Talkshow Thursday: Meet A.S. Mackey
Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your debut middle grade book The Age of Everywhen. Where did you find your inspiration for this story?
AS: It all started with a social media post! I saw a random post early in 2015 in which someone wished that there was such a thing as a book that automatically knew what kind of story you needed to hear right at that moment. What a concept! I decided to craft a story about a mysterious book that knows what story each reader needs to hear, and the book’s power is derived from God. As a Christian, I believe that the story we need to hear is the one God is telling us about who we were meant to be, so that’s the path I took.
LM: You’ve written lots of children’s stories. What made you decide to move into the middle grade fiction genre?
AS: For some reason, my natural, unplanned reading level when I write, according to the Flesch-Kincaid scale, is about 5.5 to 6.0. Also, though I haven’t studied childhood or tween development, I believe that there truly is a “Golden Age of Reading.” A ten- or twelve-year-old is in that between-time: not a child, and not an adult. They’re becoming more aware of the world around them, wondering about their place in that world, and hoping they fit in. They’re becoming independent thinkers who can handle more abstract concepts than their younger counterparts, beginning to question their beliefs and ask hard questions.
But at the same time, most readers this age haven’t yet developed that cynical thick skin that often comes with teens and adults, so their imagination allows them to suspend disbelief and accept a story at face value. This was the age I truly fell in love with reading on my own, and I love to create Christ-centered wonder for middle-grade readers. Also, adults aren’t bored by books in this genre, because the reading level isn’t childish, so it’s a level that appeals to readers of many ages.
LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process?
AS: The beginning! I love to do research about names and places, and I love dreaming up new story lines to see if they have the makings of a full-fledged novel.
LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do?
AS: Speak French fluently! Years ago I was fluent enough to actually dream in French, and to teach it as a substitute teacher in high school, but I’ve gotten so rusty! I just downloaded Duolingo, alanguage app, so that I can practice more.
LM: Some quickies:
AS: Favorite color: Sage green
Favorite food: oooh, that’s a tough one! I love ALL food, so if I have to pick one, it has to be dark chocolate.
Favorite time of year: Fall!
LM: You live in Alabama, a beautiful area of the U.S., many people visit. If money were no object, where would you vacation?
AS: Ireland, no doubt! My husband is a red-head with ancestors in Ireland, so I would love to spend a month there going from village to village, meeting the local people, and seeing Celtic history.
LM: What is your next project?
AS: I am busy creating additional content for this new release, such as an 8-week Bible study guide and chapter vocabulary lessons. I hope that the publishers at Lifeway will offer me contract for the sequel to The Edge of Everywhen, of course. But even if they don’t, I always have a book going! I’m writing a young adult medieval allegory, sort of like Lord of the Rings meets Pilgrim’s Progress. I’m writing a young adult speculative fiction piece about a girl who is a modern-day Philip. And I have some character names that are just begging for a middle grade series like Artemis Fowl, but those are just sort of percolating.
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?
AS: My website is http://www.asmackey.com – and I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram. (Haven’t made it over to Pinterest just yet!) To purchase a copy of the book (paperback, Audible, or Kindle,) click here.
About The Edge of Everywhen
A unique middle-grade novel, The Edge of Everywhen tells the story of Piper, a. 13-year-old self proclaimed book nerd who world has been upended after the death of her mother. She and her autistic little brother (and best friend) Phoenix cling to one another as they are forced to move a thousand miles away from everything familiar and live with their rich, estranged aunt.
Piper reached to the books on her shelf for comfort, but it is one unique book, Novus Fabula, who offers true guidance as the omniscient narrator in the story. It watches them arrive at their aunt's home, with tired hearts and stones in their stomachs, and now its whispered voice must point the children to depend upon the sovereignty of God during the most dire times as they await word of their missing father.