Welcome to my little corner of the gay erotic romance universe . . . well, half of it, anyway. (You can find the other half at RachelHaimowitz.com.) This is the place to come for sneak previews of new projects, release information, and the occasional M/M book review. I'll also share thoughts on the industry on occasion, and I hope you'll come share yours in return.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chatting with the Puppetmaster, Mindy MacKay (And Free Ebooks!)

Morning, folks. Wonky weather has left me a day late with this week's All Things Romantic Suspense Interview, so without further ado, here's Mindy MacKay, author of the Puppetmaster series, to discuss the writing life and her latest release. She's also included an excerpt, and she'll be raffling off both ebooks in the Puppetmaster series (Peacebreakers and Soulgame) to one lucky commenter, so be sure to share the love for your chance to win!

As always, let's start with the cover and blurb for her latest novel, Soulgame. It has zombies and romance . . . hopefully not together ;-)

Kiera has managed to eradicate the zombie threat and restore order to the new empire, but the death of her lover still weighs heavy on her conscience. It doesn’t help that the Queen is using her misery to win over sympathy from the press. When an uprising threatens the stability of the regime, the ruthless Queen offers Kiera a chance to go back and change where she messed up on the condition that she eliminate the resistance…through whatever despicable means necessary. 

All the rest of the fun is beneath the jump.

What draws you to romance?

Liking and loving other people is one of the most primal, most basic functions of the human being, and just as life can get dry without a good romantic subplot, so can a book. It'd be like writing characters who don't eat. (Which could work if said characters are androids, though one of my favorite things to see in romance is a robot/human pairing.)

Do you prefer alpha/omega relationships in stories, or alpha/alpha relationships, and why?

I prefer alpha/alpha. I have more fun playing around with the dynamics of two dominating characters than having one of them take the backseat consistently. I'd rather have them take each other on rides.

Have you ever written outside the romance genre? If not, do you ever plan to?

I'm in the middle of a rather tragic sci-fi series, and when I finish, I plan to write a lot more tragedy alongside the romance. Most of my work includes a romantic subplot, but sometimes characters just need to die. And if you think about it, what is tragedy but romance without the HEA?

What’s the sexiest feature on a man to you? And on a woman? Why?

I love seeing a man with a pair of soulful, expressive eyes that show me he's sincere and he loves me. Cheesy, I know. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of mystery and a good surprise, but I don't think it should be in the eyes. I like red hair on girls--psychologically, it brings to mind mischief, resourcefulness, and boldness of character, all characteristics I try to embody with my heroines.

By night you’re a caped cru— er, romance writer. What do you do by day?

I'm a full-time student, and in my spare non-writing time, I like to volunteer at the local hospital. I've always had ambitions in the medical field, with writing as a hobby on the side. I think of the human body as my spouse and the mind as my secret paramour.

Who are your latest crushes (celebrity, book character, or otherwise)? Do you ever keep those people in your mind when writing your own works?

My latest crush is Rodian Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment. I couldn't hope to write a character like him, but he had a slight hand in shaping the hero of my current WIP.

What’s your favorite hobby outside of writing?

Piano. I like playing songs from bands I like by ear and occasionally do a bit of composing myself.

Do you own an ereader? Why or why not? If so, what’s on it?

I've got a Kobo because my uncle gifted it to me, and I must say, I really love this little device. It's such a convenient way to store ebooks, and I don't have to drag a computer everywhere if I want to read something in electronic format. It's got a bunch of classics on it--currently working my way through The Picture of Dorian Gray and have yet to make any downloads of my own.

What’s the one question you wish people would ask you when you tell them you’re a writer? How would you answer it?

I wish they'd ask me what I'm satirizing. All my works contain some aspect of societal commentary, but the message often gets lost in the plot. The question has several answers: in my Puppetmasters series, the main thing I'm taking a stab at is the human fear of death, my short story Cirque Míserable satirizes bizarro horror, and Fallen from Disgrace is a direct response to societal ostracism and the stickiness of the "bad guy" label.

Do you have a favorite character out of all the ones you’ve written? If so, who is it and why is s/he your favorite?

Gee, I love so many of my characters, even the ones I kill off--especially those ones, actually. My favorite of the moment has to be Michael Solomon from Soulgame, though. Like a lot of my characters, he's a strategic prodigy, but unlike my typical genius characters, he doesn't let his talents alienate him from society and he retains a sympathetic human element.

Speaking of online hangouts, where are yours? Where can your readers find you?

Readers can find out more about me and my writing from my website: www.mindymackay.com
Or on my Twitter, @MindyMacKay

What’s your current book list and where can we buy them?

My currently published books include:

My short story, Cirque Míserable, can be found in the anthology Bloody Carnival: (http://www.amazon.com/Bloody-Carnival-Matt-Kurtz/dp/1617060399)

Anything else you’d like to add?

I just want to say, thanks so much for having me! Also, shoutouts to my mom, who has been uber-supportive as I enter the ever-so-cutthroat writering business;  to my fabulous beta readers Nikki and Sarah, who beta'd my forthcoming novella The Placebo Effect; to my brother Yakkob, who's beta-ing my current WIP, and finally to Nick and Suckerpunch, whose music I frequently indulge in while writing.


Mindy MacKay is a native of Canada but currently lives and studies in Texas. She is a poet of ten years, a novelist of four, and has been a literature nerd for as long as she can remember. Her novels include Peacebreakers and Soulgame, the first two installments of the Puppetmasters series, and Fallen From Disgrace, a single-title mystery. Her short fiction has been published by Pill Hill Press and 69 Flavors of Paranoia.


Michael swore he never shared his plans with anyone, but made an exception for Camelie. He was always eager to tell her how his plots were progressing, and once, in his enthusiasm, he sent her a photograph of the location he hoped to seize: his aunt and uncle’s old booby-trapped mansion, the new Paralysis base.

Your family’s Paralysis? Camelie asked. Why don’t you join up with them, then?

Are you kidding? Michael wrote back. Camelie pictured him sputtering and choking in surprise on a warm beverage, perhaps earl grey tea. I don’t want to be educated by a dictator. I’d end up another one of the Queen’s pawns. Nah, I’ll save the effort for running my own operations.

Camelie put her pencil to the paper and smiled into her next question. If you take the base, will you take me with you?

Michael seemed to approve of the idea. Sure. As long as you’re not another Calera Lenoir.


She sold out my uncle and got him sent to prison, Michael explained. Cowardly criminal, lying traitor, and enemy of my entire family. And then, when Uncle Jackson was in jail, she shot his distraught pregnant first girlfriend, but I'm not sure he ever found out about that.

Oh? Then how did you? asked Camelie.

Her son works with me. Funny how these things work out, eh? Michael explained. By the way, are you still destroying these notes?

Yeah, of course, Camelie wrote. She snapped her fingers and set aflame all the recent messages she’d forgotten to get rid of. Why?

Just wanted to give you some updates, Michael began. Another two of my more expendable officers got themselves killed by the maniac I’ve told you about. It took dental records to identify them.

Ouch. What are your plans to get her back for it? asked Camelie.

Don’t have any, wrote Michael. I’m depending on this terrorist at the moment. As long as the government is focused on her, they’re less likely to notice me. And it’s not like I ever bring a good minion on an outing where I’m just taking risks and testing my limits.

Smart, M, Camelie commented. But why do you always tell me these things if you need secrecy so much?

She could feel a troubled air in his calligraphy. If I’m caught…if I die out there…I want there to be someone who knows I did think things through, that I was capable and careful about everything. Someone who thinks of me as more than just a madman.

Reading over the words, Camelie felt a pang of sympathy for the aspiring villain. How could I ever think that about you? she wrote. You’re not mad. You’re brilliant.

This is precisely why I choose you of all people to confide in, he responded. I’d thank you for the reassurance if I wasn’t convinced you’re a little mad, yourself.

Camelie didn’t hear from Michael for the rest of the nig--morning. It was two now, Camelie noticed. He must have fallen asleep at his desk writing to her. Underneath her pity and understanding, she felt the vague notion she was his only weakness.

She scribbled a quick message to him: You know, I could actually fall for you.

He never responded to that one. 


  1. I must say that it was really interesting interview and I'm looking forward to reading your books, especially that I really liked the short excerpt :).

    Also, I agree with your crush. Crime and Punishment is one of my favourite books and I truly love Raskolnikov and all his layers :).

    Best wishes,

  2. I really like the alpha/alpha dynamic. :D And yeah, ewww to zombie romance, but yay to zombies in a suspenseful adventure romance. LOL Did that even make sense. I'm going to go on a complete tangent and say that yesterday I was a lime green car with all sorts of zombie love stickers on it and even fake blood and handprints on the windows. Bet that would be a fun person to have a zombie romance conversation with.

    Ummm, yeah. So best wishes on your WIPs and your new releases!
    mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

  3. Mindy MacKay is a new author for me.

    I found the interview interesting and informative.

    I loved the excerpt and look forward in reading this series and Mindy's other works.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  4. Thanks for stopping by, everybody!

    @ Zephyr: Worry not, none of my characters ever partake in carnal act with zombies.

    @ Barbara: Glad you liked the excerpt! <3

  5. Whoot! Winner contacted. Thanks y'all for your comments!


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