Name Mackenzie Raye
Legal name is Amanda Sheffer; however, I write under the pen name Mackenzie Raye.
In July, I will turn 40.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in a small farm town in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, United States. I live at the base of the Appalachian Mountains. Growing up in the country had its advantages and disadvantages. I loved being able to head to the mountains on a spring day. Going shopping was harder for I lived thirty-five to forty-minutes from the stores. So, in all I am not a shopper, but can do it with the best of them. After working in a factory for 13 years, I went out to retail. One mistake I’ve made; even though, I got my bachelor’s degree. Staying in the warehouse wasn’t an option either for my health was more important.
I am the oldest child of two; one younger brother. My loving parents pushed us to explore the creative sides of ourselves as well as education. We grew up near my parental grandparents where you could always find me. I lived to be at my grandparents. Some actual believe I lived there more than my parents. Possibly true. While I didn’t live on a farm, I visited the farms of my cousins. It wasn’t until my much younger cousin came along did I see the excitement in a child’s eye when she saw the baby cows. (She’s a country gal who was born in the city.)
Eighteen years ago, I gave birth to a pre-mature baby boy. That experience changed my life. Not in a good relationship with the sperm donor. Juggling the free life and the things that come with it. He changed my world, but for the good. He was my miracle in the mist of my darkness. Today, I am a single mom and home-schooling him. Talk about a chore.
When I am not writing, you can find me doing crafts or doodling with logical puzzles. That is if I am not off doing things with my son. His new love is drawing and nature, so when warmer weather comes, we are heading out to some of my old trails to capture the beauty Mother Nature has to offer. Hiking used to be my passion until I had to be an adult and lost time for it.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Sweet Nectar- A Witch/Vampire Romance will be release in April 2017.
Divana, a powerful witch, has been hunted for years. She lives alone after losing her husband and baby many moons ago. After a night out, Divana stumbles onto Maddox.
Maddox, a happily engaged man, was lured into a club by his best friend. The new club turned out more dangerous than he imagined. During a private meeting, Maddox’s life changed forever.
Witch’s blood was an addictive drug to vampires. In order to save the newly bitten left for dead vampire, Divana had to push her fears aside. After the choice was made, she recruited her former father-in-law to help with the feedings.
On the way to get the bottled bloody drink, she was attacked again. Luckily for her, she had an ace up her sleeve. Upon her arrival home, things took a devious turn for the worst. A battle to save lives ensues. Who is behind all this? The answer will shock you.!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In eight grade, we had to write in a journal for Language Arts class. During this time, I unleashed my creative side. My first story was about a ghost attacking a young boy. To this day, I am not sure where that story came from, but it was serious. It was a rough rough rough rough draft of a story because it had spelling errors and more red marks than an editor on a rampage. The second story was about a young lady who’d been bullied and teased from others in her class. After I wrote the end, my teacher asked me to join her and the principle in a meeting. She passed the small red folder over for him to read. He read it, took his glasses off, laid them on the desk, and began asking me if this story was real. In that moment, I knew I had a gift. (By the way, the story wasn’t real, but it very much could have been true. I wasn’t popular, but I was smart making people on the side of jealous of me.) Once we were finished up, the teacher told me to follow this dream if it was a true dream of mine.
Why do I write? I write because I find the voices in my head need to have a real person tell their story. It is a dream and passion of mine to write stories for people to read, get lost away from the real world, and enjoy living life through someone else’s story. It may help someone one day, if the reader may have an issue similar to my characters. Even though, I write fiction there are underlining real issues embedded within.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I would say eighth grade, but with that said I never adventure out into the world until 2013. At any given time, you could find notebooks full of different stories. In high school, I used my journal and free time writing stories I have never shared with anyone other than my mother.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My love for writing. For years, my best friend and I talked about writing. I was offered a spot in an anthology. It had me all pumped up. I called my parents. The thrill of knowing I was going to get to do my passion excited me. Later I found out the company wasn’t as it promised. My first short was published with a group of authors who experienced the traumatic situation along with me. I wrote my first novel shortly after that. It took two years and another bad experience to self-publish. Newfangled Wings came about during a conversation with a male friend who I lost prior to publishing the book. He and I would talk on the phone for hours. We had a weird connection which allowed me to bounce ideas. Wow, I surely miss him and could use his help on my current work.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I just write what the characters tell me. It changes from character to character.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Titles are funny things. Sometimes I know before I know the whole story. Sometimes they come to me during my relaxation time when I am not thinking about anything. Now with my twist Fairy Tales – they are given. I guess you could say titles are given to me in clues unexpectedly.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Newfangled Wings- There is good and evil in everything. Evil can be right beside you and you might not even know it. Don’t be fooled by looks (or don’t judge a book by its cover).
A Heart in Love- short- Love yourself, follow your heart. Again, don’t judge a book by its cover.
Goldie Locks Her Bear- Now I think of it, love is important. Don’t hide from your past nor let someone’s past detour you from what you want.
King of Jacks- Even those who struggle with their self-confidence can be loved. Don’t let one bad apple ruin the cart.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of my books have some kind of experience within the writing. Might be a main character or a side character but it is there. I strive to have some reality within my covers.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Around the same time I was writing in class, I remember a Tom Clancy book advertisement on television. I grabbed a notebook and thought I was going to write a spy book. The only thing I got to do was destroy my younger brother’s and cousin’s defense line of transformers and he-man figures with my she-ra doll. Yes, I played with the boys. Many thought I was a tom-boy with a prissy attitude. Unique person for sure. In high school, I remember the Scarlett Letter and the Great Gatsby.
It wasn’t until way later in life I found Carly Phillips and Jennifer Blake. My best friend guided me to JR Ward. Those are my romance influences and JR Ward has the paranormal genre.
When I lost my job in 2014, my mom was the one person to support my big dream of writing. She pushed me and thought me to be the woman I am. So, to say anyone else would be crazy. The days I fought the down days, she reminded me of who I was. “You’ve always been a driven person. This will be no different. Go forward. Put your goal out there and kill it.”
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Jane Anthony- Secret and Promises was a book I hid in when my mom passed away last summer. I read the book six times in five months. I got the pleasure of winning her second book, Kade. She pulled me in with the rock star- then I found out she was writing the book to the side character I loved.
JL Leslie- I met her through an arc group. I got to read her 4th book in a series which was also a stand-alone. She kept my attention, which can be difficult because shutting my mind off to read is like asking a wild child to play the silent game (where no one talks and we see how long that lasts. I was never good at being silent unless I had pen and paper than you never knew I was around.) Recently I read her new MC book and loved it.
I am waiting on Nicolette Scarletti’s Christian based book. We are friends- book sisters- and what she is telling me about it, I am very interested in getting my hands on that masterpiece.
Audrey Randell- I forget how me met up, but I was asked to read her second book. I loved it so much I bought her first. Being a gamer nerd when I was a teenager, and having a son who loves classic games- Audrey wrote books after my own heart. They were different. I loved them from the first word to the last.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Nicole Donavan- fellow author and lover of my stories. She inspires me every day.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love for it to be. While I am homeschooling my son, I am writing in hopes it takes off.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The only thing I would change in my last book is, allowing my mother to read it before she passed away. I had it ready and was trying to surprise her for Christmas. Sadly, she never got to read it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Writing started in eighth grade when I was forced, but you didn’t have to twist my arm too hard to write then. I loved expressing the feelings from within me. Now when the characters talk and show me the story in dreams, I love being a part of them. Being asked to write in an anthology got me writing full time and sharing my works to world.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From an untitled WIP — unedited snippet and subject to change. All rights reserved to ©Mackenzie Raye
My toes tingled. “I am glad to have you back in my life.”
“Ditto,” he said as he turned me loose. I stood there a moment to gather myself. His hands remained on my hips until I felt stable enough to walk away. “I’ll put the fruit in the frig for later. Make sure you clean all your crevasses.”
“Well do,” I hollered from the bathroom door. I shut the door and immediately dropped to the floor. My body temperature tapped out near boiling when my ass hit the cold tile of the floor. After a few deep breaths, I felt back in control of my body. I stood up and made my way to the shower and turned on the water.
Once the water warmed up a tad, I crawled in. The coolness of the water shocked my body. Reality kicked in when my thoughts returned to the self-doubting I was accustomed to. Declan, the ex-jock turned lawyer, stood in my house looking better than ever needing a place to stay and he was only here best of your friendship in college, nothing more. No man, especially him wanted to be with me.
Tears dammed up until the overflowed down my face. Every man in my life to this point only wanted one thing; sex. I placed my face under the shower head to allow the water and tears to mix. The flow of the water massaged my skin as I turned around to get my head wet. Not wanting to keep him waiting any longer, I wash up quite quickly.
I jumped out of the shower and realized I had to exit the bathroom in the just a towel. Problem was the towel didn’t wrap around my oversized body. While drying off a tad bit, I thought of how to get to my bedroom without being spied on by the man I desired to be with when I was a good twenty pounds smaller.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Typing it up. I love handwriting, but typing is my Achilles’ Heel.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have not been traveling for my books. Most of my books have similar settings and small country towns they are.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Newfangled Wings- Emcat Designs; Goldie Locks Her Bear- Emcat Designs. A Heart in Love- ebook Nicole Donovan, King of Jacks- I designed my own. Sweet Nectar- I designed myself.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Each book has their own issues. NW – was because the main character had many of my traits. GLHB- Kuruk’s name and shifting parts. AHIL- keeping it a short, King- was the dedication page- SN- nothing I can think of.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing is a job, it takes lots of time and effort. I love writing and like many other authors I have my bad days.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I have not really thought of my book being movies. This is an interesting question. I would be flattered by anyone willing to be in a movie based on my books. Wouldn’t hurt if it was Lucas Black playing a leading male role or Joe Manganiello for my shifters.
Considering each book is different and don’t know if I could answer this question without a long thinking session.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
You will never please everyone. Write you books as you want. Write for you and only you. Haters will be around and they will show up, but shake them off like the dirt they are.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Enjoy the books. Remember the writers put in a huge amount of time, blood, sweat, and tears into their babies. Books are the author’s baby. We love it like a child. Reviews to an author are like hugs- some awkward, some loving, and some stinky- but we need those hugs. Most of the time they make our day.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished up with Raiden’s Choice by JL Leslie and Spy Fall by Audrey Randall.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Secret Garden is the first book I remember reading.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
What makes me laugh, my son’s sense of humor. He is on the autistic realm so to hear him laugh to comedy makes me enjoy and laugh. I love cooing babies. The show Friends.
Cry- Not being able to call my mom up when I need her. I am not a crier.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would go back and meet Thomas Jefferson. Ask about the rumors of his involvement with slaves because inquiring minds want to know. Not only that, but what inspired the words of the Constitution. What would he think of some of the things going on in the world. Just have a talk and compare. Growing up near his hometown here in Virginia, I’d love to explore his mind.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
My son joked a year ago about he was putting “If you don’t have coffee don’t wake me up” as a joke. I can see that going on there because I can be a bear without that delicious hot creamy brown delicious liquid. All jokes aside, I want to be cremated.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Photography or crafts.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am a crime junky- NCIS’s (all three), both Criminal Minds, Bull, Blindspot, The Voice, and the Big Bang Theory.
I love all kinds of films depends on my mood. Anything from Fifty Shades to Disney cartoons.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite foods: Mexican food (tacos, nachos,) Orange chicken, Turkey burgers. Coffee- it is a must.
Color- Coral or peach
Music- I am a everything but rape kind of gal. Country and 80s rock will always have my heart.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I graduated with a bachelor’s in Healthcare Management. I’d be a nurse.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
A Heart in Love
Goldie Locks Her Bear
King of Jacks
Links to my pages
Twitter handle is @AuthorMacRaye www.twitter.com/AuthorMacRaye