Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.
There’s only one solution – fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.
But what if the page remains lost – will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again…
Returning to the Writer’s Gambit Spotlight is Author C. Lee McKenzie with her newest fantasy adventure release, Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. This is the third book in her middle-grade series: Alligators Overhead, The Great Timelock Disaster, and now, Some Very Messy Medieval Magic.
Welcome Lee, so glad to have you back. Now to the Interview.
1. Lee, what kind of trouble has Pete gotten himself and Weasel into this time in this third installment?
Poor Pete. This trouble is kind of left over from the last book, The Great Timelock Disaster, so technically, he hasn’t created a NEW disaster. Still, he has to go back in time and fix the problem. A young Page never returned to his own time during the timelock disaster, so Pete has to take his place until someone locates this lost boy and puts him where and when he belongs. Naturally, Weasel must go with him—not his choice—and Fanon plays a part in this story, too.
2. Can we expect more adventures from Pete and Weasel after this?
I don’t know. Right now, I’m pooped, so writing another story about my adorable rascal and his one rather neglected, bookish friend, doesn’t sound appealing. However, given a rest and one spark of an idea, who knows what might result. After all, I only set out to write one book and look what happened.
3. What was the inspiration for these books?
I needed a vacation from young adult angst. I love writing about teens, their parents, their grandparents, their friends and their pets; however, I really needed a break after finishing two more YA’s and sending them to my agent. I love fantasy and adventure stories written for younger readers, so I decided to try one of my own. I wrote Sign of the Green Dragon first, then Alligators Overhead. I’m not sure they were published in that order, but that’s the order I wrote them in. I think I answered your question.
4. I love the titles you chose for your books, in fact, it was the title Alligators Overhead and the awesome cover that made me first grab a copy of your book to read. I am so happy I did because it is a delightful story. How do you choose the titles of your books?
I had Alligators Overhead roaming around in my brain for years. When I was a kid, I had a knotty pine ceiling and I swore there were alligators in that ceiling. The knots formed eyes, and the natural wood coloring formed their snouts. They scared me for years until my mom painted or stuccoed the ceiling—can’t remember which, but I truly appreciated that change. I just needed a story to go with the title, so finally, I wrote one. The Great Timelock Disaster seemed perfect, and it came out of the story as did Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. I wanted a shorter title for this last book, but I couldn’t think of one.
5. I have to ask because I want to know, who does your book covers?
Derek Murphy did my first two of this series. I love his covers; they really capture the story themes. The one he did for Sign of the Green Dragon, I adore, too. He’s so talented. Hope you’ll give him a link in this post. I owe him. He’s helped me out several times with some problems. Some Very Messy Medieval Magic’s cover came from my publisher, Dancing Lemur Press. I don’t have a name of that designer.
6 . What draws you to write for the middle-grade genre?
I like having fun and writing outrageous adventures with kids performing impossible feats gives me a chance to play and laugh and forget about the real world for a while. Finding Pete and Weasel has been wonderful. I love Sam, Joey, and Roger in Sign of the Green Dragon as well. Hmm. I seem to have boys all over the place, don’t I? Well, that’s because I grew up as one of the only girls in the neighborhood, then I had two boys of my own. At one time I realized that I was again the only female nearby when I took a small census: dogs, males—all cats, males—one chinchilla also male. I never could find out about the iguana, but we were pretty sure the mouse was male (we almost had a zoo at one time) Husband, well obvious, right? And two sons. I was outnumbered every single day.
7. Anything you’d like to say to your readers and fellow authors?
Of course, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this interview, and if you do read any of my “creative endeavors” I’d really appreciate hearing from you at my blog or via a review. Reviews make a difference, and writers really need to hear from their readers.
Wishing you much success with this new release. I have already pre-ordered my copy. Such a fun story! Middle grade is not my normal genre to read, but these stories take me back to the joy of reading as a kid when I read The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, so much fun and imagination.
Thanks so much, Juneta for letting me be here today. Your blog’s amazing.
BIO: I’m C. Lee McKenzie, a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places. I returned to my home state where I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains with my family. I write most of the time, garden, hike, and practice yoga. I travel a lot because that’s how I learn new stuff, and it’s my way to jump-start stories.
In my young adult writing, I take on modern issues that today’s teens face. My first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge (2009) deals with cutting and suicide. My second, The Princess of Las Pulgas (2010), is a story about a family that loses everything and has to rebuild their lives. Double Negative (2014) focuses on literacy, and Sudden Secrets (2014) tackles bigotry and intolerance.
When I want to have fun, I write middle-grade books. Alligators Overhead is my first published book for readers age 8-12. Book 2, The Great Timelock Disaster, followed, and now I have Book 3 Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. Writing the adventures of Pete and Weasel has entertained me no end. I enjoyed them so much that I came up with Sign of the Green Dragon—another adventure fantasy.
Here’s where to see more of what I do and get a GIFT: http://cleemckenziebooks.com OR Author’s Central really has everything I’ve ever published. Stop by and say hello or tweet me up. My Twitter handle is @cleemckenzie. If you’re a Facebookie or an Instagramer I’m there, too as @cleemckenzie.
All my books are available online.
Some Very Messy Medieval Magic is available at these locations.
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