Mundie Moms

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blog Tour- The Princess of Las Pulgas, Character Interview

Today we have Carlie, the main character from C.Lee McKenzie's debut book The Princess of La Pulgas, which was released this past November, on our blog. Here's a little bit about her book:

After her father's slow death from cancer, Carlie thought things couldn't get worse. But now, she is forced to confront the fact that her family in dire financial straits. To stay afloat, her mom has had to sell their cherished oceanfront home and move Carlie and her younger brother Keith to the other side of the tracks to dreaded Las Pulgas, or "the fleas" in Spanish. They must now attend a tough urban high school instead of their former elite school, and on Carlie's first day of school, she runs afoul of edgy K.T., the Latina tattoo girl who's always ready for a fight, even on crutches.

Carlie fends off the attention of Latino and African American teen boys, and one, a handsome seventeen-year-old named Juan, nicknames her Princess when he detects her aloof attitude towards her new classmates. What they don't know is that Carlie isn't really aloof; she's just in mourning for her father and almost everything else that mattered to her. Mr. Smith, the revered English teacher who engages all his students, suggests she'll like her new classmates if she just gives them a chance; he cajoles her into taking over the role of Desdemona in the junior class production of Othello, opposite Juan, after K.T. gets sidelined.

Keith, who becomes angrier and more sullen by the day, spray paints insults all over the gym as he acts out his anger over the family's situation and reduced circumstances. Even their cat Quicken goes missing, sending Carlie and Keith on a search into the orchard next to their seedy garden apartment complex. They're met by a cowboy toting a rifle who ejects them at gunpoint from his property. But when Carlie finds him amiably having coffee with their mom the next day -- when he's returned her cat -- she begins to realize that nothing is what it seems in Las Pulgas (quoted from Goodreads).

Carlie, you have a lot that you deal with in Princess of Las Pulgas, in what ways do feel you've changed the most from when we first meet you to the end of the book?
Hi, Katie. That's a wonderful question because change is what my story's about. The biggest change for me was finding out that I can't judge people by how they look or what they sound like. I've learned that I have to know people, discover what happened in their lives to make them who they are. And that goes for me too. I mean Juan didn't get that I wasn't a princess, that I was in such a bad place I didn't know how to act, except I knew I needed to protect myself. K.T. was the surprise for me. I really thought she'd pound on me, but then I found out that she was hurting as much as I was . . . maybe more.

What do you admire the most about your new friends?
They aren't pretending to be more than they are. They're pretty much themselves. I guess the Las Pulgas people were the real people and many of the Channing ones were trying to be who they wanted to be. I guess I was kind of that way too, you know pretending.

Do you have any favorite books you'd recommend we pick up and read?
I'm in love with Michelle Zinc's books: Prophecy of the Sisters and Guardian of the Gate. I'm eager to read the next in the series. They are so exciting to read and I love the period they're written in. It's very romantic.

What advice would you give to someone going through a similar situation likes yours?
Listen to the whispers in your heart. Be open to change, even when it seems like it's the worst thing in the world that will ever happen to you. You might be surprised by what you discover about yourself.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I'll be twenty-one and I see myself graduating from college. I'm not sure what my major will be, but I know it won't have anything to do with acting. Playing Desdemona was as much acting as I'll ever do. Fun, but terrifying.

If you're interested I did kind of a fun interview earlier this year with a writer. I got rid of my author for a while and actually had a chance to speak for myself. It was fun! Here's the link.

Thanks for the great interview here. I enjoyed it a lot.

Thank you so much Carlie for being with us today!

Be sure to go here to find out more about the blog tour.

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