I'm not supposed to be here this week, but one of my debut people had to postpone and I didn't want to contact all the rest to reschedule, so since I'm still technically a debut novelist I thought I'd pop in and take this slot. Besides I had some business to take care of, so here's the business first and ABOUT DEBUT ME next.
First, Carla Mooney has announced the winner of a signed copy of Owen and His Dragon. Sooooo, Julie Musil contact Carla through her website and give her your mailing address. Congratulations!
A native Californian I grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in some beautiful coastal mountains where I live with my family and miscellaneous pets—usually strays that find me rather than the other way around. I write a lot these days, garden in the spring and summer, hike and do yoga. I love to travel, but find being at home really wonderful. My favorite destinations are Turkey and Nicaragua, but because I have family in England, Switzerland, and Spain I love going there as well.
I used to be a lecturer and administrator at California State University, San Jose. My field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communication has carried me to a lot of places in the world to explore different cultures and languages. I hate to brag, but I can say, "Where's the toilet?" and "I'm lost!" in at least five languages and two dialects.
In my books I take on issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. In SLIDING ON THE EDGE I tackled cutting and suicide. In my next book, THE PRINCESS OF LAS PULGAS, that's due out in fall of this year I write about people who lose everything and must rebuild their lives. I just finished a first draft of a third YA novel that deals with juvenile neglect and Alzheimers.
I'm told my stories are "gritty," but not dark. I hope not. My main theme in all of my writing is that there is hope and there is a possibility for all of us to surmount the most difficult challenges. According to astrophysicists we are made of stardust, so it's my premise that we can shine even in the darkest space.
The advice to writers who want to publish is always the same: write what you love or feel strongly about, don't give up, get a good critique group, pay attention to the rules of submission.
Here's more that I feel are important: develop a sense for when you should move on to another project, learn when to write "The End" so the story doesn't drag on after it should, play fair and be kind.
SO ARE YOU UP FOR WINNING A SIGNED OR UNSIGNED COPY OF SLIDING ON THE EDGE? I have one right here on my desk that needs a home. Write me something about surmounting a difficult challenge, what it was, how you did it, what you learned by doing it.
I look forward to reading your comments and hope you'll join me on Twitter @cleemckenzie and Facebook.