Read L.P. Lee’s “Hibakusha” in East Asia.

1. What made you want to become a writer?

So far I’ve tended to do bursts of writing separated by sometimes quite long intervals doing something else. What makes me want to write each time is a bit different to the last. Today I like writing because my last interval away from it made me appreciate again how stimulating it is. Exercising your imagination, your critical thinking, stops you from becoming too institutionalised or complacent in how you view the world.

2. Why do you write magical realism?

I love how it’s a special space to bring intriguing, seemingly disparate ideas together, that can hopefully give a fresh perspective on the human condition. I’ve found it to be a flexible way to approach themes that have interested me at one point or another: rawness vs. maturity (‘The Jars’), outsider vs. insider (‘The White Fox’), the grounded body vs. transcendent self (‘Hibakusha’). 

That being said, I also enjoy genres like dark comedy, science fiction and historical fiction. To some extent there aren’t always boundaries and genre can be in the eye of the beholder. I’ve had the same story be published on fantasy, magical realism and horror platforms. It’s fascinating how each genre has its own traditions and motifs and seminal works, and it’s also really fun to see how we can cross borders and dabble in fusion. 

3. What has helped you the most in the writing pursuit?

Filling my life with people who are kind and interested in the world around them. Their perspectives enrich my own understanding of the world and my place within it. If I want to become a better writer, much of that is in bettering my mind and spirit.

4. How would you describe your writing practice?

Cross-legged. This is my favourite way to write. Because you can’t really sit cross-legged when out and about in the UK (except for a precious sunny day in a park), it also feels like a treat! I associate it with good memories from South Korea – sitting on beautiful silk mats when dining on delicious food, cooling off by a mountain stream in the depths of a humid summer, and drinking sweet shikhye in the lounge of a public sauna.

5. What are you writing now?

I’m working on a virtual reality project with film-maker Gaelle Mourre and a French production company.

6. Where can someone find out more about your work?

You can find out more on my website (www.l-p-lee.com) and also on Twitter (@LPLee_author) 🙂