Author: Lee Fullbright
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Today, Norm Goldman,
Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com, is pleased to have as
our guest, Lee Fullbright, author of The Angry Woman
Good day Lee and thanks for participating in our interview.
Please tell our readers
a little bit about your personal and professional background. As a
follow up, how did you get started in writing?
Hi Norm, and thank you for
the opportunity to talk about the genesis of The Angry Woman
Creative writing was never a part of my “day job”—ophthalmology practice management—but my personal life has been rife with interesting people and their stories—and I love stories. I will listen to most anybody’s story.
The first storyteller in
my life was my mother, who was absolutely magnificent at bringing
scenes to life. She could tell an everyday story about going to a
dance, what she wore, what the orchestra played, who she danced with,
making it so vivid it was as if I was right there with her; plus, I
was an early, voracious reader. So when my mother gave me her
childhood Louisa Mae Alcott books, the love of stories and reading
and Alcott interfaced, and that’s when I knew what I wanted to be
and do for the rest of my life: I wanted to be a storyteller like my
mother, but I wanted to write my stories down, like Alcott, so I’d
never run out of stories to read.
But prior to that, and
during, I had to pay the rent.
Is writing a form of
personal therapy for you? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
It’s interesting you
should ask that one, because just the other day I published a post to
my blog titled, “Writing, Creativity, and Meditation: I’m in a
Yogi State of Mind,” in which—to summarize an 850-word (and sort
of funny—I think) post—I wrote that writing is like meditation
(in fact, writing is meditation)—especially writing fiction,
because creating stories enables separation from self and ego; it’s
a total out-of-body experience. At the end of a writing session,
coming in for a landing, I experience a feeling of renewal; a
calmness—um, that would be on a good writing day, though . . . but,
basically, I am so not a tortured writer at all.
As for internal conflicts
being a creative force: yes, yes, yes. Life is conflict.
Relationships are conflict, and so on. All stories have conflict,
something to overcome, a point to make, a goal to reach—otherwise,
words become drivel, not stories at all.
How has your education
informed your writing? Did you learn anything from writing your book
and if so, what was it?
I was slated to be an
English teacher, my parents’ pick for me, so there’s that: I have
education to thank for what I’ve been told are still excellent
punctuation and grammar skill sets. But I wanted to write for a
living, not teach English—the problem with that was the rent thing
again (oh, and I could never actually finish a writing project)—or
I wanted to be a psychologist—and the problem with that was love.
I’d fallen in love—and the only problem with love is that it
sometimes makes us forget what we wanted to do first, like finish the
formal education required for becoming a psychologist.
No regrets, though, about
not going back to school. None. I married the man I love—an
optometrist, which is how I stepped into managing ophthalmology
But did I learn anything writing The Angry Woman Suite? Absolutely. I learned a great deal, the first being that I could finish a project with less than 160,000 words (what, ouch, my very first completed—and completely unpublishable—novel clocked in at), and, second, I confirmed something I already knew but hadn’t yet articulated as such: Families are paradox. They are the best and the worst of us. They nurture, and they take no prisoners.
Are the characters in
your book based on people you know or have encountered or are they
strictly fictional? As a follow up, how did you go about creating
your three narrators?
Two of the three narrators
were partially inspired by real people; keeping in mind that, for
storytellers, everything and every person encountered is grist for a
For instance, Aidan Madsen
was inspired by the real-life Christian Sanderson of Chadds Ford, PA,
whose passion was the Battle of the Brandywine, and he did start his
Matthew Waterston’s character was somewhat inspired by artist Andrew Wyeth, also from Chadds Ford; and the hoopla caused by the unveiling of The Angry Woman Suite is reminiscent of the real-life hoopla that surrounded Wyeth’s “Helga pictures,” when they came to light in the 1980’s.
The first character I
created was Francis Grayson; in fact, the novel originally began with
Francis. But my critique group urged me to rewrite and make Elyse the
start point. At first I resisted, thinking I’d rather cut off my
right arm, but I came to realize the group was right. That rewrite
took a year.
As to how I came to create
these characters, it began with my curiosity about how people like
Francis—good and bad, kind and mean—are made.
It is said that writers
should write what they know. Were there any elements of the book that
forced you to step out of your comfort zone, and if so, how did you
approach this part of the writing?
Yes, writing from the
males’ points of view! (Aidan and Francis.) When I’m so not one.
And how did I do it? At first, badly. Laughably.
But every line of their dialogue got the “treatment” from all the men in my life, trust me.
Can you tell us how you
found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent, or
query publishers who would most likely publish this type of book? Any
rejections? Did you self-publish?
I queried agents. And I
collected many rejections. But then I was offered representation by
an agent connected with a well-known New York agency. My agent was
excited and so was I. The only thing she wanted me to change was the
title (originally Moonlight Serenade), and the subsequent (5)
editors’ reads were extremely positive—but no sale. And then my
agent left the business and switched careers entirely!
Now, I could have started
querying agents all over again, but that’s where fate
intervened—again. A writer friend of another friend invited me to
lunch and filled my ear with a whole new idea: “going indie”—wow,
what a concept—plus it sounded a whole lot more fun than writing
queries for another six months. One thing let to another: another
friend knew of someone who was publishing with the same group that
put John Locke’s books together (Locke is the indie million-book
seller at Amazon). That group is Telemachus Press, and they’re a
great bunch of people. They put The Angry Woman Suite together.
Are you working on any
books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We would love
to hear all about them!)
I am halfway through the
first draft of a novel about a teenaged girl’s rape and murder in
San Diego; a whodunit and why—inspired by the Chelsea King story.
I’ve put it aside—a dangerous thing to do, I know!—while
introducing The Angry Woman Suite around.
Where can our readers
find out more about you and The Angry Woman Suite?
I have my own suite at
“Rooms of Our Own,” where I blog about writing, life’s
curiosities, dogs, and books. Follow Here For My Blog.
The Angry Woman Suite is available in quality softcover at Amazon.com, and at the Kindle store, and through the Barnes and Noble website.
As our interview comes
to an end, is there anything else you wish to add that we have not
Yes, again, thank you for
the chat—and the very good questions!
Follow Here To Read Norm's Review of The Angry Woman Suite