YA Q&A with Mackenzi Lee

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Oh, world.  You are in for it.  This interview with Mackenzi Lee, author of THIS MONSTROUS THING, made me snort laugh. I’m so looking forward to reading her debut on September 22. You should be too! Steampunk Frankenstein? Yes, Please!

BW: You wake up one morning and, OMG, you’re a steampunk cyborg. What’s the first thing you do with your new ability?

ML: Wreak vengeance upon my many foes.

JK. Probably figure out how to shower without short circuiting.

BW: See what I meant about the snorting? I personally think vengeance is a great way to start any day, but your parents see things a little differently. They aren’t too happy with your change. What fictional character do you ask to help you get out of the bind, and how do they “fix” you?

ML: Imperator Furiosa, because she knows a thing or two about mechanical limbs. We load up the war rig and go cruising into desert, where she shows me how to best utilize my new cyborg parts and we totally pass the Bechdel test.


BW: Back to normal, you arrive at school and literally crash into your crush. He/she asks you why you’re shaken up. What do you tell him/her?


ML: There was no more Diet Coke in the school vending machines—that’s what’s got me spooked.

BW: He/she isn’t convinced you’re telling the truth — after all, it’s a pretty far fetched story. No Diet Coke? What kind of school do you go to!?! He/she suggests going somewhere to talk about it more (and maybe pick up your beverage of choices). Where’s this dream date taking place?

ML: Porter Square Books, which is my favorite local independent bookstore. If you have to have an awkward conversation about your recent cyborgification with your crush, at least do it surrounded by books.

BW: Good plan!  It might not be true love yet, but there is a Happily Ever After in your near future. As a Fearless Fifteener, your debut is out this year. Tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.

ML: THIS MONSTROUS THING is a steampunk Frankenstein reimaginging set in 1818 Switzerland about a boy who brings his brother back from the dead.

BW: And if that wasn’t enough information, here’s the full synopsis:

ThisMonstrousThing hc c. finalJPGIn 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

Mackenzi Lee finalMore about Mackenzi Lee: Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults.  She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three.  She currently lives in Boston, where she works as a bookseller and almost never reanimates corpses. Almost. Find her on twitter @themackenzilee or at http://www.mackenzilee.com.

Becky headshots-Becky headshots-0007Becky Wallace is the author of THE KEEPERS’ CHRONICLES: THE STORYSPINNER, a magical adventure in which a case of mistaken identity exposes a young performer to a danger she could have never imagined and a secret her father died to protect. It will be available from Simon & Schuster in March 2015. When Becky’s not writing, she’s baking cupcakes and teaching her kids ’90s dance moves.
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