Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The 5 W’s in C. Lee Mackenzie’s Sudden Secrets, Giveaway

The Five W's of Stories

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story blog. This week talented author C. Lee Mackenzie joins us with the 5 W's in her newly released YA novel, Sudden Secrets. She's a talented author who loves to write for young readers, young adult and middle-grade students. 
Young Adult Novels by C. Lee Mackenzie

We met through the Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. Their mission is to help writers overcome their insecurities and offer encouragement through the online community. In fact, the Writers Digest recognized them with the 101 Best Websites for Writers award. Lee and I have met so many helpful, generous, sincere bloggers in the group. Click here if you would like to find out more about IWSG.

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IWSG-- a supportive group for writers
Lee is offering a generous giveaway--if you would like an eBook, just mention that in the comments below and she'd be happy to give you one. Thanks, so much, Lee! 
The offer ends on Monday, September 17, at 10:00 pm ET.

Now let's crack open the 5 W's in this YA mystery, Sudden Secrets.  
I love secrets, but I'm not too good at keeping them. How about you?

The 5 W’s in C. Lee Mackenzie’s Sudden Secrets

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee Mackenzie
YA Fiction


Sudden Secrets is about Cleopatra Brown (Cleo for short). She has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away, and the pitying looks from her classmates make her want to hide herself away, and her grades dive into the basement. When her mother moves them to a new town, Cleo vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid those pitying looks. From the first day In her new place, she knows there’s something’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see. Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her.


I like to explore what makes people tick—how they manage grief and loss, what makes them hide things or act out with hatred. In Sudden Secrets, I got to do all of that. Cleo, her mother and father, and her grandfather each deal with the loss of a beloved child differently. They have their own secrets, and they keep them tucked away from each other. When Cleo stumbles upon a mystery, she begins to unravel a secret that the small town she now lives in has kept hidden for years. It was interesting to peel away all of the secrets and shed light on them. I wanted that light to be healing for each of the characters.

The story takes place in a small but somewhat upscale town of Morgan Heights. It has some boutiques, public art, and an impressive museum by small town standards. The Brown move to a cul-de-sac in an older section of the town, and, on this street, there are two unique and rundown Victorian houses. One is where Cleo and her family live. The other is across the street and abandoned—at least that’s what everyone says. It’s this abandoned house that captures Cleo’s curiosity and that leads her to her discovery.

Sudden Secrets is set in contemporary small town USA. I suppose that will change over the years when cell phones are a device of the past or nobody needs a locker because every book is digitalized and on a portable reading device. When that happens, this story will be a slice of the “good old days.”


 This is my fourth young adult novel, and I wish I knew how an idea becomes a book. If I did, I’d be glad to share that here. As it is, I’m always amazed when the process starts and definitely when it ends. I can say that the books I’ve written have been triggered by items in the news, personal experiences, and dreams. And if any of those instigators keeps nagging at me, I can’t resist scribbling notes, that lead to a few pages, and then—about a year later—to The End.

One Secret
Cleo has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid pitying looks.
One Mystery
Something’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see. Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her.
Another Secret
In one night, Belleza’s life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide her secret from the world so she can silence small-town bigotry.
Then Cleo happens.

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee Mackenzie
YA Mystery


I’m C. Lee McKenzie. I love to write for young readers, and I write both young adult and middle-grade fiction. Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, and Sudden Secrets are my four YAs. My middle-grade adventure/fantasy series is now a trilogy: Alligators Overhead, The Great Time Lock Disaster, and Some Very Messy Medieval Magic. I also have a stand-alone MG fantasy called Sign of the Green Dragon. Italia Gandolfo represents me.

Author C. Lee Mackenzie
I’m very fortunate to have some great five star reviews from readers and reviewers. And I’m really pleased that I’m learning this business. Promotion has been my biggest challenge. I’ve had to learn how to schedule, so I can still write and do the promotion I need to do for my other books. It’s a full-time job.

When I’m not writing I’m practicing yoga, doing sun salutations in my garden (AKA weeding) or scratching my head over how all of this writing stuff started. I'm still not sure, but the ride has been exhilarating and so much different than I'd expected.

Website: http://www.cleemckenziebooks.com

Thanks for guesting on the Focused on Story Blog, Lee!
Circle September 25 when my next guest for the Five W's event is mystery author, Susan Calder.

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cleemckenzie said...

Thanks for hosting me today. Your post generated an alert that was kind of fun to get via my email.

Marsha said...

Love the back cover blur. Good luck with this book.

J.Q. Rose said...

You're so welcome, Lee. Secrets sounds like a great read.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Marsha. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.

Helena Fairfax said...

Loved your post, Lee. I'm always amazed by how an idea becomes a book, too. Love the premise behind your latest. Best of luck with it!

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Helena, I love getting the behind-the-scenes thinking of authors too. Some tiny spark fires up so much creativity.

Unknown said...

This book sounds very interesting! The questions leave you wanting more. The suspense is building.
I love suspense, don’t you?!
I’d be grateful for a chance to read an ebook of Ms. Lee’s. I thank you in advance for offering that to us, that’s very kind of you.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Shirley, Yes I love suspense too!! Lee will get in touch with you to see what you'd like.

Chrys Fey said...

Figuring out the who, what, where, when, why can sure be useful, such as for writing the blurb, a query letter and/or synopsis.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Chrys, Yes, I discovered knowing the five w's is very helpful when trying to condense 300 pages in your book down to a few paragraphs for a synopsis. Thanks for stopping in.

Melissa said...

That blurb took an unexpected twist. Sounds like an interesting story. Congratulations, Lee! Best of luck!

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