Cassie Interviews Mackenzi Lee, author of LOKI

Article by Cassie

If you’ve ever hung out around the store, there’s a big chance you’ve heard me talk about Mackenzi Lee. I am completely in love with her books, particularly THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE and its companion novel, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY. When I learned that Lee had started writing a novel about my favorite trickster in the Marvel canon, I could not wait to get my hands on it. Lee has a very busy rest of 2019, so I’m honored that she was able to give me a few minutes of her time to chat with me about LOKI, fanfiction, and dogs!

 

Cassie Schulz: First of all, thank you so much for answering our questions. We at Brazos Bookstore love your work. I personally devoured your most recent release, LOKI. How did you get the opportunity to write LOKI? Did you approach Marvel, or did they approach you?

 

Mackenzi Lee: They approached me! The editor who originally acquired me had wanted to do a Marvel anti-heroes series starting with Loki, and just happened to be reading THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE when she got the approval to hire a writer for the series. So it was a lot of good timing and good luck! 

 

CS: I love writing fan fiction and seeing more works of existing properties (Disney's A TWISTED TALE novels, Kiersten White’s SLAYER series) filling up YA shelves. What has this experience, writing a story for an existing property, been like for you?

 

ML: I started as a fanfiction writer before I even knew I wanted to be a writer, so getting to work for Marvel felt very surreal. It was also completely terrifying. I spent a lot of time sabotaging myself by trying to smash every version of Loki that has ever been written into one character rather than bringing my own spin to the character, and by being so weighed down by the pressure I put on myself to not mess up this great opportunity. When I finally started to be kinder to myself and enjoy the ride was when the book really came together. It took a while, but in the end it was great. 

 

CS: We can all stand to be kinder to ourselves and enjoy our craft! Anyone who reads your books knows you are a historical fiction master, and LOKI does not disappoint in that department. When trying to decide when and where Loki would appear on Midgard, how did you decide on 19th century London?

 

ML: It felt like a very natural fit. One of my favorite overarching themes in Marvel is Thanos’ idea of chaos in life and order in death, and there was so much chaos in Victorian London—something Loki also happens to be the god of. It’s a turbulent time of a lot of change and people trying to figure out how to adapt to that, which also felt very appropriate to where Loki is in his life at the time. And there was a lot of fun things to play around with like spiritualism, death obsession, and real life Norse mythology and artifacts that were an incredible setting to tie Loki into. 

 

CS: Your novel was rich with the mythology of both the Norse gods and Marvel Universe, so I definitely think you did a great job! I've been following your instagram and seeing so many fun posts as you kick off your LOKI tour! What has your favorite experience while promoting LOKI been so far? 

 

ML: The first time I signed the ARCs at BookExpo we had such an unexpectedly huge turn out that security had to be called, which was wild! It was such an incredible first response to the book. The fans brought so much energy from the start, and I felt so lucky and grateful for that, especially because I was so nervous about writing Loki for Marvel. Living your dreams is terrifying!  

 

CS: Wow! That sounds like a wild ride. After all that travel I bet it’s nice to come home to your adorable dog. Speaking of dogs, in LOKI Theo points out that Earth is better than Asgard in at least one way: Earth has dogs. So, naturally, I began to wonder… what kind of dog would each character have? Would Loki even adopt a dog, or would exclusively be a cat person?

 

ML: I think Loki would identify with the Shiba Inu, since they’re a bit aloof and incredibly smart and demand to be the only object of their owner’s affection. Plus they’re very sleek and pretty, which, also Loki. 

 

CS: Oh, definitely Loki. 100% agree. LOKI isn’t the only time you’ve written about dogs in 2019, either! You have two more works coming out before the end of 2019, which is incredible. Mackenzi Lee, you are non-stop! Tell us about THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN FIFTY DOGS.

 

ML: THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN 50 DOGS is a collection of short essays about important events in history told through the dogs that were there to witness them. It covers everything from Ancient Egypt to the Titanic to the Russian Revolution, and it was so much fun to write stories of incredible dogs from the paratrooping dogs of World War II to the first seeing eye dog to how Hitler tried to create a talking dog army (really). It’s illustrated by the incredible Petra Eriksson and was so much fun! I’m so excited for its release! 

 

CS: I cannot wait to get my hands on that book and learn more about how dogs fit into our world’s history. You have one more 2019 release coming out, too! We in the store are HUGE fans of GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE. What can we look forward to with the upcoming novella, GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO GETTING LUCKY?

 

ML: I keep telling people the title is also the synopsis *wink*. It’s set right after Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue on Santorini and is about Monty and Percy navigating the next steps in their relationship. It is kind of me writing fanfiction of my own book, but mostly I wanted to write something fluffy and sweet and about navigating queer relationships in history without the central issue being the fact that they’re queer in a world that isn’t accepting of that. 

 

CS: Mackenzi, you had me at “fluffy,” “sweet,” and “queer.” Thank you so much for answering my questions. I’ve had so much fun putting LOKI in everyone’s hands this Fall, and I cannot wait for your other 2019 releases!

 

You can order your own copy of LOKI, part of our Teen Holiday List, below!

Staff Pick Badge
Loki: Where Mischief Lies Cover Image
By Mackenzi Lee, Stephanie Hans (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781368022262
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Marvel Press - September 3rd, 2019

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings #1) Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780062382818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - September 4th, 2018

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062795328
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - October 2nd, 2018

The History of the World in Fifty Dogs Cover Image
By Mackenzi Lee, Ms. Petra Eriksson (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781419740060
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Image - October 15th, 2019

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (Montague Siblings Novella) Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062967169
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - November 26th, 2019

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