Author Interview: Mackenzi Lee

Mackenzi Lee, author of New York Times bestselling The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and sequel The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, is back with a funny novella that picks up where Gentleman’s Guide left off, with freshly minted couple Monty and Percy fumbling through their first time together.

[audiobook title=”The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky” isbn=”9780062968883″ author=”Mackenzi Lee” narrator=”Christian Coulson”][/audiobook]

Mackenzi told us about what inspired this novella, the moment of “perfect, artistic harmony” when she first heard Christian Coulson’s narration, and some of her own favorite audiobooks.

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

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky is a novella set between the events of the two previous books in the series, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. I wrote it purely for fun, and purely for myself, when I was stuck drafting Lady’s Guide. It was a way to get back into the world, and the characters, and remember what I loved about this series when I was struggling. I initially offered it as a free incentive for any readers who preordered Lady’s Guide, but the demand was so huge that Harper decided to release not only the print version but the audio as well, which is amazing!

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

Christian Coulson does different voices and lots of different accents for all the characters Monty and co. meet as they travel Europe, and his narration makes the books even funnier than I intended.

Have you listened to your own audiobook? If so, what struck you about the narration?

Yes! I wasn’t a great reader as a kid, so most of the reading I did was via audiobooks, so finding out there were going to be audio versions of my books was one of the biggest dreams come true moments of my career. When I got the audiobook for Gentleman’s Guide, I assumed I’d only listen to a few minutes of it, because I’m very critical of my own work and have a hard time rereading anything I’ve written, especially once it’s in print and I can’t change anything. But I was so taken with Christian’s brilliant narration, I ended up listening to the entire audiobook. His work is truly a performance, and I often tell people that the audiobooks are the best version of the book that exists, because he understands so well what I was going for and then elevates it. In spite of the fact that I didn’t work with him at all on the audiobook, listening to it felt like a moment of perfect artistic harmony, which is so rare and thrilling. His narration is so funny and moving and present, and I feel so lucky to have had such a brilliant performer work on two of my audiobooks.

Are you an audiobook listener? If so, what are some of your favorite audiobooks?

Yes! I do almost all my reading via audiobooks (all purchased through! Not sucking up–just truth!). I love full-cast audiobooks, like Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Lovely War by Julie Berry, but there’s also something really thrilling about hearing one person bring to life an entire cast of characters, like Ramon de Ocampo does so brilliantly in the audiobook for Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. The most electrifying audiobook in recent memory was The Poet X, written and read by Elizabeth Acevedo. I loved the book when I read it, but when I listened to it, it took on a whole new depth and life. I kept having audible reactions to it while listening to it in public places.

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

I’ve worked as an independent bookseller for the last eight years, and the community I have found there, as well as the support for my books, has been overwhelming. It is constantly inspiring to be surrounded by so many small business owners and employees who do what they do for the love of books and who are constantly beating the odds to bring their community a space to foster communication, empathy, and education. And on days where I feel discouraged about my writing and my career, it’s always nice to be in the bookstore and be reminded that, at the end of the day, readers just want good books, and every book has a reader.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *