Today's Writer Wednesday interview is with aspiring author, Margo McKenzie. Scroll down and learn all about her and her work in progress!!
AT: Where do you live? What’s your town’s claim to fame?
MM: I live in East Harlem, New York. New York is probably the most important cultural, religious, financial and commercial port in the world. As such, it is fast-paced city filled with diverse ethnicities. My home is two blocks from Central Park, two blocks from Museum Mile and in a community tangling with the forces of gentrification.
AT: What genre do you write?
MM: I write fiction and non-fiction, and I am currently working on a novel and a biography.
AT: Are you a published author or aspiring to be published? If published, how many books are out there with your name on them?
MM: I am a published journalist, but I have no books out there with my name on it—yet.
AT: I look forward to reading your works in the future! What inspires you to write?
MM: I have always had a passion for writing. Writing is my pathway to wholeness and joy.
AT: Name one book you wish you’d written.
MM: I am currently working on the two books I wish I’d written.
AT: I hear you! What was the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
MM: I Almost Forgot About You by Terri McMillan was the last book which kept me engaged. I love how she addresses contemporary relationships infusing elements of pop culture throughout her works.
AT: I'm also a fan of Ms. McMillan's work. Who is your favorite author? Why?
MM: I like Paule Marshall (fiction) and Ta’Nihisi Coates (non-fiction) for their use of language and depiction of the Barbadian experience in America and the African-American male experience, respectively.
AT: Now for the fun questions! You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
MM: I am yellow because my goal is to always elevate and educate, to bring light to dark places.
AT: Nice! What would your autobiography be called?
MM: Tupac Was Wrong: A Rose Needs Fertile Soil
AT: Do you believe in love at first sight?
MM: No, I do not. I believe in attraction at first sight, but love is a verb requiring dedication, consistency, competence and maturity. It grows with time like fine wine.
AT: If a genie granted you three wishes, what would they be? (can't ask for more wishes)
MM: I would ask for wisdom, vision and patience.
AT: Are you spring, summer, fall, or winter? Please share why.
MM: I am spring, the time for groundwork, planting and cultivation to ensure a rich harvest. I am learning as much as I can about the art of writing and the message I am called to proclaim through my writing. I write daily to perfect my craft and surround myself with encouragers to keep out the weeds which can choke my creativity. When harvest time arrives, I expect a bountiful crop.
AT: Tea or coffee?
MM: Tea calms anxiety and stress allowing the spirit to move freely and productively. I associate tea with quietness and reflection under a tree by the water where oak trees are made. Tea is strength and creativity.
AT: Tell us about your most recent/current project.
MM: My work of fiction is about a Barbadian family who comes to New York City to live out their dream but encounter obstacles which stress the links that keep the family chain united. Here is the opening page:
“Mummy, is Pam dead?”
“No, no. What gives you such wild thoughts, baby girl? She’s just not feeling too well today. Go sit down. Dr. Cyrus will come soon.”
Her daddy whispered something to her mummy and Margaret overheard. “Lord, Lord, Lord,” and through her glasses caught sight of watery eyes just before her mother arched her back and turned away toward her room. The last time Margaret saw those eyes and heard her mother utter three Lords, her grandma died. That was three years ago when Margaret was seven. Back then, Mummy sent Margaret to clean up her room. She remembered the chaos in the house that week. Sobs. Whispers. Relatives. Strangers. Black dresses and hats, black suits, a body lying still in a fancy box in front of the church and herself standing in the mud as the closed box went down into the ground.
Would Pam end up in the same box? Margaret’s body shuttered at the thought and snuggled even harder in her favorite blue suede chair. She didn’t care that the soles of her black Mary Janes rested there. She just needed the chair’s soft arms to cuddle the right side of her body. She sat there aslant by the window, knees drawn up. The right side of her face leaned against the back of her bent left arm. She exhaled with relief.
Outside the window, her friends stood big and strong. Their branches grew so much since her grandmother’s passing. Dangling leaves and drooping mangos provided relief from the heat of the sun.
Her father claimed, “Temperatures never rise above 80 degrees by those trees.” He was right. Though they might have tried, the rays of the Bajan sun never did get through. Margaret sat by the open window and hoped to catch a breeze the swaying leaves sent her way. But no matter how she positioned herself at the jalousie window, the events down the hall in the room she shared with her sister Pam were too much like the last day her grandmother slept in the house. That her parents would not let her get anywhere near her own bedroom set her mind to thinking the worst about Pam and her heart racing even though her favorite chair wrapped its arms around her.
©M. McKenzie 2017 (Excerpt from Life is Short, Make it Large by Margo McKenzie)
AT: Sounds good! How can readers connect with you?
AT: Any final words?
MM: My first act was teaching high school English and high school administration; my second act is writing.
AT: Thanks, Margo! It was great chatting with you!!