Laura Lee on ‘Identity Theft’ and being an author


She wanted to be a rock star when she was younger, but eventually she got a degree in theater. She became a professional radio announcer, but that wasn’t her dream job. Writing has always been her true love and she was soon discovered by major and midsize publishers.

– But who exactly is Laura Lee?
“That is a very existential question. My novel is called Identity Theft. It is about a woman who is fooled by a young man who tries on someone else’s identity for fun without thinking about the consequences. All of the characters are at low points in their lives and having identity crises of various kinds. The young man has dropped out of college and feels as though his real identity is that of a loser. He happens to work in the office of an 80s pop star and he’s put in charge of the star’s social networking. So he is able to play rock star on line and he starts to flirt with a fan. The fan is going through financial problems and is on the verge of losing her professional identity due to layoffs. She feels as though she has stumbled into an exciting new life. The rock star himself is going through a divorce. He has lost his identity as a husband and his identity as the hottest young star disappeared long ago. So identities change over the course of a life and depending on the context. In the context of this interview, I am the author of about 15 books with major and midsize publishers. Most are non-fiction. Identity Theft is my second novel and the first I have tried to publish on my own.”


– How did you decide to pursue a writing career?
“My father was an author and I came by it naturally. I actually wanted to be a rock star when I was younger, but was too lazy to learn to play the guitar properly. I studied to be an actress, (I have a degree in theater) but was no good at it. I then became a professional radio announcer for a while. I liked that job, but it was in the process of changing due to automation. A bit like the publishing world today. I burned out on that career. I found that writing was both the path of least resistance and the hardest career choice I could have made.”

– Was getting published hard?
“No. In fact, that part came quite easily. The first book proposal I sent out was picked up by a midsize publisher about a month later. So I was lucky on that score. What has been hard is keeping the work coming, and making a career out of it.”

– Are your characters based on people you know?
“I never base a character on someone I know including myself, although all of my characters have aspects of myself and observations I have made. I think it is a big mistake to write anything too autobiographical. You need enough distance to feel free to change what you need to in order to make the story more dramatic or get to where you need it to go.”

Cross-eyed Nerd Man

– What genre are your books?
“The majority of the books I have written are non-fiction in the humorous reference category. I have a whole series (with various publishers) that I call my “negative situations” books. These include “The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation,” “Schadenfreude, Baby!” “The 100 Most Dangerous Things in Life and What You Can Do About Them,” “Broke is Beautiful” and “Don’t Screw It Up!” (I think I have an inordinate number of titles with exclamation points on them. Probably one is too many.) I have also written a children’s book “A Child’s Introduction to Ballet” and the novel “Angel”.”

– Which of your books is your most favorite?
“The two novels are my favorites. They are quite different in style and tone but I think both convey my voice, different aspects of my style. A reader described my signature as vivid use of words, wry humor and spot-on observations about humanity.”

– Do you have a specific writing routine?
“I write down my initial idea. Not an outline, but the basic notes of what I want to write, and then I have to go away and do something else before I can complete it. I often write down the structure of a particular article or scene I want to write, go to bed, and write the thing in the morning.”

– What are your current projects?
“I’ve just been hired to write a non-fiction book, so I am working on that. There is a biography I have been researching whenever I can find the time and resources. I’m always working on any number of things in the hopes that one of them will take off. “







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