Featured Interview With Lee Dunning
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I've lived a number of places growing up. I was born in Framingham, MA, but we moved about three weeks after I popped into the world. Along the way to my current home in Central Oregon, I've lived in New Hampshire, Texas, California, Utah, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona. I've had cats my entire life. My mother loved cats her entire life and she transformed my father into a crazy cat guy. I inherited that love of cats, and well, pretty much all animals from them. I currently have two furry friends, both Siamese—Storm and Yoshi.
In terms of education, I have a few degrees, including a BA in English and more recent 2-year degree in accounting. I've studied creative writing under the guidance of Rudolfo Anaya at the University of New Mexico, and Lois Roma-Deeley at PVCC. Both are excellent teachers as well as great talents. Most of my actual work history has revolved around IT, over twenty-five years in fact. I'm fortunate to have the chance to have the outlet of writing to express my creative side.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
My parents instilled in me a deep attachment to reading at an early age. I went through a horse phase where I read every book I could get my hands on involving ponies and horses. At the age of nine I suffered kidney failure and spent a month in the hospital. During that time my mother read the Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle to me. That was the start of my love of fantasy. My sixth grade teacher, Dixie Gaisford read The Hobbit to the class, and my obsession with Tolkien began. I never got over it.
I started writing around that time, as well. Nothing spectacular, but the desire to create my own stories was definitely present. I was writing short stories, and not-so-short stories by the time the ninth grade rolled around. Before I finished high school I finished my first book length story. It's embarrassing to read it now, but the foundations were set for what I'm writing today. Since that time I've dabbled in science fiction, but I've always come back to fantasy.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I mostly read fantasy, no surprise there. I occasionally get on a science fiction kick just to mix things up. I try to read at least one book a year that is considered literary. Most of them turn out to be disappointing for me. Guess I'm not literary. I also read a few mystery authors, like Tess Gerritsen. Aside from J. R. R. Tolkien and Peter S. Beagle, I also read Joe Abercrombie, Steven Erikson, and Martha Wells. My favorite indie authors are Ashley Capes and Edward W. Robertson. In fact, I'm reading Mr. Robertson's latest Cycle of Galand book right now.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My most recent book is the third volume in the Chronicles of Shadow series. It, and the two books before it, follow the adventures of Lady Raven and Lord W'rath, two displaced souls with a chance to right some terrible wrongs—wrongs which occurred as a direct result of W'rath's past. Raven is a naive child, struggling to make life and death decisions she isn't ready to handle. W'rath, used to acting the villain, finds himself in a position of mentoring Raven, and learning to be better because of it.
There's some very cool supporting characters, of course. Lord K'hul is W'rath's main rival. When the two aren't trying to pummel each other, they're trading barbs. Lady Swiftbrook is perhaps the most steadying influence in the series, and provides the greatest support for the two outsiders. There's plenty of others, some funny, some deadly serious. Lots of fun banter and action all around.
The third book wraps up a major story line, but there is still enough dangling plot lines to fill a fourth book – which I am about halfway finished writing. I expect it to be out this spring.
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