Friday's Interesting People features C. Lee McKenzie

Please help me welcome author C. Lee McKenzie whose new book was just released, NOT GUILTY. I am a part of her MC Book Tour Blog adventure. Before we get to Lee's question and answer segment below, let's find out more about this wonderful writer and her books. Also be sure to enter C. Lee McKenzie's giveaway linked below. Let's begin, shall we?

Not Guilty by C. Lee McKenzie
Publication Date: October 25, 2019
Genre: Young Adult

          A blood-smeared knife. One young man’s word against another. A lifetime dream crushed.
          The evidence points to Devon Carlyle. He was there when it happened. Everyone knows he had it in for Renzo Costa. And Costa says Devon was the one. In the judge’s rap of a gavel, Devon’s found guilty of assault. The star of the Oceanside High’s basketball team loses his shot at the one thing he’s worked so hard for—the championship game where college scouts could see how good he is.
          Now he makes his great shots in Juvenile Hall with kids far different from those that have always been in his life.
          Angry? Hell, yes.
          He’s bent on finding who did the crime. He’s bent on making them pay because he’s Not Guilty.
          But can he prove it?

For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. She has published five young adult novels: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, and Sudden Secrets. Not Guilty is her most recent one.

          Sometimes she likes to jump into the world of the fantastic and when she does, she writes for the middle-grade reader. Some Very Messy Medieval Magick is the third book in the time-travel adventures of Pete and Weasel, with Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster being the first two. Sign of the Green Dragon, a stand-alone, takes the reader into ancient Chinese dragon myths and a quest for treasure.
          When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot of questions about things she still doesn’t understand.

For more information on Lee and her writing, connect with her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and at her Website. Here is the author page at Amazon with her book listings.  Goodreads is found here.

NOT GUILTY can be found Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

The author’s other young adult books include: Sliding on the Edge, Princess of Las PulgasDouble NegativeSudden Secrets

With Halloween recently celebrated, Lee’s giving away five digital copies of NOT GUILTY and a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. This tour-wide giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 5th.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. (SORRY FOLKS TERESA COULDN'T GET THE WIDGET TO VISIT!)You may still sign up by clicking HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Let’s get to know Lee better!

T: What’s the craziest way you found an idea to write about?  

Lee:  All of my ideas sneak up on me. For my idea sources, I can point to articles I’ve read (not too crazy, I guess), hikes on a mountain trail, bending over to pick up a piece of trash, or stubbing my toe—that was kind of crazy because afterward I got the idea for Double Negative—must have been the pain and the hopping around while holding onto my foot that generated that one. For Not Guilty, I really had the idea in my head for years, and then went to hear an author talk about his book on injustice in the US legal system. That nailed it. I wrote the story. 

T:  Do you plot your stories or fly by the seat of your pants? And does this match your everyday style?

Lee: I’m a pantser through and through. I like some order in my life-some routine, some lists-- but I’m an early adopter of new ideas, and I like to take chances. If someone says, “Want to go river rafting?” I say yes without bothering to find out if I’m heading down a Class II or a Class V. I like to be surprised. My stories do that for me, too. I never know where they’re going to take me. Life’s an adventure. I treat it that way. 

T: Have you ever surprised yourself with something that you wrote? Do you want to share? 

Lee: I’ve surprised myself with just about every book and every short story I’ve ever written. I have no idea where all those words came from. I often think there’s a magic elf that sneaks in during the night and cobbles together the stories. I wish he or she would also do the dishes and the laundry, but that never seems to happen. I’m left to do the heavy lifting, the boring parts, while that elf has all the fun writing stories. 

T: Out of the books that you’ve written, do you have a favorite character and why him or her? 

Lee: For me, choosing a favorite character would be like choosing a favorite child of mine. I just can’t do it. Each of them are a part of me, and they’ve lived inside my head for years, so when I think of them, I remember who they are and why they’re special and how I love them. I thought about one character the other day and realized she’d be twenty-six now. Oh how I wish I could see the person she’s become.   

T: Is it important to be a part of a writing community either online or in-person? Explain.

Lee: Both are absolutely essential! Without my critique group, without the Insecure Writers Support Group, I don’t think I could have continued. I certainly wouldn’t have learned as much as quickly. And I’ve relied on these people for so much help. The amazing thing is that they’ve never let me down. 

Now for some fun stuff! 

T:  As a child or youth were you (a.) a Loner (b.) a Leader (c.) a Bossy Flossy (d.) a Follower or (e.) Shy? 

Lee: I was pretty much in the Loner category. I moved around a lot, so I never had time to really settle in and connect with kids my age for the long-term. My early life of never settling in one place has done two things, it has given me the freedom to explore without too much concern about being alone in a strange place, and it has made me cherish where I call home. I love leaving. I love coming back. 

T: Imagine this: You’re in the witness protection program. You get to choose your new name and an imaginary past. Even though you shouldn’t tell us about it, please do! 

Lee: Okay, but this is very hush hush. If you share what I’m about to tell you, I could be in serious trouble. Oh, well. I’m always in serious trouble, so here goes. My name's Katrina. I used to be part of the royal court in Rustonia, and I, well, to be delicate, “lifted” a few Crown Jewels. Just a few. How they could be so upset about those tiaras was beyond me, but, hey…they were stuffy old aristocrats. My plan was to fence the tiara, join Juan Carlos in Biarritz, and live it up. Well, that didn’t happen. They caught me at the airport. Never trust a nosy Beagle near your suitcase. They can sniff out anything, including diamonds--so I discovered. However, the arrest was rather exciting because the hunk of NCB (for the uniformed, that’s National Central Bureau) was well worth the experience. In fact, with my new identity, I’m off to Biarritz to meet the guy who arrested me. 

T: Now you’re a kid again and you’re walking to school. Who from this list would you choose to walk with: Winnie the Pooh, Dorothy (of Oz), Harry Potter? Now tell us the first thing you will say to your new walk-mate. 

Lee: I guess I’d choose Dorothy, and the first thing I’d say to her is, “Have you re-thought Kansas?” No! That’s not right. My mom would have been really angry if I said that. She was a Kansas girl, you see. So I’d say to Dorothy, “What’s your next adventure, and can I come along?"

Thank you, Lee, for sharing your answers. Thank you to the readers for visiting. Don’t forget to enter Lee's giveaway! Really, go do it! 

Have you read any of Lee's books? Do you enjoy stories where the underdog becomes the champion? Who would you want to walk to school with and why: Winnie the Pooh, Dorothy (of Oz), Harry Potter?


This tour was brought to you by:


nashvillecats2 said…
A good interview to a wonderful author and I'm sure a successful new book.

Mason Canyon said…
Love the interview, especially the witness protection part. Teresa, thanks for being a part of Lee's tour.
These are great interview questions and answers!! They made me think this morning. :) I think I'd *like* to be the sort of person who'd walk to school with Harry Potter, but I'm really the type more comfortable with Pooh...
Well done, Katrina! Hope the magic elf keeps visiting you.
Thanks all for visiting. Lee's answers are great.
cleemckenzie said…
I'd like for this one to do well. I've got my fingers crossed.
cleemckenzie said…
I like it when have a chance to have some fun, and Teresa gave me that here today.
cleemckenzie said…
Pooh is the safest. Harry might get you into a lot of trouble, so you've chosen well.
cleemckenzie said…
Thanks so much for helping me get the word out about Not Guilty. This has been a great visit.
Anytime, Lee! Good luck and blessings on your new book.
Fundy Blue said…
Hi, Teresa and Lee! A fun post for sure! I always like learning more about fellow IWSG members. Yes, I have recently read one of Lee's books: "Some Very Messy Medieval Magic." I thoroughly enjoyed it, and plan to read more of Lee's books. I credit Lee with getting me back into journal writing daily which I had neglected for too long. She had challenged herself to write 100 words a day for 100 days ~ I think that's how it went. Regardless, I'm back at the daily routine, and I am grateful. I'm also enjoying your FIP posts, Teresa. I would definitely want to walk home with Harry Potter. Pooh and Dorothy are my early childhood friends ~ but Harry has a much darker more challenging life. Besides, I would love to play Quidditch! Wishing Lee lots of success with her latest book!
Being spontaneous would be exciting. I don't think I have ever just done anything exciting without planning ahead. One day, I will!
Hi Teresa and Lee - what a great interview ... and what fun to become Katrina and change sides to do good - even with a hulk of an NCB officer ... Biarritz is a great rendezvous place. Wonderful idea coming out of stubbing your toe ... fun to read Lee ... cheers to you both. I'd go with Pooh ... but my brain takes me to all places we'd natter away about all sorts ... I wonder if he likes all sorts - I guess he'd be happy with honey ones! The All Sorts we have here are Liquorice based ... cheers Hilary
cleemckenzie said…
I need to go back and see if I actually followed through on that commitment. My goodness. I wonder if I'd been drinking when I made it? :-)
cleemckenzie said…
Oh, you must. I find it quite freeing. Happened today actually. I met a kid who said he loved to read. I said, "Want to read what I write?" He said, "Yes." I gave a book. Just happened to have one in me bag, you see. Boy Scouts training. Be Prepared, but Girls Scouts training . Be spontaneous.
cleemckenzie said…
I can imagine you and Pooh nattering away. What a beautiful moment that would be.

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