Thursday, January 19, 2017

Interview: Jill MacKenzie, Author of Spin the Sky

Today I'm excited to present to you an interview I did with Jill MacKenzie, author of Spin the Sky, regarding her debut novel that was published on November 1, 2016 by Sky Pony Press. I'll be posting my review of Spin the Sky within the next few days, so look out for that. But now onto the interview:

1.) Can you tell us a little bit about your debut young adult novel, Spin the Sky?
Why, of course! I’d love to! 

Spin the Sky is about a girl from a small, Oregon-Coast town who auditions with her BFF for a reality TV dance competition in hopes of changing her image--an image her town has given her. I felt inspired to write this story after watching multiple seasons of the popular TV dance show, So You Think You Can Dance, and wished the dancers’ lives on that show were explored little more. Because of my own upbringing in dance, I always knew that dancing like the way those competitors do takes strength, desire, determination and perseverance. I kept asking myself the same question about each dancer: what was it that made them never give up? There had to be something bigger than just the love of dance…didn’t there? Well, for my character, there was. Something bigger than her mother, her sister, her town, and the people she was surrounded by. It was her own self-worth at stake. The possibility that without proving to the world that she was valid that she might not be valid at all. That’s where I started with this book. What my main character, Magnolia, had to loose if she didn’t achieve what she set out to. 

2.) Do you have any dance experience like your heroine Magnolia?
Yes! I spent all of my life in dance, immersed in ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary styles. I don’t think I ever possessed the drive or natural talent that Magnolia does, but I loved it even still, and I love it now as well. Dance is life! 

3.) Spin the Sky centers around a dance competition that's broadcasted on television. Do you watch reality television and how did you come up with the idea?
Ah! I answered some of this in question 1. But--and this is a serious guilty pleasure confession here--I also watch…wait for it…The Bachelor. It’s not that I love reality TV. It’s quite the opposite, actually. I find it fascinating that people watch these shows as if they were sitcoms, as if the “actors” are regurgitating lines written by a writer, instead of said organically. I spend a lot of time wondering if reality TV shows are scripted and if so to what extent. I tried to explore this sort of “Hunger Games” side of reality TV and how its participants live under microscopes for as long as they’re on the show. So, I guess it was a combination of my loving that dance show and appreciating how it really, truly makes dancers’ dreams come true and my fascination with the dark side of reality TV.

4.) Which character was the most interesting to write about in Spin the Sky?
For me, the most interesting character to write was Rose. Of course, I LOVE Magnolia with all my heart, but it was really hard for me to write the story of a sister--especially the older sister. In my own family, I’m the youngest, and it’s hard to see outside of that perspective. But Rose ended up being someone I truly love, her compassion, her selflessness, her wisdom. I think it actually made me view my own older sister in a different light. A better one, absolutely.

5.) What do you hope readers will take away from reading Spin the Sky?
I hope readers will take away that dreams--any dreams, all dreams--are everything. At least, they’re everything to me. Right now, I’m writing books. But I have other dreams too, you know? So I want to believe that I can visualize those and go after those one day, too. It’s what I go to sleep each night thinking about. It’s how I get up the next morning and do it all over again.

6.) Do you have any plans for future releases?
Yes! But I’m a very superstitious writer-type! I can’t say a word until things are set in stone, done and dusted. But you’ll be the first to know when I’m ready to spill!

Thanks so much for joining us today, Jill! 
Thanks so much!  

Please check out Jill's novel, Spin the Sky.
Amazon Link: HERE

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