Monday, March 24, 2014

The Kismet Blog Tour with Lillian McKinnon #YA #Author #Interview #FundRaiser

Today's post and interview is very special. Lillian McKinnon, an amazing young writer, is visiting as part of her blog tour for her free online serial, Kismet.

Lillian McKinnon is the pen name for a rather sassy not quite 13 year old home educated girl who lives and plays in the Northwest region of England. She doesn't like being told she can't do things because she's a kid, and woe betide you if it's because she's a girl. She's active in Scouts and is avid about karate. She also enjoys long bike rides, photography, kayaking, abseiling, canoeing, swimming, and  is somewhat of an artist. She probably reads far too much, with bookcases full of novels and manga, a Kindle with an ever growing library, and online serials she avidly follows. She also has a fondness for vintage American sitcoms and modern sci fi and fantasy TV shows. When not reading, doing her educational assignments, writing, or indulging in her other hobbies, she spend time gaming with her younger brother, as long as he's not annoyed her too much that day. Skill she would most like to learn next: surfing.

Welcome Lillian! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, I'd like to thank you for having me. I see a lot of authors pass by here. Wow. Anyways, I'm 12 ½ and live in Northwest England. I love going to Chinatown in Birmingham and hanging out at the docks at Liverpool, and I really, really, love Moose Coffee. That's not made out of moose though. It's a Canadian/American coffee shop and cafe with their own special blend of coffee. They decorate the whole place in moose. They have ridiculously great formal oil portraits of moose people even. Dang, now I want to go on the train and have a Reubens sandwich and a Moose coffee.

What are your favorite subjects in school and why?

I'm home educated, just to get that bit of information out of the way. My favourite subjects are art, creative writing, and German. I love to draw, and I write my books and stories which are being counted as my creative writing, and I just started German and love it. My least favorite is math. It was okay ntil all the keyboard slaps invaded the regular numbers. My grandfather is a mathematician though, so I have to do well. Ugh.

When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or do you just start writing and see what happens?

A little of both. I'll get an idea, and I know how it's going to end, but the characters end up taking on a life of their own and the road trip between start and finish is anything but decided until it gets written down as it goes along.
Why did you choose to write M/M stories ?
Because why not? My brother is gay, and often feels left out as there aren't a lot of stories about boys like him yet. So when the characters come along and fall for another boy, I say let's get that tale told.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Everyone is different. That is what's normal. Celebrate our diversity, don't hide it. Also, love is beautiful and something to be treasured. Don't be ashamed of loving another person.

What bores you in a book?

Ridiculously excessive amounts of unneeded exposition, especially about clothes, make up, what car some guy drives, wondering if they look fat, obsessively wondering if the guy has noticed their existence, going on and on about place mats and other home decor, and other belly button gazing, trivial nonsense. Oh, and adding fairy dust to perfectly good vampires.

What would readers find different about the first book you've written and this one?

Well, A Life in Frames is a full length novel about a girl who's brother comes out, and how that shapes her understanding of her own sexuality. It follows the girl, her brother, and their BFF as they look for love, and the funny stuff that happens as they try to get noticed. It takes place in contemporary Britain, in the general area where I live.
Kismet is a serial style, and it is a contemporary fantasy mash up of Japanese, Greek, and European folklore. It follows the efforts of the Three Fates who try to preserve the balance of magic in the world by tying together a red thread of fate between a young nine tailed fox who is the last of his clan and a dryad whose tree happens to be in the National Redwood Forest.
They are two different genres, but carry a lot of the same messages about being yourself, finding and accepting love, and the truer meaning of family. Kismet also deals with bullying, which is a real problem.

How did you come up with the titles?

Well, A Life In Frames is a refernce to the main character's love of photography, and her penchant for taking photos of everyone and everything around her. Kismet is actually named after Uncle Cody's parrot. I took the name and ran with it, as it means “fate”. Hence the Three Fates, the name of the two magical trees, the red thread, etc.

How do you celebrate completing a new book/chapter?

I take a long nap. No, really. I often stay up late writing and drawing things relating to my stories, and end up running on cups of hot chocolate, English tea, chai lattes, hoji cha lattes, and mochacinos.So when I hit a ending spot, my brain gets quiet enough that I can get some decent sleep. And boy, do I sleep.

What do you find to be the most difficult part of writing?

The plot ideas just come along. The writing usually flows and the characters come alive and just yak yak yak away, and I write it all down. The editing really bites though. Worst bit is all those words ending in -ly. It seems impossible to write naturally without using them in every sentence. See, look there. An -ly crept in. Anyway, finding an excessive amount of them, especially if it turns out to be the same one over and ever again, is horrible. Having to think of alternate words and phrasing that while maintaining voice is enough to send me screaming for chocolate and Krispy Kreme donuts.

Do you see writing as a possible career?

Are you asking if I see myself as a “real” writer? I may be young, but this is more than a hobby. I see it as perfecting a craft as much as I do my art lessons, and yes, I intend to write and use my skills as an artist and photographer to earn my living. Once Frames sees print, I'll hopefully join the ranks of paid, professional writers. The money will mostly go towards my further education, though some will also go to charity. I hope to eventually make a living wage by creating book covers and illustrating children's books as well as writing novels.


Kismet is a free read, so rather than have the usual buy links up, below you'll find two fund raiser links. One is for a homeless youth charity called Lost-N-Found Youth. Not every kid is lucky enough enough to have the support of a loving family, and LGBT youth are much more likely to face abuse and being kicked out on the streets. Lost-N- Found not only help youth out by providing shelter for as many as they can, but help youth get back into education and into society as contributing members. They also provide legal assistance where necessary, food, clothes, and so much more.

The other link is for a couple who are writers in the LGBT romance genre. Following emergency brain surgery, TJ and Eric have been traveling a long, hard and expensive road. Things are beginning to look up, with Eric soon to come home to TJ and their new home. They could still use the help and continued support of caring people though. I ask that those of you following the blog tour please consider contributing an amount to at least one of these causes, no matter how small or insignificant you feel that donation would be. Pennies all add up into dollars, after all.

Thank you,
Lillian McKinnon