Author Interview – Catherine McKenzie

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Here’s a little bit about SPIN, my debut novel: Katie Sandford has just gotten an interview at her favourite music magazine, The Line. It’s the chance of a lifetime. So what does she do? Goes out to celebrate — and shows up still drunk at the interview. No surprise, she doesn’t get the job, but the folks at The Line think she might be perfect for another assignment for their sister gossip rag. All Katie has to do is follow It Girl Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop (and complete the 30-day program without getting kicked out), they’ll reconsider her for the job at The Line.

Katie takes the job. But things get complicated when real friendships develop, a cute celebrity handler named Henry gets involved, and Katie begins to realize she may be in rehab for a reason. Katie has to make a decision — is publishing the article worth everything she has to lose?

Tell us something about yourself.

I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. I’m a lawyer (I’m a partner in a litigation firm where I practice civil, commercial and constitutional litigation). I’ve always written (poetry mostly) and started writing novels about four years ago.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m always on the lookout for book ideas! A couple of years ago, several young celebrities were going in and out of rehab and there were all sorts of stories leaking from rehab about their behaviour. I wondered to myself why no paparazzi had ever gone undercover into rehab. My next thought was no isn’t that an interesting idea for a book.

How did you publish this book?

When I completed my first “real” novel (i.e. not a semi-autobiographical account of my life) I decided to try to get an agent. I was lucky enough to get one to represent me and she spent a year and half trying to sell that novel. In the meantime, I wrote SPIN. She then started trying to sell it and I got the offer from HarperCollins Canada soon after. How could I say no to a great publisher like that?

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I don’t think I ever decided to be a writer, it just sort of happened. I got an idea for a book and started writing it, and then once I finish something I’m not the kind of person to just put it in a drawer. That’s not to say that I didn’t (and don’t) work had at being a writer. It is hard and it takes work!

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Learning how to write when you’re not inspired. If I waited until the spirit moved me I’d still be writing my first book.

How do you do research for your books?

The internet is very helpful if you’re careful about your sources, but it depends on the topic. For this book I also consulted friends and family who were psychologist to make sure I got the broad outlines of treatment right.

What are you reading now?

Jon Krakauer’s latest book about Pat Tillman. Really interesting.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I read a pretty eclectic group of books. Some of my favorite authors include Jane Austen, Jon Krakauer, Nick Hornby, and James Frey. They are all authors who’s books grabbed me from the first page and kept me reading deep into the night.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

My next book is scheduled to come out in January 2011, and is, for now, entitled ARRANGED. Don’t want to say too much more about it yet since publication is so far away.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Keep at it. Find someone unconnected with you to give you a real appraisal of your work.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

Various things, but mainly a blog tour that starts on January 11, 2010. Details are on my website.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book? You can browse inside the book from there.

You can follow me on twitter @CEMcKenzie1.

I also have a fan page on Facebook.