writers read in their spare time. It is often surprising to hear the genres and variety of books other authors read. Can you tell us what are you reading at the moment and what you five favorite books are?
Lee: Asking me to pick five favorite books is like asking me to choose a favorite child over another. I’ve read so many wonderful books, it’s impossible for me to single out five. I have been reading some great books lately I’d recommend: A Visit from the Good Squad, the recent Pulitzer winner by Jennifer Egan; Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder; and, I’m half-way through Juliet, by Ann Fortier and loving it.
Scott: A lot of new writers often ask about the amount of pages or words that a published author produces each day. How much time would you spend writing on a typical day, (if a typical day exists for a writer that is)?
Lee: Everyone has a different system for writing a novel and you really just need to figure out what works for you. I like to write 1000 words a day. Sometimes I’m done in an hour, other times, it takes me all day.
Scott: If you were stranded on a desert island, what five authors would you like to have as companions and why?
Lee: My husband, Joel Naftali, is also a writer, so obviously him, along with my good friend, Melissa Senate, and some recent favorites: Jennifer Egan, Ann Patchett and Junot Diaz.
Scott: Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to your next book.
Lee: Thanks for having me!