Sometimes, I just plain don’t recall how I met people and that’s the case with Lee McKenzie but I am so very glad to host her today for Friend Friday. Take it away, Lee!
A Writer’s Journey
Writing is an interesting and unpredictable journey. When I started, I had no idea I’d be writing young and middle grade books. My only thought was, “I’d like to write something I would read.”
Mostly I enjoy writing realistic, contemporary young adult novels. However, a steady diet of tough issues teens face today leaves my writer’s well a little dry at times, so I like mixing it up when it comes to what I write.
Non-fiction articles are perfect for balance, and I’ve tackled everything from Vermiculture for kids to an article about a Tuatara. If you’re curious about either topic, click on its title below.
A couple of years ago, I took a leap into a middle grade fantasy adventure, Alligators Overhead. I loved writing the story about Pete Riley, the town rascal, and his sidekick, Weasel, while they saved an endangered wetlands. I loved it so much, I’ve just finished a sequel. This one’s The Great Time Lock Disaster. Once again the rascal and his bookish friend get into all kinds of trouble that I hope will delight young readers.
However, there is one story I want to write, but can’t seem to.
Why? I can write stories for beginning readers and teens; I’ve written and published fiction and non-fiction, so what’s stopping me from writing one story I really want to see come to the page?
You see the story is really my dad’s. It’s about his life as a boy who grew up in hardship. It tells about his struggle to leave behind a terrible boyhood and make a good life for himself. It tells about his years at the university on a scholarship, his marriage, his war years.
Maybe the reason I can’t finish it is he should have written it; then it would be right.
When he was alive, I worried what he’d say if he read how I set down the events he’d told me. What if I didn’t have them the way he wanted?
Since he’s gone, I hesitate because I think, well, he’s not here to correct me. I’m writing his life through my filter, and it could be all wrong.
I’ve obviously gone around on this issue. Finally, I’ve decided I’ll write it as a biography. I have no plans for publishing it, but I’d like it to be his “dash” fleshed out with the stories he told me during the years we shared.
Now I’ll have to learn a bit about writing biographies because, while I enjoy reading them, I know nothing about how to make them interesting enough to read.
Everyday I wonder where my writing journey will take me. Everyday I’m excited to wake up and see what will happen next.
Thanks for letting me stop by, Kirby. It’s such a pleasure to connect with you after so many years.
Lee is a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places, then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family and miscellaneous pets. She writes most of the time, gardens, hikes and does yoga a lot. She also travels whenever she can.
In her writing, she takes on modern issues that today’s teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide, was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives, came out in 2010. Double Negative (2014) is her third young adult novel, and her fourth, Sudden Secrets, will be out soon.
In 2012, her first middle grade novel, Alligators Overhead, was published and she’s just finished the sequel which she’s calling The Great Time Lock Disaster.
What a pleasure to be here today! Thanks so much, and I’m not surprised you don’t remember meeting me. It was years ago. However, I remember because you kept me writing when you told me I had a great kid’s voice in my first attempt at a story. Thanks for that.
Ah, more and more books for my TBR list. All Lee’s books look good. It was fun to learn about Worm Tea and what a tuatara is. I’m afraid I’m one of those who thought they were lizards. Thanks for an interesting post.
Henry will be glad to know you won’t call him a lizard anymore. Great to meet you, Rosi.
I’m looking forward to the Great Time Lock Disaster – what a terrific title! I like the idea of a biography as an homage to your father. I’m sure he wouldn’t “correct” anything because he’d know it was from your heart and not meant to be perfect.
Thanks, Lexa. You’re always kind with your words. I appreciate that.
Hi, C. Lee! Good luck with the biography of your dad. I loved my own dad desperately–at some level, I can relate. Oh, and I love the title “Alligators Overhead”! Looking forward to your new release this week at Evernight Teen!
Hi Marcus. Thanks for stopping in and saying hi! Glad you liked the title. I wrote the book so I could use it. That’s the truth.
Congrats on The Great Time Lock Disaster! I think it’s great that you want to write a biography about your dad. I’m sure he’d be very proud of you, and it would be something your family would treasure. Nice to meet you, Kirby!