“Changeling” Author McKenzie Rae Interview

“Changeling” Author McKenzie Rae Interview

Mckenzie Rae

Author McKenzie Rae

I am the author of the Dysfunctional series (Origins, Dark Imagination, and A Mighty Long Fall), three YA books published by Inkitt. This was actually one of the first projects that I seriously worked on as a writer, so it’s not perfect, but I’m pretty darn proud of it. My first novel with Crazy Ink Publishing, My Dark Passenger, delves into horror and suspense. My newest book is a dark, modern fantasy called Changeling (Book One of the Dark Fae Series).

I have been writing short stories and working on novels since junior high, and I’ve been telling stories for longer than that. It’s been my life-long passion.

How did you get into writing? 

When I was little, my mom would read books to me all the
time and tell me stories about when she was a kid. Because of that, I got into
making up stories of my own, and that just naturally evolved into writing
books.

What can you tell us about your daily routines that help
you focus and your creative habits?  So,
for example how do you come up with some of your ideas and inspiration for your
book?  

I write at least a little bit Monday through Friday; that
way—even if I’m feeling writer’s block—I don’t just get stuck and quit on a
project. I draw inspiration from all kinds of different places. Sometimes, I’ll
put together a playlist of my favorite songs at the moment, and I’ll use that
to sort of outline a book. Other times, I’ll get inspiration from places I’ve
visited, or from movies and shows that I’ve watched.

Is this book very personal for you? If so, how? 

While Changeling doesn’t draw much from my real life
and my personal experiences, it does hold a special place in my heart since it
was the first novel that I ever finished writing. I can still remember sitting
on the floor of my bedroom with my laptop while my friend sat on my bed working
on her own computer. I typed the last sentence in the book, and this satisfying
feeling of accomplishment washed over me. Finishing writing a novel was
something I had never done before, and it meant the world to me to know that I
could do it.

Changeling (Book One of the Dark Fae
Series)

Changeling Front Cover
Changeling Artwork

How did you come up with the book title?

Since this book delved into the concept of changelings, the
title Changeling was simple but seemed fitting. Coming up with book
titles can be challenging for me, so when I find one that fits the story, I
tend to just stick with it.

Plot and Synopsis

Can you describe the plot and give a detailed synopsis of
the book, of course without any spoilers?

Trapped
in a teenage body by magic, Maggie has spent nearly a century as the human pet
of the Fairchilds, a clan of faeries. As the oldest changeling in the house,
Maggie knows that survival depends on playing the game of life like a faery:
Cheat when you can and don’t get caught. But what will become of her and the
rest of the changelings when six of the Fairchilds are murdered?

There
isn’t always a happily ever after.

Is there any movie, book, or television series that you
can somewhat liken your story to?   So
for example, some books you can say are like Game of Thrones or Star Wars, what
mainstream and popular movie do you think your book somewhat “feels” like?   Did you want this to be the case?   

I would describe Changeling as Supernatural
meets American Horror Story. I tried to capture a sort of Southern
Gothic vibe with this dysfunctional family that does horrible things, leaving
their human pets (the changelings) to try to survive them.

Themes or Messages

What themes and deeper meanings or messages can we expect
to find in this book if any?   Is there
any deep meanings or philosophical questions being explored in the book?  

In many books that I’ve read, the protagonist is eventually
faced with a difficult decision to make, and in the end, they usually make the
right/moral choice. However, in the first book of this series, I had my
protagonist make the wrong/immoral choice, and the rest of the book covers the
consequences of that decision. In the books following Changeling, you’ll
see the protagonist deal with guilt and the struggle to do things the right way
when presented with a second chance.

Off the wall question, but would some of the issues being
explored in the book relate to us here in the real world? 

I definitely believe that the struggles in this book, and
the following books in the series, can relate to us in the real world. Everyone
has made a decision that they regret and wish they could take back. We’ve all
dealt with tough situations where making the right choice of action wasn’t
easy. And we’ve certainly all struggled with guilt.

Setting

What can you tell us about the setting that we will be
seeing in this book?   

Changeling takes place in an unnamed, rural town
somewhere in the American Midwest. The specifics of this fictional town aren’t
super important. All you need to know is that it is an isolated place where it
is easy to hide from the rest of the world.

What cultures or societies can we expect to see and can
you tell us about how you came up with creating these societies?  Was it difficult to get deep into how the
societies function? 

The culture of faeries and changelings in this fictional
world is very much dog-eat-dog. If a character is weak or naïve, they are very
likely to be taken advantage of by amoral faeries. I had a lot of fun creating
the society that my faeries live in: they all secretly (or not so secretly)
hate each other, but they’ll play politics if it means they can grab power from
another faery. And in this world, faeries are verbally bound to tell the truth,
but most of them are inclined to be deceptive and manipulative anyway. So,
coming up with a way to have my faeries lie without actually telling a
lie was a fun challenge for me.

I don’t really delve into the societies and cultures of
other fantasy creatures in Changeling, but in the following books, you
get a taste for how other mythical peoples coexist with each other.

Tell us about the history of the land or world or worlds
that we will be exploring throughout the book?

Since this is modern fantasy, it takes place in a modified
version of our world, so human history remains the same. Faeries have secretly
existed alongside humans for thousands of years, and they live for a very
long time. So the history of faeries is mostly made up of long-held grudges and
various faery clans warring with each other.

Characters

What can you tell us about some of the main characters
and villains in this book?  

Maggie and Max are the two main changelings in the book.
Maggie is the oldest, and has lived with faeries for the longest, so she tends
to exhibit some faery-like qualities such as being secretive and manipulative.
Max is one of the younger changelings who has been trained by faeries to
participate in the human version of dog fights. When he is forced to work with
Maggie in order to survive, his distrust of her ends up undermining her efforts
to keep all the changelings alive.

Rush is one of the main faeries in this book. He holds his
cards close to the vest, hiding his intentions even from those closest to him.
He’s one of those characters that could be either a villain or an anti-hero,
but his actions lead you to never quite trust him fully.

Promotional Links

Website: https://mckenzierswenson.wixsite.com/website

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/authormckenzierae/

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B077SN8176

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17380566.McKenzie_Rae

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/mckenzie-rae?list=about

To see a full synopsis of her new book please see the following article:

Changeling front cover
About the author: BaylessW
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