Hello and welcome! Please introduce yourself to the reading community just in case this is the first time a reader is meeting you….
Hi Everyone! Thanks for having me Rhys. My name is Andi Lee, I come from the UK, and I like to write MM romance with HEAs!
I am well and truly owned by one tiny ferret with a huge personality called Oona (named after the fairy from Legend—love that film!) and I live in a town and have drank in a pub not too different from those in Risky Business.
Tell us a little bit about Risky Business and what spurred you to write it?
I found my first ferret around 2005 in an alleyway on my way to work one day. I picked him up and took him home — I was late for work but everyone thought it was a great excuse to be late! Then I adopted many other ferrets over the years, but on my thirty-first birthday I found another ferret on a busy road (best birthday present ever!) I knew that I could turn these two experiences into a cute love story. When both characters turned up In Mischief Maker Ben was meant to be a background character, but I just loved him paired with Dane and I knew they had to be the next couple.
What was your first experience writing and what about that experience hooked you on writing?
I was around 8 years old staying with my cousin’s for the six weeks holiday. Her mom was an amateur photographer and she had a darkroom which she allowed us to use to create pictures. She then had us write a story to go with them and bound them in a book. I loved the whole experience and still have that book. Then as a teenager found point romance and would carry a notebook around writing my own version of American high school romances. (One I remember calling ‘The New Guy’ it was quality!) Then we got the internet and I discovered fan fiction which made me carry on writing.
Would you say your bring your own personal experiences to your writing as an animal lover? And how do you blend that knowledge into your writing?
I definitely do, there are little quirks that wouldn’t have made it into the book if I hadn’t experienced them first hand. From finding a ferret, to putting salmon oil on a ferret’s belly so you can clip their claws. Sometimes it’s difficult to blend it into my writing because I want to put everything in! I want to tell everyone how amazing ferrets are, but I have to reel myself in and make it move the storyline on, make it interesting. This is a love story and not a ferret manual after all! It’s more of an idealised version of owning a ferret, even though I do add some of the hardships. But Ben definitely has it easier than I do! Oona will not let me out a harness on her at all!
What are your favourite (series of) books and what makes them so special to you?
Anne Bishop’s Black Jewel’s Trilogy (and spin offs). One of The Five gave them to me and I devoured them. They were dark, sensual and beautifully written. I’ve never read anything like them. They’re my comfort reads. When I’m having a reading slump I reread them.
How have those books impacted you as a writer?
They’ve impacted me because of the characters. The secondary ones are so well rounded and interesting. Not only that—the main characters are as brilliant! So often I’ll love the secondary characters more, but here I love them equally. Anne Bishop showed me how important character is, no matter what the plot or setting is, I fell in love with the characters and I would genuinely read a novel about them all doing completely mundane tasks just so I could stay with them a little longer.
You live in the UK and many of your readers are from other parts of the world. Do you sometimes feel challenged or concerned that something you write might not translate to a difference societal / cultural norm or do you seek out others and check to see if something “reads right”?
I’m aware of it but I try not to let it concern me too much, because I want it to feel like where it’s set. But not to the point it will alienate the reader and take them out of the story. It’s a fine balance. I do ask friends if I’m worried something won’t be understood, but it’s usually regional things I don’t realise are regional that trip me up and confuse my editors!
I like to use English spellings because it’s set in England, but this caused some confusion with my editors once because I was using the word ‘mom’ rather than ‘mum’. Then I had to explain that it was a regional thing! Mom is used in a few places in England just to shake things up!
You’re known among your closest friends for having some quirky tastes. What would you say is the oddest thing(s) you have in your personal collection that you treasure but your friends and family give a side-eye to?
I believe this would be an instant pot. No, joking! It’s a My Little Pony custom made into a zombie based on the pony Thundercloud.
Okay, okay. I know what you’re getting at here. When I was on holiday in the Lake District about 8 years ago a woman was selling handmade teddy bears and she had this adorable mini black and white bear with wild hair that I fell in love with. A few of my friends think he’s creepy but he’s adorable. Don’t let Rhys or TA tell you anything different. (I happen to think he’s adorable — Rhys)
Lastly, what do we hope to see from you coming down the writing spiral over the next few years? What is holding your interest as far as plotlines and characters?
I have a new series in the works right now, very cute, hot guys, but I’ve swapped the animals for kids! I’ve also got an urban fantasy novel churning at the back of my brain so maybe something will come of that too. I’ve got too many ideas and not enough time! One thing you can be sure with me, whatever genre I write in is, it’ll be MM, and it’ll have a HEA!
Risky Business Giveaway!
To celebrate the release of Risky Business, we are doing a rafflecopter!
Thank you for joining us, Andi! AND… don’t forget to grab Risky Business and have a great romantic read! Purchase Risky Business at Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Risky-Business-Animal-Lark-Book-ebook/dp/B09LHTBGKZ/) and other fine online retailers.
Risky Business by Andi Lee
Veterinarian Dane Vincent is used to being unlucky in love. That’s why his crush on new friend Ben is No Big Deal. He’s more than happy to swoop to Ben’s rescue when he brings a ferret into his practice. It’s what friends do—and vets.
Ben Clifford came to Lockstone for a new job and a fresh start. He didn’t expect to make friends, never mind a tightknit group of them. They’re all wacky and wonderful, and he fits right in, something he’s never done before. They even support him when he finds a ferret at work and decides to keep the cute little bundle of joy.
There’s just one tiny problem. Ben’s house doesn’t allow pets.
Moving into Dane’s spare room is meant to be temporary, but the more time he spends with him, the less he wants to leave. They connect on a level he’s never experienced before, and slowly but surely, the feelings of friendship Ben has for Dane morph into something deeper.
The question is… does he have the courage to act on them?
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About Andi Lee
Andi Lee lives in the UK, close enough to Birmingham city to be considered a ‘Brummie,’ but far enough away to enjoy the Staffordshire countryside. She enjoys writing in many different genres as long as they contain a large dose of cute guys falling in love. She’s a sucker for a happy ending.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys making junk journals and also jewelry out of polymer clay and resin. She has kept pet rats on and off for twenty years, and she fell in love with her first ferret when she found him on her way to work one day. Years later she happened to find another ferret on her thirty-first birthday. He was the best present she ever received. She is now owned by a small but fierce ferret called Oona.
You can find her at http://www.andileewrites.com