Monday, June 6, 2016

Introducing Anna Mackenzie

Anna Mackenzie lives on a farm in Hawke’s Bay, NZ, where she writes contemporary, speculative and historic fiction. Her nine titles have netted her seven Notable Book Awards, an NZ Post Honour Award, Sir Julius Vogel Award and other accolades. She wrote her first book when she was seven – and is very glad her mother kept it!

Anna says:
“My interest in WWI is based in family stories. I wanted to properly understand my grandfather’s and other family members’ experiences.

“A real high point of writing Evie’s War was having a writing residency in Belgium, which allowed me to thoroughly immerse myself in WWI history. I could walk battlefields, seek out buildings where hospitals had been based, study landscapes, weather, the day-to-day things our servicemen and women would have experienced. And of course, I wrote!

“Sometimes the research made me cry: standing at my great-uncle’s grave, listening to ‘The Last Post’ played beneath the Menin Gate in Ieper, walking around trenches and cemeteries – there was so much suffering and waste. It’s impossible not to feel saddened by it. But even during the very worst of it, our capacity for love and friendship – our humanity – shines through.
“I was surprised by how very real, and alive, those young men and women felt – and continue to feel – to me, and by how fascinated I’ve become by war and its aftermath. WWI isn’t yet ready to let me go.”

In addition to writing novels Mackenzie edits magazines, teaches creative writing, mentors beginning writers and travels ‘whenever it fits in’. She is Vice-President of the New Zealand Society of Authors.

Titles: High Tide (2003), Out on the Edge (2005), Shadow of the Mountain (2008); Sea-wreck Trilogy – The Sea-wreck Stranger (2007), Ebony Hill (2010), Finder’s Shore (2011); Elgard series – Cattra’s Legacy (2012), Donnel’s Promise (2013); WWI – Evie’s War (2015).

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