Today I’m participating in the Sunday Street Team for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I’m excited to interview the book’s author, Mackenzi Lee! Keep reading to find out more about the book and learn more about the author.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy
Release date: June 27, 2017
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.
Describe The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in 5 words.
Making trouble and making out.
How did you choose names for your characters?
The names of my characters are largely informed by the time period, where they’re from, and what their background is. I pull a lot of names from the historical sources I’m working with. A few fun name easter eggs exist in GGTVAV, though: Monty is named for the card game, Three Card Monte; another character you meet later in the novel, Helena, is named for a character from War and Peace, and, by extension, the musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, which is based on War and Peace, and which I listened to a lot while revision; and Scipio, another character who comes in later, is named after the main character in one of my favorite novels from childhood, The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke. And, of course, Felicity is named for my favorite American Girl doll 🙂
What is an average writing day like for you?
There’s no such thing as an average writing day in my life! Aside from being a writer, I’m an events coordinator at an independent bookstore in Boston, which is basically the greatest, but means that every day my schedule looks different depending on what we have going on at the store. But the best writing days are the ones where I can get up, crack a Diet Coke, and do some work for a few good hours before heading into the store.
What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue?
That historical fiction doesn’t have to be dry and serious. It can be fun and lively and exciting (and they should read more of it–I hope GGTVAV sends people to seek out other historical novels!)
If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be doing now?
My undergraduate degree is in history, and since I was interested in being a professor, I thought about being a set dresser for movies and theater–someone who decorates the background of period movies so that they’re historically accurate.
What are you currently reading?
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert and I have a serious crush on it. I also just finished The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller and I was completely mesmerized.
Thank you for your interview!
Mackenzi Lee is a bookseller, history nerd, and the author of THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, THIS MONSTROUS THING (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins), and the forthcoming SEMPER AUGUSTUS (Flatiron Books, 2018). She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults. 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.
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