This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. June will be awarding an ebook copy of Benjamin McTash to two (2) randomly drawn commenters during the tour and one (1) randomly drawn commenter will receive an autographed print copy of the book (international) during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Why YA fiction?
I’ve always had an easy relationship with younger people, I could relate to them on terms that they appreciated. I think the reason they have always been drawn to me is that I treat them like grown-ups, I mean as far as understanding and communication. I don’t talk down to them and I’m not shy about asking the real questions. Plus I am so open about me and my life, that it allows for an equal dialog..so they can ask me the tough questions too and I give them the truth.
I have always been a seeker of knowledge...I get excited about learning, I’ve lived a full life and had a lot of unusual experiences. I enjoy sharing this with younger people, they still get so excited about hearing what happened way back in the 70’s..ha ha.
But more than that, I’m finding that our YA’s are searching for a spark to ignite something for them. Their lives are so busy and extreme, there isn’t time for them to dream anymore...not unless they are shown how. I’m about keeping the magic alive. I’m about sharing the nuances in life that allow a young person to ask themselves the deep questions, the ones that will keep them on the path to their highest good. The ones that allow them to search for their own direction...to find the courage to be who they are and thrive.
I hope through my stories, my series, that YA’s will find the magic and follow it into their own lives, giving them the opportunity to become the best parts of themselves. I’m all about finding out who you are and not being afraid to be that and I hope my work promotes this kind of thinking and inspiration.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was twelve I wanted to be a nun (I’ll give you a minute to catch you breath), but that obviously changed dramatically. I actually thought I’d be an entertainer for most of my youth...actually most of my life.
I wanted to dance, sing, act, tell jokes, you name it. I would gather my sisters and the neighborhood kids together to direct plays all the time. I would put on music (back then my favorites where the Kingston Trio, Roy Obinson and Dean Martin), and sing along, shaking up the entire house. I would bounce around on the sofa when our mother left to do the marketing and perform for my sisters.
As I got older I actually got better at singing...I was in the all city chorus when I was in 6th grade. A music teacher came around to all the schools and we each had to do the scales and then three kids from each school were selected to be in the group. I of course made the cut. This is so funny to be answering this right now, because I was just thinking about this earlier this morning..how weird. I remember because I had such a powerful voice my mother said I could be heard above the others.
The music thing carried into my teenage years and I was part of that early 70’s guitar playing, Bob Dylan music crowd. I was one of the only girls who played and I would sit in with all the guys at every event, party, coffee house, in the quad at school at lunch...you name it..I played and sang. I wanted to be the female Jackson Browne when I reached my twenties and played my guitar every day. I dreamed about music, about making it big.
I ended up hanging around a lot of musicians and really fine tuning my craft. As I got older I got to meet some interesting people and had some pretty special opportunities come to me...however, by the time my big break came, and it did, my PR had gotten bigger than me. By this I mean that I had now put myself in a place to be with people that had the means to make me a star...I hung out with some serious industry folk and they had clout...and they thought I could make it big. They began hyping me and promoting me and introducing me to all the biggies at parties and such...till it kinda got too much for me. All of the sudden I had all these people staring at me and wanting me to perform for them right then and there...all because they heard how great I was. It began to eat at my nerves. I finally went into a deep identity crisis and was really getting a taste of what the music industry was all about....and I didn’t like it. I got the biggest case of stage fright you can imagine.
I remember sitting with my then good friend John McVie, the bass player for Fleetwood Mac, and I asked him this, “How do you know who loves you?” At this time I was being offered a record deal, it was through a country manager who just hit it big with one of his clients, who felt I could get in the door and make a cross over easily...and I had two other options on the table then as well, doing back ups on the road for two big names back then...I was super confused about what I should do and so I talked to my friend. He said this, “You don’t. I come home and my wife has all these people here and I don’t know any of them. But once I’m on stage and I play, that’s all that matters to me. There’s nothing like that feeling. It makes all this worth it.”
In the end I turned down the deal and went into a darker place in my life for a bit...and always those times came up when I would let it out and sing and people would just look at me and say, “Why aren’t you up there?” or “You’re so freaking good.” and I never did anything about it.
I often wondered why my life went that way, why I was given such a talent and opportunity to only have it blow up in my face and then regret it for years. Why I was such a good artist..because I paint as well. I used to keep it to myself until people started to see things and then I began to show and sell and get great praise for my work. Then I thought, oh, so that’s why the music didn’t go anywhere, I was meant to paint.
And then years went by with that diminishing as well...and I would always think, why? Why on earth do I have these talents to only be wasted...to not share in a big way? What am I supposed to do with all of this?
And I finally got my answer.
Because after all my life of dreaming of music and art...I never knew what it was like to feel a commitment of passion until I began writing this series.
Nothing fills me like writing does. Nothing takes me to those places like writing does. I can’t believe after all the years of dreaming and fantasizing about being a famous singer, or having that amazing art exhibit in a famous gallery that all I care about is writing...and the clincher is this. I’m not about being famous a writer...I only wish to be successful...and there’s the difference. I need to write. I’ll write whether I ever sell another book or not. I am a writer.
Hunger Games or Twilight?
That’s super easy for me...Hunger Games all the way. I’ve never seen or read Twilight, and here’s the real kicker, my oldest girlfriend’s boyfriend is Kristen Stewart’s father, and neither of us have seen those films. She actually went to the premier in NYC and thought, oh crap! I’m the only person here who hasn’t even seen any of the other movies!
I just got tired of the Vampire thing. I read every Anne Rice book and was totally enamored with the genre’ back in the day. However, one day I was reading one of her last books and I thought...geez, this is so bloody dark! Why do I want this energy surrounding my brain? And I closed the book mid read and never went back.
I understand the Twilight series is about a romance more so than all the other stuff...however, I just have never really been into the romance reading either, so there you have it.
I really enjoy the dystopian thing...the idea of survival against the odds. I just received this series of books for Xmas and can’t wait to read them...so I’m actually basing my answer on the films....I know, not the same..however, it’s enough for me to know what I would prefer and what I’ll give my little extra time to...and it’s Hunger Games all the way.
Sum up your book for Twitter...140 characters of less.
@thejuner #Magic & #Courage..do you have what it takes? Explore another dimension that is Coranim. Journey with Benjamin Annabel & Mathilda
ps. I actually went ahead and tweeted this, so I know it’s 140 characters exactly!
Which of your characters would you like to meet in real life?
That’s easy, it’s Mathilda. Why? Well that’s not so easy, other than to start by saying, she just makes me smile.
Building characters is truly interesting and detailed in my case.
This process is extremely personal...this writing characters..a story with depth. Mathilda speaks like an eleven year old American girl and all that that implies. It didn’t start out that way. The writer in me, the wordsmith kept using proper language. Then I would read it out loud and think, wait, a little girl wouldn’t say that...she wouldn’t say, “It was so frightening, I held my breath.” She would say, “It’s the scardest I ever been, I almost peed my pants!”
So it took some getting used to, but once I got into the understanding of this character, and the others, it flowed. And it helps that I have such a clear visual of my characters, that I hear their individual voices, and see their unique mannerisms. When Mathilda puts her hands on her hips and furrows her brow and says, “Hey what the heck was that Benjamin?” I can see and hear her doing precisely that. So it makes her words flow without effort onto the pages.
Mathilda is afraid of nothing. She’s willing to try anything once and is usually in the lead, pulling everyone along behind her. She thinks outside of the box and looks at things from a completely different angle than her older sister Annabel...or Bellie to Mathilda.
Mathilda is all things entertaining...go figure. She wears tutu’s and her favorite Rock Icon tee shirts paired up with her green Converse high tops with the sparkly purple laces. She has bright orange curls and sometimes sports a rhinestone tiara for fun. Her favorite treat is strawberry cupcakes and she lives for drippy butter soaked english muffins.
She wonders at the smallest of gestures...a crystal hanging in the window that catches the light, creating a ballet dance across the kitchen wall is entertainment and awe inspiring all at the same time for her. She’s eleven, she’s precocious, she’s super smart, extremely funny and clever, she thinks outside of the box. She’s her own girl, not afraid of anything.
She’s the comic relief. She really looks at things from wonder. She’s open to any and all suggestion and gives every one a break. She’s innocent. She’s legit. She refuses to say, “Oh my god!”, she thinks it’s a tad disrespectful, however, she will toss out an “O-M-G” from time to time. And she loves to throw in any British terms she can since they live in the UK now, and sometimes even some Yiddish that she is learning from the nice Miss Levinsky down the road. She comes up with the strangest expletives that become something to look for in your dialog with her.
Mathilda worships her big sister with the most dynamic show of unconditional love. Annabel is fourteen and opposite Mathilda in every way. Tildie, as she is called by Annabel, is utterly and completely enthralled with any opinion her sister has. She loves to sit and listen to the stories Bellie makes up to entertain her. And she would cross anyone who would intend anything less than caring towards her sister.
Annabel is the brains in this outfit...but Mathilda is the heart.
She’s simple and complex, she’s pure and shiny clean...untarnished. She’s a blast and I love her to death!
Here’s a conversation between Mathilda and Annabel...just to give you an idea of how she thinks and the relationship she shares with her sister.
“Hi, I’m Mathilda, this is my big sister Annabel. We came from Boston to live here in Grandlochcheshire where our daddy grew up. It’s really nice here.”
About the Author:
“Yeah, Da was really excited to bring us here so we could learn more about the way he was raised. It’s totally cool here. Although I do miss some of my friends back in Boston.”
“Well what about Benjamin Bellie? He’s our friend, the bestest friend ever! I mean we are the three Muskydeers ain’t we?”
“Of course goof ball, just cause I miss my old friends doesn’t mean Benjamin isn’t a good friend. I was just sayin is all.”
“Well I always thought Melissa was kinda snoot snoot snooty if you ask me. Who could miss that?”
“Well I don’t miss...”
“I mean really if you think about it, you couldn’t even almost think of anyone who is better than Benjamin as a friend. Especially when he does his ESP...now that’s pretty amazing if you ask me!”
“Yeah...it’s really not ESP so much as it’s more like a sixth sense Tildie.”
“A sick sense, what the heck is a sick sense?”
“Not a sick sense, a six-th sense. It means he can feel things and see things other people can’t.”
“You mean he can see dead people? Holy socks! Are you kidding me?”
“No Tildie, he doesn’t see dead people. You know we’re really getting off the subject here, we were supposed to introduce ourselves.”
“Well what the heck do you think I did? I said here’s me and here’s you...I’m not a plank you know! I know what introduce means”
“Relax Tike, I just meant we’re really off track so let’s just bring it back to what we were supposed to do in the first place. That’s all.”
“Blast, now what should I do?”
“Just say good bye to these nice people and let’s go watch a movie.”
“Good bye nice people. So what movie are we going to watch Sissy?”
“I don’t know, maybe we should watch the Sixth Sense so you get a clue.”
“But he’s supposed to see dead people in that movie! I thought you said sixth sense people only know things.”
June lives with her husband and best friend Ray, her step-son and their two dogs, five chickens and two ducks, in Santa Cruz Ca. Her two older step-kids live respectively in LA and San Francisco.
June spends her days writing and sometimes painting her well known series of Rock n Roll icons. June and Ray own Madrona Rust, a line of unique, hand-made rustic furniture.
This series of work, the McTish characters, are a part of June in every sense of the word. “This work brings a deep sense of joy and passion for me in a very profound way, like nothing else that I do."
The McTish Series is an explosive adventure through a dimensional Gateway into another world, a world of beauty and magic, Coranim...a land of insight, thought and possibilities, that sits beneath the enchanted Gilley Forest.
There is local legend in the small town of Grandlochcheshire that has been passed down for a 100 years about the mysterious disappearance of the Chickering family, that trails on the coat tails of the equally shocking abduction of the Skeffington Union Rails heirs. The circumstances that follow this notorious tale enter into the modern world of Benjamin and his two best mates.
One day Benjamin watches as a mysterious little woman steps out of a taxi and in one synchronistic moment their eyes lock and a series of visual snippets of unfamiliar events unfold in his mind’s vision. His razor sharp sixth sense allows him the freedom to explore the extrasensory messages coming at him like a derailed freight train. And when Benjamin finds a peculiar relic of a key in his grandmother’s garden shed, he could never know his world was about to change forever.
Annabel and Mathilda, two sisters who have come from America, have become more than mere friends to Benjamin, they have all become the three Muskydeers (Mathilda’s mispronounced version of Musketeers, which was a huge laugh and of course it stuck), as they are plunged head first into this curious journey.
In the Gilley Forest they discover that the path they have chosen is inundated with many obstacles as well as intrigue. Alliances are made with the Forest clan of Gnomes and with the aid of the Vila sisters, Sethina and Morel, as well as some surprising and unexpected allegiances, the three friends take on the test that is the Grandfather Tree. They must stay on the pre ordained Path of Prophecy, whose ancestry comes from the home of the oldest living beings on the planet, the Elves of the Darmon. However, this is no easy task for the Muskydeers as they have the foulest of sorcery hunting their every move, the powerful dark beauty, Tar Vigorn.
This ruthless Queen is not without humor however and loves a good game of cat and mouse, as long as she’s the cat. With her biting sense of sarcasm and calculated taunting, she knows just how to unnerve Benjamin. Her phantom army, the Blunt, are searching for a way into the Grand Tree and will stop at nothing to infiltrate the pristine world beneath his giant roots.
Once in Coranim the children make the acquaintance of the greatest Medicine Elder alive, Esmerelda Fet. A most powerful Light Sorceress with a brazen in your face attitude, who guides the trio on their Path of destiny. However, a Path can change in the blink of an eye...what could alter the overpowering trajectory Benjamin has followed to Coranim? How will it change his life?
Find out as our three heroes delve into the mystic, as well as their own inner character, as you watch from the edge of your seat.
Book Two, Benjamin Mctish and the Wizards of Coranim, coming beginning of 2014.