You've found the home on the net for romance writer, LaVerne Clark. Thanks for visiting! :)

I write suspense and light fantasy/paranormal set in the beautiful country of New Zealand. A land of myths and magic, Aotearoa (Maori for Long White Cloud) has always been a storytelling nation and it is my pleasure to share mine with you.

Make yourself your drink of choice, stay a while and feel free to leave comments. I love to meet new friends.

Heartpounding suspense and fantasy Downunder

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Real-life Heroine

Today, I'm honoured to have sister rose, Mackenzie Crowne, visiting us at Novel Natterings. Not only is Mac an extremely talented author (not that we expect anything less from a Wild Rose Press Author) :) but she is also a funny, intelligent and inspiring lady who has battled that awful disease, cancer, come out the other side victorious AND kept her sense of humour intact...and then some! But I don't need to be telling you this. I'll let you learn more about her through her own words. Enjoy...

Welcome Mac. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hmm, let's see. I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother. My husband and I were blessed with two rambunctious boys who we managed to raise into wonderful men without any disfiguring mishaps. Dirt bikes and ESPN are the order around our house, and life at the ‘Testosterone Ranch’ more closely resembles one of today’s wacky reality shows, than yesterday’s Leave It To Beaver. I’m one of eight kids, raised just north of Boston. My childhood was a free-for-all, surrounded by hordes of family and friends and I’m happy to report, that continues to be true today. I moved to Phoenix as an adult because living in the southwest feeds my soul.
My love of books, specifically the romance genre, has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened my resolve to see my stories shared with others. As of today, I am a five-year survivor, living my dream.
What inspired you to write this book and how did you find the strength to write it?
That's a complicated question as I found my inspiration evolving, depending where I was in my battle. And strength? LOL Actually, it was more like desperation. Much of the book comes directly from the journal I kept as I was going through treatments. As you can imagine, I was completely freaked out at the beginning. My dad had passed away several years earlier and I needed his voice of reason and love so desperately, I sat down and wrote a letter to him while waiting to hear my diagnosis. The format was so calming and enlightening, I continued the exercise from that point on. To tell the truth, I never intended to publish my writings, but when all was said and done, Dad and I had produced a road map to emotional survival. How could I not share that with others who are just beginning their frightening battle? 
Ahh...that is a beautiful image. How wonderful to have had such a man in your life to influence you like that. What was the most challenging part of the writing process for you?
Since I never intended anyone to see it, the writing itself wasn't a challenge. I was free to pour out my fears and weaknesses along with all the goofy stuff I experienced. What proved difficult was seeing those weaknesses in black and white. I'll tell you, I didn't like a lot of what I read in my journal, like my complete absorption with "my cancer". The woman I'd become in those early days was a dark and depressing stranger, one I would avoid if I wasn't currently living in her skin. Disgusted, I made a conscious effort to find me again, and it wasn't long before I'd left that dark Mac behind.
The cover art for Where Would You Like Your Nipple is incredible. Who is the artist and how did you come across their work?
Isn't the cover gorgeous? It screams of hope in the midst of despair, exactly the sentiment I was going for in "Nipple". The image is called Open Heart by Lisa Scholder and the model for the piece is an eleven year survivor whom I had the honor to meet just last week. I met Lisa through one of my sisters, an art consultant in the Tampa area. Working with Faces of Courage, a non-profit providing camp trips for cancer survivors and their families, Lisa helps survivors realize the true beauty of their altered bodies through her body paintings. I can't tell you how humbled I am to be associated with Lisa and the folks at Faces of Courage. You can find out more about these incredible woman at their websites.

Thank you for those links Mac. I'll definitely be going to check them out!
A friend of mine mentioned what a wonderful gift your book would make for someone suffering from, or having loved ones suffering from breast cancer. Are you looking at having WWYLYN available in print in the future?
I've heard the same comment from several people and couldn't agree more. As of last week, Nipple is availble in both e-format and print. Here are the links.
How was the foray into self-publishing? Was it a smooth ride?
I actually found the process easier than expected. The choices in self-publishing are numerous these days and surprisingly user friendly, even for a first timer. My biggest concern was producing a quality project. With the glut of self-pubbed books out there, quality is too often an issue. But, with the help of my wonderful beta readers and my talented editor, Calisa Rhose, I believe I've achieved my goal. 
I can attest to the fact that you absolutely have! I loved everything about this book. What is the main message you’d like your readers to take out of WWYLYN?
Hang in there and have faith. I know from first hand experience how frightening this battle can be and it's easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day trials involved in beating breast cancer. But everything they throw at you is doable with the right attitude, and you might just be surprised at the new, stronger woman who emerges on the other side of the abyss.
What else do you write and what are you working on right now?
I'm a romance novelist at heart. My joy is cataloging the antics and romantic adventures of the voices in my head. I've published several stories. Gift of the Realm (The Wild Rose Press) is a modern fantasy romance set in Ireland and That Dating Thing (Still Moments Publishing) is a lighthearted contemporary in the midst of Wall Street Greed. The Billionaire's Con, another contemporary, is due out late this fall from Still Moments. I'm currently working on a forth, with a football theme, and the fifth, a follow up to That Dating Thing.
Phew! You've been busy and you've certainly kept to your word. Take THAT cancer! ;)
Where can we find you and your books?
You can find all of my books at my website The links to both the publishers and Amazon are there. And while you're there, be sure to leave me a comment. I love making new friends.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Where Would You Like Your Nipple? was ultimately a labor of love, but much of what I went through could have been avoided by early detection. Please don't make the mistake I did. Do those self exams! You'll be glad you did.
Thank you so much for visiting us and sharing such a personal part of your life with us all, Mac. Its been such a pleasure to have you here. Anybody have any questions for Mac before she pops off to her next adventure?


  1. What a brave lady! Thanks for sharing your story, Mackenzie.

  2. Hiya Grateful. Wow, what a great name! Life surely gives us much to be grateful for. Thanks so much for popping in.

  3. Dear Mac--oh, I'm so glad to know more about you. You're an amazing woman, in tune with all the other women who've had breast cancer. I've been lucky, so far, to escape such a trial, but I've been surrounded by it. And I immediately understood Where Do You Want Your Nipple.
    So, congratulations on your five year anniversay, and many best wishes for decades to come.

  4. LOL Celia. I've had the honor of meeting many survivors and heard the same thing from them. Who knew women so many women have been asked that ridiculous question?

  5. I had the privileged of reading this book before it's release. It is inspiring and heartfelt. As a breast cancer survivor and a mammographer, I can attest to the fact that it is filled with accurate information, but written in such a way, it's like having coffee and chatting with a dear friend. Mac's book is a celebration of life!

    1. Aww Thank you, Lilly. A celebration of life. I love that!

  6. Mackenzie, this has just joined my TBR pile. Thank you for the courage to share. It's never easy to put our moments of weakness out there for others to see.

    I applaud your courage, not only in winning your battle with the big C but in having the strength to share that journey with others to give them hope.

    1. Shirley - you won't regret it, I promise. Mac is a very special lady, isn't she? :) Thanks so much for stopping by my friend.

  7. Great interview ladies. Mac I see why you were so thrilled to get the cover art approval now! I'll be hitting those links to learn more on those women. I'll also be ordering my print copy asap! I had an idea for it. (I really need two or three copies now that I think about it...Hmm)

    I'm so happy for your success both in your personal battle and this book.

    1. Lovely to see you here Calisa! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  8. Thank you for this wonderful and inspirational blog, Mac and LaVerne. Sorry I was tardy.
    Hey Mac, my husband was raised south of Boston - Kingston.
    I love the Southwest, too!

    Sending hugs and best wishes for much writing success and continued good health.

    1. Hey Lynne! Glad you could make it - especially since you've got a new book to promote! Woot!! Lovely to see you, and I second your best wishes.

  9. Fabulous interview, ladies. Mac, you know I love your writing...and you, too, special lady. I have no doubt your book will touch lives and nothing could be better than that.

    1. Hey Vonnie, hope you're feeling a bit better now and Calvin is doing his best to look after you :) I'm certain Mac's book will touch lives too - she's certainly touched mine. Thank you so much for popping by :)