Today I am excited to be able to bring you an interview with author C. Lee McKenzie who wrote the story Into The Sea of Dew which is a dark retelling of Blinkin, Winkin and Nod. There is also a great chance to win an ebook, so be sure to check that out. First here is a bit more about the book:
Two and Twenty Dark Tales
by Various Contributing Authors (Click the Goodreads link to see them all)
published October 16th 2012 by Month9Books
In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.
Interview with C. Lee McKenzie1) Convince us to read your story in 140 words or less, twitter style!
What if you were one of four in a lifeboat? What if you were the only girl? What if you might be the last survivor?
2) What inspired you to write Into The Sea of Dew?
I've always loved the nursery rhyme, Winkin' Blinkin' and Nod and I loved the phrases like "nets of silver and gold," "that misty sea," "of crystal light" and--of course--"into the sea of dew." To me these were so beautiful. I wanted to weave some of that into the tale, so that while my version of the story would be dark, the language wouldn't be. I also have always been charmed by the idea of the three fishermen tucked inside a wooden shoe that becomes the baby's trundle bed, rocking him gently while he dreams. The fantasy seemed all the more exciting when I was little because of the connection to the real world. I could close my eyes and imagine a bed becoming a shoe cast onto an open sea. It was lovely and scary at the same time. I hoped to create that same feeling in my short story.
3) Do you have a writing room? What does it look like?
Oh yes, I do. My office is perched on the second story of our house and looks out onto a forest canyon. If you find a lot of trees or canyons in my books, that's why! As to what the room looks like I guess I'd say it's as close to being outdoors as I can make it. I have a wall of windows--it's that tree/canyon thing, you see. I have tons of books and a desk that takes up about nine feet of space. I splurged a few years ago and treated myself to a desk that would accommodate me, my writing, my cat and my almost-outdoor-writing room. I keep pictures on the wall next to my computer of my favorite places, mottos (Never Give Up is one.) and things to do. "Write Great Books" has been there for a while. If I had only three words to describe my writing room they'd be: light, hope, possibility.
4) I see that you write young adult as well as middle grade novels. How does writing one genre differentiate to the other? Do you prefer to write one more than the other?
They're very different critters in many ways, yet crafting a story for either one is still the same. You have to create fleshed out characters, have good pacing, write prose that creates images and excitement, so people will enter the story and stay there. The characters are younger in MG than YA and they have different kinds of goals and needs. What that means is the themes are very different. In MG, most kids are still trying to fit into their families or communities. In YA, teens are trying to establish their own identities, separate from their parents. I love to write both because they present different challenges and switching keeps me fresh and on my toes. When I'm writing YA I hang around the teen fringes to hear and watch. When I'm writing MG I get to play with the kids and talk.
5) What are you currently working on?
I've just sent another MG off to my readers. It's a sci-fi fun story about visitors from Murrg--a wanna be planet. I'm still into my play with the young kids mode, so I've set aside my YA manuscripts for a time, although, I have a couple with an editor who's reading them.
This or that:
A) Coffee or Tea? Coffee unless I have a cold, then it's green tea.
B) Vanilla or Chocolate? Chocolate, especially hot fudge on ice cream or Almond Rocca.
C) Paperbook or ebook? Euuu. Very hard. I love both, but crave eBooks when I travel.
D) Morning or night? Morning, hands down.
E) Cake or pie? Pie. Fresh, hot apple. I'm very Americana when it comes to my pie.
F) Peeta or Gale? Peeta.
Your writing room sounds absolutely stunning! And I totally agree that ebooks are just much more convenient when you are on the move. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!
C. Lee's Website / Facebook / Goodreads
In her other life--the one before she began writing for teens and younger readers--C. Lee was a teacher and administrator at California State University, San Jose. Her field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communication has carried her to a lot of places in the world to explore different cultures and languages. She can say, “Where’s the toilet?” and “I’m lost!” in at least five languages and two dialects.
Her idea of a perfect day is one or all of the following: starting a new novel, finishing writing a blockbuster novel, hiking on a misty morning trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains, saying Namaste after a great yoga practice, sipping a cappuccino topped at a bustling café, reading in front of a fire with snow outside, swimming in an ocean someplace.
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