Maura McKenzie
At Midnight

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
January 12, 2003

1. Who is Maura McKenzie?

She's an alter ego for Maureen McKade. :) Maura McKenzie's voice is also different than Maureen McKade's. Because AT MIDNIGHT was a time travel and I was writing a contemporary heroine for the first time, I had to sharpen the heroine's dialogue and make it more in sync with our current style of speaking as opposed to the 1900's. It was actually quite fun.

2. What inspired you to write the novel AT MIDNIGHT?

It was a group of writer friends. We had heard about a new line at Kensington Books called Ballad, which was a series of books (2-6) which were tied together by something or somebody. During lunch with these friends one day, we plotted a time travel series revolving around a turn-of-the-century resort. Since I love to read time travels, I thought it would be fun to write one.

3. How did you come about the title AT MIDNIGHT?

I wish I could say there's a deeper meaning involved, but it came out of a Cinderella type time limit given to my heroine as to when she could return to her contemporary home--midnight on the spring solstice. That is, if she decides to return.

4. How did you come about Mac's character?

Mac was one of those characters who barges into a writer's life and demands to be written. I wanted her brash and assertive, but with a deep-seated need to be loved and wanted. I saw her as a newspaper reporter, always searching for the facts and refusing to give credence to emotions, especially those involving love. Her mother had believed in it, but all it brought to her was a collection of Barry Manilow albums and empty dreams. Mac isn't going to let that happen to her.

5. How did you come about Jared's character?

I've always wanted to write a Pinkerton detective and he just seemed the perfect foil for Mac. Here's this morally upright Pinkerton from a family of females (all sisters, no brothers) who runs into a woman born and raised in a very different time and spouting all sorts of crazy ideas. Because Mac is so different than his sisters and mother, Jared isn't sure how to treat her. Despite this--or because of it--he's fascinated and attracted to Mac.

6. How did you come about Esme's character?

Esme was the pivotal point for the Hope Chest series, of which mine was the fifth and last book. She appeared in the other books and was the only one who knew why each contemporary character traveled back to the late nineteenth century. She was the one who greeted them and helped them find jobs, but couldn't tell them why they were brought back.

7. What was the connection between Esme, Jared and the chest Mac found?

For those of you who haven't read the series and don't want to have the story spoiled, you may want to skip this explanation. :) The chest Mac found was actually Esme's Hope Chest. At the beginning of the series of books, there are five broken or rusted items in the trunk. Each contemporary character finds the trunk in modern times and when s/he touches the item that belonged to her/his soul-mate, s/he is sent back in time to find her/his soul-mate. After each book, the rusted or broken item is placed new or unbroken in the trunk. In order for Esme to gain her soul-mate, each of the items must be made new.

8. How many books have you written?

As Maura McKenzie, only this one. Maureen McKade, however, has written six books. I'm now under contract for two more--one a western historical and the other a romantic suspense--with Berkley Books. These will both be released under Maureen McKade in 2004.

9. Is AT MIDNIGHT a romance/suspense/mystery?

All of the above. It was my first attempt at this and I enjoyed it immensely. Historical westerns are my first love, but in the writing of AT MIDNIGHT, I truly found another niche I could be comfortable writing in.

10. What other genres do you write?

Historical romances under Maureen McKade.

11. How long did it take you to write AT MIDNIGHT?

Gosh, that's tough. I think it was about six months, but we had a move across three states during this time, plus I was working on a historical romance during the same time.

12. What message would you like readers to receive from reading AT MIDNIGHT?

That true love is timeless, and sometimes the impossible can, and does, happen.