Hello, friends! Today, I am we are proud to be interviewing stunning author and intersectional social justice advocate L.L. McKinney.
McKinney is the author of the very-soon-to-be-released A Blade so Black – a badass Alice in Wonderland retelling! Get to know her and then go grab her book!
A Blade So Black delivers an irresistible urban fantasy retelling of Alice in Wonderland . . . but it’s not the Wonderland you remember.
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.
Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally. (via Goodreads)
Debut author L.L. McKinney delivers an action-packed twist on an old classic, full of romance and otherworldly intrigue.
Hello, L.L.! Thank you for visiting us!
Happy to be here! Thanks for having me.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Well, I’m from Kansas City, the undisputed champion of BBQ–anyone who says different is a lying liar who lies–and home of the most ridiculous weather. I’m a huge Blerd, come from a huge family, science fiction and fantasy are two of my great loves, and I love the Lord God and my savior Jesus Christ. Also, I’m allergic to vast quantities of oranges. There you go.
What authors are auto-buys for you?
N.K. Jemisin, Angie Thomas, Dhonielle Clayton, Justina Ireland, Heidi Heilig, Rhoda Belleza, Zoraida Cordova, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tessa Graton, there are so many… I’ll stop there, though.
What was your last five star read? What made it a five star read?
DREAD NATION by Justina Ireland. Before that, THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton.
These books were…they just were. Like, how do you describe what it means to take your brain on a dream date while your emotions kinda go through hell at the same time, and you wind up both fulfilled spiritually and lacking as a person because you have to wait another year for more.
What’s one thing that would surprise people to know about you?
Errrrrrrrrr I played the cello for 20 years! I don’t really talk about it.
What first inspired you to write A Blade So Black?
I wish I had something cool to say like “I saw this, or heard this, and I instantly knew I had to write that story,” but I was honestly just thinking to myself one day “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if Alice was a bit of a badass? Kicked all the butts, took all the names, and some dope song was playing in the background the whole time.” Thus the concept of What If Buffy Fell Down the Rabbit Hole Instead of Alice was born.
What do you like to do when you aren’t reading, writing or editing?
Chill with friends and family, play some games, listen to music, watch movies, pretty much stuff everyone else likes to do, I suppose. Play D&D, I’ve been in a campaign that’s been going for longer than a year now, it’s pretty great. I play a Death Knight Barbarian, which makes sense as I’m known to be a force fueled by rage and my disdain for parallel parking.
What’s your favorite emoji?
I’m fond of the side eye. 😒 It says so much. It speaks my heart.
What part of your life are you willing to spend more money on for quality?
My house, my place, my sanctum. I like decorating, feeling comfortable, putting my stamp on my space. Like when you walk in you go “oh, yeah, this is Elle’s house.” Also, my electronics. You get what you pay for, and I put computers, consoles, and the like through the ringer. I play hard.
I would like to spend more on clothes, because wearing something that looks good on you can change your whole perspective, but I’m just now getting used to spending money on things I want and don’t need.
Lastly, I’d say experiences, and I mean stuff like travel, new and delicious foods, all that. Vacations, having fun, taking the fam out, doting on them a little. I like giving people I love things they like and love. I like seeing them smile, be happy.
If you could say one thing to 10-year-old you, what would it be?
Spend ALL the time with your Granny, and it’s gone be all right, baby.
What kind of magnets do you have on your fridge?
Just these plain ones, white with flowers and shapes on them. They were a gift from a coworker. My fridge is bare, both on the outside and the inside. Except the freezer is FULL of Halo Top Green Tea Mochi ice cream. I have a problem, and I’m fine with that.
What was your favorite thing about writing A Blade So Black?
Getting to put a Black Girl front and center in a story that’s not about her race or the struggle. She’s off fighting monsters, having adventures, saving the world. And there is nothing in the world wrong with what folk call issue books, I read and enjoy them greatly.
It’s also fun to see people react to Alice, to the photo shoot, to the cover, to just . . . her existing. They’re happy she’s here, they love seeing her, and they’re ready to meet her.
If you could require every person to read three books, what would they be and why?
SO YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT RACE by Ijeoma Oluo
POST TRAUMATIC SLAVE SYNDROME by Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary
A BLADE SO BLACK by L.–I’m kidding! I would leave the third one open to something they consider fun, something they like. Those first two are kinda serious, might need a break.
Listen, Elle might not be willing to finish that last requirement, but we’re certainly willing to! I loved it, so you should definitely grab a copy for yourself on Amazon or Indiebound! You should also keep an eye on Let’s Fox About It for a whole lot more A Blade So Black content!
Disclaimer: All links to Indiebound and Amazon are affiliate links. If you buy through those links, LFAI will make a small amount of money off of the sale.