I am having all kinds of success with my author interviews lately. This week is another biggie: Catherine McKenzie, who I met at the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC a few years ago when she was a presenter. Catherine’s previous books have been highly acclaimed bestsellers, and her latest, The Good Liar, is no exception: named by Goodreads as one of the hottest thrillers of 2018, it’s been busy racking up starred reviews and killer sales since its release in April. I asked McKenzie to describe the book and, even though she’s a lawyer by training, she offered up a decidedly succinct recap: 1 explosion, 3 women, so many lies. Which is genius, because who wouldn’t want to read that book?
In case you need more detail, however, here’s the publisher’s description:
When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.
A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.
Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe. But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them?
I apologize for this, but to describe my reaction to The Good Liar I am going to have to employ the most overused phrase in publishing: I couldn’t put it down. It was so riveting, I literally read it in one sitting. (Which almost caused me to die of a blood clot, but I’ll try not to hold it against the author.) If you are a fan of suspense, this is one book you won’t want to miss!
Kimmery Martin: Talk about one book that made an impact on you.
Catherine McKenzie: How can I pick just one? I think there were a series of novels that I read starting in my twenties that sort of opened me up to modern commercial/literary fiction (as opposed to the detective fiction I grew up reading, or classics that you read in school). The ones that stand out are: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby; A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers; I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb; The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I read the first three before I started writing novels and the last two after. They all shaped me and my approach to writing, stories, character and voice.
KM: Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
CM: Anne of Green Gables.
KM: Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
CM: The gas fireplace in my living room (I’m writing this in January and it’s FREEZING outside)
KM: Where do you love to be?
CM: On the water. I don’t live on the water but it’s super important to me that I spend some time on the water every year. I’m not sure why, but it always feels like renewal to me.
KM: Which talent do you wish you had?
CM: I wish I could draw. I stopped improving in that department in kindergarten and even then I wasn’t any good.
Catherine McKenzie was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. She studied history and then law at McGill University, and is now a partner in a litigation firm in Montreal where she lives with her husband. An avid skier and runner, Catherine has published six bestsellers which have been translated into numerous languages. HIDDEN was a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Digital Bookworld bestseller for five weeks. SMOKE was named a Best Book of October by Goodreads, one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 by Amazon, and was a #1 Amazon bestseller. FRACTURED was also named a Best Book of October by Goodreads in 2016. Catherine published her first novel writing as Julie Apple, THE MURDER GAME, in 2016, and had a short story included in MONTREAL NOIR in 2017.
Connect with Catherine on her website.
*This article was initially published on The Debutante Ball