Smoke is McKenzie's fifth novel and an Amazon Best Book of 2015. It is based on fires — wild as well as metaphoric. Over the course of six days, protagonist Elizabeth Martin, an arson investigator, works to protect residents in a small town in the Rocky Mountains from an encroaching wildfire as she tries to come to terms with a failing marriage. McKenzie, 42, is a lawyer in Montreal.
What's on your nightstand?
I just finished Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason. I really enjoyed it. I've also just finished another thriller, The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo, and I just started The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart.
How do you go about picking out suspense?
Actually, I'm not usually such a thriller reader, but I've read Jamie a few times, and I recently saw her at a book festival, so I wanted to read this one. But, I will not lie. I'm drawn to a book by a cover. I will then read the back, to see if it's a story I think I will like, and usually, if it's someone I never heard of, I also read the first page when deciding. So, it's cover, back cover, first page, or I also read a book if I've heard tons about it. I like staying current with things. I definitely read the first Harry Potter, for example, because there was a point I said, okay, what is the Harry Potter thing all about, and the same with Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, for example. As an author, it's important to be aware. That being said, I haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey. I knew it wasn't for me although I did read two pages. That confirmed it wasn't for me. It's just not the kind of book I generally enjoy. And with Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, it was the same thing, that as an author it's important to be aware.
Were you always a reader?
Absolutely. Anyone who writes a book, I think, needs to enjoy reading. I have people come up and say I want to write a book, and I ask them what they are reading, and they aren't reading anything, and I just want to say, "Why do you want to write a book then?"
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