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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH KENNA BY ALAN PLACE

I would like to welcome my friend Kenna McKinnon from Edmonton in Alberta to the chair today. Hello Kenna.
You and I have been chatting a while, but for those new to your work, would you please be kind enough to give us a short resume' of your new book please?

Sure, Al. My new book is a young adult SF (science fiction) called JIVE HIVE. It's about an invasion of giant alien bees and wasps and a young boy who saves the world, using music and his own ingenuity.

I'll give you a resume taken from my author blog, www.kennamckinnon.blogspot.com as follows:

In both ebook and trade paperback formats, JIVE HIVE will appeal to SF readers of all ages, with a special nod to middle readers/young adults who like Pixar-like action and, more especially, the appeal of adventure and youth.

Massive intelligent Bees, under the direction of a dreadful Wasp General, migrate to Earth in a ship called Skyhive on a mission to kill humanity. An intrepid fourteen-year-old boy by the name of Jason Anderson is kidnapped by one of the aliens. The friendly Bee keeps him as her pet in the Skyhive.

Meanwhile, the nations of the world are losing the battle with the giant Bees. The military takes charge and bombs the Skyhive with nuclear weapons. The area is devastated and the Skyhive moves to India. Two of the worker aliens befriend Jason. Jason discovers that music fascinates the aliens. The Bees revolt and jail the Wasp General and Queen. The Bees frolic on the plains. Jason meets a fellow freedom fighter, Aadab Ali, on the plains of India.

Together they bring the war to its exciting climax.


Your biography said you are from Ontario but live in Alberta, do you still have family in Toronto? If so which part of the country do you prefer, if any?

I was born in Toronto, Ontario but consider myself a westerner, Al. I was six weeks old when my mother brought me west to the Peace River Country. My father was a soldier and my mother a nurse. They met during WWII when my father was stationed in Ontario. I was raised on a small family farm near Dawson Creek, B.C. I suppose I prefer the west because it's all I know. In reality, I think I would prefer to live in British Columbia, although I presently have lived in Alberta for most of my life. When I was 18 years old my young husband and I moved to Oklahoma City, USA to live for about three years. We moved back home to Alberta in 1967 and settled in Edmonton. I've lived here ever since. I'd like to travel more, though.

I see you have a degree in Anthropology, with a minor in Psychology. What was it that drew you to this area?

When we lived in Oklahoma City I took an evening course in introductory Anthropology and was fascinated by the theories and also by the concept of other cultures and a different way of looking at life. I would say that's what drew me to majoring in Anthropology. Psychology? I also took some Psych courses after I graduated, with a view to possibly majoring in Psychology for another degree. I would say I was interested in Psychology because I'm crazy myself and wanted to understand myself and the human condition, ha. Most people who major in Psych seem to have some sort of problem. You don't have to mention that, Al, but I don't mind.

Not many people know, but you have read my ghost stories, Kenna. I can now see the attraction for you. Being a student of Psychology how did they come over?

Oh, I thought your ghost stories are mainly psychological in impact, not a lot of blood and gore, you know what I mean. I thought they were excellent as they are sympathetic also to the ghosts. Very well done, Al.

As this is your breakthrough into published works, how do you feel? Is it as exciting as getting your degree?

Oh, yes, it's more exciting than getting my degree. I wasn't as excited about my degree, although getting my degeree was a feeling of satisfaction, but then I had to decide what to do with my life from there. Now there's a future (perhaps) in writing and being published, and it's very exciting.

If Jive hive goes well, do you have a follow up book planned?

Not in that genre. I've been working on a follow up book, though, an adult horror anthology of three horror novellas. It's finished and I'm editing it, soon to be submitted to a publisher. It's called Circle of Devils.

As a soon to be published author, what part of the trade did you find most frustrating, Kenna?

Trying to find a traditional publisher, I guess, Al, since self publishing never entered my mind. Also the promotion will be frustrating. I'm basically an introvert and find promotion a bit intimidating.

Did you have to ask many publishers, before you got accepted?

Not with this particular book. I was very fortunate to find Cheryl at Imajin Books. She worked with me on it until it was acceptable. I feel very fortunate to have found her, through an on-line correspondent who was already her client.

Are there any genres you would like to try to write but feel you cannot?

Yes, I feel I cannot write historical fiction or romance well, but I'd like to try my hand at it some day.

I tend to write cross-genre, have you any thoughts on moving genre, Kenna, or will you keep to Young Adult novels?

No, the Young Adult novel came about as a suggestion from my publisher, who read The Jive Hive and advised me it wouldn't be suitable for adults. I prefer to write for adults, I think. I'm still learning. A friend and I have also written a children's chapter book called Benjamin and Rumblechum. I do write cross genre, Al.

Who would you say was your biggest influence?

My father.

Would you say you had been influenced by the work of authors, if so who? Or was it the genre that drew you?

I think perhaps Stephen King. It was basically the genre that drew me, though. My father loved SF and my son likes it as well. I've read a lot of SF earlier in my life, like the old masters, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and so on. I also have been reading current authors I meet on LinkedIn and so on recently, and I would say I'm influenced by them as well, for instance, Alex Laybourne and yourself, Al.

Kenna have you suffered writers block? Is so how did you get past it?

Yes, I have, and I got through it by putting the book down for awhile and then I simply started writing nonsense (which turned out to be quite a lot of swearing!). It eventually broke the block and I wrote 4,000 words that night. There's a post on writer's block on my blog.
http://kennamckinnon.blogspot.com/2012/02/carpe-diem-crap-breaks-writers-block.html

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of writing a book?

If you love writing and are a writer, you will have written all your life, and you'll do it not for money but for love. If you want to write a book look at the advice of good writers and make a plan, get a book on style, sit yourself down and write. I don't really have any advice, Al. Everyone is so different. I notice there's a lot of self published books out there, so not everyone has to please anyone but themselves. But I would strongly advise getting a good professional editor and spend a lot of time editing your book once it's done. The great writers did and do that and there's no reason why you have to consider yourself so great that you don't have to edit or listen to criticism. We're all learners. That's all, Al.

Before we leave,Kenna. Is there anything you think I have left out?

No, except something that's important to me, Al, that I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1978 after being ill since 1975 (when I graduated from University with Distinction in 1975). I have a successful home based medical transcription business since 1999 which pays my bills, also I'm a senior and the seniors pensions OAS and CPP are very helpful. This enables me to write and support myself. I try to be an advocate for mental illness and have a blog www.kenna-differentfolks.blogspot.com advocating for the mentally ill.

I thank you, Kenna, for your time in answering the questions.

Can you please give us an excerpt of your book, Kenna?

From the first chapter of The Jive Hive:


Earth is in danger. From venom-dripping plains on a planet called Jive Hive in another star system, jealous eyes gaze toward our Sun. Black compound eyes which peer without compassion as though we were flies caught on sticky paper ready for the fire.
A 12-year-old youth named Jason Anderson tosses his long red hair on a sodden pillow and moans. His father is a scientist who works for the Canadian government and his mother is pregnant. He and his parents live in Creston, British Columbia. Jason doesn't want a new little brother or sister. Most of all he wants independence and freedom from control. He gets neither. Until that moonlit night when the dancing alien takes him--but the story begins ten years before.


Also please feel free to add any links you choose.

Oops, I put links into my answers, Al.

http://kennamckinnon.blogspot.com/
http://kenna-differentfolks.blogspot.com/

Kenna Mary McKinnon (www.kennamckinnon.blogspot.com) is a freelance writer and self-employed medical transcriptionist who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My young adult SF book, The Jive Hive, will be published by Imajin Books in summer/fall 2012. My articles have been published in numerous journals including WestWord, SZ Magazine, BP Magazine, Audience Magazine, Alberta Caregiver and Edmonton Senior, among others. Some of my poetry and a stage play I wrote was published by Audience Magazine. A poem was recently published in Ascent Aspirations. Although my degree is in Anthropology (with a minor in Psychology), I’ve spent my life writing. I enjoy exploring the psychology of the human condition, especially when the accompanying human is dropped into complex and unusual circumstances. I have lived successfully with schizophrenia for many years.


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