It's The MacKenzies' World and We're Just Living In It: An Interview With Liliana Hart on the Launch of The MacKenzie Family World
by Kiersten Hallie Krum
Last week, New York Times bestselling author Liliana Hart’s prolific and expansive MacKenzie Family series took a huge leap forward with the launch of the MacKenzie Family World. Liliana has joined us here today at Lady Smut to talk about what this means for the series and what readers can now expect to see from their beloved MacKenzies.
Kiersten Hallie Krum: Welcome to LadySmut.com, Liliana Hart! I’m delighted to have the chance to chat with you today.
Liliana Hart: Thanks so much for having me!
KHK: First, congratulations on the launch of the MacKenzie Family World!
LH: It’s so exciting! I love this project, and every aspect of it has been a joy.
KHK: Along with a new MacKenzie Family novel from you, the MacKenzie Family World launch includes five new Mackenzie Family novellas from other authors. Tell us about this project.
LH: I’d been approached to do the MacKenzie World by a publisher, but I wasn’t on board with the terms for myself or the other authors, so I declined the project. I could see so much potential in the project and I couldn’t bear the thought of it getting screwed up. I *might* have some control issues. 😉
But it basically boils down to the fact that I’m a businesswoman first and I won’t ever sign a deal where I or other authors aren’t the ones who benefit most. I’m not talking monetarily, but in terms of rights. You’d be amazed some of the rights an authors signs away when signing a publishing contract. I wasn’t cool with it.
I let the idea of producing the MacKenzie World simmer for a few months, trying to figure out the best way to get the project to come to fruition. I knew there was no possible way I could fit it in and manage it with my writing schedule, so I knew someone had to take the helm that I could trust to do an awesome job.
Fortunately, I’ve been working with MJ Rose and Liz Berry of Evil Eye Publishing for the 1001 Dark Nights Anthology and they do such a great job branding, implementing, and marketing those books that I thought the MacKenzie World might be right up their alley. I’m so honored they decided to take a chance on something that has never been done before.
After MJ and Liz were on board, all I had to do was find authors to write in the world. It was an easy choice for me. I picked some of my personal favorites, who I thought would be able to blend their writing style seamlessly as they wrote the MacKenzies. I held my breath as I waited for Christopher Rice, Kimberly Kincaid, Robin Covington, Avery Flynn, and Cristin Harber to email me back and say no way. But they all said yes and it worked out beautifully!
KHK: Of all your ongoing series, what made you choose the MacKenzies as the world you would open up to other writers?
Ooh, great question. I really think it has a lot to do with the access. My JJ Graves and Addison Holmes series are both written in first person. They’re more personal and more intimate because there’s so much of me in those two characters. When you hear Addison and JJ speak (on the page), that’s my true voice, even though one series is darker and one series is a comedy. It’s kind of like those characters are two halves of a whole for me.
The MacKenzies are pure fantasy and escape. They’re sexy alpha males with save the world mentalities. And they’re attracted to women who drive them crazy with their smart mouths and never-back-down attitudes. It’s like explosions on the page from the minute any of them step into the room and I love that.
KHK: What made you choose these five authors to kick off the launch of this world?
LH: I touched on it some before, but these authors aren’t only my friends, but I personally read and enjoy their books. It only made sense to ask writers whose work I loved. It certainly helps that they all write smokin’ hot sex scenes and chemistry that melts that pages. The MacKenzies are very…ahem…virile.
KHK: Heh. And how.
Now, do these novellas feature MacKenzie characters we already know and love or are new people finding their way to Surrender, Montana and everything MacKenzie?
LH: A little of both. Each author created their own hero and heroine and the story that centered around that H/H. But Surrender, Montana is a small town. You’re bound to run into familiar faces every once in a while. It’s hard to turn a corner without bumping into a MacKenzie. There’s a lot of them. 😀
KHK: Are the novellas and your novel, TROUBLE MAKER, linked or can they each be read individually?
They can definitely be read as individual stories. They’ve incorporated characters that have appeared in my MacKenzie series, but they all do it so seamlessly that you don’t have to know a complete family history to read the books.
The MacKenzie Series is vast—18 books! Holy cow, when did that happen? TROUBLE MAKER is a continuation of the story lines I’ve got going in the other books in my series. BUT…I wrote it knowing that there would be new readers coming to the series who’d never heard of a MacKenzie before. So while the die-hard fans are getting a glimpse of story arcs they’ve been waiting for, new readers can jump right in and not be lost at all.
What’s fun about TROUBLE MAKER is that I incorporated all of the authors’ characters they created into my story. It was a challenge, but I think readers love little “Easter Eggs” like that.
KHK: Come on, tell the truth, was it weird letting other writers play around in your head, erm, I mean, in your world?
LH: It really wasn’t. There’s such a great MacKenzie following and I get emails every day asking why I can’t write more MacKenzies and write them faster. This is a great way to give the readers more of what they’ve been asking for and for them to discover new to them authors as well.
KHK: Are there more books coming from these authors or others in the MacKenzie Family World? Will there be other authors writing in the MacKenzie Family World in the future?
It’s a secret. 😉
KHK: Aw, man! Foiled!
What’s been your favorite part about creating and expanding the MacKenzie Family World? What has most surprised you while putting together this project?
LH: I think my favorite part any time I write a MacKenzie book is that new characters pop up out of nowhere and I get another idea for a new book in the series.
I think what surprised me the most (though it didn’t really because MJ and Liz are brilliant at what they do) was how easy it all seemed to come together. When you start thinking about the nuts and bolts, it’s a pretty complicated project. The timing has to be right. The writing has to be true to the series. And then there’s the branding and marketing side of things. But it’s been an amazing process.
KHK: Your next new MacKenzie Security novel, SCORCH, comes out July 26th. What can you tell us about SCORCH?
LH: Readers have been waiting for SCORCH for two years. Really longer than that. Ever since Shane MacKenzie was introduced he’s been a fan favorite. He’s the youngest MacKenzie and marches to the beat of his own drum. He was a Navy SEAL commander and I won’t drop any spoilers for those who don’t know what happened to him, but needless to say, his story has been unfolding through several books now.
It’s taken me a while to really get to the heart of Shane’s story and do it justice. Books like SCORCH also take an emotional toll on me as a writer, so they take a little longer to write. I get very moody when I write emotional books. My husband and children know to proceed with caution. 😀
KHK: That’s a lot of MacKenzie Family action for 2016 and the year is just getting started! What’s next for you after this?
LH: It is! So many MacKenzies!
2016 is a pretty big year for book releases for me. WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT, book 5 in my Addison Holmes series, comes out April 26th. And an Addison Holmes novella comes out in the RED SOLE CLUES anthology March 22nd. I also have a mega huge announcement coming up. 2017 is going to be a big year too.
KHK: Thank you, Liliana Hart, for being such a lovely guest here at Lady Smut! It’s been a real treat to talk with you.
LH: Thanks again for having me. It was a blast!
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Singer, writer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense and can be found at http://www.kierstenkrum.com and regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.