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Monday, November 5, 2012

Interview with Author Kenna McKinnon

I'm a freelance senior writer/photographer and self-employed medical transcriptionist who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My young adult Sci-fi eBook, SpaceHive, has been released by Imajin Books in eBook and print on Amazon and in print on CreateSpace. A poetry anthology, Discovery: An Anthology of Poetry, is on Amazon, published by Authors for a Cause, a charity to promote children's literacy through the sale of eBooks, not always children's books. A nonfiction eBook, The Insanity Machine, will be released by Authors for a Cause on Amazon in 2012. A young reader's chapter book co-authored with Emma Shirley Brinson, Benjamin and Rumblechum, is scheduled for release April 2013, by publishers Diamond Heart Press in California.

Although my degree is in Anthropology (with a minor in Psychology), I've spent my life writing, but was published only within the last three years since January 2010. 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 (since 1975 and first diagnosed in 1978).

Which book are you currently promoting?
A young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel called SpaceHive.

Can you tell us what the book is about?
After getting kidnapped by giant alien bees, twelve-year-old Jason Anderson is transported to a spaceship called SpaceHive. There, he learns of a horrifying plot to annihilate Earth's human population so that extraterrestrial bees and wasps can migrate to a new world.

As a swarm of spaceships make a beeline toward Earth, Jason must convince three friendly worker bees to help him escape his space prison and find other humans to aid in his mission to stop the invasion. But General Vard, wasp commander of the Black Watch, has other plans.
Can Jason unite the nations of Earth in their common fight to destroy these alien invaders? Or will Earth be lost to the sting of conspiracy and a worldwide massacre?


How did you come up with the idea for this book?  I was visiting a friend and got stung by wasps in her back yard. The idea came to me what if these were giant alien wasps invading Earth? It helped that I had an allergic reaction and also my friend had an allergic reaction to the wasp stings. That summer in her backyard garden helped to give me the idea for giant alien wasps and bees invading Earth. My imagination took it from there.

Where did you come up with the title of the book from?
Originally the book was called The Jive Hive because of the apian content of the novel, and my publisher suggested I come up with another name. I brainstormed and chose SpaceHive. My publisher agreed and she did help me to brainstorm the name. My publisher is Cheryl Tardif from Imajin Books and she has been very helpful with the book all along.

What can you tell us about your main characters?
Jason Anderson is the main character, a 12-year-old boy from Canada who uses music in a unique way in an attempt to calm and control the alien wasps and bees and save the world. His friend Aadab Ali from India is his partner in this venture. Jason's father, Stephen Anderson and his mother and little brother are also featured in the book as secondary characters. Iodine is Aadab's girlfriend, but she is a secondary character as well. The book takes place partly in India. The most amazing main character is General Vard, the alien Wasp General, a vicious and intimidating giant Wasp who is determined to destroy humanity and colonize the Earth with a population of alien bees and wasps. General Vard and his ship are featured on the front cover of SpaceHive.

Did you have to do any research in order to help you with the writing of this book?
Yes, a lot of research about bees, wasps, India, China and science (with biochemistry in particular), music and so on.

What made you decide to become a writer?
I've always wanted to be a writer since I can first remember. My mother, Patricia Jean MacDonald, also wrote short articles and poems which sometimes were published. She encouraged me to write.

What genre do you generally write?
First came the idea, then the genre. It just happened that if I wrote about giant alien wasps it would be sci-fi/fantasy. I don't really choose a specific genre although I think I'd like to write YA/MG fantasy some more as it's fun and I like that age group. I also might write a sequel or prequel to Benjamin & Rumblechum, my early reader book, as the publisher has suggested that and my co-author would like to do that. I think I like to write fantasy and sci-fi as they give me more freedom to let my imagination soar. But I've written a nonfiction book called The Insanity Machine as well, a poetry anthology, and a paranormal anthology of three novellas. I'm not tied to any specific genre.

Are you interested in writing other genres?
Yes, see above. I've written young adult/middle grade sci-fi/fantasy, a children's chapter book, a nonfiction book about my journey with schizophrenia, some short stories, some poetry, and a paranormal anthology.

Do you follow a routine when you begin to write a scene or chapter?
No, not really, I just sit down at the computer and type, often with a cup of tea or coffee at my elbow. I often write at night as it's quieter then. I will do the research as I write or put a note to myself to go back and research a scene. Sometimes I find that using a pen on lined paper, relaxing on the couch, and writing a chapter or a scene is sometimes helpful before putting it on Word.

How long does it usually take for you to write a book?
Sometimes several months, sometimes several years. Typically three to six months and then the hard part starts, the editing, so it's frequently at least a year before the book is ready to be submitted to a publisher.

Do you have a general idea of what direction you want the plot to take ahead of time?
Sometimes but not always. I did an outline for Bigfoot Boy and I liked that as it gave me a focus of where the story was going. But I don't generally do that. I may use outlines and index cards more in future.
Have you ever had second doubts about a story you’ve written?

Are there any authors you admire?
Jeremy Shipp, James Patterson, Stephen King, Margaret Laurence, Gregg Bear, Dr. Norman Doidge (The Brain that Changes Itself), many others including many self-published whom I've met on-line, too numerous to count.

What other projects are you currently working on
A book called The Insanity Machine, which is a nonfiction book of my journey with schizophrenia, a book of short stories, a young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel called Bigfoot Boy – Lost on Earth, and a paranormal anthology of three novellas called Den of Dark Angels.

Did you self-publish? If not, is that something you will be willing to consider in the future?
No, I didn't self-publish but I'm self-publishing a couple of other books including The Insanity Machine on CreateSpace, which is great for authors through Amazon.

What is your least favorite part about getting published?

What are you doing to promote your work?
I've paid to have it promoted, I tweet a lot, sent out press releases to local media, use my publisher's Tweet Team, World Literary Café tweet teams, Facebook, guest blogs, my own blog, have scheduled a book signing in January, put SpaceHive on consignment at a bookstore here in Edmonton, made bookmarks and postcards at a local print shop, ordered business cards, interviews like this.

Where can the readers find more information about you?

My author blog and my personal blog
The book trailer is on youtube here:



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