MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MEGAN MACKIE!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Megan Mackie; Urban Fantasy/Cyberpunk
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I had a dream a few years ago that I continued to chew on until I had created what I considered an awesome scene. I then set out to right the book, and now books, that justifies that scene happening. I may be one or two books away from that scene in the main arc.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
Avid reader as a kid. Tried to write books, got frustrated, started writing plays, less frustrated, got good at the basics of storytelling through writing plays, applied some acting techniques to storybuilding, started writing books, only write books now.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Lots of things I’ve read, online research, interviews with people with knowledge.
Can you tell me about your Series?
This is set in an alternate Chicago where magic and technology are in economic competition with each other. There are all kinds of peoples including, a dog grooming mermaid, a troll florist, a centaur actuary and cyborg corporate spies, among others.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Not really. It’s one big continuous story for me and I have to split them up into books for consumption purposes, I guess. Maybe when I get to the end of writing the whole thing, I’ll be able to look back and go, that book for sure.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
Who knows. I have consumed so many ideas in my life and my mind is like a blender, chops them all up into bits and starts recombining them. I can sometimes point to original source material and sometimes things come out that I have no idea what I’m drawing that from. The one big reference that people make in comparison to my book is Shadowrun and I can’t say it wasn’t an influence because I’ve played that game. At the same time, it’s not Shadowrun (because in Shadowrun, Chicago is gone). But while the Tolkien well is pretty hard tapped, I think the magic/cyber combo well is still very full and ready for more stories.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Some research on governmental systems as well as the more common cyberpunk tropes because I’ve read less of that genre than I have urban fantasy.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Oh, yeah. I can’t write short stories, I try. I fail.
What’s a typical working day like for you?
When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal? I write where ever I am. Right now I’m typing the answers to these questions in between massage clients. I also write at home, on a bus, in the car (when I’m the passenger). Sometimes it’s just a sentence, but it’s a sentence closer to finishing. I used to count words per day, but I’ve stopped and mostly think of writing in terms of scenes, like I did when I wrote plays, I write in my head through a particular scene, then I get it on digital paper, then work on the next “scene”
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Yes, I am currently working on a spinoff book about a character from my second book. It’s following the character Elias, reveals some of his secrets.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Some have special meanings, some just sound good. Rune Leveau: Rune means secret and Leveau was the name of the only witch on the list of famous witches I was looking up to have lived and died of old age, a successful and wealthy matriarch in New Orleans. St. Benedict: Yes, I named him after Benedict Cumberbatch, though the St. designation came from the name St. John which is a legit first name. I liked playing with that idea. Alf was originally named Mack and then someone pointed out the bartender in the Dresden files was named Mack and I was like, well shoot, so I renamed him Alf stolen from an uncle, because it sounded like a bar name to me. Ally just sounded good. St. Augustina was similar to St. Benedict except Augustina sounded like a strong, powerful name to me. I like the name Franklin, don’t know why.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everything I read, watch, opinions I hold, things I want to see happen in our stories.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
All of them eventually. I have another post-post-apocolyptic zombie book series to write, a straight up grimdark fantasy story, a superhero series. I got stuff to do
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Getting the first draft down. I can edit and revise so freaking fast, but getting the initial words down so I have something to work with is the biggest freaking slog.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I’d like to, just to see, but they seem pretty gimmicky to me. Not one has made me want to go buy the book yet.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Well so far, I just recently passed selling my 1000th book within my first year of being published. I’m legit proud of that, since I had only me for marketing.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Getting to talk to people about my books after they’ve read them. It’s jazzing to geek out about your work with someone who’s equally excited.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Writing full-time, getting invited to cons as a special guest and being a big name up there with Patricia Brigs, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman, and Ilona Andrews.
Have you always liked to write?
No, it keeps getting better and I hope it will continue to get better.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Get the first draft done, whatever it takes. Keep asking your reader a question that they have to keep reading to answer and not just one question, but a series works best.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
What I’m doing now, being a clinical massage therapist, which I’m also very good at, but it’s like Jim Carrey and art, it’s not my vocation, writing is.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
yes, all the time. Mostly good, though I work at letting go of the bad stuff, which gratefully there isn’t much so far. Actually what I find really interesting is, often what people point out as flaws in my books, well I wonder what they’ll actually think when they finish reading all the books and know all the secrets. I have a hope that the stories will read very differently once all the information is known.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Grumble grumble proofing grumble grumble It’s like trying to sort worms.
What are you working on now?
My spin off book about Elias that takes place after book 2. I think it’ll be book 2.1
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
The young-looking man unlocked the metal door and let it swing open freely, leading the old homeless woman inside. She stood on the threshold, a small, wizened thing, wearing clothes that were never hers and stinking to high heaven of her own and others filth.
“You are one crazy kid, you know that?” she told the young man standing next to her, as he struggled a moment to remove the high-tech key that-never-quite-fit-the-lock from his door. The young man flashed his youthful smile at her, tossing his newly freed keys onto the glass coffee table in the open living room. Without a further response, he walked past the island counter that was the only thing separating the kitchen from the living room to a refrigerator that shone dully silver in the dim light. From here she stood, still in the doorway, clinging onto the frame to fight her instincts to run, she could see the entire layout of the high-end apartment. A dining room set of dark wood and tall throne like chairs stood just a few feet from the door way and to the left was a dark leather couch with a clear glass coffee table. Both faced a wide flat-screen tv mounted on the wall. The couch sat on beige carpet while the dining room set sat on wide square blocks of stone with no wall in between to separate them, like a sane person would expect.
The contrast of herself to the world in which she now stood was so keen even she was embarrassed by it. The feeling went all the way through the hardened shell, that told the world she didn’t care what it thought of her, to touch the shy, little girl she had once been, and in some ways still was, underneath.
“Come in, shut the door,” the kid said from the kitchen. He seemed to be fetching two glasses and a bottle of something from his chrome fridge, setting all three on the island counter. Three red topped stools waited on the opposite side for some glamorous woman in a too short little black dress and heels to sit upon it. Not a woman dressed in rags, old enough to be his grandmother.
When she didn’t move, he left the kitchen to come to her once more. He smiled his gentle smile, the one that convinced her to take him up on his offer in the first damn place. As it washed over her it made her insides melt into warmth. Most people at the sight of her would shun her, trying to keep upwind and at least five feet away, more if possible, at all times. It had been like that for too many years. This kid, instead, came up to just beside her and gently touched her shoulder to guide her inside and shut the door behind her.
“Would you like some water?” he asked. He firmly, and with a sense of doomed finality, locked the door behind her.
Why did you choose to write in your genre?
If you write in more than one, how do you balance them? It’s where my interest was excited at the moment. And really, I’m not a fan of dividing things by genres, it’s more for marketing than how I think about my stories.
Where did your love of books come from?
It was a way to escape from how bad things were for me growing up.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Neverwhere by Neil Gaimon
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Ugh…. this one is hard. I don’t really have a favorite, because even with my minor characters I try to make sure they have a full arc and story.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Being too tired, but I think that’s my Kryptonite for everything
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Original. I’m my first reader, if I’m not excited by it how can I expect anyone else to be?
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Rick Heinz, The Seventh Age. He’s a good guy who helped me develop my marketing techniques which is important specifically as an indie writer.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Hey, I’m Locked Out. (I was playing a game where your last text was the title of your Memoir and this was what the answer was, so there we are)
Do you want your book to become a movie?
No, I want a Netflix deal
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️