I'm Mackenzi Lee, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. AMA.

Mackenzi Lee
Jul 6, 2018

Hi! I'm Mackenzi Lee! I write books about history. Some are adventure novels. Some are about Marvel anti-heroes. Some are nonfiction based on my viral twitter series. I am also a bookseller, an MFA-er, and general nerd. I would love to answer any questions you have about anything! Ask me about my books, the secret behind the scenes things you've always wondered! Ask me about the dogs I petted today, how good they were and how their heads smelled like love. Ask me about the books I love to sell and the dresses I love to wear and my Star Wars OTP. I'm an open book! 

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Which book has helped you to become famous in your opinion?
Jul 11, 12:26AM EDT0
How much time did it take to write your first novel?
Jul 10, 9:17PM EDT0
What's the book that left the lasting impression on you?
Jul 10, 5:01PM EDT0
Can someone be a great writer if he is not a great reader?
Jul 10, 9:03AM EDT0
Did you ever expect your series BYGONE BADASS BROADS to take off? When did you know you had something special going on?
Jul 9, 10:20PM EDT0
Can you share a few pieces of research that informed The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, but don’t necessarily take center stage?
Jul 9, 5:55PM EDT0
Can you speak a bit about your inspiration for Monty?
Jul 9, 8:42AM EDT0
How do you balance writing female characters that are both of their time period but relatable to modern readers?
Jul 9, 6:25AM EDT0
Is writing a historical romance, more challenging than writing a contemporary romance novel?
Jul 8, 6:53PM EDT0

I have never written a contemporary romance novel, so I have no idea! For me, historical may not be easy but it is by far the most fun, and the genre I'm most interested in. So it hardly feels like work. 

Jul 8, 9:54PM EDT0
Which Star Wars character is the most like you?
Jul 8, 3:43PM EDT0

Anakin Skywalker, because I too am a sassy disaster with too many feelings.

Jul 8, 9:55PM EDT0
Alchemy played a big role in The Gentleman's Guide To Vice And Virtue. How did you get interested in alchemy?
Jul 8, 3:22PM EDT0

My favorite kind of historical fantasy novels are the ones where the magical element is rooted in real superstitions or ideas of the time. When I was doing cursory research for Gent's Guide, I stumbled upon alchemical ideas that were just starting to fall out of fashion at the time, but had been a very real part of the public conciousness for a long time, and I thought they were so interesting I wanted to incorporate them. 

Jul 8, 9:56PM EDT0
Anonymous

Would you ever get a dog? What breed? What would you name it?

Jul 8, 12:12PM EDT0

Yes!! I'm actually in the process of getting one at this moment :) Though I couldn't say what I'd name it.....I'd have to meet the dog first! 

Jul 8, 9:56PM EDT0
Was there anything in particular about Twitter that made it the right forum for your series BBB?
Jul 8, 8:31AM EDT0

It was really the only social media at the time that I was on consistently, and my community of YA people mostly lived there. I honestly gave it so little thought--I just wanted to talk about badass women and twitte rwas right there. Lucky for me it worked out very very well. 

Jul 8, 11:32AM EDT0
How many dogs did you pet today and which one was the cutest? Do all dog’s heads smell like love? What words would you use to describe the smell of love?
Jul 8, 1:25AM EDT0

I have petted four dogs today: Bodo, who I am dogsitting, Bodo's two hound dog neighbors named Bugsy and something else I didn't catch because I was shrieking over how cute the name Bugsy is, and Mila, who is the golden retriever I am aunt to. All dogs heads smell like love because it is the primary ingredient in making a dog. Go smell them--under the stentch of whatever weird thing they last rolled in, you can catch a whiff ;) 

Jul 8, 11:31AM EDT0
What is your perspective to bring history to life without making it seem boring?
Jul 8, 12:28AM EDT0

I think it helps that I never think history is boring, so I go in wih my own passion and interest. And I know the sort of dry facts that turned me off when I was bored in high school history classes, so I ignore those. But if you think of history as a lived experience of an individual rather than something experienced in the same way by everyone, it becomes much more interesting. It becomes a story that's so cool you could never make it up. 

Jul 8, 11:29AM EDT0
Why do you talk about yourself in the third person in your website?
Jul 7, 8:27PM EDT0

Somewhere, sometime ago someone decided the best way to write a professional bio was in the third person. And Mackenzi thought it was ridiculous, but she followed the convention. And then mocked it lightly by using it all over the place on her website. 

Jul 8, 11:28AM EDT0
Anonymous

Opinion on stag beetles? 

Jul 7, 2:50PM EDT0

No opinion, though there are few creatures I am averse to. Just snakes. Don't like snakes. 

Jul 7, 3:39PM EDT0

Okay but why do we hate Richard Peele

Jul 7, 2:49PM EDT0

because WE HATE RICHARD PEELE 

Jul 7, 3:38PM EDT0

What’s a piece of art (music, literature, play, movie, painting etc) that has had a profound influence on you? 

Jul 7, 2:46PM EDT0

Most recently, the opera/musical "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812." It's an electropop opera based on 75 pages of War and Peace by Tolstoy. I feel like everything I have created since then is in someway touched by the music, and this show. And I only hopethat someday a piece of my work will influence someone as much as that show has influenced me. 

Jul 7, 3:38PM EDT0

How big of a role does music play in your writing process? Do you have playlists for mood or location or character? 

Jul 7, 2:44PM EDT0

I always listen to music when I write--though I've become less attached to the fact that I have to listen to a certain playlist while I'm writing a certain book. Mostly just silence freaks me out so I need noise of some kind, and sometimes I'll just listen to the same song I'm obsessed with over and over (right now it's the new Florence and the Machine album). But I do create playlists for my each of my books, mostly as a vehicle for helping me understand my characters and their emotions better. My playlists are always populated with songs whose lyrics fit my books and characters really well. 

Jul 7, 3:45PM EDT1
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