Today, we’re visiting with Kenna McKinnon, whose first young adult novel, SpaceHive, will be published soon by Imajin Books in both ebook and trade paperback formats.
YA: Do you have a writing schedule?
Kenna: I don't have a writing schedule. I write out an outline and that makes it easier to follow the course of the book. Then I sit down and write, usually at night when it's quiet. I try to write 1,000 words in a sitting but sometimes write as much as 4,000 in a night. My Young Adult books average around 38,000 words total.
YA: When did you first start writing? And what brought it about?
Kenna: I remember rhyming "stars" with "Mars" when I was five years old and impressing my cousin. I haven't come so far since then.
I've spent my life writing although I started being published only two years ago, in 2010. I'm a senior who likes to have fun, and writing is fun.
I've lived successfully with schizophrenia for many years. I credit the mental illness in part for some of my creativity. It wasn't always fun, though!
YA: Do you have any more young adult books planned?
Kenna: Yes, I've written a draft of a middle grade/young adult tentatively called Bigfoot Boy – Lost on Earth. More details to follow as it unfolds. I've also written an early reader travel chapter book with a co-author, Emma Shirley Brinson, which will be published by Diamond Heart Press in California. Look for that, younger kids.
YA: You hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology with a minor in psychology. Tell us how that helps you in developing your characters.
Kenna: In my opinion, my degree taught me more about how to think and how to write well. I credit my life experiences and my publisher, Cheryl Tardif of Imajin Books, with helping to develop my talent and characters. It's a learning curve.
YA: SpaceHive will be released soon. Can you tell us a little about it?
Kenna: Here's a blurb:
Massive intelligent Bees, under the direction of dreadful wasp General Vard, migrate to Earth in a ship called SpaceHive on a mission to kill humanity. An intrepid twelve-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 SpaceHive.
Meanwhile, the nations of the world are losing the battle with the giant Wasps. The earth's military takes charge and bombs the SpaceHive with nuclear weapons. The area is devastated and the SpaceHive moves to India. Three of the worker aliens befriend Jason. Jason discovers that music fascinates the aliens. The Bees revolt and jail the Wasp General and Queen Tantala. 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.
YA: Do you write full-time?
Kenna: No, I own my own medical transcription company where I work from home. I hope to be able to support myself with novels and books in future, but so far that isn't the case.
YA: What advice can you give for those struggling to get into the young adult market?
Kenna: Read a lot of Young Adult. Read, read, read. I like Hunger Games for character development and my first inspiration was James Patterson and Jeremy Shipp. It's important to write because it's fun. That will show up in your books. You must enjoy the process and your readers will enjoy reading it.
YA: Thanks, Kenna, for stopping by. Kenna's author blog can be found at http://kennamckinnon.blogspot.ca. Her books will be available soon on Amazon.com.
Kennas book SpaceHive will be released on August 10, 2012 in ebook and September 1, 2012 in print trade paperback.