by C. Lee McKenzie
Publication date: July 25th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
“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.
Sixteen-year-old Hutchinson McQueen is trapped between an abusive mother and an absentee father. Shackled by poor vision and poor reading skills, he squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. After another suspension from school and suffering through one of his mother’s violent attacks, he escapes to a friend’s house that turns out to be a meth lab. The lab is raided and Hutch lands in juvenile detention. When the court sentences him to six months in a new juvenile program, he meets a teacher with Alzheimer’s who will change his life and hers.
I love this idea!!
1. What were you like as a kid?
I was kind of a tomboy, in spite of all that my mom and gram did to make me girly. There were mostly boys my age on our block, so that may have been what influenced my behavior.
I was playing three flies up, tripped and fractured my kneecap. Ouch. I look happy, but that cast was an itch a minute.
2. What was your first published book?
The title was Sliding on the Edge. Like Double Negative, it was an edgy YA. That book came out in 2009 and dealt with cutting.
These are some avid fans. No, not really—two friends who were kidding around.
3. Where did you write most of Double Negative?
A lot was written in the winter and spring before I could go outside, so I worked at my desk. But I also did a lot of the story in summer, and that’s when I like to sit by my pond to write.
This is a perfect place for writing and thinking about writing, especially when I can’t cough up the story I want.
4. What’s your favorite holiday?
Halloween. I go all out for All Hallows Eve. It’s fun. It’s macabre enough to give me chills. It inspires ghostly tales, and I like to write those once in a while. I have a lot of short stories about ghosts.
Here I am getting ready to make a chocolate graveyard cake. Yummm.
In my other life--the one before I began writing for teens and younger readers--I was a teacher 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 can say, “Where’s the toilet?” and “I’m lost!” in at least five languages and two dialects. Go ahead. Pat me on the back.
My idea of a perfect day is one or all of the following: starting a new novel, finishing writing a blockbuster novel, hiking on a misty morning trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains, saying Namaste after a great yoga practice, sipping a cappuccino topped at a bustling café, reading in front of a fire with snow outside, swimming in an ocean someplace.
I've just set out my perfect life. Day after day after day.