Friday, August 17, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: WHEELS, a YA Sci-Fi Novel by Lorijo Metz

Lorijo Metz, author of the new YA novel, WHEELS, was kind enough to answer some questions and to offer a copy of her book to one lucky reader!

What is this book about?

WHEELS is a YA, science-fiction adventure filled with mystery and romance -- a coming-of-age tale that proves it takes more than super powers to save a planet.

McKenzie Wu doesn’t know her great-great-grandmother married an alien or that her great-great-great-uncle is alive and systematically eliminating a race of beings on a tiny planet light years away -- she has enough to worry about. Molecules keep rearranging themselves to suit her slightest wish, but only at the most inconvenient times. If that weren’t enough, she’s been dreaming about an accident -- one she’s had no memory of until now -- and, if true, means McKenzie is responsible for her mother’s death.

When McKenzie stumbles upon a portal, transporting her and her friend Hayes to the tiny planet of Circanthos, she learns the inhabitants believe she is the “One” destined to save them from H.G. Wells, a name that sounds strangely familiar, and his Tsendi warriors. But while her newfound ability might give her superhero status back on Earth, halfway across the galaxy, it’s commonplace -- all Circanthians can particle-weave -- and if they can’t stop H.G. Wells, what can she hope to do?

With the portal closed and no idea how to get home, McKenzie must learn to use a power she does not want and accept her mysterious past, or risk losing everything -- her father’s love, her new alien friends and the boy.

How did you get the idea for this book?

My novel, WHEELS, began with a sentence and the desire to write a science fiction novel in which the gifted protagonist was also somehow disabled. The sentence is long gone (as are most first sentences) but my hero, McKenzie Wu, who has the ability to manipulate matter (inherited from an alien relative), is a paraplegic.

Interestingly enough, none of the reviews (so far) has mentioned McKenzie using a wheelchair. This pleases me to no end, for my goal was to have people see her not as a disabled person, but as a person. Well, a person with an extra-special ability. She’s an awesome wheelchair basketball player, by the way.

Is this your first book? If not, what else have you written?

Not including all the stories that didn’t get published, I’ve written:

Floridius Bloom and the Planet of Gloom: A picture book illustrated by Matt Phelan and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of the Penguin Group.

Puppy Dog Jig: Originally intended as a picture book, award-winning, children’s singer and songwriter, Owen Duggan, turned Puppy Dog Jig into a song and made it the title track on his newest CD, due out in 2013. ( In addition, there are plans for a Puppy Dog Jig picture book app, also due out in 2013.

I’ve also written 27 educational books for Powerkids Press, a division of Rosen Publishing. You can find most of them (several aren’t due out until 2013) on my Amazon author page at:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

LOL! If you listen to my mom, I had no choice in the matter. (Check out the About Me page on my website for more on this story at I didn’t actually start writing, however, until I was in my thirties. Like most children, I had to work very, very hard at proving my mother wrong before I realized she was write -- oops, I mean right!

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

So many, but first and foremost: Learn to take criticism. Show your work to other writers (preferably better ones than yourself), listen to what they, say and then go back and edit, edit and edit once again! Writing groups like SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators -- are invaluable resources. Through SCBWI, I met other writers and learned about the business of writing.

Why did you decide to write a book in this genre?

I’m a sci-fi geek. I love Star Trek, Star Wars and Doctor Who. I’m not, however, much of a techy. WHEELS is not high-tech science fiction. It’s more along the lines of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

Do you plan a sequel or future books?

I left an opening for a sequel to WHEELS; however, right now, it is a stand-alone novel. I’m currently working on a fantasy that, I believe, will be the first book in a trilogy. I wish I could tell you about it, but I can’t -- it’s a secret.

Do you have a website?

You can find me at Please stop by for a visit. There are lots of funny pictures and even a black hole! Most important, there are free downloads for parents, kids and educators, including lesson plans, scripts and a coloring sheet. I’m planning to add a discussion guide to go along with WHEELS, sometime in the near future.

How can we order this book?

You can purchase it on at:
The paperback edition will be out by the end of August 2012.


One lucky winner will receive their choice of a paperback or eBook version of WHEELS, by Lorijo Metz! Simply enter through the easy Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on Friday, August 31, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for a wonderful interview with Lorijo! I hope that many, many people read her wonderful book!

  2. That the author believes in the pre destiny of the ability to be an author

  3. Lori, I'm looking forward to receiving my signed paperback copy of Wheels when I win. I love your humor and creativity.

  4. Looking forward to reading your paperback copy of Wheels. Your imagination and writing creativity always keeps my family wanting more!

  5. the author has published children's books

  6. You have no idea how nice it is to see a book that is a STANDALONE. Plus, it sounds interesting -- I like sci-fi that isn't full of tech mumbojumbo, because sometimes you have to focus way too much on figuring out the technology and forget about the story.

  7. Saver Sara1:58 PM

    Kids books

  8. Thanks for all the comments everyone. Good luck to all of you!

  9. Sounds like a fun premise.

  10. Sounds like a story my daughter would love!

  11. The story of her mother and the gypsy fortune teller...too cute :)

  12. I loved her story on Why I Became A Writer! Wonderful!

  13. It all started with a visit to a gypsy
    vmkids3 at msn dot com

  14. I love her panic button. Cracked me up!

  15. sounds like a great story

  16. She grew up in Antioch, IL

  17. Daniel M10:18 PM

    like her sense of humor, hoped to land in harry pottervile and the panic button - regnod(at)yahoo(d0t)com

  18. Anonymous3:33 PM

    There is a lesson plan "What is a Monster?"

  19. micheal dale grim3:48 PM

    i learned a gypsy told her at a young age she was going to be a writer

  20. I like how she says she is a "geek"


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