Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Because of A Book with C. Lee McKenzie

Today I am pleased to bring you debut author, C. Lee McKenzie. Lee's YA book, Sliding on the Edge, was released in April. If you haven't read it, I suggest you pick it up.

Before I began writing fiction for teens and middle grade readers I was a lecturer and administrator at California State University, San Jose. My field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communication has carried me to a lot of places in the world to explore different cultures and languages. I’m multi-lingual in, "Where's the toilet?" and "I'm lost!"

If I had three wishes my first would be to have more wishes. My second would be to receive warning labels for any wish I made. Like, "If you actually find the money to buy a hundred-room castle in Scotland you'll have to clean it yourself." Or, "If you win the million-dollar lottery, all your relatives will visit." My third wish might be to cancel the first two wishes.

My idea of a perfect day is one or all of the following: starting a new novel, writing “The End” to a good or final draft of a novel, hiking on a misty morning trail, saying Namaste after a great yoga practice, sipping a cappuccino topped with chocolate at a bustling café, reading in front of a fire with snow outside, swimming in an ocean someplace.

Websites: http://cleemckenziebooks.com http://slidingontheedge.com
Blog: http://writegame.blogspot.com

Because of this Book:

The book that changed my life has to be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I wanted to be Alice from the moment I entered her world. I wanted to attend a tea party with the Mad Hatter and watch the Dormouse being stuffed inside the teapot. Croquet had been dull before I knew a flamingo could be croquet mallet–well, almost. If a cat grin could take on a life of its own, then what else might be possible? After reading about Alice I’d discovered that anything could happen if I only read a book.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that being on the other side of the reading process was writing. In Writingland I could take charge and create the people, the story, the setting just the way I wanted them. Behind me I’ve left a trail, bits and pieces of plays, poems, short and long stories—practice for learning what this storytelling is all about, but I never really considered publishing the fiction that I wrote until a few years ago. Then I thought about Alice—strange but true.

I thought about the pleasure I’d had of reading something written before I was born. “How magical,” I thought, “to send words and ideas ahead to readers who haven’t been born yet, especially words that might effect positive change.” It was pretty interesting to mull that over. And that’s when I began thinking about what would be worth sending forward. Whatever it might be I wanted it to last a while. I’ll never know if I’ve succeeded, but it feels good to have tried. Now I just hope my book stands up half as well as Mr. Lewis Carroll’s.

Thanks, Shelly for nudging me to return to my Wonderland memories. It has been a long time since I opened that book for the first time, but I was amazed at how vivid those moments inside Alice’s world remained.

About Sliding on the Edge:  Shawna Stone, sixteen, can handle anything from a Las Vegas hustle to skipping out on the rent. Scarred inside and out, she's survived with a tough, hardened attitude. Yet she's thrown when her mother abandons her in Vegas with only a bus ticket and the name and number of a stranger to call. Now this troubled, desperate teen finds herself on a Northern California horse ranch with Kay Stone, her steely, youngish, disillusioned grandmother,who overwhelms Shawna with rules and daily barn chores. Shawna will baffle Kay with her foul mouthed anger and shrugging indifference to everything--except the maltreated horse on the ranch next door. But it's worse than even Kay suspects: Shawna's driven to cut herself by that strange voice inside her head,which at times has been her only steady companion.Kay, brittle from the loss of her marriage and her only son, struggles to keep the ranch going with only Kenny, the broken down drifter she hired, to lean on. Wondering what secrets hide behind Shawna's barricade, Kay fears that unless she somehow helps this troubled girl, she could lose her last living family member. And Kay's own secret is the very one that's kept Shawna and her mother away for all these years. As this unlikely pair struggles to co-exist, will they overcome their inner suffering to build a bridge to each other, and together find the strength to transcend the past?

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powell's
Buy it at IndieBound

About Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:  One of the most magical concoctions in children's literature, Lewis Carroll's tale follows Alice into the upside-down, inside-out world of Wonderland where she attends the tea party of the Mad Hatter and plays croquet in the court of the Queen of Hearts 

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powell's 
Buy it at IndieBound

C. Lee has been gracious enough to offer up a giveaway in connection with her feature today.  Anyone who leaves a comment on this post from now until Friday, will be entered to win their choice of either a $10 gift certificate to their nearest indie bookstore, or a signed copy of Sliding on the Edge.  Your comment must be about the post, not just "enter me" or "That was a good post."  The winner will be chosen randomly and posted on Saturday. 


MJ said...

I love Alice in Wonderland too. Sitting on the Edge sounds great. I'd choose the signed copy.


Beth F said...

I always thought I'd wish for more wishes too! But I like the third wish, too -- granted wishes in fairy tales and folktales always end up going very wrong!

I loved this: “How magical,” I thought, “to send words and ideas ahead to readers who haven’t been born yet, especially words that might effect positive change.” And does leave one thinking...

I'd like the GC, because I like supporting indie bookstores.

BFish (dot) Reads (at) gmail

Pam said...

I've always struggled with the 3 wishes question but I love your warnings idea. That's often why I worry - I try to think about what can happen if I wish for certain things but the built-in warnings would be helpful.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Melanie said...

It must have been fun to visit all those places. That's one of my wises as I get older, to travel.

I've never read Alice in Wonderland. It sounds very interesting, and of course, I've seen the movie. It never ceases to amaze me how writers are able to transport readers into another world.

traveler said...

Thanks for this lovely and thought provoking post. I enjoy being able to imagine and dream about wishes that could become true. Sometimes they do but mine would be for great health and happiness as well as to travel and experience the joy of learning about new places.Sitting on the Edge sounds compelling.saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda Covella said...

I've read C. Lee's book--excellent! It was fun going to one of her book signings, too!

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