PHS editor, Christy Kate McKenzie, tells us 10 things you almost definitely didn't know about her!
1) My favourite poem is by e.e. cummings. I think it is the most romantic piece of poetry I’ve ever read. I first discovered e.e. cummings' work in high school. About the time we studied , I had this incredible teacher who not only exposed us to the most amazing poetry and prose, he also taught us to believe in ourselves. It is because of his encouragement that I still write, even though real life often gets in the way.
2) I started writing as a child. I read everything I could get my hands on and then when I couldn’t find the stories I wanted to read I wrote my own. I wrote and ‘published’ (illustrated, bound, etc. as part of a school project) my first book when I was 6. It was a horror about a black cat. Whenever the cat crossed someone’s path they would die. I wasn’t always the ray of sunshine I am now, lol!
3) I inherited a healthy dose of superstition from my grandmother. My grandmother was one of the most superstitious people I have ever met. As her first grandchild, I spent more than enough time with her for a good bit of it to rub off. I’m not sure I believe in every superstition, mind you, but they all fascinate me. Many of the stories I write have a superstition or two weaved in.
4) I have ADHD. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Seriously, I have the focus of a doorknob. Because of my ADHD, I struggle to block things out and am easily distracted. I also need to be moving at all times. Mr M refuses to sit with me on the couch because my tapping toe shakes it! Having ADHD also means that I start too many things at once. I have a collection of WIPs in various states of completion and I bounce between them.
5) I am a craft addict. This is probably also because of the ADHD. I have attempted probably every craft known to man at some point and I likely still have all of the supplies-- my home office is bursting with bits! Over the years I have… made jewellery (including doing gold and silver smithing); made soaps, lotions, and candles; crocheted; knitted; made and sold handmade wooden crochet & knitting supplies; sewn clothes and accessories; spun wool; made hair bows; made stationery (notebooks, pencils, bookmarks, etc.); brewed mead… I’m sure that there are a few dozen more. I probably need an intervention.
6) While in university, I worked at a Fred Astaire School where I taught ballroom and Latin dance. Because we catered mostly to the retired set in a fairly wealthy southern town, I taught 6 to 8 hours a day! It was my favourite job and if I didn’t need to support kids and adult things, I’d find the closest studio and strap on my heels. I can still dance, although I never do anymore. When we first came to the UK and were struggling financially, I taught Salsa at the YMCA to make ends meet.
7) My love of teaching and dance hasn’t left me. Another ‘hobby’ I brought with me from the US is all star cheerleading. I have taught all star cheer (no pom poms—we throw people around) in the UK since 2005 and in the US for many years before that. I have also travelled around the UK to teach at various universities and all star programs. At one time I owned my own cheer gym and had nearly 100 athletes in the program.
After going back to work full-time, I decided to downsize. I now coach 2 nights a week, have 4 teams, and hire space at our local gymnastics club. I struggle with jumping and tumbling these days because my knees are shot, but I still step in to lift from time to time and I am still flexible. The cheerleader in that picture? I taught her to do that. Yes, I can still do that!
No, I will not post a picture.
8) When I was applying for university, I told my dad that I wanted to be a writer. He laughed at me and said I’d never make a living writing. He told me to be a doctor because I was good at science. I entered university as a pre-medical biology major. I enjoyed it, but always felt like I needed more, so I took Journalism and Creative Writing courses as electives. I rented a house off of campus and set up a bedroom to be my study and in that study I wrote some of the worst romance and romantic suspense you will never read.
9) I couldn’t afford to finish my degree right away and found myself finishing it as an adult—married with one kid and pregnant. The science classes I found myself taking to complete it were boring. I had spent a good part of my adult life in a hospital (as a lab tech, in the emergency room, on an ambulance…) and the classes were easy A’s but also soul-destroying. One New Year’s Eve, I had a mini-meltdown and decided to change my major. It took some convincing the university (they thought I had lost my mind to start over after all of the time and money I had spent), but a few years later, I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in English Language & Literature. Best. Decision. Ever.
10) Even though I have an English degree and 20 years of experience in the medical field, I have somehow found myself in business. I started working for the university as a Biobank Manager. Within 6 months, they found out I had run a small business and let an industrial unit (my old cheerleading program and cheer gym) and they started testing my knowledge. One thing led to another and by my 11th month, I had been promoted to a senior management business role. I’ve now held that role for a year and a half and a few months ago I won a Women In Business award!
Christy is an aspiring author, fairy tale fanatic, peanut butter connoisseur, and wannabe mermaid. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.