Contemporary, Paranormal, & Romance Author

SPOTLIGHT ON:

McKenna Dean

All About McKenna Dean:

McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally, she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.

She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock.

She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.

Bishop's Gambit

Release Date:

October 20, 2020

Publisher:

The Wild Rose Press

Cover Design:

Reese Dante

Welcome McKenna to Jeny's TattleTales

Okay lovely lady, let's start with the beginning: How did your interest in writing originate?

Like most writers, I’ve always been a storyteller. I loved reading as a child; it only made sense that I wanted to spend more time with the characters I loved and have more adventures with them. When I graduated from high school, however, I thought it was time to put aside my childhood dreams and focus on my career. Truthfully, back then it was probably the smartest move. The likelihood of my getting published when I barely knew the mechanics of writing was slim.

Fast forward several years. I discovered online fanfiction archives and began reading voraciously. Eventually, the bug to write again drove me to post my own stories. It was like opening a secret door and discovering a wild garden behind its walls. Fanfic taught me how to prune and weed and find the bones of my stories again. When my favorite show went off the air, instead of finding another fandom to play in, I felt compelled to try original fiction. Writing original fiction is much harder than fanfic—you don’t have those training wheels to keep you upright. But I can’t imagine going back to fanfic now.

Sophie’s choice…Answer honestly which of your books is your favorite? (You can’t say all of them)

Tempting as it is to say Bishop Takes Knight (because it introduces us to the characters, and it won some awards) I really think it’s Bishop’s Gambit. I wrote this story during one of the toughest years in my life and I’m proud of the way it turned out. And I don’t say that lightly! I’m usually my own worst critic! But I had fun with this story, and I think it shows.

What’s your favorite part of the writing life?

The best part is when the story begins rolling out of you—without hesitation, without pause. The scene unfolds as you see it in your mind. Hours pass before you blink, massage your fingers, and think about taking a break. It’s a magic carpet ride into another existence, and everything else falls away while you’re there.

If a reader could do one thing to help their favorite author, what would it be?

It really boils down to both reviews and telling people you know how much you enjoy these stories. There are so many people publishing today that it’s incredibly difficult to get any traction. These days the algorithms for visibility really depend on someone commenting and recommending a story. It doesn’t have to be like a high school book report! Just a simple, “OMG, I loved this! Read it!” will do.

What do you do for fun, besides writing?

I love hiking, photography, and horseback riding.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

Tasha Alexander’s book, “And Only to Deceive”, is a bloody masterpiece. It’s the first book in the Lady Emily series but it’s her first book EVER and she wrote it in the short bursts of time available to her while her three-year-old son was napping. In two months, she had a draft. I am so envious I could cry!

What is your favorite quote?

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” ~Calvin Coolidge

Who is your biggest cheerleader on earth or angel in heaven?

Without a doubt, my husband. He proofs the final versions of my stories, helps with my website and formatting issues, and believes in my writing even when I’ve lost faith myself. He’s even made me the most awesome book trailer ever—you’d never know this was his first attempt at making a trailer! I adore this trailer!

What’s next for you?

I’m working on the final installment of the Redclaw Origins series and planning the next series, Better off Red. Same universe, but moving back into contemporary times and focusing on an elite division within Redclaw: Major Shifter Crimes.
What space do you prefer for writing? Supreme quiet? Music? Coffee shop or office, or maybe

Life advise for the masses?

If someone is really bent on crushing your dreams, ask yourself why. What did they give up on that makes them want to see you do the same?
What space do you prefer for writing? Supreme quiet? Music? Coffee shop or office, or maybe

The last question is… What would you most like to say to your readers?

My goal as a storyteller is to take you out of your existence for a few hours. If I can make you forget your crappy job, your chronic pain or illness, or the weight of your responsibilities for just a little while and transport you to another place and time, then I’ve done my job as a writer.

Bishop's Gambit
Blurb & Excerpt

Newly-minted secret agent Rhett Bishop would rather face down a horde of angry wolf shifters or her father’s former mob contacts than accept her current assignment: pose undercover as a suburban housewife, complete with a husband, slippers, and pipe.

But after the debacle of her previous mission, Rhett has a lot to prove.

To redeem herself in the eyes of Redclaw Security, and to carry out her mission without distractions, she must table her budding relationship with Peter Knight while the two of them uncover the secrets of Forest Grove.

Armed with her trusty ray gun, her unique little dog, and Knight’s brains, Rhett is confident she can handle whatever the suburbs can throw at her.

Until they lob a curveball.

Excerpt 1

As I’d hoped, my shout caused the bathroom door to explode open as Knight burst out, his skin damp and a towel gathered around his waist. Well, that wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for, but the results were astonishing just the same. Momentarily stunned by the gleaming expanse of wet skin, as well as some rather impressive musculature for a scientist, I blanked for a second on the reason I’d called out in the first place. But just for a second. I snatched up Stirling’s flowers as the gunman transferred his aim from the dog to Knight. His finger was closing on the trigger when I hurled the vase.

Excerpt 2

A yellow taxi pulled over to the side of the road. I’d just given my hotel address to the driver through his open window when I heard the sound of running footsteps behind me. My James Cagney follower pounded the concrete in a dead run toward me. Without waiting for the driver to let me in, I dove into the back seat and slammed the car door shut.

“Drive. Now!”

The cab driver let out an oath and gunned the engine, cutting the wheel hard and pulling into traffic as my pursuer wrenched open the rear door. The stranger’s mouth fell open in surprise as I pointed the ray gun at him, but then his expression hardened. Either he didn’t believe the gun was real or he didn’t believe I’d shoot. With a snarl, he reached for my hand as he ran alongside the cab.

A serious mistake on his part. I don’t bluff.

The ray gun let loose a concentrated beam of energy, not enough to kill, but certainly, enough to injure. With a yelp, the stranger fell back clutching his hand. The car peeled away from the curb, and I leaned out to grab the door handle and pull the door shut before it banged into a newspaper stand on the corner. Breathless with the near-miss, I settled my hat back on my head and replaced the gun in my clutch.

The driver met my eyes in the rearview mirror. “You okay back there? What was that about, lady?”
I looked thoughtfully back at the man on the street whipping off his hat and throwing it to the sidewalk in frustration.

“I wish I knew.”

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Jeny's TattleTales

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Jeny's TattleTales

Dogs or Cats? Both? I have 2 dogs and 1 housecat, plus a wide assortment of strays that I take care of. Every time I’m asked this question, I have a hard time saying one or the other. But if I was FORCED to choose, I’d pick dogs, otherwise, I might never leave the house these days.

The number of books you’ve written? 4 under this pen name. I’ve been publishing stories since 2010 and have written over 15 books but in 2017 decided to reinvent myself with a new pen name and genre.

Name three things you see when you look right.
1. A stack of books I’ve written that I’m about to mail to giveaway winners
2. A bottle of water
3. The microwave (I’m sitting at the kitchen table!)

What’s the best swag item you’ve ever seen? A little handheld fan that revealed the publisher’s name when the blades turned. So cool!

Who do you think is the most irritating celebrity? Just about any reality TV personality.

What is your most attractive feature? Empathy

Cook, baker, or next question?
Baker! Definitely baker! There’s an art to cooking I haven’t mastered but I’m a decent Betty Crocker type baker.

Place you’d like to visit: Wales or New Zealand

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you? Mary McDonnell

What song best sums you up? Katy Perry’s “Roar”

Describe yourself in three words:
1. Resilient
2. Compassionate
3. Exhausted

If we were here when the earth began would you be a hunter or a gatherer?
Probably a gatherer. I wanted to be a naturalist like Jane Goodall when I was a child. I can see myself collecting nuts and smacking someone on the hand for attempting to eat the red berries.

Coffee or tea?
Tea. I learned to drink it the English way, with milk added. Nothing like a good strong breakfast tea!

Spring, Summer, Fall Winter?
Oh, fall is my favorite time of year. I refer to it as my Holy Season. Those days when you wake to frost on the ground and leaves that crunch underfoot… morning air so crisp it’s like biting into an apple and afternoons when the sun slants through the trees in great beams of golden light. It’s sweaters, and boots, and mugs of hot chocolate. Long walks in the woods with the dog while the leaves flutter down around you like giant red and gold snowflakes. The honking of geese overhead and the joy of watching the dogs frisk and frolic around you. Simply the best time of year.

Mac or PC?
PC, though I’ve been tempted to try Macs every now and then.

What is your favorite thing to learn about in your free time?
Most of my free time that isn’t work-related is spent on writing craft and marketing. I wouldn’t say that’s my favorite thing to learn about, though. There’s probably a good reason I set a series in the 1950s because I enjoy historical research!

You have a time travel machine. Where and when?
That’s a tough one. I love history but I’m not sure I would like living in another era unless I could leave when things got rocky. Did you know that in 1971 a woman could not get a credit card in her own name or serve on a jury in the US? Then there’s the notion of going back in your own lifetime to prevent your younger self from making mistakes you regret… the problem with doing that is every decision you’ve made in the past gets you where you are today, so aside from telling my younger self not to give up on writing (which I did until much later in life), I’m not sure I’d take the TARDIS out of the park.

Are you earth, wind, fire, or water? Water. It’s vital to life. I find it soothing, yet persistent, and capable of changing the landscape over time.

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