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A successful author in the Brooklyn neighborhood has an interesting backstory and several novels to her credit

RITA A. LEONARD - Novelist Millie Ledford Lee does her writing in an upstairs office in the Brooklynn neighborhood. Millie Ledford Lee, a published author who today lives in the Brooklyn neighborhood, says she has always loved books and reading. As a child growing up in the Appalachian Mountain area of Kentucky, she recalls hearing local stories, and devouring every book she could find. She also participated in writing groups, learning how to express her ideas in writing — after conducting thorough research. To date, she has published eight novels (young adult, and romance), as well as a book of short stories, and she is now working on her ninth novel..

"After high school, I worked for the FBI for six months," she tells THE BEE. That's where she learned the value of research. "Then I went to California, to the University of California at Irvine, where I studied writing. From there I transferred to California State University at Long Beach, where I earned a degree in writing and grammar, as well as a teaching certificate. I did do some teaching in California.

"I still continued to read as much as I could," she recounts. "I actually enjoyed doing the research. I joined several writers' groups where we shared ideas and techniques. I won a contest through a local writing group, and one of the editors who judged the contest suggested that I write a book with a feisty heroine. I took her advice, and my writing career began."

Lee concentrates on writing about the Appalachian Mountains region, a region which is still vivid in her mind. "These books involved people and places there, and details such as 'Holy Rollers' and snake handlers, which were still actively practiced back then. I published several books while living in California, and then I followed my daughter north to Portland in 1994."

The author says that it usually takes about a year for her to complete a novel, although she did write one in less than half a year. Surprisingly, she doesn't make a plot outline first. "Before long, the story just comes together for me. I love using southern names and dialogue in my writing; dialogue tends to show rather than just tell about the action, and the story just seems to come together naturally."

Lee's favorite of the books she's written so far is 'The Long Road Home", which deals with characters' life choices and their development as human beings. You can read more of her personal history online —

Her books are available through all booksellers, as well as in digital and paperback form at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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