Interview: Nine Questions with Mackenzie Flohr

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)?
YA Fantasy

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:

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MackenzieFlohrAuthor/
Twitter: http://www.twitter/MackenzieFlohr
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mackenzieflohr/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mackenzie-flohr
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/mackenzieflohr
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_VqhKa3CP39Q7BiYROICQw
Website: http://www.mackenzieflohr.com
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

 

Web: www.gregjolley.net

Email: gfjolle@sbcglobal.net

Review: The Danser Novels: Crime and Suspense — Jessica_thebookaddict

Greg Jolley is the author of fifteen Danser novels, suspenseful tales about different members of the eccentric and passionate Danser family, most of who work in the film industry and just can’t keep themselves from getting entangled in crime and murders. Not a series, each Danser Novel is a stand along dance through the shadows […]

via The Danser Novels: Crime and Suspense — Jessica_thebookaddict

Article: Readers

Yesterday evening, I joined another reading group, this one in my very small home town. I delight in these, no matter the genre or the group’s temperament or lack of cake and coffee.

The book being discussed was Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things (which I hadn’t read, being new to the gaggle). I held my singular, almost standard question until the end (manners for once keeping me leashed).

“As you wadded into this novel, assuming you didn’t toss it across the room, what drew you through, what compelled you to engage with the story and read on to the end?”

I won’t summarize, but simply share what I scribbled as these kind and sincere folks spoke:

“I cared for the her (the main character).”

“It was a puzzle that I wanted to complete.”

“The first few pages snagged me, I want to see what would happen.”

“There were these interesting twists. Even when some confused me, I pressed on.”

“It was so real.”

“I had to know what happened in her life.”

“I was learning so much about moss.”

It’s for others, likely the East Coast Literati, to construe a single learning or insight from such comments. Not my job. But for my work, I am encouraged yet again to remember on a daily basis (I write seven days a week), that I write for myself and others and offering a hand whenever I can, feels right and caring. I’ve also decided to not research and work at length in moss – it’s now be done by one of the finest.

All the best,

Greg Jolley

The Danser Novels

Article: A Merry Danser Christmas

xmas tree5

There haven’t been many Christmases for the Dansers. In general, they seem to prefer holidays in their minds. There is one that I like from the 1988 novel Cream of the Wheat.

Jared A Danser’s death off the shore of la Diana:

 The orange burning fuel lay on the surface of the water, delivering up solid black columns of smoke. Pierce surfaced and swam through the hot flotsam over to Jared, just beyond where the skiff was going under. He rolled Jared onto his back and got his head above the surface, raising his younger brother’s jerking chin and chomping teeth.

 

Later, there was nothing more than a moonlit sea sparkling around the two bloodied men; one unconscious and the other holding him in a fireman’s grip, treading water with his one free arm and one functional leg. Pierce struggled to keep both of their heads above the surface. When his body began to shake, he did all he could do, deciding that he’d do it until he couldn’t any longer. The shore, a stretch of white sand below the black sky, was too far away.

He didn’t know how much time had passed when he saw the Christmas tree lying onto its side. It was much prettier and more moving that any he and his brother had ever seen. The tree was bumping across the metallic blue carpet toward them. The star atop the tree was waving at them; at him and his younger brother.

Pierce shook Jared, wanting him to see too. Wanting him to wave for them. He deserved the honor. “C’mon!” Pierce pleaded, “Wave!”

He watched the tree slide closer.

It was absolutely beautiful.

Pierce realized from somewhere way distant that he was crying with both happiness and surprise.

“Jared, look!” he laughed, no longer embarrassed by his tears. He couldn’t focus on the alchemy of tears and happiness mixed with salt water and blood.

 

Excerpt from Cream of the Wheat (1988):

© Greg Jolley, 1988.

 

Article: Crop Dusting and Movie Making

Refuge Photo 9CCF-8F09E4002D5B

The second best part of writing the Danser novels is the research. Most of the time that means haunting odd stores and books and films and the web.

Then there’s the other tactile research:

Going up in the crop duster at Shady Lawns farm (thank you again, Jim Swanson)

Wandering Buick (new and used) dealerships

A week stumbling around Mismaloya with a soggy notebook

And this past Friday, wearing faux dirt on my hands in face, pretending to be a befuddled refugee on a film set (the befuddled part wasn’t much of a stretch). Thank you again, Ryan Hill.

The Danser novels use an elastic sense of realism (it is fiction). That said, quite often if a book comes in at, say 56,000 words, there will be and additional 90,000 words of ingredients. Its not all just getting out the crayons and making stuff up. Well, err, um