Interview: Stacey Lee, YA Author

staceyleeStacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, raises children, and writes YA fiction.

UNDER A PAINTED SKY coming from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Winter 2015, a young adult Western Thelma and Louise, in which a Chinese girl and a house slave disguise themselves as cowboys to run from the law, seek revenge for a murder, and find freedom in the California Gold Rush frontier.

Keep up with Stacey on her website!

Let’s see how Stacey answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
You ask some tough questions.  Happiness is having the peace of mind that my family is safe and healthy, and good friendships.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
“You’ll Never Get Away From Me” from the musical Gypsy by Stephen Sondheim. I’m a big Broadway fan. The title sounds stalkerish, but the song is about a woman telling her guy their love is inevitable.  Okay, it still sounds stalkerish, but it’s not. Really.

Which talent would you most like to have?

On what occasion do you lie?
At night, on my bed.

What is your present state of mind?
Happy b/c I just spent two hours chatting with @babelbabble.

What is your motto?
Be kind. Or did Google take that one?

What character trait do you most value in your friends?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Like.”  You can take the girl out of Southern California . . .

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (1665)

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (1665)

Your favorite painting?
Girl with a Pearl Earring.

What is your favorite journey?
The one towards peace and tranquility.  Usually in a spa-like setting with lavender oil.

What is your favorite time of day?
Twilight because it’s when the world changes color and magic things emerge.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Snape. I was inspired by Melissa Grey’s interview.  I love that he’s so angsty, greasy, and totally bad, but has a heart of gold.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I just want to be able to moonwalk, really.

Who or what is your first love?
Writing!  Is that not original?  I penned my first poem at 8 about Santa Claus. I fell madly and deeply in love with words.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I dreamed I was on the lam, and I was holding my MS under my arm. Can you tell I’ve been staying up too late, revising? 

What’s your madeleine?
Cowboy music, which is probably why I wrote GOLDEN BOYS. My father fancied himself a bit of a cowboy. As kids, my sisters and I loved dancing the hoe-down to songs like “Ghost Riders in the Sky” and “Red River Valley.” It makes me nostalgic for home and childhood, when everything was possible.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?

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