Interview with C. Lee McKenzie
C. Lee McKenzie
I have to honestly say I don’t know. I just always wrote something: diaries, notebooks, notes in margins of books, ideas for titles on the back of grocery receipts. Writing is just what I’ve always done. I only started to put out the fiction I wrote for others to read starting in 2009. I think I’m addicted!
Did you get nervous the first time you put your work out there?
Absolutely. Writing can be very private, very personal. Now, since I’ve been sharing writing and critiquing for a while that’s not a problem. I write for others to read, so I’ve gone over a major hurdle.
What is your favorite genre to write?
I’m very fond of contemporary realistic young adult fiction, but I also love middle grade fiction that has some fantasy and adventure in the story. I think those middle grade years are so wonderful: kids are just on the verge of the teen years, struggling to fit in and not sure what kind of critters they really are.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I read a lot of non-fiction. I know. I know. I write fiction, so why do I love non-fiction? I don’t know. I just do. But I read fiction as well. I’m very fond of historical fiction. And there I go again. I don’t write historical fiction, but I read it. Maybe I just like to read what I don’t write. Still I read my friends’ books and a lot of them write YA and MG. That’s always exciting–to know someone and to read what they write.
Do you have a favorite author?
Not one, but about a zillion. F. Scott Fitzgerald, S. E. Hinton, Steinbeck, E.B. White. Every time I answer this question I think I add a few new author names to the list. Our world is filled with wonderful and compelling writers. I just can’t seem to say one is my favorite.
Is there something you want to write about, that you haven’t yet?
That’s a hard question to answer. I’ve written about issues that grabbed at my heart: cutting, suicide, death and loss. I do have a couple of stories that I have almost ready to go out. These are about issues that I haven’t tackled before: abuse is one and the other is about a fragmented family and its secrets.
What is one silly fact about you?
I love hot fudge sundaes. Is that silly? I try to have at last one major hot fudge sundae session a year and I mean a major one. I want real ice cream, absolutely the fudgiest fudge topping available, nuts galore and, if possible, two maraschino cherries. After I gorge myself on that I can wait another year. . . so can my waistline.
Do you have a favorite character you have written so far?
Interesting. You’re the second interviewer to ask me that question. The first time I had to give this a lot of thought. Now I have my answer. He’s not a main character, but he’s one that I’d like to explore more. He appeared in my first book, Sliding on the Edge. His name is Kenny and he’s a Vietnam vet with a lot tragedy in his past and a huge heart. If I ever get around to it, I’d like to create a story and dig deeper into Kenny.
Does that reflect anyone you know?
No. My characters come from so many composites that if I tried to explain who they reminded me of, I’d fail . . .totally. Even if I start with a person in mind, s/he’s soon lost and the character takes on a life of his or her own.
Spaghetti or Lasagna and why?
Spaghetti. I love the slurping part, you know, when you get to slurp those noodles through your lips. I only do that when I’m alone, mind you. And I feel so sneaky and so pleased with myself because I was never allowed to do that when I was little. Free to do whatever I please with my spaghetti noodles at last!
If you could meet a character from any novel who would it be?
Well, since I was ten and read The Last of the Mohicans, I’ve always had a crush on Hawkeye. I’d like to meet him.
Anything you want to say the aspiring writers reading the blog?
Aspire away and enjoy the process. Even when things aren’t going the way you’d like, take a moment and figure out what you’re learning from the situation you’re in at the moment.
Thank you so much!
Thank you, Emily. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions. Lee
B & N
Alligators, witches and a spooky mansion aren’t your average neighbors unless you live at the edge of the Ornofree swamp in the backwater town of Hadleyville. The town’s bad boy, Pete Riley, may only be twelve, but he’s up to his eyeballs in big trouble, and this time he isn’t the cause. This time the trouble arrives when a legendary hundred-year-old mansion, materializes next door and the Ornofree alligators declare war to save their swamp from bulldozers. Things only get worse when Pete’s guardian aunt and several of her close friends vanish while trying to restore order using outdated witchcraft. Now Pete must find his aunt and stop the war. He might stand a chance if his one friend, Weasel, sticks with him, but even then, they may not have what it takes.