Today we’re interviewing Mackenzie Flohr, author of the excellent YA novel, The Rite of Hands, a vibrant story of magical human challenges.
Please describe your current work?
My novel is titled The Rite of Wands. It is the first in a YA Fantasy series.
Blurb: One boy…one Rite… And a world of deadly secrets that could change the course of history—forever.
And so begins the tale of Mierta McKinnon. When a horrible fate reveals itself during his Rite of Wands ceremony, he must find a way to change not only his destiny but also the land of Iverna’s.
Forbidden from revealing the future he foresees to anyone, he is granted a wand and his magical powers, but still must master the realm of magic in order to save himself and those he loves.
But Mierta is not the only one with secrets…especially when it’s impossible to know who to trust.
What is your genre (if that matters to you)?
Who are your audience?
My audience are those who love sci-fi fantasy, specifically if they are a fan of Doctor Who and/or Harry Potter.
Which writers inspire / inspired you?
J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Michael Ende
What are your common themes?
Changing fate, and things are not always as they appear
How often do you write and where?
Not as much as I’d like to. When I can, I usually write in my bedroom at night.
What are you reading now?
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Most interesting reviewer / reader feedback?
From R. Heebner:
This is a good read for MG and YA readers. I found the story intriguing and full of both mystery and fantasy that serves as a real page-turner. We see the events progress, mainly through the eyes of two similarly aged warlocks Mierta and Orlynd, and how they come to fill their roles in this realm.
I liked the jumping between the POV of the two characters, and although there seemed to be sporadic leaps back and forth between places and time, I was able to follow along quite well without any feelings of disconnect. The author also does a wonderful job supplying the reader with the pronunciations of spells, and with Orlynd’s Celtic dialect. You can tell she really put forth a lot of time and effort into the creation of this work.
One thing that I think needs improving however, is the fact that there were specific actions or behaviors of some of the characters that seemed off to me. There were a few moments when a main character performed an action that seemed unlikely of him because the information or knowledge that he had of a situation should have prompted him to act differently. I don’t want to get into details for the sake of preventing spoilers, so I’ll leave it there. But I did notice a few instances like this that caused either an inconsistency or a slight plot hole.
One thing that I think is very promising: I noticed, especially in Part II of this book, when the main characters who were teens in Part I are now adults. There seems to have been events in the gap of time between Parts I and II that may have changed these characters for the better or the worse, but we’re unsure as they show signs of both cruelty and kindness (except for Orlynd, who seems steady and unchanging in morals and loyalty throughout), so it’s difficult to tell who are the protagonists and the antagonists. At first this bothered me as I felt character development was inconsistent, but the more I reflected on the reading, I got the sense that the author intended to develop this theme that not everything is as it seems, which is very clever and unique if played out right. Perhaps that there is much that has happened in the twenty-four year gap between Part I and Part II, that will be later explained in future novels. I have a feeling that, when we read the series as a whole, we’ll look back on those instances in this first book and go, “Aha! Now I get it! You tricky author who tormented me so! All this time I thought…but it turns out that… How wicked of you…but oh, so brilliant! Well played, ma’am!” The ability to cause long, drawn out surprises for the readers is what I call true storytelling talent, so I’d keep a close lookout for the upcoming books in this series!
All in all, this appears to be an excellent start to a new YA fantasy series, with solid writing skills and promising character dynamics, and I am anxious to see how it all progresses. Looking forward to being kept on my toes!
What question do you wish I had asked? (please ask and answer it).
What upcoming projects can you expect to see from me next?
A special hardcopy edition of The Rite of Wands will be coming out in November along with an audiobook being produced by Jake Dudman.
Mackenzie’s Social Media Links:
Publisher’s Page: http://www.bhcpress.com/Author_Mackenzie_Flohr.html
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/mackenzieflohr
Host by Greg Jolley
Author of the Danser Novels