This Monstrous Thing is my debut! And it is a historical fantasy/steampunk-lite reimagining of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, about a boy who brings his brother back from the dead using clockwork.
2. Is your book part of a series or can it be read as a stand-alone?
Stand-alone! There will be no follow ups, sequels, or companion novels of any kind.
3. If you’re not writing, what do you love to do?
I love to play my ukulele, lip synch to Taylor Swift, eat food that is not good for me, and look at dogs on PetFinder that I am not allowed to adopt because pets are not permitted in my apartment. I also love to travel, which is an expensive hobby, and go to the theater, which is almost equally expensive.
4. Did anyone inspire you to start writing, if yes, who, or did you always knew you just had to write?
I wrote when I was a kid, but didn’t consider it as a serious career choice until I was in college. There are countless people who inspired me to start writing—teachers at every level of education, my parents, professors in college, friends, other writers, the editor of a magazine I interned at. I have such good people in my life who have always been so supportive of me, it’s impossible to credit them all!
5. Any advice/tips for newbies?
One of my favorite passages from literature comes from The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, in which the narrator says, “The car goes where the eyes go,” meaning that what we focus on is where we end up. I think about this a lot when I write—if I am always focused on the rejection and the suckiness (because even after the book deal, there’s a lot of both of those things) and how many things could go wrong, that’s where I’ll end up living, which isn’t healthy or conducive to good creative work. Keeping your sights on what you want is the best way to get there. You can’t let yourself get distracted by other people’s successes or what’s going wrong. Eyes forward, don’t look down.
6. Are you already writing a new book? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I am always writing a new book. Right now, I have a second book coming out with HarperCollins sometime in 2017. It’s unrelated to This Monstrous Thing, but is another historical fantasy set across Europe in the Enlightenment era. If I were pitching it in song, it would be “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift meets “Chandelier” by Sia, but in the 1700s.
7. A word that you use way too often? (Mine are “quite” and “probably”)
Ah I almost don’t dare say for fear that everyone will then notice it! I way over use the phrase “for a moment” when I write—I have to do search and replace in my manuscripts. My first drafts are also littered with the word “just,” which I can generally use 100% less of. Also, I say also a lot, mostly because I always have more to say.
8. When does your book release?
September 22, 2015. AKA SO SOON!
9. Last but not least: What’s your favourite type of candy, if you don’t mind me asking?
I never mind talking about food. I have a long obsession with Redvines licorice, or any kind of chocolate with caramel.
Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults. She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently lives in Boston, where she works as a bookseller and almost never reanimates corpses. Almost.
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