5 Questions for Molly E. Lee

5 Questions for Molly E. Lee Voyage YA

The author of twelve romance novels, Molly E. Lee is perhaps best known for her popular series, Grad Night and Love on the Edge. Her novels feature strong, contemporary women who know how to take care of themselves and protect the people they love. Though Lee’s characters have tough exteriors, deep down inside, they are true romantics at heart. She is a military spouse and the mother of two children, plus one stubborn English Bulldog and a giant Irish Wolfhound. In her free time, Molly enjoys hiking the mountains near her home, and devouring books late into the night. Visit her website at www.mollyelee.com.

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Voyage: What was the inspiration behind your novel, Ember of Night? What made you want to tell this story?

Molly E. Lee: This story hit me in college while taking an ancient religions class. I was fascinated by the universal themes of good and evil and wanted to explore it further. What if you were chosen to save the world and you didn’t want to because the world had never been kind to you? What if you were endowed with divine powers to serve in a war you never knew existed? These are the questions that brought Harley and Draven to life. I loved playing with the dynamics that not everyone is wholly good or wholly evil and the choices one has to make when faced with situations that come with super high stakes. I fell in love with the supernatural world of demons and angels and warlocks and monsters and a girl who has been broken her whole life—one who has been asked to save everyone when no one ever bothered to save her. The choices she’s faced with are never easy, and in the end, that was the spark when sitting down to write Ember of Night.

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V: When you write your stories, what is the one thing you hope readers will take away?

MEL: Whenever I write a book, I always hope there is at least one character the reader relates to. As an avid reader myself, I know there is something absolutely magical about finding pieces of yourself in the characters from the book you’re reading. It’s almost a supernatural experience, falling in love with fictional characters or growing so attached to them they feel like best friends. I love that experience, and I always hope when readers pick up my books they’ll find that sense of comfort and companionship when flipping through the pages.

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V: What was the hardest scene of Ember of Night to write?

MEL: This is such a hard question because there were several scenes that made me cry throughout this book! The main character, Harley, comes from a broken home and her father is incredibly cold and cruel. The scenes with her and her father on the same page were so hard to get through, but that pain is one of Harley’s most crucial aspects of her character. I had to live in it, just like her, in order to give the most authentic depiction possible.

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V: If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?

MEL: Don’t pull the trigger too early! I know you’re so pumped about that first manuscript you wrote—you know the one, the 200k fantasy monstrosity—but it’s not ready yet! Pause. Take a breath. Celebrate the words on the page. Now hire an editor! Great editors will help shape and sharpen your craft, and you’ll learn so much by working with them. Only after you’ve learned from their expert advice will you really start to understand what it takes to shape a novel. Keep writing. Keep growing. In this business, there is always room to grow and learn and improve. Keep reaching for that growth every time you sit down to write. And when in doubt? Turn that book playlist up a notch and write without boundaries. You can always, always edit it later!

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V: What are your writing must-haves?

MEL: Every book I write starts with a notebook filled with ideas, themes, character sketches, and setting inspirations. Next comes the playlist—I’m hugely motivated by music when it comes to writing. Finding the perfect song for the scene or character I’m working on is everything! After that, a general outline helps me stay on track. Finishing touches are coffee or sparkling water (depending on the time of day) and snacks. All. The. Snacks.

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Head to our Instagram page (@voyageya) to hear Molly E. Lee read the first page of Ember of Night! Find Molly’s video under the IGTV tab.

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