Happy 6 Month Anniversary Mackenzi & This Monstrous Thing!
When Mackenzi told me last month she wanted to do something fun for the 6 month release of her debut novel I said, “Great idea!” and helped her brainstorm. You’ll have to visit her Twitter to find out what we decided! While I was messaging her, it dawned on me, what kind of weird and creepy things did she have to research for her book? I actually got her a mug that says “Pay No Attention to My Browsing History I’m a Writer Not a Serial Killer”.
If you follow Mackenzi on Twitter, you may have seen some random tweets about what she’s researched for her second book. Mainly tweets about when specific words were first used. I inquired if she’d be interested in writing a guest post about her Google search history for This Monstrous Thing. I’m thrilled that I can present you with her incredible list of things she looked up. I’m actually surprised she kept it all on file! So without further ado, I give you Mackenzi Lee.
Up to this point, I have written only historical novels, often about places and/or time periods I knew nothing about until I decided to set a story there. Which means that before I start writing, I have to read. I read historical fiction, I read non fiction, I read primary sources, I read modern sources. I once spent $50 to subscribe to a medical journal for a single article about a very specific type of eighteenth century medicine.
But as a writer of historical fiction, you will inevitably run into questions while you’re writing that you didn’t consider when you were researching. So what do you do then?
You ask the Google.
I dug back through my Google search history from when I was writing This Monstrous Thing, and here is a small sampling of some of the more bizarre things I plugged into my beloved Google over the course of the writing process.
- Miles between Geneva and Lyon
- Recipe for spiced wine
- Paradise Lost quotations in Frankenstein
- French pastries
- Slang for cyborg
- Regency winter wear
- Does a corpse bleed?
- Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
- Nineteenth century embalming
- How long does it take to dig a grave?
- Victor Frankenstein childhood
- How to tell if a cut is infected
- Regency cursing
- Parts of a bridge
- Can a bullet go through a steel plate?
- Swiss surnames
- Grave robbing
- How to pick a lock
- Geneva city gates
- Frankenstein first edition
- Ingolstadt University
- Gluehwein recipe
- Bridges in Geneva
- Switzerland castles
- Swiss prisons
- Clock tower interior
- Billiards in the eighteenth century
- What’s that German wooden Christmas pyramid called?
- What did professors wear in the 1800s?
- What color hair did Mary Shelley have?
- Regency underclothes
- How much does it snow in Oslo?
- How to say “shut up” in Dutch
Well I don’t know about you guys, but I know who I can call if I need to bury a body or break in somewhere! 😉
About This Monstrous Thing
In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.
His brother, Oliver—dead.
His sweetheart, Mary—gone.
His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.
Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.
But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.
Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…
About The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
When lifelong friends Monty and Percy embark on their Grand Tour of 18th century Europe, they stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris’ glittering finery to the haunted, sinking islands of Venice–along the way fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other.
Out 2017 by Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins
Mackenzi Lee is reader, writer, bookseller, unapologetic fangirl, fast talker, and perpetually-anxious badass. She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults, and her short fiction has appeared in Inaccurate Realities, The Friend, and The Newport Review. Her young adult historical fantasy novel, THIS MONSTROUS THING, which won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award, as well as an Emerging Artist Grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, published by Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins.
She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and historical fiction. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home.
* 1 signed HC copy of This Monstrous Thing
* 1 TMT Button
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Thank you so much Mackenzi for doing this!! I loved This Monstrous Thing and I’m sure Kelly & Lauren will to when they get to it. It was quite entertaining to read your list of things you researched.
What did you all think of this of this post? Would like to see more posts like this? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below!!