Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Q&A with Catherine McKenzie



Catherine McKenzie is the author of the new novel Please Join Us. Her many other books include The Good Liar. She practiced law for twenty years, and she's based in Montreal.


Q: What inspired you to write Please Join Us, and how did you create your character Nicole?


A: Several years ago, when I was still practicing law, I got an invite to join a women’s networking group. They wouldn’t tell me who had suggested me or who the other members were, and their website was basic.


They had several “experiences” that you could go to and I was intrigued. My husband, however, thought it was hella creepy and probably a cult. Needless to say I did not go, but the idea stuck with me.


Nicole is the expression of a lot of frustration that I think many people feel in their careers—someone with all the talent who didn’t quite make it where they were supposed to and can’t figure out why.


Q: Author Heather Gudenkauf called the book a “searing take on professional networking.” What do you think of that description, and can you say more about your fictional Panthera Leo group?


A: I was so flattered to get that blurb! It took a while to land on Panthera Leo itself - the fancy name for a lion. Originally, the symbol was a bird, but I wanted something fiercer, so I did some research and that’s how I came up with the name.


Q: The novel is set in New York City and Colorado. How did you choose those locations?


A: I feel like New York is the epicenter of ambition and Colorado is the opposite. So that’s how I chose them.


Q: How did your own background in law affect the writing of this novel?


A: I try not to write about myself, but certainly I’ve experienced many of the same barriers that Nicole did in my own career—hence the interest in the networking group! So I had that to draw on and also for the legal case that she’s pursuing.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m working on a novel set in the world of search and rescue that was loosely inspired by the Gabby Petito disappearance.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I hope people have as much fun reading Please Join Us as I did writing it!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Catherine McKenzie.

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