We have a wonderful interview with Megan Mackie, author of The Finder of the Lucky Devil series with new book Death and the Crone.
Tell us about Death and the Crone?
This book is a spinoff story from my main series, The Lucky Devil. It is a side story about a character I introduce in the second book of the series, The Saint of Liars, named Elias, a mysterious wizard who is the cousin of the main character, Rune Leveau.
Who are the two leads and what are they like?
The story is from Margaret’s point of view. Contrary to the convention, she is an old woman in her 60s, homeless and entirely undesirable by anyone in the world. The story follows her point of view. Because of her status in life, she is also feisty and takes no crap from anyone. Elias by contrast is an easy-going, accepting, while being young-looking and beautiful and it drives Margaret crazy, because she can’t figure him out or what he wants from her.
Why did you choose to make the main character an older woman?
The whole idea for the book came about when I was wondering why every book that has a immortal guy of some type in it, they are always going for someone between the ages of 16-25. Why would they want someone who is just starting life, when they themselves have lived so much of it.
Why did you choose to make her homeless?
I needed Margaret to be someone who came from a situation that it would be quickly understood why she would say yes to Elias’s proposition. Having nothing to lose allowed me to jump right in to the story.
What can you tell us about the setting?
The story takes place in the same world as my main series, which is an alternate Chicago where magic and technology are in competition with each other. This is a world where magic has always existed, including magical creatures who have normal, mundane jobs, such as a centaur actuary or a mermaid dog groomer. Technology and cyber enhancements are the new thing that is wowing this society.
How does this relate to your Finder of the Lucky Devil series?
Elias is very connected to the main story and going forward Margaret will appear in the main books as well.
What is the secret to writing a good urban fantasy romance?
Each of the characters needs to grow and develop from their relationship, the idea of better together than apart. But just to tell a good story in general, you need the relationship to state some sort of opinion, it has to mean something that you want to get across from these to characters being together. It’s the opinion you’re conveying that can makes the story truly unique, even if you have all the elements from the billions of stories that have come before it.
Do you have any criticisms of the genre?
I do think that UF is getting stuck in the same stories, badass women and beast-like men going on personal journey’s of badassery, which to be fair I do enjoy, but there’s been a lot of the same stories and the same journeys. I’ve been asking questions of this genre, like can a heroine be badass and unsure of herself too? What does she need to learn about herself? Can she simply be small and quiet, can she be vulnerable, can she be the smartest person in the room and undermine herself because she doesn’t know to trust that. Real questions that I wrestle with, can that be seen as heroic. Can just having a good, honest heart be enough?
What are the attractive and disturbing parts of Elias a.k.a Death?
Elias is charming, sweet and fairly unflappable, but he’s also disconnected from life, just cruising along in it, jumping from relationship to relationship. I don’t want to go into too much about why he’s called Death, but he is definitely avoiding something.
How has reception been for the Finder of the Lucky Devil series?
Very good. Most people who give the books a chance, love them and it is fun to hear from my fans about details and ideas that the got from the books.. The trick is just getting people to crack the covers. Most are often very surprised and it has been a thrill when they come back for the next books.
Any advice for indie writers?
You have to write a book that you like to read. Your taste in story is the only one that really matters.
What can we expect from you next?
There will be another spin-off book publishing soon that follows another character that disappeared into the mist from the first book and that story is about what happened to her. After that the audiobook version of Finder of the Lucky Devil should be out and I am currently working hard on the official third book of the main series.
Thanks for your time!
An interview with Megan Mackie, author of THE FINDER AT THE LUCKY DEVIL and THE SAINT OF LIARS. Rune Leveau is the owner of the Lucky Devil Bar, inherited from her witch aunt, and secretly the former wife of a programmer who discovered a way to computerize magic. Having reinvented herself, she just wants to live her life without complications but the megacorporations which rule the world bring. Unfortunately, when Saint Benedict, an agent for one of the most powerful megacorps, walks into her bar--anonymity is no longer a option.
1. Tell us about THE FINDER AT THE LUCKY DEVIL and THE SAINT OF LIARS?
Well, both books take place in an alternate Chicago where magic and technology are in economic/socio competition with each other. In this world mythical creatures and people working and living side by side with other humans. In order to compete, technology has advanced at an extreme rate so that cybernetic enhancements are becoming more readily available, marketed to take over and make available everything magic can do, as well as take over of the world’s economic and governmental systems by corporations. This is how I get a centaur who’s an actuary, or a mermaid dog groomer, or cybernetic corporate spies all in the same world.
2. What separates your series from most urban fantasy?
First off, it’s not solely urban fantasy, it also combines cyberpunk ideas and themes. While I know I’m not the first to do this, many, many more people have tapped the Tolkein well hard, so I think there is plenty of room for more books that combine the two genres like this. Also in my world, magic is out in the open, it’s not a secret thing. In fact, it’s the common thing, where technological advancements are the new shiny, amazing thing.
3. Do you have any favorite urban fantasy writers?
Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint are two I’ve grown up with. I also love the Hollows series by Kim Harrison.
4. What made you decide to write in a combination cyberpunk and urban fantasy world?
Like I said, I don’t feel like that well has been very tapped at all and if you’re going to set a fantasy in the modern day era, we’re kind of already dipping into the cyberpunk world with our current level of technology, or we’re really, really close. So if you want to do a story set in our current world, you kind of have to acknowledge that there is a lot we can actually do today that is very much already like magic.
5. Rune is a character who dramatically reinvents herself after a terrible event in her life. What inspired such a storyline?
Definitely myself. Not to extreme Rune has to deal with, thank god, but I was peer abused as a child and it took me a long time to heal and pull strength from that experience. With this first book, I didn’t want her to already be a badass-I-know-what-I’m-doing-all-the-time-heroine, but I didn’t want her passive, damsel-in-distress either. It was a challenge to find the balance, between acknowledging where she’s damaged, where she is healing and still keeping her capable and the hero of the story. Most of the time I feel I succeeded and in the second book The Saint of Liars, I give her more cart blanche to be bolder and take more assured action without checking herself. By the end of the story, I expect her to be that kick-ass, self-assured character, but she has to earn it.
6. What were the inspirations for Saint Benedict?
Well, one of my favorite male character tropes is the beast, the monster looking for redemption. I was inspired largely by an manga I read called the Earl and the Fairy, where the hero was also had some very villain traits, even though he smiled and was charming and sympathetic and you just didn’t know for sure which way he was going to go until the end. I liked that idea so much, I played around with it in St. Benedict. He is driven, he can be cruel and ruthless, all the while being charming and funny and charismatic, all towards his goals. He has a measure of truly hating himself and that kind of thing can allow a person to do some pretty terrible things. He thinks he understands the world and everyone in it. So when he encounters Rune, she keeps surprising him and the surprise sets him off-center, forcing him to act differently. She doesn’t damsel up, she doesn’t try to seduce him and she doesn’t care about pleasing him. He can’t figure her out.
7. There is a strong element of romance in the story. What are the keys to a good romance in fiction?
I think you have to have a clear idea of why these two people fit together and how do they not. Perfect romances are boring and just getting to the happy ever after isn’t enough for me. I want to be able to see these two living and being together beyond where the book ends. I want to believe that they would have legitimate fights that might not even have to do with the plot, that they get something from each other, that they are better people for having been together. Flaws and needs are imperative.
8. Who is your favorite character after Rune and Benedict?
Probably Calvin, he’s a very kickable bad guy. He’s also a character who is evolving for me, so I’m curious to see where he goes.
9. What can we expect from you in the future?
Currently I am writing two spin-off books from my series, then I’ll be writing Book 3, possibly Book 4.
10. Any recommendations for writers trying to be indie or traditional?
Right now we are in the Wild West of literature and everyone wants to be a cowboy. Right a book you want to read and forget about the next hombre.
11. Why are megacorporations such great baddies?
Because mega corporations are the bad guys of our time. In a lot of ways it feels like they are trying to force us back to feudal times, where only themselves have rights or are people.
12. How has the response been to your books?
Really great. In my first year I sold 1000 Books and it’s just growing from there. People who take a chance on the first one, roll right into the second. I just gotta get more books out!
THE SAINT OF LIARS is the sequel to THE FINDER AT THE LUCKY DEVIL and the second volume of the LUCKY DEVIL series. The Lucky Devil series is an excellent find and one of the most interesting new books to come out of the indie urban fantasy market in years. I say that as an indie urban fantasy author myself (Red Room, The Bright Falls Mysteries). It takes place in a Shadowrun-esque setting where corporations rule and magic is abundant.