Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Freddy MacKay, one of the principals at Mischief Corner books and an amazing sci fi and fantasy writer.
Thanks so much, Freddy, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
Freddy MacKay: I am a writer of queer fiction. I dipped my toes in contemporary stories to start then dove into the pool with fantasy and science fiction—they are my first loves.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
FM: My first published work was a gay contemporary called “Tears for Christmas”. It is about moving on after losing one’s partner. It’s currently unavailable but I do hope to get it back out there at some point. It was a novella that needed to be a longer novella/novel.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
FM: I write when I can. No, really, that’s what I do. I do research before hand, especially when I am going to be using folklore and mythological stuff. Decide on characters and a basic plot. These days I actually spend a lot of my writing time using my iPad mini. I found it helps focus me because it’s not a huge screen where I can have multiple windows going.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
FM: I hate (strong word, I know) pudding and jello. They are gross. Completely and utterly disgusting as far as I’m concerned. I avoid them at all costs—which was probably a good thing because jello shots were just starting to get popular when I was an undergrad. They held no appeal whatsoever. Plus I don’t like to drink to get drunk. I think it’s stupid.
JSC: What was the first speculative fiction book (sci fi, paranormal, fantasy, horror) that you ever read? How did it influence you?
FM: Well, I have a weird answer for this one. It’s not someone people would classify as speculative fiction at the get-go, but I think his work definitely falls in line with fantasy and the fantastical, which influenced me reading other works later. But Bill Peet, who was a Disney animator turned children’s book author (his artistic style is most recognized in the animated 101 Dalmatians), was where I first learned to love fantasy. His worlds and stories brought to life trains, animals, alien planets much like our own, and they always had some kind of message. He is a lesser known, but just as good, contemporary of Dr. Seuss, and I really wish more kids were exposed to his work.
JSC: If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
FM: Water, drought resistant GMO seeds, and my loves.
JSC: Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?
FM: *Hahahahahahahahaha* Have you read my stuff? *Hahahahahahahaha* Talk to Angel [Martinez], she will tell you no one is safe—from any of those choices. I love my characters, but would still gladly kill them off. I’m just wired that way.
JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
FM: General plot, with an ending, and then a part-time pantster.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
FM: My current WIP is an urban fantasy that will be out this October as part of MCB Anthologies. After that, I am back on my Finding Peace series, and other chaos.
And now for Freddy’s latest release, a story in the Foolish Encounters anthology:
Why aren’t simple jobs ever as easy as they’re supposed to be? Drop off a new recruit to their OIL contact and gather a new supply of walnuts for the headquarters on the planet Mithuana for the yearly coming of age celebration. Simple.
Instead, the crew of the Nutcracker gets caught unaware by a human hunter hell-bent on proving the Sasquatch’s existence and a hiker who saw more than he was supposed to, leading everyone down an unexpected rabbit hole.
The crew’s day went from cracked to being nuts deep in trouble.
*part of the Foolish Encounters anthology
Searching for water took more energy and time than Spencer had hoped, but he finally found it. With one ear cocked for the slightest noise, he carried the bucket, arms outstretched. His muscles protested, but he did not want to lose any more water than he already had. The bucket was too big and brushed up against his body, sloshing the liquid everywhere.
He tripped over a root, almost falling, but he kept his footing. Unfortunately, water rose up and soaked his front.
“Awyath.” Stupid bucket.
Spencer put it down, his arm muscles screaming for a break, not to mention his wrist throbbed like a bajd. How much longer could he ignore it? He shook his body out, popping his neck a couple times. How much farther did he have to go? Spencer sniffed and looked around. Better to go up into the canopy and get an aerial view.
The walnut tree in front of him was as good as any other tree. Spencer scampered up, the branches swaying behind him. He only went so far up, his weight too much for the limbs. Dense oranges, reds, and yellows surrounded him. The breeze ruffled his fur. Nice. Almost like home. Almost.
Spencer spotted the ridge in Omega Seven. A click, no more. He turned tail and set back down the tree. He jumped the last few meters, sliding on a couple hulls.
“Bajd!” Oh wait, no. Hm.
Once reoriented, Spencer surveyed the pickings. They might need some food. He felt a little peckish, and well, some of those hulls were nice and brown, the outer layer of protection practically falling off the shells. No one would begrudge him picking up some supplies. Maybe some berries too. There were a few bushes not too far from their position in the cave. He’d get wood and berries in one fell swoop.
Yes, an excellent plan.
Spencer opened one of his pouches on his jacket. He searched for the ripest hulls, pocketing them, moving onto the next find. Seeing more hulls on other side of the tree, Spencer rounded it, salivating at the chance to get more nuts.
Right into a wall.
Spencer tumbled back right onto his ass, his poor nuts flying everywhere.
He looked up, right into nut-brown eyes. Human eyes.
“What did you call me?”
Bajd. He was no sqoltal squirrel.
Spencer sprang up, pointing at the stupid human, reaching for his stunner. “I’m not a—”
“Aaaahhhh!” The guy swung out, a metal stick connecting with Spencer’s head. Light burst in front of his eyes and he dropped.
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Freddy grew up in the Midwest, playing sports and running around outside. And honestly, that much has not changed since Freddy was small and throwing worms at other kids, expect worm throwing has been replaced with a healthy geocaching addiction. Freddy enjoys traveling and holds the view a person should continually to learn about new things and people whenever possible.
Freddy’s contemporary LGBTQ book, Incubation: Finding Peace 2, won 3rd Place – Best Gay Erotic Fiction in the 2012 Rainbow Awards. In 2013, Freddy’s story, Internment, tied for 3rd Place – Best Gay Fantasy in the Rainbow Awards. Freddy’s steampunk/SF story, Feel Me, was a finalist and honorable mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards for SF.