Women Who Reign: K.T. Lee

“Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.”
-Langston Hughes


Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
 I’m a mom, an author and a mechanical engineer. I work in the medical industry by day and write novels by night (or whenever I can fit it in!).

While working as an engineer, I love combining creativity and knowledge to solve challenging problems! When writing my novels, I put my creativity to work in a different way by writing fun, page-turning novels featuring women in STEM fighting crime. I personally love to read books I can escape into and wanted to create a world my readers would want to spend time in, even as they’re turning pages to make sure the characters come through everything alright.

My fun fact is that I love to do improv comedy! I perform fairly regularly with a small group — my improv friends are so funny that just showing up to a show or practice is guaranteed to brighten my week. And making other people laugh is pretty great too.

What # would define your life journey?
 
#alwayslearning

Favorite website, app, or tech tool:
 
I love my iMac. It’s portable with a long battery life that allows me to write from anywhere — a must when I may only have 20–30 minutes at a stretch to write. Stencil for a quick way to make social media images. Also, even though they’ve been around a long time, Word and Excel are the quiet powerhouses behind my writing business. There is a “Compare” function in Word that alone has saved me many days of trying to figure out what changed in a book-sized document. I put my college courses to work in my Excel sheet, which helps me automatically recognize sales and patterns that help me reach more readers.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
 
My mom is one of the most driven, talented, and caring people I know. If you have a problem, she listens carefully, gives you exactly one hug and then asks you what you plan to do about it. She has taught me the power of compassion, hard work, and persistence. She is my hero. She’s also fabulous at providing honest opinions about early drafts — the fight scene in Calculated Sabotage and the fun banter between the characters about that scene would not exist in their current form without her input.

What song makes you want to dance, gives you courage to face the day, or makes you feel strong:
 
I have to sneak in a few. Lately, it’s been “On Top Of The World” by Imagine Dragons as well as “Fine By Me” by Andy Grammar. I have a pop fitness playlist I use when I’m working on project plans at work and have been spotted dancing to ABBA in the house while doing chores on multiple occasions (to my family’s bemusement).

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
 
I knew fairly early that I wanted to work in a field with a lot of science and problem solving. However, integrating my love for science into characters in a fictional story and putting it out into the world was something else entirely.

Instead of being able to calculate the right answer, I had to have the courage to spend boatloads of time to create something that didn’t exist except in my head. Facing down the flashing cursor on each blank page to write a story, even before I had convinced myself I *could* write an entire novel, changed my perspective around what I believed I was capable of accomplishing. I created a main character who was different than those in the novels I’d read before — a female heroine who was both a clever engineering professor and strong character, more than equipped to stand up to a criminal hiding in plain sight on campus. After countless revisions, several critiques and two editors, I had a finished product I was very proud of. However, it all started with the decision to start adding words to a blank page. To date, I have now written three full length novels and a novella and have no plans to stop writing!

Ideal Job:
 
My ideal job is one in which I can help improve the lives of other people.

Being a novelist is a great privilege. In addition to getting to write stories that are a fun escape for readers, storytelling is also a really accessible way to introduce people to engineering and science. I am able to write stories that give girls and women in STEM a chance to see people like themselves as strong characters in the books.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
 
There are two really important things I’ve learned over the course of my career so far:

1) I was taught in a project management course that when someone tries something new and struggles to get it right, it registers like pain in the brain. For a difficult subject that may not be instantly intuitive, like science or math, failing and trying again are simply part of the process of learning. Instead of falling into the trap of imposter syndrome or believing that you struggle with a difficult concept because you aren’t smart enough, understand that a lot of people get frustrated or don’t understand a difficult concept the first time. Give yourself some grace. Allow yourself to lean into the discomfort of not understanding. Do more research and ask questions until you feel more comfortable with the subject. In my experience, you’ll often find yourself with a greater depth of knowledge on a topic than those who believed they understood it and didn’t ask any questions at all.

2)If you are feeling frustrated by something in your work or life, find a way to get outside of your normal routine and help someone else who needs it. Mentor, volunteer, connect. There is something in all of us that responds positively to adding more goodness to the world.

K.T. Lee has written 3 full-length books and a prequel novella! Check out her website and follow her to learn more!

Website: www.ktleeauthor.com
 Twitter: @ktleewrites
 Instagram: @ktleeauthor
 Facebook: www.facebook.com/ktleewrites