Catherine McKenzie

Bestselling author of books with one word titles, Next release; SMOKE

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON November 12, 2015

Discussion

Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
Hi Everyone! I’m a graduate of McGill University with a degree in History and Law. I’m a practicing attorney in Montreal where I was born and raised. In my free time, I’m also an author. My first three novels – Spin, Arranged and Forgotten – were all published by traditional houses and my last two – Hidden and Smoke – were published by Amazon’s Lake Union. My first four novels were international bestsellers, and have been translated into various languages, including French, German, Portuguese, Turkish, Slovakian and Czech. My latest release, Smoke, is the story of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town over the course of just a few days. I speak French, read a lot, watch tons of TV and like to run and ski. Yeah, yeah, I may also be a robot. Ask me anything.
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
What are the TV shows that you closely follow (or binge watch)?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@katesegrin mmm, too many to name. I really love The Good Wife, Nashville (great music), The Leftovers. Shows like that. All time favorites include The Gilmore Girls, Party of Five and Felicity.
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@cemckenzie1 @katesegrin I also love Orange is the New Black, had a love/hate relationship with House of Cards and am hate watching Scandal.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@cemckenzie1 What is your method to help balance your work as an attorney and an author?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@bentossell I try to make sure that I keep time in my schedule for the writing. Law has its own demands that I can't always control.
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@cemckenzie1 @bentossell I also try to have goals when I am in writing mode: some many words a day or a week, or getting a certain number of chapters done.
Jeff Umbro@jeffumbro · CEO of The podglomerate
@cemckenzie1 How important is your online tribe when it comes to marketing your book?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@jeffumbro super important. So much book marketing is done online now and more and more people are finding out about books there. I'm lucky to have some super fans who love shouting about my books from the rooftops.
Jeff Umbro@jeffumbro · CEO of The podglomerate
@cemckenzie1 Can you speak a bit towards how Amazon has impacted your career as a writer? Both as an author and as a reader?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@jeffumbro As a reader I read way, way more books now because of the ease of buying them digitally. I use to be a big re-reader, but much less so now. As an author, they have been fantastic to me - they gave my last novel so much more visibility than it likely would have had anywhere else. It has been my most positive publishing experience to date.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@cemckenzie1 Hey could you tell us a bit about the whole writing process? How do you go from idea (and where does that come from...personal experiences/etc) to starting to get it down and then bringing it all together and getting it out there? Quite intrigued!!
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@bentossell Hi Ben, usually I have a bunch of kind of proto-ideas kicking around in my head that jell together into one: a small town threatened by a wildfire. Then I wait and see if the idea sticks - where does that go, who are the characters, what will the twist be? If I can't see the end of anything past the concept, then I let it go. Once I have thought about it for a while and know who my main character is, I usually start writing. Getting her voice right and seeing who else shows up. I fiddle with the first 50 pages for a couple of months while I work out other parts of the story, then I just go for it and write it, and rewrite it. A year late: a book!
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
I've never asked this before and I'm excited to see where it goes: What's your biggest secret that you're willing to share with us, your dear internet friends?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@andrewmettinger I have an unhealthy love for Cheese Pringles.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
@cemckenzie1 @andrewmettinger Do you wish they came in a different container? I do.
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@andrewmettinger yes, actually! Hard to reach into those cans.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
@cemckenzie1 @andrewmettinger Jeff Stamp, creator of Baked Lay's, taught one of my classes and he told us he bought a factory with 1 million cans and had his students find better uses for them.
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@andrewmettinger interesting!
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
Thanks so much for having me and asking so many great questions! I'll check back in later if you want to keep asking!
Ryan Alfred@ryanalfred · COO
I noticed you are a skier. What are your favorite places to ski?
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@cemckenzie1 Thanks for being here today 🙌 During your career to date, what has been your a) most challenging moment and how did you overcome it? b) proudest moment and why? c) most surprising moment?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@ems_hodge thanks for having me! A) my most challenging moment to date was when my US publisher declined to publish my book, HIDDEN. I overcame it with a good drink and getting a new publisher, B) proudest moment was getting the first finished copy of my first novel, SPIN and c) most surprising moment was yesterday when my new book SMOKE got named as one of the 100 best books of 2015 by Amazon. Still in shock.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What are your 3 favorite apps?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@andrewmettinger I only get to pick three? They are probably pretty boring: Facebook, Twitter and the Weather.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
@cemckenzie1 @andrewmettinger Okay, fine. You can pick 3 more.
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@andrewmettinger Ha! I think Shazzam is cool and there should be one for everything. Like Shazzam for birds and Shazzam for actors faces etc... Wait, those probably already exist and I just don't know it. I like NovelRank because it lets me check my Amazon rankings every hour (bad habit) and I'm enjoying Instagram which I recently started using actively. Better?
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
Have any tech products/advancements helped in your profession?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@andrewmettinger I use a writing program, Scrivener, which is awesome.
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@cemckenzie1 @andrewmettinger when I write scripts, I also use Final Draft, also a great tool.
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
@cemckenzie1 @andrewmettinger how frequently do you write scripts?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@katesegrin @andrewmettinger I've written a TV pilot and have some half-written other scripts kicking around. It's a fun diversion.
Russ Frushtick@russfrushtick
@cemckenzie1 Why do you think you've been successful internationally (rather than just in specific regions?). Are there themes that you feel reach across borders more effectively?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@russfrushtick oh, that is really just a business marketing thing - it means those books were all bestsellers in Canada (where I am from) which is considered International to the US. It is interesting to me to see the regional differences, even between Canada and the US; my most successful book in the US to date - HIDDEN - is my least successful in Canada. There are probably lots of reasons for that but it is interesting.
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
How did you first get into writing?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@alexcartaz I had an idea that would not leave me alone until I wrote it down. So I did. I had no idea what I was writing, but it became a book.
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
What advice do you have to any would-be authors out there thinking about taking the plunge?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@alexcartaz really important to read a lot and then just take the plunge.
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@cemckenzie1 @alexcartaz Also, it doesn't have to be perfect the first time around. In fact it will never be perfect, but that's okay.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What are your favorite books? 5-10 ;)
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@bentossell 1. Pride & Prejudice; 2. High Fidelity; 3. The Night-Circus; 4. The Time-Travellers' Wife; 5. The Fault in Our Stars
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
Have you noticed any interesting nuances being a Canadian author? Do your readers tend to be Canadian, American, or other? =)
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@alexcartaz My readers are a mix of both US and Canadians. I do notice that Americans seem to be more sensitive - at least some - to 'language', ie swearing. I never got a bad review because of that until I was published in the US.
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What do you want your tombstone to say?
Catherine McKenzie@cemckenzie1 · I write books.
@jacqvon I honestly have no idea! I tend not to think about stuff like that.