I picked up Catherine McKenzie’s Spin while on work related travel in Newfoundland and read it within a few days. It’s a fun, classic summer read about pop culture, addiction, and accidentally finding yourself post 30.
Catherine McKenzie was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. A graduate of McGill University and McGill Law School, Catherine practices law in Montreal. Her first novel, SPIN, was published by HarperCollins Canada in January, 2010 and became a national bestseller. Her second novel, ARRANGED, was published by HarperCollins Canada in January, 2011 and is also a national bestseller. French and German versions of SPIN will be published in 2011.
Your first novel Spin makes many references to music and pop culture. Pop culture, in the form of online articles, TV shows, etc, is so readily available to us and it really can’t be ignored. What risks did you take by including so many pop culture references?
I guess the risk I took is that the book could become a bit dated, but I tried (for the most part) to go with references that have been around for a while so that (hopefully) if someone picks up my book in 10 years they won’t be like _________? Who’s that?
Who is TGND (The Girl Next Door) based on? No one specific person. The idea for the book came to me when a lot of celebrities were going in and out of rehab but I tried not to make Amber too close to any of them in looks or personal story. Are there any similarities between law and novel writing?
I think they both take a lot of discipline. Also, there is actually a lot of writing in the type of law that I practice (litigation), and creativity in a certain way. There must be other things–why else would so many lawyers or former lawyers be writers?–but those are the main ones that come to mind.
There is a lot of fast-paced dialogue in your writing, the rhythms of which possibly relate to that of a courtroom. Was that intentional?
Actually, the real rhythm of a courtroom is a lot slower than what you see on TV (which can often be very fast paced). I would say I was more inspired by the face-paced dialogue on shows like The West Wing and Gilmore Girls than any legal connection.
Your new novel Arranged takes on the issue of arranged marriage. Tell us a little about your research on that subject and what we can expect from this novel.
Arranged is about a woman who uses an arranged marriage service. Kind of like The Bachelor on speed. My research was mostly letting my imagination run wild, but I did look into how traditional arranged marriages are still treated in some parts of the world.