Guest & Contest: Katy Lee

Pastime or Addiction? And How Real Virtue Came To Be

Thank you for inviting me to your virtual home today to talk about the gaming aspect of my novel, Real Virtue.

Did you know video game addiction is becoming an increasingly difficult problem with the youths in America today? It can affect the everyday life and social situations of children through young adults. Video game addiction can hinder a child’s learning skills, cause real life problem solving to become more difficult, and cause a child to spend far less time with family and friends.

In Real Virtue, the story opens with my heroine, Mel Mesini, reaching the highest level in this online interactive game she plays. A game that promises her a life she can love. She’s playing while she is supposed to be working. She plays because she doesn’t feel so great about her real life. She plays because it’s a world she can control.

Or so she thinks.

During my research, I read many interviews with gamers, mostly teens and young adults, where they admit to preferring their virtual lives over their real ones. Video games can become super appealing, especially if their real life is not so great. In a game, a player can zap out of a situation they don’t like. They can’t do that in real life. In a game, a player is rewarded for beating the next level or quest. In real life, it’s hard to accomplish things, and even when you do, people don’t always notice, or for some, care.

And that is where my character, Mel Mesini, comes in, and this is how Real Virtue came to be:

So there I was, flying cross-country, when the older gentleman to my right asks me if I have a virtual life.

“A virtual what?” came my reply.

He then continued to explain the details of his job of creating virtual possessions that gamers on interactive game sites can purchase for their avatars.

“Seriously? People spend money on a fake character?” And apparently enough for this guy to make a living on.

So, the remainder of my long flight was spent plotting out the story that would become Real Virtue.

My questions to myself were what would happen to someone who took their virtual life just a little too far? What would happen if that said someone lost all these possessions to, say, a villain bent on revenge? How far would someone go to protect their virtual life? Would they be willing to give up their real life for it? Just what would drive a person to do it? Who would this person be?

And since I write romance, my next question was just what kind of person would be their perfect match? And Voila! Mel Mesini and Jeremy Stiles were born.

In a virtual reality game where she can fly, someone’s aiming to take her down.

Mel Mesini is a New York City restaurateur and an avid, virtual reality world traveler. She’s risen above her misfit life and now bears a striking resemblance to her glamorous, gaming avatar. But her successful life—both online and in reality—takes a swerve the night her father is seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Mel is careened back to her judgmental hometown, where being the daughter of the town’s crazy lady had made her the outcast she was. To make matters worse, Officer Jeremy Stiles, the man whose harsh, rejecting words had cut her the deepest, is heading the investigation.

Jeremy knows he hurt Mel and attempts to make amends by finding her father’s assailant. When he realizes she’s the actual target, his plan for reconciliation turns to one of protection—whether she wants his help or not. What he wants is answers, especially about this online game she plays. Is it a harmless pastime as she says? Or is she using it to cover something up? As a faceless predator destroys the things that matter to her, Jeremy knows he’s running out of time before she loses the one thing that matters most—her real life.

Thank you for having me on your blog! Readers, I love comments and would love to hear from you.  And please keep in touch with me at my website:

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Katy Lee writes higher purpose stories in high speed worlds. As an inspirational author, speaker, home-schooling mom, and children’s ministry director, she has dedicated her life to sharing tales of love, from the greatest love story ever told to those sweet romantic stories of falling in love. Her fresh and unique voice brings a fast-paced and modern feel to her romances that are sure to resonate with readers long after the last page. Her debut novel Real Virtue is a finalist in many writing contests, and took second place in the 2011 Georgia Maggie Award of Excellence. Katy lives in New England with her husband, three children, and two cats.



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14 thoughts on “Guest & Contest: Katy Lee

  1. Maria D. says:

    Luckily I have never had an addiction but I work with several people who are so addicted to Farmville and other games on Facebook that instead of spending time with their families and sleeping. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Katy Lee says:

      I hear this a lot. I know some people who have multiple FB accounts just so they can play themselves in the games.

  2. erinf1 says:

    thanks for a fun post and giveaway! My BF is addicted to playstation. He can play for hours. But it balances out cuz then I can read in peace 🙂

  3. My husband and I used to be addicted to World of Warcraft. I realized how much time I was taking away from my children and stopped playing for a couple of years. I now play again with my husband, but only when the kids are in bed for the night. My 13 year old son is addicted to a few online games. We are working with him to find other things to do and to spend more time with us.

    • Katy Lee says:

      I’m in the same place with my own son. REAL VIRTUE is actually inspired by him. Where Mel dresses as her avatar, my son does the same thing. I’m trying to get him interested in other activities to give him his own identity.

  4. Patti P says:

    I spent tons of time playing Everquest and a few other games a few years ago. Not so much that my family “suffered” but they certainly did not get the attention that they should have. I actually had to get off the internet cold turket for six months to end my habit and set time limits when I got back on. 🙂 how sad is that?? No more games for me for a while.
    I am looking forward to reading this book.
    Thank you.

  5. Crystal Newman says:

    Well my husband and son love to play XBox Live all the time. My son plays it so much that I have to take him off for days to get him back to his real self. I can’t understand it myself. I guess it’s the same as my reading problem. I’ve got to have a book or I go crazy. I guess my MOL is right. At least I know where they are and my husbands not cheating on me

    • Katy Lee says:

      I’m in the same place with my son. We limit him to certain days and hours. It does change their personality.

      And CONGRATS! I hear you are the winner! I hope you enjoy Mel and Jeremy’s story!!!

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