Keith MacKenzie 26 letters. A million and more words. No limit to stories.


Who are you?

I’m Keith MacKenzie. I’m a writer based in New Westminster, B.C., on the west coast of Canada.

How many books have you written?

Three in full, although the second is sitting collecting dust on the bookshelf. It’s not ready for the masses. My first book, Caduceus, will be available soon as an ebook and in print. The Faces That Don’t Belong is in the final stages of editing will be ready very soon.

Why do you write?

(Clenching fists) Because I must. I’ve been writing since I conjured up ridiculous tales of skeletons attacking me and my best friends in Grade 5. I also love telling a good story, and love exploring the limitless ways in which a story can be told.

What do you write about?

I write about ordinary, real people whose limits are tested in extraordinary situations. As much as it is a cliche, I’m very interested in people and the way their true characters surface when they interact with each other and the world.

Where do you get your inspirations from?

I’m very drawn to character- and story-driven subcultural tales. I’m also interested in stories that happen either between or inside characters, not independently of the characters.

But I’m most interested in originality. Themes, genres and formulas are all important, of course, but if you can tell a fascinating, original story that captivates a reader with 3-D characters and a realistic, page-turning plot, then you have me in your corner.

Fine. But which writers inspire you?

Kurt Vonnegut, for his simple, razor-sharp wit. Cat’s Cradle was – and still is – one of the most electrifying, original books I’ve ever read.

Norman Mailer, for his roll-up-the-sleeves old-school tales. The Naked and the Dead and The Fight are two books that had me riveted for their raw tales. Mailer doesn’t pussyfoot around. He tells the story straight, like a dram of single malt.

Bret Easton Ellis, simply because I nearly vomited a couple of times while reading American Psycho. I have an iron stomach, and have read all kinds of things. But the way some pages in American Psycho triggered such a violent physical reaction – using just words on paper – earned my respect for this Ellis guy.

Martin Amis, for his unapologetic perfectionism as an English writer. As much as I love Mailer for his unpretentious prose, I love Amis for daring to try something different and refusing to buckle to criticisms that he is an elitist. Time’s Arrow – again an original tale – really messed with my head.

Irish writers by the dozen. Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy and The Dead School sizzle with blue lightning, while James Joyce’s prose is incomparable. Roddy Doyle, particularly The Commitments and A Star Called Henry, because of the way he can write dialogue that I can actually hear in my head. Irish writers, in short, took the English language and went in a new direction with it, unburdened by the stoic traditions of English literature.

The old American writers, for the same reason I like Irish writers. Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway. I could go on, but I won’t.

I’m finding it hard to discover new great writers who inspire me. How the hell can I find them?

Simple. Literary magazines. Writers’ groups. Short story quarterlies. There are thousands of great writers out there. You have to find them. They won’t find you.

Why New Westminster, and not Brooklyn?

Well, you’re the first person to ask me that. I know that 99.7% of all writers live in Brooklyn, but that doesn’t mean that 99.7% of writers live in Brooklyn. They just say they do. Most writers live in normal places.

That being said, New Westminster is a breeding ground for artists and writers, and I’ve met quite a few talented scribes here who help me stay on my toes. For instance, Steven Galloway (The Cellist of Sarajevo) and Annabel Lyon (The Golden Mean) hail from New West, as well as a bevy of others writing in the wings. It really is a great place to be. Cheaper to live here than Vancouver, too.

Where can I get your books?

The best way? You can order my books on Amazon. Or if you have a Kindle or Kodo Reader, you can order an ebook.

I want to rant about your new book. How can I get ahold of you to do that?

Fire me an email at Do your worst. I’ve heard everything.

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