Focus On: Lee Woodruff
Where Rye Writers Write

by Liz Dowling

The third writer I am profiling in my series “Where Rye Writers Write” is Lee Woodruff.  I met Lee in the fall of 2005, shortly after we moved to Rye from Charlotte, NC.  Our mutual friend, Callie, introduced the two of us and we had many great lunches and walks before her whole life changed in January 2006.  Lee’s husband, Bob Woodruff, was the co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight and in Iraq on assignment when an improvised explosive device went off near the tank he was riding in and Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury that nearly killed him.

Lee and Bob wrote In an Instant together, chronicling how their lives changed and healed after this traumatic event.  Lee then went on to write two more books, Perfectly Imperfect and her first fiction novel, Those We Love Most, which won the Washington Irving Book Award for fiction.

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As if all of this, plus four kids, is not keeping her busy enough ~ Lee is also a contributing reporter for “CBS This Morning,” writing freelance articles that have run in magazines such as Real Simple, Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal and is on the road weekly for numerous speaking engagements.  Ok, I’m exhausted thinking about all she is up to, so lets take a look at her beautiful home.

What is your training?

I never really had any formal training.  I was an English major in college and always loved to write stories as a kid.  Writing was the thing that I gravitated toward and I just kept doing it, even when what was coming out wasn’t so good.

When did you start writing?

I’ve been making up stories since I was a little girl.  Then I moved to writing in the marketing field, then essays and articles for myself and finally books.

Why did you start writing/motivation?

Writing was the thing that found me.  I would have to say that the motivation was probably that it made me – and still makes me – fulfilled.  When it’s going well and it’s all working, it makes me extremely happy.

Where in your home do you like to write?

My favorite place to write is in our cottage in upstate New York.  It was my grandparent’s house and it has memories, it’s cozy and it’s my safe place.  I have an office here in Rye where I also write and I like to pull my laptop into the living room and look out the window at the sky.  Light is good for writing, but so is a dark cozy morning before the sun rises.

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What in this room inspires you?

My office is an eclectic mix of all kinds of parts of my life; pictures, books, candles, bud vases, old Mao buttons from when we lived in China, wooden antique carved figures.  It is a tangle of things that inspire and define me.

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Do you write everyday?

I wish I could.  Someday I will have more time.  I always say right now with other hats I wear, writing is the thing that happens in the margins of my life.  I don’t ever want to wish time away, but I know that when the kids are out of the house, it will be the good thing to look forward to in that weird transition.

Who has influenced your work?

So many writers and many things still do.  I constantly rip out articles or write down words I read.  I love female writers like Sue Miller, Jane Smiley, Jane Hamilton, Emily Dickinson, Curtis Sittenfeld, Ann Leary.  I could go on and on.

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Who is your favorite up and coming writer

I’m not sure how to answer that – up and coming – I think if someone is published and I’ve read them, they’ve made it!!!



Fantasy place to write?

Any place with water or the woods inspire me.  A cozy cottage, house or apartment where I am alone and can write – well, that’s a fantasy.

Favorite guilty magazine or blog?

I’m still a hard copy girl – I spend so much time on my computer that’s not where I like to read.  Vanity Fair and New York Magazine hands down!

Favorite way to relax?

Read, hike, garden and red wine!

Dream accomplishment?

I think the New Yorker would be a dream.

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Are you working on anything now?

Yes – working on finishing a novel now and hoping to get it polished up soon.

Here are links for more information about Lee and her books:

Website ~

Facebook ~

Twitter ~ @LeeMWoodruff

Instagram ~ leewoodruff

the wry home

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Kathy Perkal January 15, 2015 - 9:22 am

Loved it! She is so inspiring.

Laura January 15, 2015 - 2:14 pm

Great post. Looking forward to reading Lee’s next novel…..
But, why don’t my white orchids look like that?!

Elizabeth Dowling January 16, 2015 - 8:33 am

Laura, my orchids don’t look like that either. She has two gorgeous orchids that are healthy and thriving! I think Lee needs to share her secret…

Joe Francella dog walking boyfriend January 15, 2015 - 7:41 pm

Miss you WOODY and MY BOB

Elizabeth Dowling January 16, 2015 - 8:34 am

Woody is the cutest!

Annabel January 15, 2015 - 9:30 pm

^^^ditto on the white orchid comment, what gives? (Loved this!)

Elizabeth Dowling January 16, 2015 - 8:35 am

Annabel, Lee is multi-talented. Home Depot is my source of orchids when they die after a month!

Allyson Martin January 15, 2015 - 9:36 pm

Love the colors that PPP and look so fresh!

Elizabeth Dowling January 18, 2015 - 11:06 am

Yes, her house has wonderful color! Bright, cozy, modern. Perfect for a writer.

Allyson Martin January 15, 2015 - 9:38 pm

Meant to say that I love the colors that pop and look so fresh. Must be stimulating for a Lee.

Amy harden January 18, 2015 - 8:24 am

Another great one sp – can you get into flower market w your tax Id # for orchids? Home Depot ones don’t seem to last though the price is right! Think they are kept too cold.

Elizabeth Dowling January 18, 2015 - 11:05 am

No Amy, I am so lazy that I just go to Home Depot or Trader Joe’s for orchids when I know I am having people over! xx

Amy harden January 18, 2015 - 8:27 am

Another great on sp! Can you use your tax id # to get orchids at the flower mart? Home Depot ones never seem to last long as methinks they aren’t kept at right temp – though always tempted as price is right!

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