Spotlight: 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.

  1. What made you decide to become a writer?  I don’t know if anyone really decides to become a writer. I think storytelling chooses you. From my earliest days, my family read to me, and I became an avid reader as a result. I think it’s only a small step from being a voracious reader to wanting to tell your own stories. At first it was because I loved certain stories and characters so much, I wanted to spend more time in their universe. When I ran out of stories about these characters, I wrote my own. As I grew older, I put away writing as a realistic career goal, and set about getting a degree and earning a living. But the storytelling never entirely went away. It lived, overgrown and neglected, behind a locked door in a secret garden. Dormant, wild, and untamed. Mostly nettles and thorns. I stumbled upon the key one day, opened the door, and began hacking at the nearest bramble bush. Over time, I cleared enough briars away to recognize the layout of the original garden, and realized it had been there all along, waiting for me to return.
  • What advice would you give an aspiring author? Realize that becoming a successful author is a lot like winning the lottery. Most writers won’t become a household name, nor will writing allow you to quit the day job in most cases. If you invest in good editing and excellent covers, you’ll probably spend more than you make. The odds of you reaching financial stability and fame are slim. And yet, if you don’t buy a ticket, your odds of winning are zero, right? So write your stories. Don’t do it because you seek fame and fortune. Do it because you have a story to tell. Write the story that excites, inflames, or amuses you. Don’t write to market, unless the “market” is something you love. Because if you don’t love what you’re writing, it will show in every line, every sentence. Write because you want to tell yourself a story. Make it the story you want to read. Write for the people who seek escape in one of your tales. Write for the reader who needs to set aside a bad day at work, who longs for a break from their chronic illness or pain, who is struggling to get through a difficult time, or seeks respite from the responsibilities of their job or their families. The odds are against you hitting the jackpot. But you will touch lives along the way, and not only will those readers treasure what you offer, often they will provide words of encouragement and support when you need them most.
  • What genre do you write in and why? I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy because as much as I love romantic stories, I want the “and.” Romance and shifters. Romance and mystery. Romance and suspense. I love the worldbuilding that comes with these genres and the scope for increasing the stakes in any given story. As I said in my bio, I like putting my characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier. That’s because I like seeing how difficult situations bring out the best or worst in characters and their relationships.
  • Do you do an outline or just start writing?  I’m definitely more of a panster than a plotter. If I outline a story too heavily, it feels as though I’ve already written it. A deep outline becomes a story killer for me. There are few surprises left and less opportunity for the story to take me in unexpected, inspired directions. But as I’ve begun writing more series, with a story arc that continues over several books, I’ve come to see the value in plotting. So I guess you could call me a “plotster.”
  • What do you do for fun when you are not writing?  I’m strictly an amateur with a point-and-shoot style camera, but I love taking photographs and enjoy sharing them on my blog. I enjoy long rambling walks in the woods with the dogs and horseback riding. But there’s nothing I like more than hunkering down on the couch on a blustery day with a book. I’m a homebody at heart.
  • Please tell us where we can find out more about you and where we can buy your books. Please list website or blog site if you have them.

There are so many ways you can keep up with me and my stories! If you just want the latest book release news, I’d suggest following me on Amazon and Bookbub.

If you’d like a free copy of Snowfall, a short novella set in the Redclaw universe, you can sign up for my newsletter! I don’t send newsletters out often, but when I do, I usually include freebies and sale listings, too.

I tend to blog regularly, so if you like slice of life stuff, as well as sneak peeks into what I’m working on or the research that goes into writing historical pieces, you can check out my website and sign up to receive notices of new blog posts.

They’re back and the fun–and trouble–is just beginning! Join Bishop and Knight as they pose as a married couple to root out the strange disturbances occurring in an upscale suburban neighborhood! 

Bishop’s Gambit (Redclaw Origins Book 2)

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 curve ball.

Available from Amazon and these other retailers.