Author Interview: Wendy McLeod MacKnight


Author Chat – Wendy McLeod MacKnight
Wendy McLeod MacKnight is the author of two fabulous books: It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! and the upcoming The Frame-Up, which hits bookstores on June 5th. She worked for the Government of New Brunswick for twenty-five years, ending her career as the Deputy Minister of Education when the siren call of writing became impossible to ignore.  We are super excited that she took some time out of her busy schedule to discuss her books with us. 

We also want to let you know about a contest for a collection of Frame-Up swag and everyone who pre-orders a copy of The Frame Up automatically gets signed bookmarks and a note from Wendy. Here’s the link with all the details:

We are so excited about your new book, The Frame-Up, coming out on June 5th. Can you tell us a little about it?

Thank you for being so excited! I’m excited, too!!!! The Frame-Up starts with the question: What if all original art is alive, but they don’t want us to know they’re alive? And what if a young boy stumbles upon the truth, setting in motion a whole series of events? 

The book tells the story of two parallel worlds: the one behind the frames, in which gallery “residents” live side-by-side for decades and have created a whole society with rules, customs, and entertainment; and the one in front of the frames — our world — where gallery guests and staff wander through, seeing but not really seeing. And then two children, one from each world, accidentally meet, and the worlds are never the same.

The Frame-Up takes place in an art gallery. Do you visit art galleries or are you an artist?

I love art galleries; I visit them whenever I travel, because I so admire the artistic mind and skill that create beautiful or provocative works of art. I love art, although I am woefully ignorant of the technical aspects! I just know that, like music or wonderful writing, art moves me and fills me with joy (and sometimes jealousy that I can’t create it myself!). I wish I were an artist; I dabble, but to less-than-stellar results. But I have good friends who are artists and they inspired me to look at the world differently!

The wonderful thing about The Frame-Up is that it takes place at a real art gallery, The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. And starting this summer, visitors are going to be able to visit the gallery and take a The Frame-Up tour! How cool is that! Or, that they can visit the gallery’s website and learn more about the paintings:  

What was something in the book that you had to edit out but wished could have stayed in the final novel?

Oh gosh, that’s a good question! Amazingly, very little got edited out (except for the bad stuff!). In an early draft, one that Greenwillow Books never saw, there was more backstory about Sneely, but in the end, the book is Mona and Sargent’s story.

Give us one word that describes your first book It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! 


Do either of your books reflect your childhood?

It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! is my childhood. And, I was able to include places and people in it that don’t exist anymore, but exist in my heart (and now on paper): my parents, my dog, my next-door-neighbors, my friends. 

The Frame-Up reflects the desire I’ve had ever since I was a child: to be able to step into a painting and see what’s really happening. I inherited a painting from my parents that is a glorious rural scene, with a road that wends its way towards the horizon, and ever since I was very young, I’ve always wanted to follow that road. 

Both of your books are middle grade novels, for children in the 8-12 age range. Do you see yourself ever writing picture books or YA novels?

I’m playing around with a picture book idea right now, but picture books are so hard for someone who’s as verbose as I am!!! As for YA, I’ve got a draft YA in the drawer, but I think middle grade books own my heart.

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

I’d probably steal the line from the movie Galaxy Quest: Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

For more information about Wendy, visit her website or follow her on twitter @wendymacknight.

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