Born in New York State, Jeff Lee was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and has spent his entire writing career in Los Angeles.
For more than thirty years he has been a copywriter and creative director for some of the advertising industry’s most recognizable agencies, winning numerous awards for his creativity. None of those ad agencies are still in business, but Jeff appears to have a solid alibi.
Trained as a cook in the Army, he still enjoys being creative in the kitchen and admits that few things in life compare with the thrill of discovering you have just given a nasty case of food poisoning to 140 heavily armed men.
Jeff lives about halfway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, in a house he shares with his two sons and a cat that’s part golden retriever.
Please help me welcome Jeff Lee to Roadie Notes………
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
I was about 12, and in the 8th grade. My teacher was a real bug about the Civil War, and he assigned everyone in the class a minimum 50-page report on the Civil War. I got about 35 single-spaced, typed pages in and started filling space with limericks and funny short stories. Got a D minus, plus a handwritten note that said, “I had no idea the Battle of Gettysburg was such a hoot. Stop making fun of our country’s history”.
2. How many books have you written?
I’ve written 5 books – four in my “Adventures in La-La Land” comedy crime series, plus a paranormal book about extreme teenage bullying and where it could lead. I’m currently working on the fifth book in my La-La Land series, as well.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
Well, I won’t write about cruelty to animals. Or non-fiction. Hey, if you want to learn the in’s and outs of building your own bookcase or fun ways to decorate with melons & cinderblocks, I’m not your guy.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
Ok, I’m 68, have two sons and I live with one of them in a suburb of L.A. that’s loaded with palm trees (how’s that for a clue?). My wife passed about 6 weeks before 911. I’m retired, having spent my entire earlier writing career in Los Angeles. I was an advertising copywriter and creative director for a number of ad agencies around town. Won a lot of silly wards for my wiseass sense of humor. But I’m much happier now, doing my own writing, and not having to fill out monthly expense reports. Or patiently explain to yet another bonkers showbiz mom why her untalented little Bree, Jennifer, Dylan, Monika or Rocki didn’t get hired for the commercial.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
Whoa…that’s a tough one. I’d probably have to say CHUMP CHANGE, the third book in my La-La Land series. I had already written a couple of comedy crime/murder stories, but this time around, I got good and ambitious. Wanted to see how many characters and completely gonzo situations I could squeeze into one book (Don’t forget – this is L.A. we’re talking about.) As a result, I had crooked TV preachers; psycho showbiz moms; naked Roman Zombies; and porn stars who sound like Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes. Plus, what’s got to be the most hysterical explicit sex scenes ever put on paper – a porn shoot that goes wackily off the rails.
6. Who or what inspired you to write?
Like I said, I’ve been writing since I almost got kept back in the eighth grade. Then I spent about four decades creating and writing humorous ads and commercials. So, I’ve pretty much always been a writer.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
I don’t know – I love to cook (that’s how the Army trained me to be a dangerous human being). I also enjoy watching documentaries on Netflix; ridiculing Republicans; playing online Scrabble with my sister, who’s also a comedy-based advertising writer. And if I’m REALLY bored, I’ll put on my best cargo shorts and t-shirt, then go to the nearest LAPD precinct headquarters and confesses to famous unsolved murders and crimes that happened more than a century ago. Almost had them convinced that I was the Sundance Kid.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Not a tradition so much, as a feeling that always comes over me. Five minutes after finishing work on another book, I always feel like I’m at a big picnic and I’ve been engaged in a massive tug of war – and the other side has let go of the rope. Could be worse – I could feel like I was trying to find someone to partner up with for the 3-legged race. Or the ‘no-handed’ pie eating event.
9. Where do you write? Quite or music?
I write in a lot of different places – at home; at Starbucks; at Mickey D’s. The only limit is the length of my extension cord and my USB cable.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
Well, I wish more people knew about it. But other than that, not really.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
I guess my dream would be to see one of my books turned into a movie. That, and maybe saying something at a party that puts Woody Allen on the floor, laughing so hard he’s in tears.
12. Where do you live?
I live in an apartment in one of the L.A. suburbs that’s named after one of the long-dead generals from my old Civil War report.
One dog and one cat – in that order.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Like I said, I’m about 60 pages and 25,000 words into the next book in my La-La Land comedy crime/murder series. And this puppy is taking on a life of its own. Like the other books in the series, it stars Fish Fishbein, my heavily tattooed, Harley-riding repo man and bounty hunter to the stars. It also features a ton of Republicans and the Sioux nation. But that’s all my handlers will let me say right now.
15. What is coming next for you?
Probably dinner…but I’m just guessing here.
Anything else you would like to tell us?
Let’s see…I’m 6’1”, blind as a bat, and I’m a double Leo. Which means I make a heck of an entrance—when I’m not colliding with door frames.
You can connect with Jeff Lee here:
Amazon Author Page: amzn.to/20j8CQp Facebook Author Page: on.fb.me/1QPczqQ
Website: bit.ly/1uHEmSo Farewell Tour’s Amazon link: amzn.to/1KEN8U3 Twitter: @jfredlee
Some of Jeff Lee’s books: