Name: Lee Bice-Matheson & J.R. Matheson
Age: Age is just a number. We are 54 & 22 but Lee feels like 25 and holding J
Where are you from:
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada located on the Canadian/U.S. border. Our neighbouring city is Port Huron, Michigan, U.S.A.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
We are a Mom-Son fiction series fantasy-adventure writing team and rumoured to be the first of its kind. Lee has an Honours B.A. in History, as well as a Master of Library and Information Science, both from Western University in London, Ontario. Lee is also a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. J.R. is currently finishing his fourth year of a B.Sc. in Psychology and Biotechnology from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He is planning on pursuing a Master’s degree in Neuro-Pharmacology at the University of Toronto in the fall of 2015. J.R. is the only child of Lee and her husband Kevin. We are a close knit family that loves to sail, hike, watch scary movies and tell tall tales around the campfire.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
J.R.: Yesterday, we had our first joint book signing at Manticore Books in Orillia, Ontario. My mom has attended six previous book signings and I was happy to finally finish my semester and be able to join her at this book signing. It was a fantastic experience! It’s great to see people interested in our book. J
Today, we’re happy to be working on this interview for you, Fiona. And on Tuesday, December 23rd we have our first radio show with CK Webb and DJ Weaver on Webb Weaver Books, noon EST. It’ll be the first time that I am reading from newly released Destiny’s Gate live. We are lucky CK and DJ asked us to come back; my mom was on their show in September. We are happy to report we are currently working on book three in the Paige Maddison Series over the holidays.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Lee: I read three books at a time when I was a young child and really identified with the imaginary world so many writers have created. As I grew older, I felt I expressed myself best through storytelling and that morphed into writing stories down on paper at the insistence from J.R. and my husband Kevin, more than 10 years ago.
Justin: I’ve been writing since I was so young, I can’t even remember why I started. All I know is that I love it!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Lee: In 2008, when I finished the post-graduate writing course at the Institute of Children’s Literature, my mentor Cheryl Zach informed me that I was a talented writer and could go straight into writing books. Thank you Cheryl for your encouragement and support!
Justin: As soon as I saw my name printed on the cover of Destiny’s Gate, I finally felt like a writer after a lifetime of writing short stories and filing them away.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Lee: After the loss of seven loving family members, I was surrounded with illness and death. I felt compelled to write ghost stories centered on a strong loving family that pulls together in a very difficult time.
Justin: I wrote my first book when I was about 10. I’d been having a recurring dream, and I felt that the best way to dispel the dream was to weave it into a story. I never had that book published, but I still consider it my first work, and it’s what helped me hone my writing skills early on.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Lee: The jury’s still out on this one! We feel our writing style is simple but passionate.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Lee: We did not come up with the title Destiny’s Gate until the seventh or eighth round of revisions. The current book was always referred to as “book two.” One day, the title came to me and it just made sense within the storyline. Readers will have to pick up the book to understand the meaning of Destiny’s Gate. J It is central to the series.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Lee: Yes we do. “Live from a place of love. It conquers all that is evil.” That is our tagline for the book and we stand behind it 100%.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Lee: Our book is loosely based in fact.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Lee: The events in the book come mainly from experiences in our own lives, but also from the experiences of people close to us. Sometimes, we include experiences that occur to others that we have read about.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Lee: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, It by Stephen King, and Ghost Story by Peter Straub. The Nancy Drew series also had a big influence on me and my writing. But what most readers do not know, I owned and read every Dr. Seuss book as a young child. I loved them!
J.R.: I grew up reading Harry Potter, and my love of fantasy definitely was influenced by that. A little bit later in my childhood, I also read a lot of Dean Koontz books, and I have to say my love of horror-mysteries probably came from him. The Secret History by Donna Tartt also had a strong influence on my academic aspirations and my writing style as well.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Lee: John Robert Colombo, Canada’s Master Gatherer, author and anthologist of over 200 books. If it wasn’t for JR Colombo, I would not be writing. I wrote two narratives for him that he actually ‘stopped the presses’ to include them as the ending of his book, The Big Book of Canadian Hauntings, c2009, Dundurn Press. Afterwards, I emailed JR a few chapters from book one, Wake Me Up Inside, and he advised me on writing style and has encouraged me ever since. Thank you kindly, JR and also, his lovely wife, Ruth!
J.R.: I would have to say Dean Koontz. Most of my earliest stories were in a similar style to some of his great horror tales like The Taking and Seize the Night.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Lee: Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales, Canterbury Classics, c2011. I found an elegant edition while at a book signing at Blue Heron Books, Uxbridge, Ontario. Thank you, Shelley!
J.R.: I just finished the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, and I’m about to start Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Lee: We’re sorry to say we’re too focused on the Paige Maddison Series to keep up with emerging new authors. We’re pretty new ourselves!
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Lee: We are currently writing book three in the Paige Maddison Series
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Lee: John Robert Columbo
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Lee: Absolutely. It is a calling that we feel very grateful to have in our lives.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Lee: My interest in writing came from reading so many books as a young child. I wanted to be just like the authors, a writer!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Lee: Sorry, it’s top secret.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Lee: Choosing the best adjective is always challenging when creating a scene.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Lee: I don’t have a favorite author, presently. I love to read a variety of books, and I read a lot of nonfiction. I never read fiction while writing a book as I do not want to borrow someone else’s ideas.
J.R.: My favorite author is probably Dean Koontz, as I’ve mentioned. His fast-paced style of writing, the depth of his characters and the creepy, engrossing storylines he comes up with have really influenced the sorts of stories I like writing myself.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Lee: I travel around Ontario quite a bit to perform book readings and attend book signings. I also was asked to present a Teen Writing Workshop at the Gravenhurst Opera House about a half hour’s drive from where we live. I loved it. The kids were great! I also attended the biggest inaugural book fair called INSPIRE! TIBF held in November from the 13th to 16th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Next year, J.R. will be with me!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Lee: Effigy Design owner Adam Dagenais, a local graphic designer. One book fair attendee in Toronto said that our covers were the most artistic of the more than 400 authors and their books on site.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Lee: The hardest part is probably getting the revisions back to each other in a timely fashion. But we managed to do it! I work with my husband in his chiropractic clinic and J.R. has been attending McGill University in Montreal, so we are both quite busy.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Lee: I feel like all authors learn a lot about themselves through the process. It seems to be a form of therapy, whether we admit it or not. Haha.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Lee: You must stay focused and passionate and continue to regard the writing as an honour and a privilege, not as hard work. My husband says I’m the happiest when creating and writing a novel and he loves to see it!
J.R.: Write a little bit every day. Don’t let too long go by without looking at your story or you may find it slipping away from you!
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Lee: We want to thank our readers for not only buying the books but also for writing us privately about their experiences as they traverse through the world of Paige Maddison’s. We hope that readers will continue to review our books on GoodReads and Amazon. That’s our Christmas wish from our readers this year. J Thank you for your support to #Indie #Authors.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Lee: The first thing I remember reading is Cinderella. Typical isn’t it?
J.R.: The first novel I remember reading is Pet Sematary by Stephen King when I was about 10. I’m sure I read a lot of Dr. Seuss as a kid though. J
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Lee: I have a very funny sense of humour and I love to make other people laugh, so I often make fun of myself. That makes me laugh! It makes me sad when I see people suffering in this world.
J.R.: I laugh a lot! I even happy-cry sometimes. I don’t know if there is one particular thing that makes me laugh or cry.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Lee: I would love to sit down with Edgar Allan Poe. His writing is included in both of our books, and I feel he was a very misunderstood man. I would love to hear his thoughts on his own writing.
J.R.: I would love to meet Emma Watson. Hermione Granger is probably my favourite literary character; I felt like I could relate to her geekiness. Emma herself is very academically inclined and I’ve always respected that. Any chance you could make an author’s wish come true and introduce me? The UK isn’t that big, right?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Lee: Herein lays a fun, loving mom and wife that truly put her family first. I love my family so much and hope I’ve been a supportive, loving spouse and mom.
J.R.: Hopefully I won’t have to think about this for quite some time.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Lee: I love to hike and be in nature. It makes me feel connected and grounded.
J.R.: I play a lot of video games!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Lee: I cannot live without Grimm, Saving Hope, and Stalker. I also like the reality TV shows Survivor and The Voice. I like to watch inspirational, uplifting movies. One of my favorite movies is Bless the Child.
J.R.: I watch a lot of TV shows, so get ready. My favourite show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love pretty much anything Joss Whedon does. I also love True Blood, Parks and Recreation, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, Arrow, The United States of Tara, Game of Thrones and the 4400. Some of my favorite movies include Kill Bill: Volume 1, The Descent, X-Men: The Last Stand, Insidious, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (and pretty much any wuxia movie with Michelle Yeoh), and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I love so many more, but I don’t want to bore readers!
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Lee: Lobster, purple, Pharrell Williams’s song Happy
J.R.: Caesar salad, red, singer Agnes Obel
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Lee: I would love to be performing onstage as a solo pop artist. Thankfully for the people, I’m not.
J.R.: I’m still in school, and I’m on my way to become a professor!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Lee: It is http://leebicematheson.ca/ I post our events, media and information pertaining to our series on this blog.
Facebook: Lee Bice-Matheson
Pinterest: Lee Bice-Matheson
Thank you so much, Fiona!! We were so happy to do this blog interview for you. Thank you for the opportunity.