"We were the type of people who started talking about what we were going to have for dinner at breakfast. At dinner, we talked about what we were having tomorrow night."
Her grandmother, she swore, makes the best biscuits.
"I used to eat, like, four of them every weekend," she said.
Her love of food almost became a liability when she tried writing anything other than cookbooks or magazine articles.
Lee said she was stuck.
"All my characters were, like, this girl who worked in a bakery or this girl who worked in a restaurant," she said, "I could never come up with enough of a story to make it stick."
But two years ago, she was walking on the beach near her home in the Hamptons. Her marriage was over and she was trying to clear her head. The idea grabbed a hold of her and didn't let go.
"I went into my house and just started writing."
The story didn't come out in a single afternoon or even in a single month. Lee knew what she wanted to do and wrote the story at about 1,500 words per day.
"If I didn't meet my goal on a day, I doubled it the next," she said.
Surfing became part of the story because Lee had recently taken up the sport. She said it worked wonders on her. It was therapy, but also very spiritual -- a kind of communion with nature.
"I was so uncoordinated," she said. "This was the first sport I've had some achievement in. I can actually ride a wave, and I just really liked it."
Combining the two came naturally and while the premise may sound familiar, Lee said it's only a story.
"I took inspiration from my own life, from the lives of friends, and things I've witnessed over the years."
She's witnessed a lot and she's taken away some lessons. People are people, she said, regardless of wealth or celebrity. What they really want out of life is the same. That message may be familiar, too, but it's worth repeating.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.