25 September 2017

Curva Peligrosa By Lily Iona MacKenzie Book Tour!

Curva Peligrosa

By Lily Iona MacKenzie
Genre: Literary magical realism

When Curva Peligrosa arrives in Weed, Alberta, after a twenty-year trek on the Old North Trail from southern Mexico, she stops its residents in their tracks. With a parrot on each shoulder, a glittering gold tooth, and a wicked trigger finger, she is unlike anything they have ever seen before. Curva is ready to settle down, but are the inhabitants of Weed ready for her? Possessed of an insatiable appetite for life and love, Curva’s infectious energy galvanizes the townspeople, turning their staid world upside down with her exotic elixirs and unbridled ways. Toss in an unscrupulous americano developer and a one-eyed Blackfoot chief, stir them all together in the tumult of a tempestuous tornado, and the town of Weed will never be the same again. A lyrical account of one woman’s journey and the unexpected effects it has on the people around her, Curva Peligrosa pulses with the magic at the heart and soul of life.

About the Author
A Canadian by birth, a high school dropout, and a mother at 17, in my early years, I supported myself as a stock girl in the Hudson’s Bay Company, as a long-distance operator for the former Alberta Government Telephones, and as a secretary (Bechtel Corp sponsored me into the States). I also was a cocktail waitress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, briefly broke into the male-dominated world of the docks as a longshoreman (I was the first woman to work on the SF docks and almost got my legs broken), founded and managed a homeless shelter in Marin County, co-created The Story Shoppe, a weekly radio program for children that aired on KTIM in Marin County, CA, and eventually earned two Master’s degrees (one in creative writing and one in the humanities). I have published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 150 American and Canadian venues. My novel Fling! was published in 2015. Curva Peligrosa, another novel, will be published in September 2017. Freefall: A Divine Comedy will be released in 2018. My poetry collection All This was published in 2011. I have taught at the University of San Francisco for over 30 years, and I blog at http://lilyionamackenzie.wordpress.com.
On Twitter: @lilyionamac
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lily.iona.mackenzie/
EXCERPT: Bones Will Be Bones
They didn’t think much about it when the wind picked up without warning late one summer afternoon and a dark cloud hurtled towards them over the prairies. Alberta residents are used to nature’s unpredictability: snowstorms in summer; spring thaws during severe cold snaps; hail or thunderstorms appearing out of nowhere on a perfect summer day. At times, hot dry winds roar through like Satan’s breath, churning up the soil and sucking it into the air, turning the sky dark as ink. Months later, some people are still digging out from under the spewed dirt. 
But this wasn’t just a windstorm. A tornado aimed directly at the town of Weed, it whipped itself into a frenzy. To the Weedites, it sounded like a freight train bearing down on them, giving off a high-pitched shriek the closer it got, like a stuck whistle. The noise drowned out everything else. Right before the tornado hit, a wall of silence descended, as if the cyclone and every living thing in the area had been struck dumb. 
And then a completely intact purple outhouse dropped into the center of town, a crescent-shaped moon carved into its door. It landed right next to the Odd Fellows Hall and behind the schoolhouse. Most people thought the privy had been spared because its owner—Curva Peligrosa, a mystery since her arrival two years earlier—had been using it at the time. 
Meanwhile, the tornado’s racket resumed, and Curva sat inside the outhouse, peering through a slit in the door at the village dismantling around her. The funnel sucked up whole buildings and expelled them, turning most of Weed upside down and inside out. Unhinged from houses, doors and roofs flew past, along with walls freed from their foundations. The loosening of so many buildings’ restraints released something inside Curva. Never had she been so aroused. It was more exhilarating than riding the horse she’d bartered for recently, a wild gelding. The horse excited her, especially when she imagined herself riding its huge organ. In the midst of the noise and clatter, just as the tornado reached its climax, Curva had hers. 
A heavy rain followed, some of it seeping into Curva’s sanctuary and dampening the walls as well as her nightdress. So much rain pelted the town it created a flood that overran the main street. Protected from the worst of the storm, Curva drowsed and dreamt that she fell through the hole in the seat, landing on the ground with a soft thud next to a pile of bones, each about ten inches long, worn smooth from the elements. She grabbed one and—still aroused—used it, waking to the melting feeling of another orgasm and the sound of rain pelting the roof.

Tell us about your genre.  How did you come to choose it?  Why does it appeal to you?  

Curva Peligrosa fits into the magical realism genre. I actually didn’t choose it. It chose me! And dutiful writer that I am, I just followed the process. This daily world we inhabit can feel enchanted at times, though the realism genre sometimes doesn’t capture that quality as much as I would like. I believe in mysteries and parallel universes and things we can’t apprehend with our limited five senses. Magical realism, then, allows me to integrate some of these more imaginative aspects of being human.

What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
Just forming words and putting them on paper (or the computer screen) is an amazing thing in itself, especially if you are trying to communicate with readers you will never meet so they can enter into the universe your prose is creating. Writing requires the utmost attention and ability to compose as a reader and as a writer. I have to constantly come back on myself and ask if my audience will get what I’m trying to say. It’s also a challenge to find adequate ways in which to capture a place or mood or atmosphere. In fact, everything about writing is a challenge because words themselves are so slippery, often composed of multiple meanings. The word life, for example, seems straight forward enough, but it slides away when you try to fit it into a sentence. What aspect of life am I writing about? And how can I make this clear to my reader?
When and where do you do your writing?
I can’t write at a desk. My trusty Macbook Pro laptop travels with me from room to room in my house, finding its place on my lap, as well as from country to country when my husband and I are vacationing.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
It’s bloody hard to make the shift from creative writer to marketing director! I actually spend more time each day interacting with strangers on various social media platforms and on my blog than I do writing. It’s a tremendously demanding role and requires a steep learning curve. To be successful, a writer must be committed and super serious about her work.

What are you most proud of as a writer?
Writing requires a tremendous amount of discipline and self-belief. It took me years of composing poems, short stories, and novels before I began to make an impact on the publishing scene. I have had three or four agents that believed in my novels but were unable to sell them. I didn’t give up. I continued to send out queries to small presses until three of them wanted to publish my work. In 2011, Little Red Tree Publishing sent my poetry collection All This into the world. Pen-L Publishing released my “debut” novel Fling! in July 2015 and will be publishing a trilogy of mine, starting with Freefall: A Divine Comedy. And Regal House Publishing is issuing Curva Peligrosa.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?

This is a really hard question because there are so many writers I would love to dine with and discuss literature! I’ve been reading Rachel Cusk’s work, and since she’s alive, I would have a better chance of interacting with her. I’ve read Transit, a recent novel, as well as Afermath, a memoir about her divorce. Transit offers much to admire in terms of the writing (amazing descriptions and characters), but I found myself more engaged with her memoir. I would love to hear Cusk discuss these two genres and how differently they interact with readers. Cusk has a strong philosophical bent, and this comes through in both genres. I would like to know more about why she has come to distrust the traditional novel and where she sees herself going next.



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