October 2012


Lee Adams’ fiction debut, Strawberry Wine, was released this month. She has also written a book called Donor Girl, which was inspired by her own experience of donating a kidney. She is currently vice-president of national promotion at Broken Bow Records. (Interview by Pooja Dave)

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  1. 1. Tell us about Strawberry Wine.

    Strawberry Wine is a coming of age story. It’s a story of friendship, love and forgiveness and how one mistake can be very costly; yet time and effort can heal. The book traces the relationship of this group of teens on the verge of adulthood, and how they are brought back together, ten years after a devastating incident, to rediscover those friendships that once meant so much.

  2. 2. From a full-time career in country music/entertainment industry to writing books, how did the transition happen?

    I can’t say it’s a transition as I am still full time in the music industry and it consumes nearly all of my time! However, I have always written, since I was a kid, and it is my hobby. So whereas others might be out golfing, playing tennis, or quilting…I am writing. And after starting and not finishing probably 50 fiction books over my lifetime, I finally finished one!

  3. 3. You have already written a book on kidney donation (Donor Girl). What prompted you to write a novel revolving around organ donation?

    It really wasn’t in my initial plan to include organ donation. But it’s such a part of my life that it’s hard not to include it in everything I do. As the story unfolded, and I realized I was going to need a storyline that revolved around blood tests, I remembered a question I had to answer when I signed up to be a living organ donor about “paternity” with regards to my blood work. And it hit me that I could include that as a part of this story.

  4. 4. Kidney donation is a topic close to your heart, when did you decide to write about it?

    I decided to write my real life story, Donor Girl, after my surgery. For one thing, it was cathartic for me to own it. It seemed to lessen any fears and concerns. For another, I had looked for books about living organ donors when trying to make my decision on whether to be one and couldn’t find any. I could find short stories or books about recipients, but not about donors. As well, in my fiction as well as my non-fiction books, I think it’s important to tell the story from someone who has actually been there.

  5. 5. What is the biggest high of being a writer which your other vocation lacks?

    It’s actually the same high! Nothing is more exciting in the music industry then when someone hears the song you are promoting and “gets it”. It moves them, causes them to feel something and binds them to the song. That is a high I still get working in the music industry and probably always will. I feel the same thing when someone reads my book and they “get it” and it moves them and they feel connected to the characters. So they both have the same high. In my music career, I am the behind-the-scenes person who promotes what others create. In writing, I get to be the creator. It’s actually a beautiful blending of my passions.

  6. 6. Who is your favourite character in the book? And what was your favourite scene to write?

    WOW! Tough question. That’s like “who is your favorite child!” I’m not even sure I can answer. I actually really like two of the support characters. The mom is such a rock and reminds me of my mom. I definitely based her character on my mom. She’s always there, always calm, always supportive yet honest. And Paul is a steadfast friend who cares deeply for Tanya and has her best interest at heart. The obvious characters to like are Michael and Tanya and I do adore them both. But those two support characters came to mean a lot to me. My favorite scene to write was probably when Tanya and her sister Kayla went out and had a tad too much to drink. The honest emotion that comes out of Tanya, who otherwise tries to mask so many of her emotions, felt real to me. And the tipsy laughter and visual I get with that scene makes me laugh. I can see my sister and me doing just that.

  7. 7. If you could get to spend a day at Laurel Lake with one fictional character, whom would it be?

    Michael! Because he’s hot! No, probably it would be Marie. And the reason is that she took such enjoyment in just feeling the sun on her face and having a few moments where she could let the reality of her life drift to the background and live in the moment. More than the other characters who had pretty easy lives, Marie could truly live in a moment that was good because she had so few of them. It’s a lesson we could all learn.

  8. 8. If you could get a celebrity to endorse your book, who would it be?

    George Clooney…so I could meet him. Okay, being serious, probably Jodi Picoult. She is an author I respect and she often includes organ donation in her stories. In fact, I jokingly said I was going to call Donor Girl “My Sister’s Husband’s Keeper” since I donated my kidney to my sister’s husband. Jodi’s books make you think, make you feel and often haunt you afterwards. I have an enormous amount of respect for her writing. As well, I appreciate that she brings so many issues, especially organ donation, to the mass audience and makes you think about them from a different perspective. I find her brilliant.

  9. 9. What was your first thought when you first held the book in your hands?

    Wow! Here it is! Books have a feel to them that true bibliophiles crave. And to get that feeling from your own creation is amazing. After so many years, to hold it and see that it has come to fruition is a very moving moment.

  10. 10. Did you consider any other titles apart from Strawberry Wine?

    No, I really didn’t. That was my thought from the first.

  11. 11. What genres do you read on a regular basis?

    I am a true bookworm in that I will read anything! My favorite male author is Ken Follett. I literally wait for his next book to come out. Female authors are a mix. I already mentioned Jodi Picoult; I enjoy Anita Shreve; I laugh out loud at Janet Evanovich; and fall in love with the characters by Jane Austen. And any book about mountain climbing fascinates me. “Into Thin Air” type books. I don’t mountain climb and don’t like to be cold, but am in awe of those who do.

  12. 12. How long did it take you to write this book?

    It was written over a two-year period but then the editing took about another year and a half. So all in all, it was about a 3½ year process. But again, I work full time, travel a lot with work, and don’t have the ability to exclusively write.

  13. 13. Apart from writing and music, what other interests do you have?

    I’m a martial artist and have been since my youth. I’m very involved in my church. And anything water related. My husband and I boat, water ski, scuba dive, and sail. We are avid water people. And of course, reading!

  14. 14. Do you have any more books in the pipeline?

    I do. I’m about 75% of the way through a book called Unlikely Family. I love the characters and I think I’m putting off finishing the book so I can spend a little more time in their lives.

  15. 15. Any words of wisdom for newbie writers?

    Well, considering I am one, I’m not sure I have any words of wisdom. However, many people say things like “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” My advice is “write it.” The number of people who want to write one versus the number who actually do write one is apparently fairly small … or so I’ve heard. So set your goal and finish it. If no one but you and your family ever read it, you will be so happy you did!

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