C. Lee McKenize’s Character Debut Party

C. Lee McKenzie - Sliding On the EdgeMan… two debut parties in one week! I’m so not fitting into my skinny jeans. That is, if I had skinny jeans, which I don’t. But anyway. Welcome, fellow Word Ninja, C. Lee McKenzie!


Shawna Stone is a heartbeat away from making the worst mistake anyone can. She’s close to taking her own life. Kay Stone is a grandmother Shawna has never known, and at sixty-four Kay feels there is little left in her life to look forward to. When they are thrown together they circle each other in a crucible of secrets and distrust until saving a doomed horse unites them and gives each a reason to live.

Shawna’s 2009 Debut Party

Okay guys. It looks like Shawna is a little uncomfortable with parties and new people, so please don’t take it personal. Let’s just sneak in the back door and check out the scene before the guest of honor arrives.

The Guest List

This is a hard interview, Sarah. Not because your questions aren’t super, but because of my obstinate and hostile MC, Shawna Stone. She’s about as anti-social as a rattlesnake and if she knew there was a party in her honor she’d either a) ditch town or b) sabotage the whole shebang.

So here’s what would have to happen. Someone would have to give her a surprise party, probably one of her non-friends, Marta. Marta, who is really trying to be nice, would invite people she hopes Shawna will relate to. Let’s see… Nia, out of Candor, Jane, J.E. MacLeod’s goth girl would be two that just might hit it off with the guest of honor, but my guess is a fight will break out.

Oh, I’ve already met Jane, so that’s good.

The Party

It’ll be a surprise party with lots of dark crepe paper and Coke, but since Shawna hates Coke, the first words out of her mouth will be something like, “WTF?” Then there might be a pizza, but instead of eating it, I’m guessing “food fight.”

The horse barn would be the best location; then the second best would be Marta’s house. She’s had Shawna to a party there before and probably has some emergency contingency plan for if/when the blow up happens.

As for themes… Uh oh. Now we’re getting into very deep trouble. Shawna wouldn’t endure “theme” at a party any more than she endures “rules” at home or school. She might endure favors, though. If Marta had something like a rap CD as favors that might calm Shawna down. She <3s rap.

Rap! Okay, maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

*Breaks into slightly-less-tough version of Method Man and Mary J. Blige’s All I Need*

The Guest of Honor: Shawna

Shawna will wear her “Bad Ass Attitude” Tee. That’s about all she likes to wear. And her theme song? Please, no theme song. Let’s just try to make it through the night without incident.

*Still rappin’ to Meth and Mary J*

Lee’s Advice for Shawna on Her Big Debut

I’d tell her to “Try.” Like in, try not to hurt anyone at the party. If possible, smile . . . a little.

Hey, rappers don’t smile. But I guess we can let Shawna get away with it, since it is her big debut and all! Congrats, Lee, and best wishes on your book!

SLIDING ON THE EDGE is available in book stores now, and also online through Indiebound.

A native Californian, C. Lee McKenzie has always been a writer, but to eat and make contributions to children’s college funds, she’s also been a university lecturer and administrator. Lee’s written and published non-fiction articles, both in her field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communication, and in general readership magazines. For five years Lee wrote, edited, and published a newsletter for U.S. university professors who were managing global classroom issues. Since she turned in her academic hat and began writing for young readers, Lee’s fiction and non-fiction works have been frequently published in the award-winning e-zine, Stories for Children, and Crow Toes Quarterly has published her ghostly tales. Sliding on the Edge is her first young adult novel. Writing for teen readers keeps Lee in touch with the young members of her family, and allows her to re-visit those wonderful years in life when everything is possible. When she isn’t writing, Lee’s hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Los Gatos, California. Visit her online.