Meet W.’s Clients: Jill MacKenzie

Jill MacKenzie


Find Jill Online

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Meet Jill

Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, and now a resident of FL, Jill is a lovely writer of literary young adult (YA), middle grade (MG), and picture books. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. She is the author of Spin the Sky (Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse, 2016), and is hard at work on a diversity of beautiful, lyrical, literary projects.

City/State or Province: Jupiter, FL

Birthday (MM/DD): 04/15

Describe your writing and how you came to work with Weronika: I’d been following Weronika’s career for a while before I ever queried her. It seemed as though we had the same taste in stories; the same affection for emotional writing and literary novels. And I just loved everything I read about her on blogs and interviews because she seemed, to me, so full of heart.

When I finished my novel, I just knew she’d be at the top of my list of “agents I wanted to query.” She read my book so quickly and it just seemed serendipitous; I loved the way she worked, and she seemed to love my writing.

[Note from W.: Jill worked, formerly, with another agent, who placed her novel Spin the Sky. She queried with another novel.]

Favorite TV show: Ever? That’s a toughie! I really love (but also fear greatly) The Handmaid’s Tale. I also fell deeply in love with a series that didn’t actually make big waves (but the writing and acting were incredible) called Rectify, starring Aden Young. It came out in 2016, but I don’t know if any other TV show has touched me the way that one has.

Favorite book of the year: For YA, my fave was Nina LaCour’s WE ARE OKAY. It absolutely broke me and I don’t think I’ve fully recovered from it still. Sally Rooney’s NORMAL PEOPLE was incredibly beautiful as well. I think about it all the time, still, even though I read it months ago. 

If I could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive, fictional or historical), it would be: This isn’t as “big” as the question implies, but sometimes I dream that I’m having a meal with or walking beside all the people in my life (even those who only briefly made appearances) that have passed away. I wonder if it’s because I feel a sense of missed opportunity with each and every one of them. I think about how I may have acted or reacted differently knowing that I’d never speak to them again. It’s something I think about a lot, actually.

If I were to hang a quote or an art piece above my fireplace, it would be: “People can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves.” I’m not kidding when I say I got chills when I read this one. It’s a reminder to me about others. It’s a reminder to me about myself.

Three things to ask me about: my cats (3!!!), my travel past (always my true love), and my two beautiful daughters, for whom I completely and utterly live.

Most interesting idea I’ve encountered in the past three years: The idea of alternate realities and how we may all just be living in one time strand, with millions of others of alternate realities happening simultaneously, is so intriguing to me. The Mandela Effect absolutely blew my mind because, if this theory is right, I’m one of the ones whose memories are not from this reality, but from that one. The novel RECURSION sort of moved me forward with this theory, and now I evaluate it constantly.

Learn More About Jill’s Work

When did I write my first novel? What was it about, and what prompted it?

I actually wrote my first novel when I was nine on my family’s Commodore 64. It was called LET GO. It was ninety-one pages, and it would have been longer if my dad hadn’t accidentally erased it from the floppy disk on which I had stored it. Though it was inspired by Jean Craighead George’s MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, I think I’m ready to admit that it was a little too close to his book, plot-wise, than any original book ever should be. But I was always running away as a kid. Always seeking solitude, a Beat Poet before my time.

If I could read books from any single imprint for the rest of my life, which imprint would it be?

Ooh, also a tough one! I think I’m going to have to go with Egmont. Man, do I miss Egmont. I also tend to read a lot of Speak novels.

If there is any one advice that I’ve heard about writing fiction that has proven itself to be true, which piece of advice is it?

Butt in chair! Because nothing will get done if you aren’t sitting at that computer…

When and where during the day do I write? Lighting? Sound? Coffee, tea, other?

I’m an early-morning kind of girl (perhaps because I live in the tropics where mornings, and only mornings, are somewhat cool). I love my tiny little home office. It’s sparse, save for a thousand books on my floor-to-ceiling shelves and my children’s art covering the wall behind me. Sitting here in the morning with my coffee, and a bunch of words that might, one day, be beautiful, is bliss.

Plot or characters? Voice or prose?

Characters. Voice. Prose. YES!

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