By Basil Sands
Lee Weeks is a prolific thriller writer who has been called “The female James Patterson.” Her books seem not only to tell tales of adventure but to bring them alive. And that lively adventure is something she is more than a little familiar with. Born in Devon, England she left school at seventeen and, armed with a notebook and very little cash, spent seven years working her way around Europe and South East Asia. She returned to settle in London, marry and raise two children. She has worked as an English teacher and personal fitness trainer. And her books have been Sunday Times bestsellers.
Her seventh novel, FROZEN GRAVE, is third in the riveting Willis/Carter series that follows two detectives in a London murder investigation squad. Full of excellent police drama, I found the well-written dialogue moved the story seamlessly, it reminded me of the BBC series Spooks (MI-5 in the US).
Lee graciously agreed to answer a few questions for The Big Thrill.
Lee, tell us about FROZEN GRAVE.
FROZEN GRAVE is the story of love lost, longed for or imagined—and a killer’s cold heart.
What was your inspiration for detectives Willis and Carter?
Willis and Carter, are a miss-match—I chose them so that they could view the world differently; they come from very different backgrounds. Together they form an interesting and unique investigative team.
When you were young you took off on a serious adventure most teens, and even adults, only dream of experiencing. What drove you to put that dream into action?
I caught the moving bug early. It is in my blood. We moved around every year when I was a kid as my dad was a detective. I took off to explore the world with one-way tickets for many different reasons: wanderlust, anger, bewilderment, and definitely a lack of self-preservation. PLUS Henry Miller was my favorite author and I wanted to observe and write. It came to a sticky end when I faced death in Hong Kong. That was a massive turning point in my life and changed my perspective on so many things.
At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to write stories?
I always wrote stories. Writing was my sanctuary. I loved The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I used to invent my own version: pick a petal and fly away to a make-believe land.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? In other words, do you write your stories based on a careful outline and advance plotting or do you just sit down and start making it up as you go, writing by the seat of your pants?
I tried the panster thing and nearly had a nervous breakdown! I am a person who has to know exactly what happens and who dunnit!
What other writers have inspired you?
I am inspired by people from all genres and writers of all kinds. There are too many to name. If I were to pick one book it would be Last of the Mohicans. It is the kind of story I would love to write.
With all of the travelling you’ve done, what is your favorite country or region of the world?
My heart still belongs to the Philippines although I am ashamed of it sometimes for the way it doesn’t cherish its own people. It allows a beautiful race and a magical place to be ruined by men and their desires.
Finally we come to the deep philosophically revealing question of the interview, the one where we see deep into the heart of Lee Weeks. You are at an antique store and pick up a lovely glass bottle, the glass seems to change color as you raise it to the light. With a sudden, hiss, whoosh and pop a genie bursts from the bottle and says you must choose between being turned into either a pastry or an alcoholic beverage for your husband’s consumption. He will be unaware of your plight but only after choosing you from a selection of other similar items and then eating/drinking you will he be able, through a series of magical hiccoughs and burps, to bring you back whole again. Upon your restoration he will ever after refer to you by a nickname based upon what you chose to be turned in to. Therefore which specific type of pastry or alcoholic beverage will you choose to be and what will your nickname be afterwards?
Did I mention I’ve just gone through a divorce?
Lee Weeks was born in Devon. She left school at seventeen and, armed with a notebook and very little cash, spent seven years working her way around Europe and South East Asia. She returned to settle in London, marry and raise two children. She has worked as an English teacher and personal fitness trainer. Her books have been Sunday Times bestsellers. She now lives in Devon.
To learn more about Lee, please visit her website.
He lives in Anchorage Alaska with his wife and teen sons.