- Lee McKenzie, where were you born?
I was born in California. If Iâ€™d been born in the 90â€™s I would have been called a Valley Girl because my hometown was in one of the largest agricultural areas in the state, Modesto. Fortunately, I wasnâ€™t born in the 90â€™s (or unfortunately because then Iâ€™d be much younger). I lived in a lot of other places, and then returned to my home state where I still live. When we came back to the states, we had the choice between living near the Pacific or living in the mountains with the trees. We chose the trees and drive to the beach.
Give me a brief Bio of you.
I write in two categories of fiction. I write contemporary/realistic young adult-crossover stories (Â Double Negative, Sudden Secrets, Princess of Las Pulgas and Sliding on the Edge). MyÂ middle grade fiction include adventure/fantasies Alligators Overhead, Great Time Lock Disaster, Some Very Messy Medieval Magic (Spring 2018) and Sign of the Green Dragon. I have a lot of magazine articles and stories out and about, and I have several short stories in anthologies. Short stories are a great break from writing novels, so thatâ€™s why I jump in to write them once in a while.
When Iâ€™m not forcing a story into submission, Iâ€™m traveling. Give me a ticket and Iâ€™m offâ€¦anywhere. It doesnâ€™t matter. However, no matter how much Iâ€™m excited to see other places, my heartâ€™s here in the USA. With all its faults and chaos, Iâ€™ve always called this place home. My background is in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, so I suppose thatâ€™s one of the reasons for my love of seeing other parts of the world. That and I have a lot of family and friends in different places.
My family says Iâ€™m an exercise nut, and theyâ€™re probably right. Writing takes a lot of sedentary time, so I make sure to off-set that with hiking and yoga â€¦ a lot. Also I love to cook and to eat, so the only way i can do that and fit in my clothes is to move this body around with some vigor.
What is the name of your book?
Well, I have 7 books in print ( I mentioned them above), so Iâ€™m not sure which one to choose. That would be kind of like giving preferential treatment to one of my kids. However, I do have a new one coming out May 15 called Some Very Messy Medieval Magic (a middle grade fantasy published by Dancing Lemur Press), so I can tell you a bit about that one without showing favoritism. The other book (anÂ anthology) that I have work in is Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime. My story is Heartless and itâ€™s a bit a departure for me since itâ€™s an adult crime piece set in Chicago in the 19th century. Actually, I set it during the great Chicago fire.
What genre is it?
Some Very Messy Medieval Magic is one of my middle grade fantasy/adventure stories, and Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime is an anthology of mystery and crime.
Give us a short synopsis or snippet of your book.
Peteâ€™s stuck in medieval England!
Pete and his friend Weasel thought theyâ€™d closed the Time Lock on their last time travel expedition. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless heâ€™s found.
Thereâ€™s only one solution – fledgling wizard Pete must take the pages place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Peterâ€™s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.
But what if the page remains lost – will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the earlâ€™s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes heâ€™s in over his young wizard head yet again.
In the short story for Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, I dabbled in a bit of horror, setting my story, Heartless, in the strict Victorian period where even the word, leg, was considered improper in polite conversation. I also chose to set the story to coincide with the Great Chicago fire, so thereâ€™s an element of a race against time and the flames that consumed so much of that city back in 1871.
Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself?
#1 I like to hike. I take one whenever I canâ€™t put words down that make sense or when someone tells me to.
#2 I iron my sheets. My mother once told me, I had a Princess and The Pea, attitude about my bed. I do. Smooth, white linen sheets make going to bed a treatâ€¦those and a book that I canâ€™t wait to return to.
#3 Pickles are my go-to snack when Iâ€™m upset. Chocolate doesnâ€™t do the trick. I save chocolate for when Iâ€™m happy.
How long have you been a writer or known that was something you wanted to do?
Iâ€™m not sure. Really. But I can tell you how long Iâ€™ve been writing fiction for publication. I sold my first book in 2009, so I must have started doing that in 2007 or 8. At least I had the idea for the book about that time, then the nerve to actually tell the story must have come right on the heels of inspiration. Using my trusty calculator (fingers and one toe) that makes it about eleven years. Iâ€™m still not sure itâ€™s what I want to do. I just know writing fiction is something that I want to get better at doing before moving on to my next great adventure.
What else might pique the readerâ€™s interest in your book?
Readers might like to see the trailer. Itâ€™s fun. I love those mini-movies. They make me crave popcorn. Hereâ€™s the link/embed code to the trailer for the adventures of Pete and Weasel.https://youtu.be/h59dYGrVQvs/Â <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/h59dYGrVQvs” frameborder=”0″ allow=”autoplay; encrypted-media” allowfullscreen></iframe>
And if they like knights and medieval castles with moats and magic, the story has all of that. Â Iâ€™ll be posting some great pictures of castles I visited last fall where the story took place. I even got to see King Ricard II’s private quarters, his personal toilet (a noble privilege) and some motes that I describe in the story. Iâ€™d only looked up all of that during the writing, but seeing them first-hand was great fun and I knew Iâ€™d written the descriptions accurately.
In Tick Tock: A Stick in Crime, the readers are going to find eleven very different, but riveting tales about crimes and mysteries and really dark hearts.
Where can we find your book?Â
All of my work is here.Â http://cleemckenziebooks.com
Â Some Very Messy Medieval Magic can be found here:
Â TickTock: A Stitch in Time can be found here: