Welcome to the second Monthly Author Interview! I’m just tickled pink to be able to interview such lovely authors. :) This month I have the delight of interviewing author MacKenzie Morganthal! Her name may be familiar to you readers because this isn’t her first time on my blog. Just type in her name in the ‘search box’ on the sidebar, and several posts will pop up – they’re all fun reads, with her book’s blog tours, some character spotlights, and more interviews.
But let’s get started on today’s interview, shall we? :)
Welcome once again, Miss Morganthal, to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here on this return visit! For the benefit of new readers here, would you please introduce yourself and the genre of books you write?
I’m so happy to be back here at your lovely blog! :) I’m MacKenzie Morganthal and I write contemporary Christian fiction novels. I’ve been writing since I was about nine years old and have loved it ever since! My two published books are part of my Mission for Freedom series, and deal with the topic of human trafficking. My passion is to raise awareness and education about this topic of human trafficking, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do that through my writing. When I’m not writing, I love music, the creative arts, and working as a teacher aide with the goal of being a teacher someday.
In your two released books, “Not Abandoned” and “Out of the Dark”, we primarily get to know sisters Haley and Avery Hampton; was one easier to write than the other? And if so, why?
Hmm, I would have to say that Avery was a bit harder to write than Haley’s character. Haley has always been my favorite character from this series, so she was always pretty easy to write. But Avery had a bit more dynamics to her character, as she was a victim of human trafficking. In “Out of the Dark” we see Avery going through a lot of ups and downs, and I grew pretty attached to Avery in this book, even though the emotional trauma she was wrestling with was heartbreaking. Not to give away any secrets, but I think book three will be my favorite part of Avery’s story. ;)
Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names? No, I’ll usually just pick a name I like and go with that, haha! I like to try and find contemporary, yet unique names, so I’ll keep notes on my phone whenever I meet someone who has a unique name that would be great for a novel character, and then when I need to choose a new character name I’ll just scroll through my list and find one I like best. So nothing really special ;)
I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one? If so, would you mind sharing?
Well, I guess I would have to say that when I write I like to format the size of my pages in my document before I start writing…weird, I know! I don’t have to do all the formatting right away, but if I’m starting a new novel it has to be on 5.5 x 8.5 paper and I like to fix my margins also before starting to write. If I’m writing an article or short story, I don’t mess with the formatting first, but I guess it’s just a quirk I have for novels!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I would have to say…energize, but it can also be exhausting, especially when I put deadlines on myself. I participated in NaNoWriMo this past November, and writing was the only thing I had time for and I still struggled to finish on time. (But I did finish!) So that was very exhausting. But for the most part it’s energizing for me, especially when working on a novel I’m really excited about, and I don’t have deadlines on myself, and I can just enjoy writing when God gives me the inspiration.
How important to you is the faith-element in your writing?
It is very important to me! I have not written a book that does not have some kind of faith element in it. Without God, I would not have the gift of writing, so I can’t imagine leaving Him out of it. If I couldn’t include faith in my books, then I would have no purpose for writing. To me, books are more than just a few hours of entertainment. They have the ability to impact people, and if I’m going to be impacting people, then I want to be impacting them for Jesus and not myself.
What does your family think of your writing?
I think they like it ;) Haha! Truly, they have been my biggest fans and I couldn’t do this without them. Their feedback is very important to me, and it’s always really encouraging when they say things like “I couldn’t put it down!” I’m so thankful for their support and love.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think I would say to remember to be yourself. Don’t try to make your writing please everybody else. If you’re writing for God, then that’s all that matters. He’ll place it in the hands of those who need it. And just have fun! Writing should never be a chore. God gave me this gift to enjoy and have fun with. Don’t worry about being the next bestseller, just focus on enjoying every moment of the journey.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Wow…a lot! Besides my two published books, I have 9 other unpublished books. And probably hundreds of half-finished books! When I was younger especially, I would hop from one book idea to the next, which resulted in many incomplete ideas. Now I try to make myself wait to finish a book before moving on to the next…but it can be hard! And sometimes moving on to a new story is actually great for getting fresh inspiration for an old story that has run dry. Right now I’m very close to being finished with my third and final book in my Mission for Freedom series, and I’m also collaborating on a book with…you, our host Raechel! ;)
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
My sister is my number one writing inspiration! She has worked so hard on expanding her writing platform and really puts her whole heart into it. Her example pushes me to better my writing and follow her lead. She’s amazing, and I hope to be at least half the writer she is someday. And of course my best friend, also you, Rae! =D Rae is an amazing writer, but you readers already know that if you follow her blog! I mentioned before that we are currently collaborating on a novel together…I kinda squeal excitedly anytime I talk about it. But writing alongside her has been so wonderful and she definitely helps me to be a better writer. I couldn’t write this new book without her! And I’m going to stop myself from talking about this new book now, because I could go on forever about it. Seriously. Y’all are going to love it.
Awww, thanks for that! I think you’re an *amazing* author too, and you help me become a better writer too <3 And yes – loooove our story! <3
And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your Mission for Freedom series?
Well, I absolutely love Lisa Harris, and her series Southern Crimes or Nikki Boyd Files are police mystery novels similar to my Mission for Freedom series. “Vendetta” book one in the Nikki Boyd Files was my favorite! I love police suspense/mystery novels, so I read a lot of them as inspiration for my Mission for Freedom series. Irene Hannon also has great mystery/suspense novels, and I really enjoyed “Deceived” in her Private Justice series. Another great book similar to mine is “Visible Threat” by Janice Cantore. I loved this one, and it also dealt with the topic of human trafficking like my series does.
Thank you so much, Miss Morganthal!!
MacKenzie Morganthal is the author of the Mission for Freedom series. Book one, “Not Abandoned”, was her debut novel. She lives in Pennsylvania where she is a monthly e-magazine columnist, Creative Artist, and musician. She loves Jesus most, sweet tea, singing along to the radio, and spending too much time at Starbucks.
That was excellent – I personally loved reading each of her well-written answers – she inspires me, and it’s such a blessing to know her, and have her here on the blog too! I hope you readers enjoyed it as well. :)
Next Monday I might just be featuring one of her characters…so check back!! :)
Do you have any questions for MacKenzie Morganthal? I know she’d be pleased to answer them, if so. :) Just comment below!