Friday, July 6, 2012

Interview with C. Lee McKenzie

Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
C. Lee McKenzie
Hello C. and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Is there an amount of time you set aside to write each day or a word count goal? How do you measure if your day was a successful writing day?

I'm not an "organized" writer in any sense of the word. Some days I write nothing, but others I'll fill up pages. I've stopped worrying about goals and word counts and just let whatever happens be enough. I have days when what I write might as well be a grocery list. Then along comes all of this prose that I love. It's an amazing process and, as I see it, my job is to appreciate the good and the bad that is part of that process.

In the future when you look back on your writing and re-read your first novel what do you hope your reaction will be?

My biggest hope is that I'll discover it wasn't bad, but that I've moved on as a writer. I'd hate to return to a old piece and find that I haven't improved over time.

Have you already had a moment like this?

Oh, yes. I have this thirty pound manuscript that would best serve as a fire starter, but I hate to part with it. It reminds me that I knew nothing and that I now know something, just not enough. I'll never know enough about writing, and when I think I do, it will be time to go back to grocery lists and leave real writing to real authors.

What is your editing style? Do you write and re-write to perfection, do you tend to have a well thought out and clear first draft or read aloud when you edit?

I'm definitely a re-writer. I usually write one day and re-write the next after I've let my WIP rest over night. When I start a project, I write a one or two sentence summary of what my book is about--my elevator pitch. I put that at the top of each page in my header. As I write, I often tweak this sentence or two if my story takes a turn I hadn't included in the original idea. I don't read aloud until I'm satisfied with what's on the page. Reading aloud is usually my last go through before I send anything to my readers. I do catch a lot when I take that final edit step, and I'd recommend everyone hear her prose out loud.

What did it feel like to finish your first novel?

I was relieved to write The End, and I was very anxious. After all, I'd written a whole book with a beginning, a middle and an end; the real test was about to come. Would anyone find what I'd created worthwhile? Would this be a book I'd add to that thirty pound clunky manuscript in my closet? I remember that as a scary time.

How often do you read novels for joy or learning?

Oh yes. I read a lot. In fact, if I don't have a book started I feel incomplete. Some of my favorite writing is non-fiction. I'm fascinated by the way something that really happened can be told in an exciting, yet factual manner. I also love historical fiction. It's a great way to absorb a period or an event and enjoy learning about the past. Right now I'm in a library book club and I'm so excited about the books the group is selecting. So far this summer we've read Cutting for Stone, The Madonnas of Leningrad, Lark and Termite, The Tiger's Wife and now Provenance. Quite a variety.

Do you read multiple books at a time or limit yourself to just one?

I drive my family crazy because I usually have three or four books going at the same time. Each of them stick to one book at a time. I'm moody (also something that drives the people I live with a bit batty), so I often need to switch books to match how I'm feeling on a particular day.

Do you read while writing or steer clear until you are in between novels? Many authors fear undue influence , do you have these fears or certain authors you would love to be able to write in the same style as?

I read a lot when I'm writing, but I don't read YA very much. I know that sounds weird since that's what I write, but I deliberately avoid most of it. First, I don't write fantasy and that's a hot item and plentiful. I don't write dystrophia--also hot and plentiful. I don't want to be influenced by the realistic YA that's out there because I want to do it my way. I don't mean to imply that I don't like what's out. I do. And I read some, especially if a friend wrote it and I want to support them. As to writers whose style I like--I enjoy S. E. Hinton's style. I also really like Bryerson who keeps me ROFL, but I don't aspire to write in their styles. I have my way of writing and I can't do it any other way.

These have been some of the more interesting questions I've answered for a blog interview. Thanks for making this so enjoyable.

Awww thank you <3 and thank you for stopping by and participating in The Writers Voice! To all our readers out there, thank you for following The Writers Voice and happy reading!

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