Author interview with Paula Young Lee, contributing author to Legacy: An Anthology. On the meaning of legacy and what inspires her.

Legacy #30Authors Blog Tour: Author Interview with Paula Young Lee

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I’m happy to be part of the blog tour for Legacy: An Anthology published by Velvet Morning Press by some of the authors from The Book Wheel’s #30Authors event in September 2014. Today, I have the pleasure of bringing you an author interview with Paula Young Lee, whose contribution to the Legacy anthology was a short story called Sonny’s Wall featuring a quirky set of neighbors. For more reviews and author interviews, visit others on the tour schedule. Proceeds from the purchase of Legacy: An Anthology (affiliate link) benefit PAWS for Reading.

Proceeds from the sale of Legend benefit PAWS for Reading

Without further ado, I give you my interview with Paula.



Author interview with Paula Young Lee, contributing author to Legacy: An Anthology. On the meaning of legacy and what inspires her.

1. What does the idea of “legacy” mean to you as an author?

I tend to think of books as conversations in print. They’re a form of time travel. They let you hear from another person who lived centuries ago, and as long as that next reader picks up the book that you wrote in response, the conversation continues.

2. Was it a challenge to be given a theme to write about and then have to come up with a story corresponding to that theme?

 I sent off one story that the editor hated — too dark and depressing! — so I ended up whipping out another which she deemed a better fit for the collection. I enjoy it when editors tell me something doesn’t work for them. Ego has very little to do with good writing.

3. Can you give us a few clues about the subject of your story?

 I decided to focus on a neighbor who was building a stone wall by hand. He was old, unlovely, and surly, but every day he worked on that wall, carrying stone after stone, fitting them carefully to the layers he’d already stacked. His process was exactly analogous to the solitary labor of writing a story, which spools out word by carefully-fitted word, leading up to a finished product that will probably languish in obscurity, but will endure whether or not it is appreciated.

4. As an author, what inspires you?

I’m drawn to quirky, strange, and overlooked people and places. Lately I have turned to writing young adult fiction because it’s the genre that is most likely to change social norms for the better.

5. What are some of your favorite books and authors? How have they shaped your writing?

 My all time favorite book is The Circus of Dr. Lao, by Charles G. Finney. First published in 1935, it is a cult classic that still remains impossible to categorize, combining myth and magic with a scathing satire of the parochialism of small town life. My goal is to write a book that matches Finney’s achievement, but will therefore be nothing like it.

6. Give us one piece of advice for aspiring writers.

Write as much as you can, and don’t take rejection personally.

About Paula Young Lee 

Photo received from Paula Young Lee
Photo received from Paula Young Lee

Paula Young Lee is the author of several books, including the memoir, Deer Hunting in Paris (winner 2014 Lowell Thomas Travel Book Award, Society of American Travel Writers). She is currently writing an adventure series for Young Adult readers.

Find Paula on Goodreads and Twitter.


I love the idea that books are a form of time travel. It’s so true, just last week I was in turn of the century France with Coco Chanel, back to Barcelona in the 1950’s after their Civil War and skipping through countries and time in LEGACY this week. 

I think Paula’s tip on writing works well for bloggers too. Often the posts with the best responses have been those we are scared to write. For me, the posts about my Rheumatoid Arthritis are the hardest to write physically and emotionally. When I started this blog, I wanted to help myself overcome the depression from living with a chronic illness. I feared that people would not care what I had to say. What astounded me was the reassurance that I am not on this journey alone, there are so many people suffering from chronic illness like me whether they show it or discuss it. 

I’ve deviated from my blog purpose somewhat but with all this talk about LEGACY this week, I’m realizing that perhaps bringing about awareness and empathy for RA and other invisible illnesses is my LEGACY. Perhaps it’s my LEGACY to support and inspire others in their quest for contentment and peace. Perhaps it’s my LEGACY to inspire others to share their stories. All these small moments in our lives is what makes up our legacy.

What will your legacy be? Be sure to pick up a copy of Legacy, proceeds go to benefit PAWS For Reading! 

Proceeds from the sale of Legend benefit PAWS for Reading


    1. It is fun getting the author’s perspective on why/how they wrote the story. So glad I was able to share Paula’s perspective. Thanks for stopping by Lory.

  1. Very productive interview! In just a few words, Paula described one of her writing themes and gave an excellent writing tip. Her story sounds great! I also appreciated Tanya’s reflections on her legacy–from my perspective, your contributions are many and still growing–and so positive in the world!

  2. This is such a great interview and so honest! Thank you for conducting it and sharing it. I think you’re right – the scariest posts to write are often the best ones to share. I’ve written a few that were “controversial” but at the end of the day, the people who mattered supported me and I think that’s what it all boils down to – especially on the Internet!

    Thanks again (and again and again) for all of your support.

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