Saturday, November 6, 2010


Have you ever done anything kind of embarrassing. Something that makes it look like your brain is made of jello and it's been sitting in the sun all day? Well I HAVE.

And I did it again!!!!! I took C.  Lee McKenzie's interview and mixed it up with another author's answers and ended up giving C. Lee a whole new set of siblings she doesn't even have.  Can you see how red my face is from where you're sitting. Because it is.

My apologies to the still ultra gorgeous (inside and out) author of two Young Adult books from Westside Books, C. Lee McKenzie.

Now. Here`s the real interview with C. LEE about her real sister!

Sorry for being a dorky dork....So....where do you fit into the birth order in your family? What is the age difference between you and your sister?

C.LEE :  I'm the oldest, and my sister is nine years younger than I am, so I got to be Big Sister and do lots of Big Sister things to her. Actually, I don't think I treated too badly, and, when we were older, we even lived together for a while when she needed a place to stay while she found work. It was really nice because I was trying to finish my B.A. and I'd just returned from overseas in time to have a baby. Things were a bit confusing and she helped me a lot. We had fun.

Now that sounds like good sister bonding. What is the best part about having your sister?

C. LEE: I think the best part is that she has two great kids, my niece and and nephew. I really love them, and I really love that she's added some wonderful people to our family. Also she likes the outdoors like I do, so we've shared a lot of bike trips together and some hiking. We used to try a hike up some challenging mountain at least once a year for our birthday celebrations, but we've both been off doing other things so much that we haven't been able to hike together for a while.

That does sound like a sister I'd imagine you with! Climbing mountains together. How cool!So what is the most challenging thing about being sisters?

C.LEE :  I suppose it' s that we're so different and we do such different things that at times we can't communicate well. She's really into clinical trials at a major hospital and at this time is doing a lot of work on Hunter Syndrome, among other diseases that I've never heard of. I'm off in the YA/MG book world and know very little about health issues beyond the occasional headache I get from staring at a computer screen too long while I write.

Hee hee. Oops. But that was funny about the headaches.  I'm sure though when you really need to communicate about important personal stuff, the differences aren't as important. So. What are your roles in the family?

C. LEE:  I take care of Mom. That's a big role right now. My sister is really busy, so she has pretty much turned over that responsibility to me. But maybe that's not fair. I guess I took it on because I wanted to. I want my mother's final years to be as good as I can make them. I don't want to look back and wish I'd done more. I did the same for my dad and I've never regretted the time I spent with him.

I know in talking to you that you have been very very busy looking after your Mom. It's a big responsibility - oh how the roles they do reverse when we get older, right.  I guess you got that role for a reason. Your Mom and your sister are lucky to have you there for her!  So. What is your fave childhood memory of your sister?

C.LEE:  One Easter Sunday I snipped that little black elastic band on her Easter hat. Well, she wouldn't listen to her Big Sister and wear that stupid elastic under her hair like I told her. No. She insisted on putting it under her chin! How could I go to church with my sister looking like a dork? Dork was the teen word at the time for Geek. Man, did she scream! I thought it was funny, but nobody else saw the humor. I don't know if she even remembers. Guess I should ask.

Well. Compared to some of the things I've heard and seen, that's not so bad!!! I think she will forgive you! What is something you never tell your sister, but you should?

C. LEE:  Wow. That's hard. I've told her how proud I am of her accomplishments. She returned to college after several years as an office manager for a doctor and earned an MA at UC Berkeley. That was awesome. Then she worked her way into the hospital and a great career in something she really loves. I've told her how much I admire her for what she's done, but maybe I should do that more often. Maybe it's a case of more would be better.

Or, maybe she knows. Sometimes we don`t have to say it over and over, for it to be known, but how nice that you have such respect for her! How does your sister feel about having an "author sister?"

C. LEE:   She's probably wondering what in the world I'm thinking, but she doesn't say so. She's been supportive by coming to my first book launch and has given thoughtful book gifts that I've enjoyed and that have been helpful in this journey I'm on.

Yay for sister support! Well. Nine years is a pretty big difference when you`re young, but it sounds like you and your sister have worked out a great relationship that works for you.
C.Lee and her sister

Native Californian C. Lee McKenzie has always been a writer. But she's also been a university professor and administrator, and for five years, she wrote and published a newsletter for university professors. She's published articles on linguistics and intercultural communication, as well as on general magazine topics. Her fiction and nonfiction for young readers has been published in the award-winning e-zine, Stories for Children, and Crow Toes Quarterly has published her ghostly tales. Writing for teenagers keeps Lee in touch with young members of her family, and lets her revisit those wonderful teen years when everything is possible. When she isn't writing, Lee hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Los Gatos, California.
Look for C.Lee's new YA  this winter, THE PRINCESS OF LAS PULGAS.
After her father's slow death from cancer, Carlie thought things couldn't get worse. But now, she is forced to confront the fact that her family in dire financial straits. To stay afloat, her mom has had to sell their cherished oceanfront home and move Carlie and her younger brother Keith to the other side of the tracks to dreaded Las Pulgas, or "the fleas" in Spanish. They must now attend a tough urban high school instead of their former elite school, and on Carlie's first day of school, she runs afoul of edgy K.T., the Latina tattoo girl who's always ready for a fight, even on crutches. Carlie fends off the attention of Latino and African American teen boys, and one, a handsome seventeen-year-old named Juan, nicknames her Princess when he detects her aloof attitude towards her new classmates. What they don't know is that Carlie isn't really aloof; she's just in mourning for her father and almost everything else that mattered to her. Mr. Smith, the revered English teacher who engages all his students, suggests she'll like her new classmates if she just gives them a chance; he cajoles her into taking over the role of Desdemona in the junior class production of Othello, opposite Juan, after K.T. gets sidelined. Keith, who becomes angrier and more sullen by the day, spray paints insults all over the gym as he acts out his anger over the family's situation and reduced circumstances. Even their cat Quicken goes missing, sending Carlie and Keith on a search into the orchard next to their seedy garden apartment complex. They're met by a cowboy toting a rifle who ejects them at gunpoint from his property. But when Carlie finds him amiably having coffee with their mom the next day -- when he's returned her cat -- she begins to realize that nothing is what it seems in Las Pulgas.


  1. Great interview and looks like a great book!

  2. Oh, Sister Saturday is fabulous. I look forward to reading The Princess of Las Pulgas as much as I do Weight of Bones!

  3. Great interview, guys!! :)

  4. Thanks, Janet. I enjoyed my visit here a lot. What a great idea your Sister Saturday is. I'll come back to see what other sisters have to say. Also I want to find out who that person was who was lucky enough to have all those siblings! :-)

  5. Ooh, I have to share too. I have 6 sisters and 2 stepsisters. I'll try to do something this coming Saturday!