An interview with Mackenzie Reide

I am pleased to welcome back middle grade author Mackenzie Reide, author of The Adventurers trilogy. I am delighted to announce book three is coming out this fall 2018! But first, while we wait for the final installment, let’s talk more with Mackenzie about how these stories came about.

You mentioned once that writing is like an obsession. Are these books a part of that?

Yes. In fact, I would say The Adventurers falls completely into that category. I remember reading a biography of Sting and how he was asked to describe his music. As he thought about it, he realized that he couldn’t call it a hobby because that was not strong enough, yet he couldn’t call it a business because he was at a job interview. He knew in that moment, music was an obsession. It was such a deep part of him that he couldn’t live without it. Of course, he couldn’t tell the interviewer that, but it was a revelation on his part.

That struck a deep cord within me. I realized that I have been writing ever since I could pick up a crayon. I wrote short stories all through elementary school and even won a few awards along the way. Everyday I wrote something. Sometimes it was a diary entry or a journal. Other times an idea would just pop into my head and I would write about it. I realized later that I used writing as a tool to look at the world around me.

Writing as a tool, can you elaborate?

 While I was growing up things were not pretty. Many of my early stories involved characters working through problems and trying to find solutions to difficult situations. I also read as many books as I could get my hands on, looking for characters I could relate to. Characters who faced challenges and forged deep friendships along the way.

What are some of the early books you gravitated to?

The very first book that I took out from the public library was The Rescuers by Margery Sharp. I immediately fell in love with Miss Bianca and her sidekick Bernard. In hindsight, this was the beginning of my love of adventure stories but also stories of friendship and loyalty. Characters who would forge deep friendships and always have each other’s back. I also stumbled upon another British author, Enid Blyton, and The Famous Five series. I read my way through all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books and the Choose Your Own Adventure stories. I gobbled these books up as I was trying to fill a longing that was buried deep within me.

Can you describe that deep longing?

 As a reader I really wanted to connect with characters that I could relate to. Smart kids who had to solve their own problems with minimal or no adult support. I also liked characters who would get out and explore new worlds. I am a huge fan of Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time. She was such a relief to read about. She got angry. She braved many challenges and traveled to a world still unique today. I wanted more of that in other books. My deep longing was to connect with characters like Meg, but I found it very frustrating as there were not very many Meg type characters to read about. Most of the books I found in the library had the boy characters doing all the adventure and fun stuff and it felt like the “girls” were not supposed to have thoughts or ideas that would lead them beyond a trip to the mall.

I felt very isolated and lonely (like Meg) and reading became less comforting the more books I devoured. I felt like the girls were being held back. Books that claimed to have feisty and spirited girls seemed to contain an invisible rein. Even in my favorite Famous Five books, the main character, George (aka Georgina) hated being a girl. This was because everything she liked to do and was naturally good at, such as rock climbing, biking, rowing a boat, navigating tunnels underground, and rescuing the other kids, all that was supposed to be a boy thing. And she was constantly lectured about how she was not a boy and that she was supposed to stop. She was expected to grow out of this tomboy phase and become a real girl.

I found as I read more and more that there were many messages like this embedded in the stories. The message I got growing up was that there was something wrong with the girl who wants to rock climb or go on an adventure or do anything that looked like what the boy characters were doing. So, George had to despise being a girl in order to hold on to her identity.

I gave up on kids books and started reading adult books which made the situation even more alienating as many of these stories were R-rated and objectified women. So I began to write my own stories to fill that void.

Did you start writing about Dana, Amy and Jack when you were a kid?

Yes. I started writing adventure and mystery stories between 8 and 12 years old. These were stories with the girls doing what I wanted to read about. I wrote a lot, but there was always one idea that percolated in the back of my mind. However, it wasn’t until after graduating university that I finally sat down and wrote it out in earnest.

I know there are many readers waiting for the third book in the trilogy which is due out fall 2018. Who is your main readership?

The books are geared towards middle-grade readers who are 8 to 12 years old. And, yes, they are read by both girls and boys.

That is awesome that the books are enjoyed by readers who connect with the characters, not just a category. For any new readers, where can they buy books one and two?

The books are available in hardcover, paperback and ebook. The easiest way to get them are:

The Adventurers The Mystery of Troll Creek: Amazon or Barnes and Noble

The Adventurers The Mask of the Troll: Amazon or Barnes and Noble

As we wrap up this interview. You also write speculative fiction and science fiction stories for adults. Can you tell us a little about that?

I have a short story “Shifting Gears” in the speculative fiction anthology, Altered States of the Union. And this past December, a new short story “Cascadia” was published in the sci-fi/fantasy anthology, Infinite Dimensions: Crossroads. I am currently writing two more short stories for this coming year that will be in science fiction anthologies.

Where can people find out more about you and your books?

You can learn more on my website at or online at the following social media sites:






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