TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Lee Welles

Lee Welles

Lee Welles often refers to herself as an "accidental writer." Growing up on a family farm in upstate New York, she was a lover of books, but instead of dreams of writing-Ms. Welles dreamed of being able to talk to the animals! Welles may be an accidental writer, but her writing has purpose; she likes to call it, "fiction with a mission."

"I always felt that the "real world" had so much more to say than anything I read or saw on television." Her propensity to explore the outdoors probably had much to do with the fact that her parents only allowed the Welles girls half an hour of television after school and half an hour after dinner; and.they didn't have cable. "I had favorite reading places all over the farm," Welles says. "To me, there was nothing better than a sunny day, a great book and just the right nook, high in a tree!"

She studied zoology in college with the intention of becoming a zookeeper. However, the impulsive nature of a twenty-year old led her to a position as the nature director of a summer camp and to on to California where Welles found herself drawn into the thriving health and fitness industry.

She returned to upstate NY in the mid 1990's and started her own wellness consulting business. As part of promoting that business, she began to write for the local paper. "I was amazed at the feedback!" Welles says. "People loved my writing and enjoyed my realistic and humorous approach to the topic." The monthly column she wrote for free progressed to a weekly wellness column at the Elmira Star-Gazette.

"When I began to write Real Wellness, I really opened up. The umbrella of wellness allowed me to talk about such a wide range of topics." Her husband, a third-grade teacher, encouraged her to write more. As she began to play with fiction, he identified a writer in the making.

"After I told him my idea for the Gaia Girls Book Series, he was relentless-'kids will love it! You gotta write it! We need more girl heroes!' I wrote the first draft just to get him off my back!" Welles laughs.

The Gaia Girls Book Series is an auspicious beginning for this "accidental writer." Gaia Girls Enter the Earth received the 2006 National Outdoor Book Award for juvenile fiction and a 2007 iParenting Media Award.