Friday, January 21, 2011

Giveaway: The Princess of Las Pulgas and Interview with C. Lee McKenzie

The Princess of Las Pulgas
As part of Teen Book Scene, I have C. Lee McKenzie here, author of The Princess of Las Pulgas and Sliding on the Edge. She has graciously agreed to answer some questions for us today, and we have a giveaway!

--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
C. Lee McKenzie hikingCarlie Edmund has everything, then suddenly almost nothing. 

--How did you get the idea for the story?  

The truth is that I’d just sold my first book, Sliding on the Edge, and I’d planned to take that to the New York SCBWI conference for a special pre-conference critique. Well, there was no sense in having something critiqued when it had already been sold, and I didn’t want to waste my $50, so I sat down and wrote this: What would happen if an upscale family suddenly lost everything? How would they rebuild their lives? Then I wrote the opening scene so I’d have something for the pre-conference session. This was before the economic downturn, so what I didn’t anticipate was that Princess would be so topical. Sorry about that. I hope I didn’t contribute to the economic woes here in the U.S. Me and Madoff! Yikes. 

--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with? 

It’s always the minor characters that I don’t have a chance to really flesh out that fascinate me after I finish writing a book. In Princess, I’d really like to have dinner with Dolores. She has some things I’d like to hear about. What’s her family like in that little house with the plastic toys on the lawn? What gives her the calm strength that even K.T. respects? What does she want to study after high school? Will she have a chance at college? These are the questions I’d like her to answer over a really juicy hamburger.  

--What are some of your favorite books?  

Every time I have to choose a favorite book or even several I go in circles. Novels: Anything by H.S. Hinton. Norris. Austen. Or how about my favorite essayist, E.B White? I love Steinbeck, Styron, Guterson--especially his Snow Falling on the Cedars. You can see I have an eclectic set to choose from. In the end I have to say I have so many favorites and I look forward to finding more each time I pick up a book.  

--Do you still have much time to read?  

Not as much as I'd like. It seems as if writing has taken over a lot of my reading time. Still I do read, but instead of taking the time during the day, I'm apt to end my day with a good book just before I go to sleep. 

--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?  

I've just wrapped up another YA which is still not really titled. This one will have a male protagonist. Somehow it just turned out that a boy worked as the main character in this this story. I haven't submitted this one one yet, so there's nothing to say, except I hope someone likes it enough to give it a shot at being published. As to teaser here's a short synopsis: Hutch Mc Queen, isn’t stupid; he isn’t a bad boy either. Shackled by poor vision and poor reading skills, he squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. For almost sixteen years he’s been trapped between an abusive mother and an absentee father. As he struggles to find a way out, he lands in one mess after another. Then Maggie happens. A retired school teacher, whose “tough love” never allows one of her pupils to fail, she’s determined to give Hutch the way out that will work. But she may not have time.  Alzheimer’s disease is steadily stealing her keen mind. 

--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?  

That's easy. I'd pick Alice in WonderlandWhat a glorious adventure that would be. I'd love to talk to the caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat, play croquet with the Queen of Heartsor take tea with the Mad Hatter I've always wanted to be Alice for a day. Twenty-four hours would be heaven.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?  

I can't have any music on when I write. And while I love music and enjoy it often, it doesn't inspire my writing. Now, coffee, yes. That's always a good way to kick start a writing morning. 
--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?  

Flight. I'd love to soar over the mountains and skim the ocean's surface. Aerial views are so spectacular and exciting. They jiggle your brain and make you see things differently. If I could I'd be a Maximum Ride kind of kid.  

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time? 

I practice yoga. I hike. I love to dig in the dirt and see things I plant grow. Those are three things I do when I'm not writing. 

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers? 

I suppose I'd like to say thank you. I appreciate when people take their time to sit with my books and read them. Those that take even more of their precious time and write reviews deserve hugs. As a writer I spend a lot of time alone, so feedback on what I've produce is greatly appreciated.     

Part of tour with Teen Book Scene

And now for the contest:

-What? The Princess of Las Pulgas
-Where? US only please
-Who? Followers only
-When? Ends 1/31/11 11:59pm EST
Fill out the FORM

Extra entries may be gained by spreading the word (+4 blog, +2 each twitter, facebook, etc) and +2 each for meaningful 
(at least 2 sentences, not just saying Great review.) on my review of Princess, or the on interview


  1. What a great interview! I loved the author's picks for favourite books.

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! This book has been on my TBR list since I first saw it! :)

  3. Thanks so much for the giveaway! I've never heard of this book before but the interview and the summery sounds so good that I'm adding it to me TBR list!

  4. Thanks for hosting me here, Brandi. Enjoy connecting with you on your blog and on Twitter. You have a link on my side bar at the Write Game.

  5. Like your questions! Original and thought provoking. She sounds like a kind author.

  6. Oops, deduct 2 points ..I don't see your review of this book for me to comment. --In general this book sounds interesting.

  7. I also need coffee...all the time lol. I'm definitely an addict. I have a hard time concentrating when music is on in the background as well. I tend to get distracted by it and start singing or something.


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