Mackenzie Flohr is the award-winning author of the YA Fantasy series The Rite of Wands, published by BHC Press, which has caught the attention of Doctor Who and Harry Potter fans worldwide. Readers agree that Mackenzie has crafted a robust tale of secrets, mystery, and uncertain destiny that rivals the works of Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling. When not writing, she reviews books for NY Journal of Books and Doctor Who Online.
You started writing stories at a young age. Would you tell us about your picture books?
Of course! When I was nine years old, my mother would create mini books for me l and my friends. She would take construction paper and wrap it with gift wrap to create a cover, and then we would take the remaining folded white sheets of paper attached inside and write short stories, adding our own illustrations. Then we would critique each other’s stories when we were finished.
You write on your website that it was an exhibit on The Lord of the Rings that led to your becoming inspired to start writing fiction. What was in this exhibit, and how did it inspire you?
The Rite of Wands is a YA fantasy. What led you to select young adults as your audience?
Believe it or not, young adults weren’t originally my target
audience. I had actually envisioned writing the series for those who
grew up with Harry Potter, however, my editor convinced me the book
was perfect for young adults, and she was right.
What is this book about?
The Rite of Wands is about a twelve
—year—old boy named Mierta McKinnon, who is a wizard, but has not yet obtained his powers. In order to do so, he goes through The Rite of Wands ceremony, which is a little like Christmas Carol, in that you get to see a glimpse of his past, present and future. In his future, he sees something disturbing and he becomes obsessed with wanting to change it.
Why do you think readers have chosen Mierta, the main character in your Rite of Wands as their favorite character in your series?
Honestly, I think it’s because readers can relate to him on some kind of personal level. He’s not your ordinary man who turns phenomenal overnight. He’s flawed, which makes him both believable and realistic. He also brings a lot of humor to the series, which entices readers to connect to him.
You can read about my inspiration for creating him here.
You recently joined the Reviewer Panel in the prestigious New York Journal of Books. How did you get involved in this, and what does your work for them involve?
I came in contact with the CEO of New York Journal of Books, Ted
Sturtz, shortly after my book was named a finalist in the 2017 Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards. He congratulated me on my book’s accomplishment, and invited me to join their reviewer panel, which I eagerly accepted, after consulting with my publisher. I get to read and review a range of books in the young adult, fantasy, and science fiction categories. For example, I recently reviewed Smoke and Iron (The Great Library) by Rachel Caine, and at the time of this interview, I’m working on William
Shakespeare’s Jedi The Last by Ian Doescher.
I am interested in how authors select the names of their characters. How do you go about selecting what to name your characters?
My witches and wizards are all Latin based since fantasy worlds are typically associated with that language. Usually, I will look up what the meaning of a name is to determine what names I’ll use; however, there are some characters who name themselves (i.e. Mierta).
You include a lot of research in your books. Tell us about how you decide what you need to research and how you go about performing that.
The world of Iverna takes place in an alternative medieval Ireland, so I wanted some basic knowledge of Ireland’s history as well as ailments, remedies, and what challenges would be found in the life of an apothecarist.
You are in the process of turning at least one of your books into an audiobook. What is your role in bringing the book to audio?
Gosh, it is a lot more work than I would have ever expected! If a year ago someone would have told me I would be having to go through multiple narrators due to contract issues, I would have probably laughed in their face!
My role is sort of being the director so-to-speak, except, I’m not present when my narrator is in studio recording, which is a bit frustrating because I would like to be able to guide my narrator on the spot instead of his having to record and having to go back possibly later to make changes based on my feedback. I’m also editing in my own special effects due to time and budget restraints.
What is your favorite part about being a published writer?
Getting the opportunity to travel to different places and meet people who love reading, writing, and, specifically, Doctor Who, as much as I do!
You can follow Mackenzie further at the following links: