Books Young Adult

C. Lee McKenzie, author, of Sudden Secrets sits down for an interview

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee McKenzie I LOVE interviews!

They’re a chance to get to know authors better and see how their minds work. Today I’m interviewing C. Lee McKenzie who wrote Sudden Secrets.  You might not know this but I’m pretty sure the C stands for Chariot and the Lee is short for for Leeks, those cute little oniony things that look like mini pompoms. Chariot Leeks. Great name, majestic and helpful.

UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN:  Welcome to our interview! Let’s get started. Do you drink coffee?

C. Lee McKenzie: I absolutely do. It must be freshly ground, dark roasted, preferably from Costa Rica, and sold to me by Tim at the Roasting Company. Other than that, I’m not too fussy.

UL: Oh, Tim. Yeah I like that guy too.  Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?

CLM: We’ll I’d have to resign from the human race if I didn’t like these. However, I seldom eat donuts. When I do, I’m a devoted dunker. Cookies I don’t dunk. I like them crunchy.

UL: Hopefully with sprinkles? Now for the hard stuff, how did your book get started?

CLM: This one has been inside my head for a long time. It started with a story I heard about a recluse. I had a hard time understanding how anyone could lock themselves away and never step outside their house. Then I went to an exhibit of the haute couture of the 40’s-90’s, and somehow these two idead merged. If I understood why, I’d tell you.

UL: Yeah hmmmm that is an interesting concept. What else have you written?

CLM: Sliding on the Edge (Westside Books) was my debut novel, then came The Princess of Las Pulgas (same publisher). Double Negative was my third young adult book and my first one with Evernight Teen. I write realistic-contemporary stories, but when I needed a break, I wrote Alligators Overhead and a sequel, The Great Time Lock Disaster. These are middle grade stories, and there’s very little that’s realistic about either of them. 

When I first started writing I wrote a lot of short stories, and I was lucky enough to have several of them published. I hope to pull those together into a collection one of these days. And speaking of collections, I really love being asked to contribute to anthologies, so I do. I have three stories in three different anthologies now: The First Time, Two and Twenty Dark Tales, and most recently, Beware the Little White Rabbit.

UL: Wow. You’ve been really really busy.  If you could have any superpower what would it be?

CLM: Flying. Absolutely. I’ve always dreamed of having an eagle’s view of the world.

UL: Ah me too. Kindred spirits! What makes you happy?

CLM: Just about anything. I’m really easy to make happy. Good coffee. Interesting conversation. Quiet writing time. A great hike up a mountain. Pasta.

UL: Pasta! Wrapping up now, anything else you want to tell us?

CLM: It’s always fun to be a guest on blogs that are about writing and writers. I’ve enjoyed visiting yours for a while now, so this “appearance” is very exciting. I’m probably going to go into hibernation come November, so I can finish a book and take a trip, but other than that, I’m planning on staying in touch with my blogging community and connecting with writers and readers as much as possible.

See how wonderful Chariot Leeks McKenzie is? Check out her other works at her blog  and find her on Twitter. I’m just gonna tip toe around that alligator tho…

Books Children

Interview with Maggie Mitchell Author of The Big Stink

I love having friends who write books for ME! I have a friend, Maggie Mitchell, who among other things is a children’s writer. She wrote a lovely

book called the Big Stink, which I will be reviewing later.

The Big Stink by Maggie Mitchelle

Mags graciously sat down with me for a lil ole interview.  Let’s step into the mind of Maggie Mitchell, shall we?

UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN: Welcome to our interview! Let’s get started. Do you drink coffee?

MAGGIE MITCHELL: I haven’t had any caffeine in 5 weeks! I don’t need a medal or a parade for that feat, it’s just something I wanted to do for my own personal health. Prior to that point, however, I did enjoy coffee ‘drinks,’ but I never got into a cup of joe from a countertop coffeepot. Say that three times fast.

UL. coffeepot coffeepot coffeepot. I win!  Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?

MM: No dunking. I like my beverage & carbohydrate entities to remain separate, unless there are Oreos and milk involved. I love to bake cookies…and eat them…but if I had to choose, I’d go with a donut that someone else made!

UL: Donuts for the win! We’re kindred spirits. How did your book get started?

MM:  After my daughter was born in 2010, I had a great compulsion to write. I wrote The Big Stink as a response to a particularly profound stink bug invasion that fall, coupled with sad, sad stories I was hearing on the news about the outcomes of bullying in schools. I took something serious and something not-so-serious and developed a story. I love that inspiration can just strike! I was open to it and it found me and I have a book to show for it as the proof!

UL: That’s the great thing about inspiration; it STRIKES! So, tell me, what else have you written?

MM: I wrote Kacey the Papercat in 2012, which is a poetic ode to our big male Tuxedo cat. He’s actually laying at my feet as I type this. I used to write my own blog, but as my daughter got older and when my son was on his way (he was born in December 2014), it became clear to me that blogging was not the way I wanted to use my “extra” time, so I went off the grid. I like it off the grid. I think I’ll stay.

UL: (singing: “Kacey the Papercat…something something where it’s at.”) I hope you like the theme song I just wrote for you. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

MM: Since I am a mom, I can already read minds and predict the future, so those are out. I’m going to have to say flying. If I’m going to be up high, though, I like going fast. I am not a fan of ferris wheels. My superpower would have to be fast flying.

UL: YES!! Flying! What makes you happy?

MM: I think most moms out there would agree with me when I said that seeing my children happy makes me happy. However, I’m going to come right out and say that being alone also makes me very happy. There is nothing so lovely as taking a nap in the middle of the day and waking up naturally to a quiet house. Or sitting on the beach for as long as I like without interruption. I think I’ve done those things before, perhaps in a past life.

UL: hmmmm I can agree.  Something about being alone with your thoughts is glorious. Wrapping up now, anything else you want to tell us?
MM:Wear sunscreen, don’t be afraid of color & mixing patterns, and, from Death of a Salesman, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Because personality always wins the day.”
UL: Well said, Mags.

Isn’t Maggie just the coolest? Stay tuned for my review of her anti bullying book on this channel!

See you soon!