Get to know author Jeff Lee – Ramona Portelli Blog

Born in New York and raised near San Francisco, Jeff Lee has been a copywriter and creative director for some of the country’s most creative ad agencies. Won alot of silly awards for his creativity and wise-ass sense of humor.                                          

And he’s been writing in L.A. since the early 1970’s.  “So, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that, given half a chance, this city can be a never-ending cavalcade of rib-tickling fun — and funny — things, people and approaches to this thrill ride we call life.  Like phony televangelists who produce bible-themed porn for the faithful.  Bat-shit crazy showbiz moms. Defrocked talent agents posing as Reality Show producers. The Rose Parade.  And on, and on.  It never freakin’ ends with this place”, stated Jeff Lee in his introduction to this interview.

Ramona:  Tell me more about your latest book

Jeff Lee: “Fish” Fishbein and his girlfriend, Shawna Kretschman, have a nice, quiet life. He’s L.A.’s repo man and bounty hunter to the stars, and she runs the police force on a South Dakota Sioux reservation.

Then, the President of the United States comes to town. And her quiet life turns upside down when she has to arrest him for trying to forcibly exercise his ‘executive privilege’ on her in the back of the presidential limo.

Shawna wants the tiny-handed prez to stand trial for his assault and a handful of other violent felonies. But first, she and Fish will have to take on a corrupt Attorney General who wants to dismiss all charges, and an army of private security contractors out for blood. And down in the White House Situation Room, the supremely unqualified, corrupt and wealthy members of the president’s cabinet are negotiating with the Russians to invade the country and free their woman-groping boss.

If this goes on much longer, someone is going to have to step in and save Shawna, Fish and the American people from their own government. Just imagine the movie “All the President’s Men, together with Jason Bourne AND the Three Stooges. 

Ramona:  Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Jeff Lee: I absolutely love to write. But there are times, especially when trying to write the rough draft of a book, when impatience takes over, and I find myself thinking, “Wow. I’m only on page 97, and I’ve got another two or three hundred pages to go? Will I EVER finish writing this book?” Writing a novel is definitely not a sprint; it’s much more a marathon, believe me.

And that’s the easy part. After you’re done writing the rough draft. You have to go in and correct all your spelling, typing and punctuation mistakes, and make the book read more like a novel written by an intelligent human being, than a collection of chimps.

Ramona:  What motivated you to become an author?

Jeff Lee: Interesting question, Ramona. I’ve been writing since I was about 13 (1961). Then, I went into advertising as a writer and creative director and spent about 35 years writing ads and commercials. I have since retired from advertising, and spend my time writing novels. I write mostly fast-paced comedies that satirize Los Angeles, crime, murder, sex and the movie business. The name of my series is “Adventures in La-La Land” (L.A.’s nickname) and I have published five books in the series.

Ramona:  What brought you to write your latest book?

Jeff Lee: I would have to say the presidential election of 2016. Like a lot of other creative people, I’m extremely liberal. When Trump overcame the largest election loss in American history and became our 45th President, it more than infuriated me. A few months later, I decided to take all my anger and angst, and write a book ridiculing him and all the Republicans who enable and protect him from investigation. The deeper I got into writing the story, the more ridiculous he became. I had more fun writing this book than I have ever had as a writer. And trust me, over the years, I have had a LOT of fun writing.

Ramona:  How many books have you written so far?

Jeff Lee: So far, I have written 6 books. Five are in the comedy/crime series I mentioned, and the sixth is a suspense and terror novel similar to Stephen King’s Carrie. Here are the titles, plus a short description of the book:

  1. The Ladies Temperance Club’s Farewell Tour—Three women, all good friends, bouncing around the Western U.S. in a huge RV and drinking a lot of wine while they look for the perfect spot to bury the body of the waste of skin boyfriend of one of them.
  2. Hair of the Dog – An overweight Beverly Hills jeweler steals a fortune in diamonds from his customers and hides them in the collar of his girlfriend’s dog. He needs the money from the stones to finance her quest to become a movie star. Then the little dog jumps out of her car at a stoplight on Sunset Boulevard, and disappears into the bushes.
  3. Chump Change – A small gang of inept criminals steals an armored car carrying $300,000 dollars of the city of Los Angeles’ parking meter change, all of it in 25 cent pieces. This triggers a mad scramble to find the missing coinage, involving a corrupt Evangelical minister who wants the money to finance producing Bible-based porn; his wife, who is certifiably crazy about winning toddler beauty pageants; and a defrocked talent agent who needs funding to produce a reality TV show pilot.
  4. Hurricane Kretschman – Our Harley Davidson-riding heroes take off for the yearly motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. Once there, they and an off-duty, blonde-haired force of nature, run afoul of a crooked real estate developer, who wants all million of the bikers gone, so he can develop the town as a family friendly resort. And, he won’t stop at murder to get there.
  5. SCROTUS: So-Called Ruler of the U.S. A female small-town sheriff with blonde hair and mad fighting skills, and her Harley-riding, ex-attorney boyfriend go to war with a deranged President, his treasonous cabinet and all the corrupt Republicans in Congress.

Ramona:  What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

Jeff Lee: It’s a wide range of books and authors, from Hemingway and Steinbeck to Carl Hiassen, Vonnegut and early Tom Robbins. But my number one literary icon is William Goldman, author of an incredible collection of novels and movies. Among them are: Marathon Man, No Way To Treat a Lady, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Magic, Boys and Girls Together, The Princess Bride, and he’s rumored to have script doctored Goodwill Hunting. From him, I learned to love all my characters – even the villains, and ALWAYS make sure they sound like real people when they speak. He, and the others on my list taught me that my characters are the most important element in a story. And without coming off like a 19th century classic novelist, it is always more important to your reader to show an action, rather than to describe it. Leave the long, rambling descriptions to Heathcliff staggering around the moors.

Ramona:  How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?

Jeff Lee: For most writers, the hundreds of hours you spend writing, and then honing and polishing your book is the easy, fun part. Because, once done with that, then you have to find an agent. Then, they have to interest a publisher. Then their editors find ways to torture you that never made it into the Geneva Conventions. And when all that has FINALLY been taken care of, then the publisher lets you know that, since you’re a new writer without much of a following, well, it’s going to be up to you to market and publicize your book, since they have no budget for marketing authors who aren’t yet million-sellers.

When I wrote my first book, I spent about six years trying to interest a literary agent in taking me and my book on. I received a lot of nice letters (some of them, surprisingly not form letters) telling me they loved my author’s voice, my story lines and all…but just didn’t have a clue how to market a comedy and satire writer to the acquisition editors and the big publishing companies. Approximately 500 rejection letters later, I said the Hell with it and started self-publishing on Amazon.

I’m still the one tasked with publicizing my writing and attracting an audience, but I can take a little comfort in knowing I’ve managed to side-step all those literary agents, acquisition editors and review committees.

Like I said, the writing is the easy, fun part.

Jeff Lee can be contacted directly on:- 

If you’d like to know a little more about Jeff Lee or his books, or drop him a line….or even send him a short ransom note, the best place to do any of that is his website:  jeffleewriter.weebly.com

There, you’ll find an interesting, amusing and somewhat factual bio, plus descriptions of all his books. And even multiple chapter samples from each book.

You’ll also find links to take you directly to each book’s Amazon Kindle page.

All he asks is that you enjoy what you read.

And pick up after yourself when leaving.

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