Saturday, March 22, 2014

Youth Author Lillian McKinnon and her character Cody Barnaby visit my Blog!

Join me in welcoming youth author, Lillian McKinnon, and her character, Cody Barnaby, from her Free Serial Read Kismet!
This is a special two part post for Kismet's Blog Tour. The first portion is a Character Interview of Cody Barnaby, the main character in Kismet. The second portion is an interview of Lillian. For those of you who don't know, she is a mere twelve years of age and has embarked on the daunting task of writing and self-publishing a free story. 

It takes a lot be an author. You must be imaginative, knowledgeable, creative, open-minded, disciplined, determined, and YOU.MUST.BE.BRAVE. You must have the courage to put yourself out there and be strong enough to take criticism, constructive or otherwise.  

Lillian hasn't only entered the arena or professional authorship by publishing Kismet. Kismet is a serial story. You read that right: a serial story. A serial story is one of the most intimidating commitments an author can make. I know, I have one. A serial requires that you publish incremental installments of your story. This requires that you write and edit consistently without supervision or the benefit of beta reading and, above all, produce a good story. It is not an endeavor for the faint of heart, I assure you. On that note, it is my great honor and privilege to have Lillian on my blog today.

A Character Interview with Cody Barnaby,
the star of Lillian Kinnon’s Kismet

Cody: Thank you for joining me today, Cody, and congratulations on having your own story.

Cody: Thank you and thank you for having me on your blog, Mr. Kennedy

Cody: Call me Cody. I think it’s great that we have the same first name, but it may make this interview a little confusing. Is it all right with you if I call you Mr. Barnaby?

Mr. Barnaby: *smiles* Whatever works.

Cody: Terrific. Through Kismet, you’ve become quite a popular character. Tell us how it feels to have a story written about you.

Mr. Barnaby: This whole thing has been a little weird for me. I’ve always thought of myself as an ordinary guy who just looked a bit weird, and then all this stuff happened to show how un-ordinary I was. I couldn’t believe it when Lillian decided to write about it. I find it even more astonishing to discover people want to read about me.

Cody: You are bullied at school and we know how deeply that affects people while they’re in school. Tell us how that affects your life outside of school.

Mr. Barnaby: Sometimes I feel like putting on a happy face and just forgetting all about the kids from school. Just enjoy being me, you know? But then other times, I think since it seems to be almost everyone either ignoring me or bullying me that they must know something about me that I don’t. That I’m ugly and worthless and it makes me want to hide. I was always a bit shy, but since junior high, I’ve become even more so. I keep thinking, what if this person will hate me too? It’s stopped me from trying to approach people in order to avoid possible rejection.

Cody: Jason seems like a nice enough guy. Does he strike you as someone you could fall for?

Mr. Barnaby: I really like him. He’s been really nice and seems to be into me for some reason. I also think he’s rather hot. I like the idea of becoming his boyfriend, but honestly? The whole deal that those Three Fates cooked up with tying us together forever freaks me out more than a little. I find myself wondering if I am falling for him because I'm really, really into him or if it is because they did some magic love spell to make the thread thing work so they could save the world. Same thing with him: is it real love or magic spell? If it’s magic, what happens when it wears off and he sees what a freak I am? 

Cody: You have a number of suspicions about Mr. Romney and rightfully so. He creeps me out just reading about him. Tell us what you really think he’s up to.

Mr. Barnaby: I think he’s trying to become rich and powerful in order to impress people. I think he’s a guy who only feels good by being bigger and better than everyone else and he thinks the way to do that is to trample everyone else into the ground. I think my dad got in his way and Romney just swept him aside as if Dad meant nothing. He’s a major creep all right, and it scares me to think that if Jason and I want to get out of this without him doing anything to us and for me to find my dad, I have to go up against him. He’s a bigger bully than the kids at school. If I get my ass kicked by them on a regular basis at school, how the hell am I supposed to face Mr. Romney?

Cody: You’re on a quest to get back to what you consider the “right” reality; one in which you have your father back. But you’re also on a quest to discover what’s at the end of red string. I get the impression that you're being pulled in two vastly different directions. Tell us about that.

Mr. Barnaby: I think Dad is out there somewhere. The no funeral thing tells me that he’s gotta be. I don’t know why the cops and everyone seem to think otherwise, but I’m sure Romney is behind whatever happened to my dad. Dad is part of my human life and the red thread is a thing of magic. If I chase after the string, will I be stuck in some magical place and be stuck as a fox? I have no idea how this whole thing works yet. Is the supernatural realm part of the every day world and mostly just goes unnoticed or is it parallel? And once the red thread sews it all up so it’s not ripped anymore or whatever is wrong with it, will my human life be over? I want Dad back, and it scares me to think dealing with the whole string thing means I could lose Dad. Or what if I find him, and the magic makes him forget all about me? Worse yet, what if he sees my fox form and hates me for being such a freak?

You certainly have some serious considerations on your plate, but you strike me as a very intelligent and resourceful young man. I wish you the best of luck in both your quests and can't wait to read more about you. Thank you for joining me today and I hope you'll visit my blog again soon. It was great having you on my blog.

The Three Fates, the last of a clan of nine tailed foxes and a Dryad are all that stands between a power hungry businessman and the power of a sacred tree. But when the fox believes he is a human boy, and the Dryad is himself captive to the businessman, how will they save the world? Will the red thread of fate that binds them together be enough, and can love really change the world enough to save it?

A Chat with Youth Wordslinger
Lillian McKinnon

Cody: Thanks for giving me this additional interview, Lillian. It was a thrill having Cody here.

Lillian: I am so excited to be here! Neither Cody nor I could believe it when we found out we were to be your guests.

Cody: Thank you, Lillian! It's an honor to have you here, to be sure. Can you tell us what inspired you to write a serial story about two boys falling in love?

Lillian: I like to think of it as a story where the two boys happen to be gay. I thought what if I had a story with a dryad and fox spirit? While I thought about that, Cody and Jason came along and shared their story with me.

Cody: I understand that you’ve written another story entitled A Life in Frames. Can you tell us a little about that?

Lillian: Ah, yes, Frames. Reaching high school age, there is this pressure on people to couple up. (in the U.K., we start high school around age 11). Everyone talks a lot about who’s cute, who’s cool, who’s hot, and what guy/girl they’d like to go to the discos with and all that kind of stuff. When hanging out with my friends, going to the pool, or out shopping and stuff, it isn't just about swimming and shopping. It’s also about getting noticed and maybe landing yourself someone to do the girlfriend/boyfriend thing with.

Frames looks at how a young man, his sister, and their friend all deal with finding that someone and how it affects the ways in which people see them and how they see themselves. The young man comes out as gay, the best friend tries to be someone she’s not in order to attract attention and be who she thinks guys her age want, and the young man’s sister is trying to help them both land a guy while reconciling her own thoughts of what she wants in a partner and the reality of what she actually craves.

Cody: During the penning of these works, did you find anything similar about them?

Lillian: I think both Kismet and Frames are about self-discovery and acceptance as much as they are about anything else.

Cody: We all know that writing is a wonderful adventure of self-discovery. What have you learned about yourself during your authorship of these two stories?

Lillian: With Kismet I discovered that I identify a lot with Cody over being different. A lot of the girls I associate with hit puberty and became giggling, frilly, make up wearing people crazy about boy bands marketed directly to them. I went from loving dresses and pink to loving jeans, t-shirts, and leather jackets. While like my friends I usually have my headphones on listening to music, my tastes run towards exploring different genres and eras and finding songs that I like not because it’s marketed to me as a present-day youth, but because it’s just good.

With Frames, I worked out a lot of my identity as a person. Like the sister, I became comfortable in my choice of clothes and in my own skin. I also embraced the fact that while I drool over guys just like my straight female friends, I am just as likely to be romantically attracted to a strong, confident girl and would just as happily date a person of either gender as long as they were a good person to be with. That took some time for me to come to terms with for many of the same reasons it did the sister in Frames.

Cody: Have you considered becoming a full-time author as a profession and, if so, what genre would be your primary focus?

Lillian: I see writing as an extension of my art (I also draw in several mediums, paint, and take photos), and my goal is to make a living doing my art. My educational focus is on pursuing the arts and humanities track, gaining my diploma qualifications in that area while learning to illustrate children’s books, create book covers, improving my painting, drawing, and photography skills so that I can make a living from my diverse skill set. I intend to keep writing and to add that to my professional repertoire.

Cody: Sounds as if you are an incredibly talented young lady, Lillian. Tell us how writing has affected your life.

Lillian: Writing has made me reach deeper into myself, and open myself more fully to the viewpoints of others in order to create my characters. It not only has put me more in touch with others around me, but to know myself more fully. It’s improved how I interact with others and enriched my visual art. I have gained a much more enhanced and worldly perspective. It’s made my life so much richer.

About Lillian McKinnon:

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 in karate. She also enjoys long bike rides, photography, kayaking, abseiling, canoeing, swimming, and is an artist. She probably reads far too much and has 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 spends time gaming with her younger brother--as long as he hasn't annoyed her too much that day. The skill she would most like to learn next: surfing.

Find Lillian McKinnon: Blog & Facebook & Goodreads 

Lillian's Writing Play List for today


24th March Gale Stanley

25th March Jana Denardo

26th March A FUN TIME with
Mia Kerick

A special note from Lillian:

Kismet is a free read, so rather than have the usual buy links up, below you’ll find two fund raiser links. 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.

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 the Kids' Right to Read Project. KRRP is an NCAC signature aspect of the Youth Free Expression Project. KRRP offers support, education, and direct advocacy to people facing book challenges or bans in schools and libraries and engages local activists in promoting the freedom to read. It was co-founded with the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and is supported in part by the Association of American Publishers and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. KRRP has helped defend hundreds of titles, on cases in almost every state in the nation. Their work on book censorship incidents is responsive and strategically tailored to each situation. They contact teachers, booksellers, librarians, local reporters and free speech advocates involved in the challenge. Energizing and backing community involvement is essential to the work of KRRP. They work to engage local communities as much as possible to provide resources and support for their advocacy for the freedom to read.

Thank you,
Lillian McKinnon


  1. Great interviews and I love the playlist! Good luck Lillian, in the future in both your art and writing. I will continue to read your story and any future stories.

    1. Thank you, Timmy! It's very nice to meet you :D

  2. It was very nice to meet you as well, though I don't really know you,I feel I know some about you from the interview. But I think I learned more about the kind of person you are from the very end of the post. There are many people that, while make money off stories about kids on the streets or kids being bullied in school, they don't really do anything to help, however there are a few rare people that do, and I believe you are one of them. I have a great respect for you because of the donation links you added. I want to thank you for caring enough to add them. Thou, I was never on the streets thanks to a wonderful family, that could have been me. It could be anyone, but they rarely think of it. I really wish the best for you and your family, your parents must have done a great job raising you, to have had such a loving kid. Also we are about the same age and I even I am not brave enough to show my poems often. I don't really write, I draw and have some poems, but like I said I'm rarely brave enough to show them.

    1. Timmy, thank you. I hope that people use the links because these things really matter. As for the rest, I'd like to be your friend. I am not old enough for a personal Facebook book page yet, but have an author page one my Mom manages that you can speak to me through if you want. Uncle Cody can tell you how to find it and stuff. What's your preferred drawing method? I alternate a lot between using pencils and my Macbook.

    2. I am best at sketching, but I also use paint, chalk, colored pencils. I'll get the info from Cody. Hope to talk to you soon.

  3. Thank you for both wonderful interviews, Lillian! I'm really looking forward to checking out Kismet and Timmy is spot on about showing just what an amazing person you are by requesting people consider donating to those worthy causes. Since I'm from another country (Australia), I'll make a donation to a great local LGBT youth charity I support called Open Doors.

    1. That makes me so happy! Both to gain a new reader and also that some kids will be getting much needed help because you reached out. Thank you so much!