Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Double Negative By C. Lee McKenzie

C. Lee McKenzie Books
“My life was going, going, gone, and I hadn’t been laid yet. I couldn’t go into the slammer before that happened.” Hutch McQueen.

Double Negative By C. Lee McKenzie
Sixteen-year-old Hutchinson McQueen is a big time loser. Trapped in a dysfunctional family, his one thought is escape, but everything he does to get away lands him in trouble. Shackled by poor reading skills, he squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When he shoplifts and lands in juvenile detention, the court sentences him to a county youth program. There he meets the priest and Maggie, a retired teacher. They’re determined to set Hutch on a path leading away from trouble. Hutch is determined not to cooperate, and he blunders his way from one mess into another. It isn’t until he’s facing serious charges that he confronts the truth--his own bad choices are trapping him. The priest and Maggie have offered him the freedom he craves. All he has to do is take it.
Where did the idea for Double Negative come from?
I wasn’t doing anything unusual when the idea for Hutch’s story came to me. I was reading. I was enjoying a good story when it hit me how terrible it would be if I couldn’t read. I made some notes about what I would miss without knowing how to interpret words, and that list scared me. Then when I started researching literacy, I was shocked. The statistics about low literacy and illiteracy are staggering. Writing this book has turned me into a literacy advocate, and I started a group for writers called We Write For You (Twitter: @WeWrite4U_Lit), and plan to grow it. 

How did the publication come about?
I’d read a few books that Evernight Teen published, and I liked them, so I submitted Double Negative to them in May of 2014 and they accepted it. It came out in July 2014. That was such a quick route, that I’m still trying to understand I have a third YA out there in the world. 

Excerpt: Book Sage Review "Here's the thing about Lee's books - you care about the characters right away. And she starts DN with Hutch being in the principal's office, again, on the 1st page. So right away you know that he's got problems. And those continue through much of the book. I think we all like redemption stories, but they have to feel realistic. You have to care about the protagonists right away and be rooting for them, but it needs to take most of the book before he or she gets there. That's definitely the case in DN."

Excerpt:  Carla Davis 
"I decided to give Double Negative a try because the sample dragged me in from the first paragraph until I had to read the whole thing! It's so rare to see well done first person, but this book does it masterfully. Hutch has a real voice that must be rendered in the way the author has chosen. No lazy writing here!"

Excerpt: Darby Karchut
"One of the best things C. Lee McKenzie did in this book is give the adult characters as much depth as the teens, something that is too often lacking in YA books."

PictureC. Lee McKenzie is a native Californian who grew up in a lot of different places; then landed in the Santa Cruz Mountains where she lives with her family and miscellaneous pets. She writes most of the time, gardens and hikes and does yoga a lot, and then travels whenever she can. 

She takes on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Her short story, Premeditated Cat, appears in the anthology, The First Time, and her Into the Sea of Dew is part of a collection, Two and Twenty Dark Tales. In 2012, her first middle grade novel, Alligators Overhead, came out. Double Negative is her third young adult novel.
TWITTER: @cleemckenzie
Thanks so much for your time Lee.
All the best for this book!

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