About Hallie Lee
TOPS MAGAZINE, March 2021
Inspirations: Author Hallie Lee Shares Her Journey
“Someday it will happen,” she said over and over, like a mantra. Her words, always delivered with certainty and faith, sometimes made me think she could make my dreams come true through sheer will alone.
A voracious reader, and a gifted storyteller, my mom introduced me to books as a kid. She’d share lively, animated stories about the novels she read, and could weave a tale about Henry VIII that would impress even the most fervent Tudor fan.
I knew at an early age I wanted to be a writer, possibly because I sought my mama’s approval, but ultimately because I loved the idea of evoking that kind of emotion in people.
Naturally, my mom encouraged my passion. Armed with an IBM typewriter, and fueled by her careful and constructive criticism, I began submitting stories to any magazine that accepted unsolicited manuscripts.
With every small victory she cheered, and with every rejection she reminded me that my someday would eventually come. She maintained that conviction, even when my journey took me far away from her…from Small Town, Louisiana to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Santa Fe is where I really honed my writing skills. The exposure to such a creative movie making community gave me the opportunity to attend many writing conferences and classes.
As my screenplays were recognized with placements and awards in various contests, I had the chance to take a course with Emmy Award winning screenwriter Kirk Ellis. Beyond that, producer Ronnie Clemmer (A League of Their Own) saw something in me he wanted to mentor. His tutelage and insight made me a better, more mature writer.
“I knew it,” Mama insisted with each new stage in my growth. “You’ve got what it takes. Just don’t give up.”
But in 2015, my life changed with two significant events. My husband and I moved to Lexington, Kentucky. And my mama, my biggest advocate, and my most enthusiastic champion, passed away.
I didn’t write for two years after my mom died. I had plenty of excuses. Trying to settle into a new state. Trying to support my husband in his new job. Trying to acquire a taste for horses and bourbon. I succeeded in the first, but not the latter.
Finally, feeling bereft when our daughter returned to Baylor University after spending the summer in Lexington, I thought another seat in front of the keyboard might help. If nothing else, writing might assuage the loneliness.
Honestly, it wasn’t a great screenplay, but what really crushed me, was typing FADE OUT upon completion… and realizing my mama would never read it.
To heck with someday, I decided. Time to quit the silly dreams and get on with my life.
Sometime after tossing in the towel, we visited Southland Christian Church in Nicholasville. Not to sound cliche but becoming a member of the Southland community turned out to be the catalyst to my eventual healing.
I didn’t make an immediate, mad dash to my computer afterward, nor did my grief suddenly vanish, but what did happen was a steady, deep growth in my faith, nurtured every Sunday by an inspirational teaching from a refreshing, relatable pastor.
Quite simply, this church, these pastors, and this community, rekindled my sense of hope. God’s timing truly IS divine, because just when I needed it the most, I began to feel less afraid, less alone, and less heartbroken.
I also grew more courageous, more optimistic, and more...fearless.
Finally, I felt strong enough to take another seat at the keyboard. To try…one last time.
Paint Me Fearless is the result. And with it, The Shady Gully Series was born. Turns out my mama was right…and my someday was at hand.
Sadly, Lucy Belle made her journey to the Rainbow Bridge on May 28, 2021. We miss her. We see her everywhere. In EVERYTHING.
I wrote a story about her arrival at the Rainbow Bridge. The way I hope it was for her anyway. RIP my Monkey Doodle. Click Rainbow Below to Read Short Story.
MY MOM... inspired me to write. She nurtured my work, believed in my dreams. Her unwavering support was contagious, and so I pushed on.
MY FAITH... sustained me through countless failures and many, many rejections. Through an almost that never made it to a yes. To a second place that fell short of making a difference. From an I can’t do it anymore to one last seat at the keyboard. To try…
One. Last. Time.
©2020 by Hallie Lee Books