Author Interview: Chris McKinney

Midnight, Water City is a brilliant new sci-fi noir trilogy that explores the sordid past of a murdered scientist—deified in death—through the eyes of a man who once committed unspeakable crimes for her. We spoke with author Chris McKinney about the inspiration for Midnight, Water City, the book’s “hurricane” factor, and more!

Midnight, Water City

By Chris Mckinney • Narrated by Richard Ferrone

“This distinctive novel brims with delightful innovations, razor-sharp social commentary and richly wrought characters, all set against a teeming underwater city.”


Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.

The book was inspired by seemingly impossible events transpiring around me. The first African-American President followed by the next guy. Incredible technological advancement that gives us easy, almost instant access to an astonishing amount of information, but apparently makes us more gullible if anything. Opinion transforming into belief on a global scale. More locally, a thirty meter telescope being built on a sacred mountain. A home surrounded by the Pacific. So, I began to speculate. What will this world look like 80 or 120 years from now? I used the ocean and noir to keep me grounded because these are the things I’m most familiar with.

In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise listeners about your audiobook?

Listeners familiar with my previous work will be surprised that I rebranded. I hope all listeners are surprised that I mashed up crime, sci-fi, noir, religion, ecology, and sunk it all in an underwater metropolis.

Have you listened to your own audiobook? What struck you about the narration?

I haven’t listened to the audiobook yet. I did hear samples from the narrator, Richard Ferrone, who is very talented. Reading a book out loud—that’s a real skill, and one that I don’t possess. Leave it to the professionals, I say.

Are you an audiobook listener? What are some of your favorite audiobooks?

I am definitely an audiobook listener. It’s all I listen to while driving or at the gym. Some of my favorites are Cloud Atlas and the Red Rising series. Mick Herron’s Slough House series in audiobook is great. Re-reading classics like 1984, Blood Meridian, and The Year of Magical Thinking shine in this format as well. I’m currently listening to the Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin. It’s really good stuff.

Cloud Atlas

By David Mitchell • Narrated by Various

Red Rising

By Pierce Brown • Narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds

Slow Horses

By Mick Herron • Narrated by Gerard Doyle

Blood Meridian

By Cormac McCarthy • Narrated by Richard Poe


By George Orwell • Narrated by Simon Prebble

The Year of Magical Thinking

By Joan Didion • Narrated by Barbara Caruso

The Fifth Season

By N. K. Jemisin • Narrated by Robin Miles

What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?

They have meant the world to me. For example, Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego hosted a virtual event with me and Gabino Iglesias the day before Midnight, Water City was released. Independents have always been my biggest supporters.

Anything else to share with us?

There are pieces of me strewn about all over Midnight, Water City. A love for the ocean. Japanese heritage. Scientific curiosity. A violent imagination. And taking it all in at once can leave one exhausted at the end. That was the plan. I wanted to write a book that left readers feeling like a hurricane just passed.

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