Saturday, December 31, 2016

3 Stacey Lee, author of THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE, on smelling notes

We're thrilled to have Stacey Lee join us to chat about her latest novel THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE.

Stacey, what was your inspiration for writing THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE?

I was inspired by my nose! When I was in my thirties, I discovered that I could smell notes. When I smell something-coffee, a leather bag-the smells resonate as musical pitches. This is a kind of synesthesia which may or may not be related to the fact that I have perfect pitch, something my mother discovered when I was four. It took awhile for me to realize I could smell notes because it was something I did without thinking about it. I assumed the rest of the world could smell things the way I did.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I start writing at 9 pm when the kids are asleep, and go until around 1 am. I use a converted bedroom for my office (see pic) and I don't listen to music. I need silence because I like to hear the words I'm writing either in my head or read aloud. I'm pretty sure I'm slowly turning into one of those people who mutter to themselves. Sometimes I'll meet other Bay Area writer friends in coffee shops but we never end up writing. It's just an excuse to hang out. :D

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

My first book, UNDER A PAINTED SKY, took about 9 months to sell. While I was on sub for that one, I wrote HEART NOTE. As for how many books never got published, under ten, I think? Those were the books I cut my teeth on and I'm grateful for all the things they taught me about writing (or, how not to write, as the case might be!).


The Secret of a Heart Note
by Stacey Lee
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 12/27/2016

An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs.

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.

Purchase The Secret of a Heart Note at Amazon
Purchase The Secret of a Heart Note at IndieBound
View The Secret of a Heart Note on Goodreads


Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, raises children, and writes YA fiction.


Have you had a chance to read THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE yet? Do you read aloud when you write? How many books have you written that have taught you about writing? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Michelle, Laura, and Kristin


  1. What a great premise for a book, and lovely name for a character! I hope Secret does well!

  2. Just read the "sneak preview" on Amazon and loved it. It's now on my Kindle! Thanks for reviewing it!

  3. I have had the pleasure to read THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE, it is as lovely and wonderful as Stacey's other works. And yes, I always do a read aloud as one of my revision passes.


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