MY INTERVIEW WITH HEATHER MCKENZIE
What genre/category is The Nightmusic Trilogy?
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Romance Thriller and Suspense
How many books are there and what are the titles?
Serenade (April 2017) Nocturne (March 2018) Rhapsody (January 2019)
Please describe what the story is about.
Teenage heiress Kaya experiences her first taste of freedom when she’s kidnapped from her sheltered life. But as she forms an unlikely connection with her abductor, Luke, her adventure takes a strange turn. Now, as her father’s men and her devoted bodyguard scour the woods to find her, she wonders if staying in the arms of her abductor is the safer place to be. At least, that’s what her heart is saying—her head is saying run…
Briefly, what led up to this Trilogy?
I discovered I wanted to be an author later in life. Before diving in head first, I had a career in music.
What was the time frame for writing the trilogy? Tell me an interesting detail or two.
Writing SERENADE took about four years. I had a good idea of what I wanted to write, but I had no idea how to write it. I researched writing tips and advice from other authors, and wrote and re-wrote the manuscript at least twenty times– the first draft was 210,000 words! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was absolutely determined to get this story out as best as I could, so I kept at it, and in the end I just had to go with what felt right to me. I think that worked. The following two books took a year each. They were so much easier and so fun to write!
What was your biggest learning experience and/or surprise throughout the publishing process?
The most incredible experience was working with the editors. I got a massive dose of education during the process and they were kind enough to explain their reasons for the edits. I was in class every time I sat down at the computer and was in awe over the wealth of information they shared with me. My biggest surprise was the dedication from my publisher to assist me with anything I needed. I had been used to trudging it out alone in the music business for years, and their desire to help make the trilogy a success, and answering all my crazy questions and offering such great advice, was amazing. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t doing this all on my own.
What inspired you to write?
My daughter. She was trying to find something to read in a bookstore one day and became frustrated that nothing interested her. So, I told her I would write her a book. I had to follow through, and realized through the process that I was head over heels in love with writing. I quit everything to concentrate on it one hundred percent.
How did you come up with the book titles?
I wanted to keep the books in the trilogy with music related names, as it is called The Nightmusic Trilogy. In the books you will find the answers to why they are named the way they are.
Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
I have tried to touch lightly on the effects of chemicals on our bodies and bring to light the correlation between what we do to the earth, and how it ends up affecting us. I also want show readers what is true love, real and healthy and how you know when you’ve found it – which is based off my own experience.
How much of the trilogy is realistic?
The characters are completely fictional, but the setting is not. Caves and underground hot springs and the castle in the mountains? All real. The Death Race that takes place every August in Grande Cache? Real.
Where are you from?
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA! I was born in the city, then moved to an acreage just outside it and lived an absolute fairy tale childhood in my own ‘castle’ until I left to join a rock band and play professionally. Eventually I moved back, got married there, and got to watch my children have the same amount of happiness as I did in my childhood home.
Where do you write from?
I have a bedroom I claimed as an office when my kids moved out, with books galore, guitars, a piano, countless empty coffee cups, and dogs sleeping at my feet.
What is the hardest part of writing?
Sitting for countless hours every day. I gained about fifty pounds and think I broke my butt at one point, but it’s all worth it in the end. Ha. Get it? I know… I’m so not funny.
Did you learn anything from writing, and what was it?
Apparently I am obsessed with smells…?!?!
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you love it, it’s good. Take opinions with a grain of salt–trust your gutt.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
I am still actively involved in music, writing and being loud and aggressive with my band on weekends and recording whenever I can. It is my first love, and I can’t let go! I also teach classical piano and voice to youngsters one day a week, which is an incredibly rewarding experience. When I need peace and quiet– which is often– I paint.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Being a mom to my three kids
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Focus more on writing music, or teaching music.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I only read the nice reviews. People that take the time to say shitty things I don’t have any time for. If you don’t have something nice to say, keep it to yourself. All opinions are valid of course, but if they are hurtful or just plain mean, you’re being an asshole by sharing it.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Tahera Mafi can do no wrong. Cassandra Clare is a queen.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
Marlene. She is bad ass! I’d love to have her as a friend.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
How I survived being a teenager in the 80’s
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️