Avon author Lee Weeks publishes her 4th novel Kiss & Die this month. Once again featuring Hong Kong detective Johnny Mann, Kiss & Die follows a serial killer who appears to be a woman – her target, adulterous businessmen. Yet again, another nerve-shredding thriller from the bestseller Weeks and is perfect for fans of Karen Rose and James Patterson.
Killer Reads caught up with Lee for a quick chat.
Killer Reads: Who is Lee Weeks?
Lee Weeks: I was the youngest of three daughters. My father was a policeman and my mother was a nurse. It was a difficult childhood spent continually moving. I went to eight schools, lastly a convent, before coming to a mutual agreement with the nuns that it was time I left. I came out with one GCSE in Art and was accepted to Art college to do a foundation course. I dropped out and went to Sweden to work as an au pair for a year. After returning briefly, I headed towards a kibbutz in Israel, without a map, and didn’t get further than France. After France I stayed for six months in England taking a job as a hotel receptionist in Widecombe-in-the moor. I was given the sack after being accused (falsely) of Witchcraft – I went to live in a small Bavarian village in Germany and worked there as a barmaid before also being given the sack for being a witch! I moved to Munich, worked as a cocktail waitress before moving on to an American army base to live. I worked in a nearby town as a Disc Jockey. I returned home to take my missing GCSEs in a year and three A levels. Then, I headed off to Hong Kong where I lived for over a year and worked as a model and nightclub hostess. It was there that my, already evident, drug problem escalated when I was sold the local equivalent of amphetamine which turned out to be heroin. My supplier, Teresa, owed the triads money and I became part of the debt. After nine months of addiction, and reaching a near death situation, my life turned a corner and I decided to stop all drugs and to put my past behind me. I went into hiding, moving from hotel to hotel to escape Teresa. After three months, when I was at the end of my methadone program, I was rescued from the triads’ debt by a prominent member of Hong Kong society, with whom I had an affair. I was allowed to leave Hong Kong. Returning to live in London, I moved in with an old college friend, fell pregnant and married. I had a second child four years later. I have had many careers: fashion/photographic model ( from the age of sixteen.) Desert chef ( making puddings for a restaurant in Exeter whilst at college) English teacher to foreign students. Personal trainer and aerobics teacher. I now live in Devon with my two children.
KR: What is your writing schedule?
LW: I just to do as much as possible every day – it is never a chore. I make use of the different times of day when my brain is working in different ways and with variable energy levels – i.e. in the middle of the night a solution to a problem will come and I have to get it down. Or a tricky scene will sort itself out in the middle of the day when I’m walking the dogs. Before lunchtime is an energetic time to put in the thousand plus words. The afternoon is a good time to research and expand ideas for sub plots, characters, – mull things over. After five pm is a useful time for writing a descriptive scene (sometimes after a glass of wine). In bed is a great time to edit.
KR: Is writing an enjoyable experience for you? Please compare to your previous occupations.
LW: I was one of those annoying children that, when you came to my house, you had to listen to one of my poems. I have written poetry, prose, short stories, all my life. I have used it as a vehicle of expression and escapism. I have only ever wanted to be a writer. I have often put myself in difficult situations in order to write about them eg – one way tickets and no money! I paint. But, it doesn’t given me the same level of satisfaction. When I finish a painting I look at it and think – how did that happen? Whereas, when I write, I agonize and excite over every word. I know how it happened. I feel a far greater sense of achievement. Everything about writing brings me joy. It allows me to be myself.
KR: Do you have much of an outline when you start or do you just wing it?
LW: I am a plot led person so my outline is very important to me. I can’t bear not having a good ending and I need to plan for that all along the way.
KR: How have your friends & family reacted to your success as an author?
LW: Most of my family and friends say when they see the book on the shelves they are so proud they feel as if they’ve written it themselves.
KR: What is your number one tip for any budding writers?
LW: Get tough on yourself: study it, plan it, do it!