I am a mom and mechanical engineer who manages projects by day and writes novels by night (or whenever I can squeeze it in!). I recently released The Calculated Series – fun, page-turning novels featuring women in STEM teaming up with government agents to fight crime.
Becoming a Writer
While, I’ve always loved reading and writing, becoming a novelist snuck up on me a bit. When our second child was born, I read books by the bucketload while rocking our little one back to comfort all hours of the day and night. The stories helped keep me awake and kept my busy mind from becoming too anxious while I sat still — a skill that has never come naturally to me!
While I held my little one and read, in the back of my sleep-addled brain, I began to wonder why it was so hard to find women in STEM in the books I was reading. The women in STEM I knew were dynamic, vibrant, and interesting – surely, they should be prevalent in popular culture too? Without realizing quite what I was starting, I began to develop an idea.
What would happen if an engineering professor was swept up in some criminal intrigue? My idea began to snowball into a story and one evening, when the kids were nestled in their beds for the night, I sat down to write. I found the process of writing helped me relax at the end of difficult days. Writing gave me more energy, not less! I didn’t have to use references for every sentence, which helped me relax at the end of difficult, and intense days. Writing gave me more energy, not less!
200 words became 2000. Then 20,000. I began to wonder if I had something worth finishing. I wrote in snippets when I had time, and many months later, Calculated Deception was finished, polished, edited, and polished again. Then, finished book in hand, I realized I had to figure out what to do with this book. I strongly believed this story was worth sharing.
Becoming an Authorpreneur
After trying to decide between self-publishing and traditional publishing. I reached out to a subject matter expert for formal coaching – a literary agent. Along with some other genuinely helpful advice, she explained that having a strong woman at the center of a thriller wasn’t typical for the genre. It might be a challenge for a debut author to sell – how would a publisher know how successful it might be? While it was possible for me to find the right agent and sell traditionally, releasing the book as an independent author could be a good fit for both my personality and book.
And just that quickly, my strategy changed. If my strong female character wasn’t typical for a thriller, then I would do what I could to make her typical. To let people meet scientists and engineers on their turf, as compelling heroines that readers would want to root for. Even better, the data-driven engineering side of me loved becoming an entrepreneur. I created detailed character spreadsheets, budgets, and project schedules. I developed characters who were in different STEM fields and used their specialties to enrich my plots and create crimes only they could solve.
My background in engineering and my strong female characters became my unique point of view rather than a problem to be overcome. And I’m so glad I went for it! Since launching the first book late last year, The Calculated Series has already found readers in over 15 countries. The feedback that means the most to me has come from young women interested in STEM who loved the characters in the books. The most rewarding compliment is that I have created characters that young women can identify with. I hope these books continue to resonate with readers because I’m sure having a lot of fun writing them!
ABOUT THE BOOKS & THE AUTHOR:
Calculated Deception is the first full-length novel in The Calculated Series. In Calculated Deception, Dr. Ree Ryland is an engineering professor and the primary suspect in an FBI investigation. When the FBI realizes she is being used as a pawn by an unseen enemy, Ree turns down their offer of a protective detail and instead offers to use her inside knowledge to help them find the criminal hiding in plain sight among her friends and colleagues.
About the Author
K.T. Lee is a writer, mom, and an engineer who grew up on a steady diet of books from a wide variety of genres. When K.T. began to write the kind of books she wanted to read, she mixed clever women and the sciences with elements from thrillers (and a dash of romance) to create The Calculated Series.