Let’s welcome Kirsten McKenzie to the blog today. Here’s a bit about Kirsten.
For many years Kirsten McKenzie worked in her family’s antique store, where she went from being allowed to sell the 50c postcards in the corner of Antique Alley as a child, to selling $5,000 Worcester vases and seventeenth century silverware, providing a unique insight into the world of antiques which touches every aspect of her writing.
Her historical fiction novels ‘Fifteen Postcards’ and its sequel ‘The Last Letter’ have been described as ‘Time Travellers Wife meets Far Pavilions’, and ‘Antiques Roadshow gone viral’. The third book in the series ‘Telegram Home’ will be released in 2018
Her horror novel, ‘Painted’, was released in 2017, with ‘Doctor Perry’ due for release in 2018.
She lives in New Zealand with her husband, daughters, and her SPCA rescue cat, and can be found procrastinating on Twitter under the handle @Kiwimrsmac.
What was your favourite book as a child?
My favourite book series growing up was the Famous Five series. My father was an antique dealer, so I had what seemed like a never-ending supply of hard cover editions of Famous Five adventures. I’d devour them, over and over, imagining a world where I was allowed to run around with no adult supervision and have the most amazing adventures, which always ended happily of course. To this day, I still have a soft spot for Anne, George, Julian, Dick and Timmy.
Do you ever write longhand?
I have two children who spend far too many hours training at the swimming pool. I used to watch them to prove I was an engaged and loving parent, smugly thinking that I was better than the other parents who spent the whole time looking at their phones. Now I take a notebook and write whole chapters of my next book in pencil, occasionally looking up to see if my children are still in the pool… watching laps does become rather monotonous!
If your book takes place in the past, what inspired you to write in this particular era?
My first two books, Fifteen Postcards and The Last Letter, are both time-slip novels, where they start in the modern day and dart back and forth to the 1860s. I fell into this genre completely by accident. In fact when I started writing Fifteen Postcards, I didn’t even know time-slip was a genre… so much for writing to market! As an antiques dealer, I was living and breathing the history that I started writing about. It was and is an area I am comfortable with. An area where research is fun instead of a chore. I wasn’t originally an antiques dealer, I was a customs officer, and I loved my job, but then my father died unexpectedly so my brother and I took over the family business. When I took a break from writing my time-slip series, and embarked upon writing my first horror novel, Painted, I again turned to our antique shop for inspiration, settling on a collection of old portraits as my inspiration.
What is your favourite book?
My favourite book, of all time, is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I never thought a book about vampires and witches would be my favourite book, but it’s the historical richness of this book and its sequels which I have fallen in love with. And to mix things up, my second favourite series is the magical world created by JK Rowling – Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, Cursed Child, all and anything Harry Potter I love. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be enthralled by the world building JK Rowling has done.
What are you reading right now?
Right now I am half way through The Man With Two Names by Vincent B. Davis II. According to Goodreads, I’ve been devouring fictional books about ancient Rome at an alarming rate, and this is my latest addition. Every couple of years I travel to England to volunteer at a Roman fort called Vindolanda, next to Hadrian’s Wall. I spend two weeks digging through the dirt, breaking my finger nails and collecting blisters, and I love it. Immersing myself in history is the most incredible feeling. (www.vindolanda.com)
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