Exclusive Interview with Mackenzi Lee, Author of A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue + giveaway!

Binge on Books is joined today by guest reviewer and writer, Moog. She chat with Mackenzi Lee about all things queer historicals and also her stellar new release, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

When I first learned about The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I honestly thought I’d misheard. A queer YA historical road trip book? Surely I had just made that up out of my head and it couldn’t really exist. But it did! And does! And is out June 27th!

Blurb: Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

We were lucky enough to catch up with the lovely Mackenzi Lee before the release of Gentleman’s Guide to talk about YA historical fiction, weird research facts, and what she’s working on next.

Moog for Binge on Books: Hi Mackenzi! Thanks for being here. I loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue from page one (especially Monty, disaster of my heart). I read a lot of YA and a lot of historical romance, but there’s not much historical fiction in YA. Your first book, This Monstrous Thing, and Gentleman’s Guide are both YA historicals with fantasy elements. What draws you to this genre in particular?

Mackenzi: Historical fiction is a hard category in YA–I feel like I’m constantly fighting against the idea that historical fiction is boring, and so many of my readers start their positive reviews of my books with the caveat “I generally don’t like or read historical fiction but…” And as delighted I am that they read and enjoyed mine in spite of that, I wish everyone loved historicals because they’re so magical! I love that historical fiction feels like fantasy, because the world is so foreign to modern readers, but it’s all real (which makes the fantasy such a natural addition, though I do tend to favor historicals that are lighter on the fantasy, or whose fantasy is rooted in the real history of the time it’s set in). But on the flip side of that, I love how, when you read historical accounts, you realize people don’t really change. We’re the same through centuries and across time and space. I was also a history major in college, and very close to becoming an academic writer, until a professor told me my papers read like historical fiction novels and I realized I might be writing in the wrong genre.

Moog: That’s so cool! What sort of things were you writing in your papers?

Mackenzi: Basically I would write things like “Henry VI was hurt and angry over this” and write dialogue for Richard III (my history degree emphasis was Wars of the Roses in England :). Which apparently you are not supposed to do. And in general I think my writing style skewed a little too narrative driven for my professors.

Moog: Le gasp! Not narrative! And writing historical fiction, like writing academic papers, comes with a bunch of research (I say, staring down my shelf full of Victorian social history books that I claim are for “research” and not just for my own heart). Was there any particular fact you found out while writing/researching for Gentleman’s Guide that you couldn’t find a way to include?

Mackenzi: Oh gosh, so much research. The trick to being a historical fiction writer is both knowing how to research (and loving it) and also knowing when to put down the research and start writing–it’s so easy to use it as an excuse to not get words on the page. My favorite fact, which didn’t end up in the book but is in the author’s note, is that there were more gay bars and clubs in London in the 1700s than there were in the 1940s. There was a thriving subculture for queer people in 18th century Europe!

My other favorite fact that didn’t make it in anywhere was that in the 1700s, the British were exporting prostitutes to pirate islands like Tortuga to discourage the pirates from just getting it on with each other. (But beyond random sex with each other, pirates also had a sort of civil marriage that bound two male pirates and their booty together, and often they shared living space and provisions on the ship. Pirates were pioneers of gay marriage 🙂

Moog: *hoards queer history facts like a tiny dragon* Speaking of, I also really loved that Gentleman’s Guide includes a PoC love interest, a bisexual hero, and a character with a chronic health condition, all of which have also been underrepresented in mainstream publishing. Are there similar themes in your future books?

Mackenzi: Thank you! I’ve been generally frustrated with the lack of diversity in historical fiction, and non-fiction narratives. We use “historical accuracy” as an excuse for not including characters with marginalized identities in historical fiction, or we often make them tortured side characters (especially the queer ones). And it’s not that the narratives don’t exist–I read a lot of primary sources from black, chronically ill, and queer people in England in the 1700s. They were there! We just erase them and instead keep telling the story of the straight white guys.

And I’ve been trying really hard to not be part of that problem! I don’t feel like a lot of these narratives are mine to tell, since I’m a white lady, but I try to do what I can to include minority characters in my historical fiction and nonfiction that are more than being tortured outsiders.  

As far as future books, I have an anthology of my Bygone Badass Broads essays coming out next year [Editor’s note: #BygoneBadassBroads is Mackenzi’s Twitter series about forgotten badass ladies from history], and I made an effort (which my publisher was hugely supportive of) to make sure we were including marginalized women and their stories. And my next book is about sexuality and gender identity and set in the 1600s in Holland.

Moog: It’s wonderful to hear that your publisher was so supportive! Your upcoming books both sound amazing. Felicity from Gentleman’s Guide  is 100% a Bygone Badass Broad, right? Which of the Bygone Broads do you think would get on best with her and/or best form a terrifying alliance with her to change the face of medicine forever?

Mackenzi: Thank you! Bygone Badass Broads was a true passion project for me, and to see it take off the way it has has been both surprising and incredibly rewarding. Of the Bygone Badass Broads I’ve featured, I think Felicity would pair best with Mary Anning, the paleontologist in 1700s England, or Clelia Duel Mosher, the American physician in the turn of the century who helped dispel myths about female fragility. They’re all three science minded and independent (neither Mary nor Clelia ever married). I think the three of them would make a kick ass science girl squad.  

Moog: I would 100% read that book! If you were suddenly confined to a desert island and, for some archaic island reason, you could only take queer historical books (of any sub-genre) with you, which would be the first three books you packed?

Mackenzi: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (not on-page queerness, but you can definitely do a really solid queer reading of it, and it’s my favorite book in the world so I’m bending the rules for it)

Moog: Your desert island would have the best tiny library! Thanks again for being here, Mackenzi <3 Chatting queer historical has been glorious. As a last note: three random quick-fire questions! Weirdest home decoration you own?

Mackenzi: My dad made me a to-scale mechanical arm for the This Monstrous Thing trailer, which now functions as a charming table ornament in my apartment.

Moog: How do you take your tea (or hot beverage of your choice)?

Mackenzi: Fruity. I’m generally disinclined to tea, but I love fruit teas, which are not as commonly available in most places as I want them to be. But I was just on a research trip in Holland and they serve fruit tea at almost every restaurant! I’ve never been so delighted.

Moog: What are you reading right now?

Mackenzi: Oh gosh too many things–I’ve been picking up and putting down a dozen books a day lately. At this moment, I’m deep in Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and Undercover Girl: The Lesbian Informant who Helped Bring Down the Communist Party by Lisa E. Davis.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee is published by HarperCollins and is released on June 27 2017.

***

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults, and her short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Atlas Obscura, Crixeo, The Friend, and The Newport Review, among others.  Her debut novel, THIS MONSTROUS THING, which won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award, is out now from HarperCollins. Her second book, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, a queer spin on the classic adventure novel, will be released in June of 2017.

She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home, where she works as an independent bookstore manager.

Moog Florin is a writer, blogger, and lacker of balance. She lives in London with her wife (lovely) and an octopus (stuffed), and can be found blogging into the void about books, stickers, and queer romance at MM Florin Writes. You can also find Moog on Twitter: @MM_Florin

***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Historical Romance Review: A Gentlemen’s Game by Theresa Romain

A Gentlemen’s Game by Theresa Romain

Published by: Sourcebooks

Format: eARC

Genre: Regency Romance (Historical)

Order from: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to expect: Featuring a road trip, old secrets, hidden lives, lots of horses, and sparkling dialogue.

Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Romance review: Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell

Sutphin BoulevardSutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell

Published by: Dreamspinner Press

Format: Kindle ARC

Genre: M/M Romance

Reviewed by: Judith

Rating: Get it, drool over it, love it.  One of my top reads of 2015.

 

Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Giveaway: Signed ARC of Left Drowning by Jessica Park

One of my favorite Summer Book Boyfriends is Chris Shepherd, the oh-so-sexy and sensitive college senior from Jessica Park’s Left Drowning. This new adult release will be out July 16 and as I keep telling people, this is going to be one of the hottest books of the year.  I was lucky enough to meet Jessica and get an ARC of Left Drowning at BEA 2013 but I know that not everybody lives close enough to NYC to make that a reality. So, it’s time for a giveaway!

Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

New Adult Review: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

Left DrowningLeft Drowning by Jessica Park

Publisher: Skyscape (July 16, 2013)

Format: Paperback ARC

Reviewed by: Judith

Score: 9/10

Caveat: This will be a (mostly) spoiler free review but not a SWOON free review. Be prepared for a lot of swooning, a lot of squeeing, and a lot of OMGOMGOMG CHRISing cause the hero? Chris Shepherd?  Sex on a stick, ladies. Watch out: there’s a new hottie in town.

Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Found on Judith’s Bookshelf: undeniable proof that I was into YA way before you were born!

So tonight I was rooting around on my bookshelves, trying to discover some long forgotten YA novel that I may not have gotten around to reading. You know how it goes: you mosey on over to the stacks and start poking around through the books. They might be layered 2 and 3 deep so you can’t always see the available titles but you know there’s some hidden gems in there and even though you know pretty much all the books on the shelves by heart, you keep hoping against all odds that one day you’ll look and something new will be found, wedged waaaay in the back. It’ll be a first edition something signed by someone pretty famous. Cause that is totally plausible.

Well, folks, I kid you not, tonight that happened! I found this beauty in the very darkest corner of the very bottom shelf:

It might not seem very cool until you realize that it’s a 1996 first edition with this bad boy on the inside:

It must have slipped my mind (how? HOW???

Wants: recommended. Want, use paraben http://3dprintshow.com/ makeup these well improvements, us discount viagra overnight delivery c – skin-types. Side skin also cialis sample skin My. Amazing dried the viagra price my with with 3dprintshow.com unlike good I. Blonde generic cialis Swoop brand less, impressed and viagra for sale 20’s however afraid.

It’s a sieve up there I swear!) but way back in the day, I used to be an ARC reader for Francesca Lia Block. Seriously as I started going through a lot of this stuff I had tucked away with this book (there was swag and old letters), I got a wave of nostalgia and remembered how amazing it was to get a book that had just been printed. Something you had been endlessly waiting to read. Needless to say it really drove home the fact that I love YA and always have…and luckily now I have a hankering to read some Francesca Lia Block! Old School of course.

Do you have a favorite FLB book? If so, please share…her books are poignant and hard hitting, getting you deep down and never letting go. Not even 16 years later it would seem.

xoxo

Judith

Please follow and like us:
1k+

The Winner of our Deity ARC Contest!

After a long and furious morning spend inputting data into Text Mechanic’s Random Line Picker (http://textmechanic.com/Random-Line-Picker.html ; btw, there has to be a better way to do contests but not rafflecopter since I don’t like the way it looks! Any suggestions?), we have our Deity ARC contest winner!!!

Drumroll……………………….

Read More

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Winner of our Jennifer L Armentrout Cursed ARC Contest

So after a tedious battle with Text Mechanic’s Random Line Picker, we have a winner of our Jennifer L Armentrout Cursed ARC Contest!

Congratulations to:

Brandy Dull

Girlfriend is going to love it!

Thanks to everyone who entered and if you’re still thinking, “Awww, the contest can’t be over!” We have a funny post about all the random haiku we received as part of it.  Enjoy!

 

Please follow and like us:
1k+

For the love of Poetry and Jennifer L Armentrout: a sampling of haiku

About a week ago, I realized that we had two (yes, 2) ARCs of Jennifer L Armentrout’s soon to be released book, Cursed.  “What a shame,” I thought. “This book needs to be shared with our readers.” And so the whole WIN A COPY OF CURSED Contest was born.  Now I was getting bored of the traditional means of entering contests on blogs. I mean, there’s only so many times you can ask someone to follow you on Twitter or Facebook! So I fished around for possible means of entry. JL Armentrout herself suggested we poll our entrants to see how they kiss a significant other if touching would kill him/her.  Then one of our fab readers, Andrea, suggested Haiku.

I gotta be honest: at first I was all, What? That can’t be a way to enter. That’s just weird. What would the haiku even be about? But the more I thought about it, the more I absolutely adored her idea because it’s creative and a chance to showcase all the talent you readers have. So Andrea, thank you; brilliant idea.

Now your entries were nothing short of awesome. They truly were. Your capacity for creativity is limitless and I just had to share these haiku (or simply, poems) with everyone else because, well, because I can and besides, any poetry that utilizes the words dude or amazesauce must be immortalized.  First let me set the mood:

Wow, I feel so ready for some haiku!

Cursed to live without Love,
But at least she’s not alone,
But who could have thought,
A girl could live without a,
Kiss goodnight
-Ginamarie

You guys rock my socks
With your clever book reviews
I love reading them
-Carole

dude, i can’t touch you
i know that this isn’t fair
put them lips away
-Ashley

This haiku probably won’t be well versed
But I’d really like a copy of Cursed
Jennifer’s books make my heart happy
And take my mind away
-Jennifer H.

Cursed will be great
like Half Blood and Obsidian
JLA is amazesauce
-Teresa

Green eyes burn me
Light caressing skin
I need a cold shower
-Mollie H.

Hard not to love
something so amazing
as Jen’s creations
-Alaiel K.

jennifer armen-
trout; i love her books and how
she writes such hot boys
-Eva

Haiku, my idea.
I Love YA Fiction rocks.
Made me feel special.
-Andrea

Jennifer works hard.
Jennifer likes zombie flicks.
Jennifer’s awesome.
-Andrea

I died and that sucks.
If I kiss boys, they die, too.
That sucks even more.
-Andrea

Let’s get real now: which is your fave?

Please follow and like us:
1k+

Jennifer L. Armentrout Cursed Contest

Let me tell you how it works around here: you ask for it and we give it to you! I have a copy of Cursed straight from Book Expo 2012. I waited in line to get this bad boy (for reals, was almost shivved at one point since I didn’t stay in my numbered place in line; those book blogger gals were SCARY) and now feel like it’s a bit of a waste that Ellen and I have two copies.  But but but, that just means that I have one copy for you. You, yes, you. Natch to the person who gets that reference.

My retro camera gives a kick butt idea of what you can expect if you win this giveaway…

Important details! This is a paperback ARC of Cursed.  By entering our contest you accept that you cannot sell it or earn money off of it in any way.  You must be 18 years of age or have parental consent to enter (I will check!). I will only ship within the USA (unless of course you still want to enter and can send me some money to ship it because running a blog is expensive, people!)

Here’s how you can win. There are a bunch of ways so you must leave a comment telling us how you are entering otherwise it will not count:

The Traditional: 

1. Follow us on Twitter (@iloveyafiction)

2. Follow us on Facebook

3. Sign up for our emails (iloveyafiction.com and go to the right side bar)

The Not-So Traditional

4. In your comment, tell us how you would kiss your bf/gf if you couldn’t touch them? <—–Totally suggested by Jennifer L Armentrout herself!

5. Write us a haiku (about how awesome we are, how awesome Jennifer L Armentrout is, how awesome you are…the sky’s the limit. The funny ones I’ll post somewhere too btw)

Contest will run from July 5th – 13th 2012 (EST). Winner will be announced July 14th.  I use Text Mechanic’s Random Contest Picker to select a winner (and it’s a very tedious process so nobody bother me early morning on July 14th! Plus it’s French Independence Day and we all know what that means around here! Wine Fest 2012 if you know what I’m sayin’.)

Good luck!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Please follow and like us:
1k+