Jassy Mackenzie was born in Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. Mackenzie is from a family where books weren’t just more important than television; they were so important that television was banned from the house.
Mackenzie’s first novel, Random Violence (2008), was shortlisted for Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Africa region in 2009. It has also been nominated for a Shamus Award in the Best First Book category in the USA and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
Her second book, a standalone thriller called My Brother’s Keeper (2009), was shortlisted for Best First Novel – Paperback Original in the International Thriller Awards.
Mackenzie’s next book in the Jade de Jong series, Stolen Lives, was published in 2010. The following year, Worst Case was published (in the USA as The Fallen in 2012), and has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
Pale Horses will be published as part of the series in South Africa in 2012, and will be published in the USA the following year.
Mackenzie is also the editor of HJ, a hair and beauty magazine. She lives in Johannesburg with her partner, where the high levels of crime experienced by citizens daily, provide a fertile field of inspiration for an up-and-coming thriller writer.
Note: The interview was conducted at the just ended 15th Time of the Writer Festival in Durban, South Africa.
GeosiReads: What brought you to South Africa?
Jassy Mackenzie: Family move. My father had a job offer in South Africa and so we moved.
GR: What books did you read growing up as a child?
JM: I read all sorts of books. Our house was filled with books. For example, I read books like Lord of the Rings, Crime books like Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey and many others.
GR: Your books have won various prizes. What does that mean for you?
JM: I have rather been shortlisted. It is a great honour. Prizes are important because they get your books out there.
GR: When did you begin to write?
JM: I have always written ever since I was young. I wrote poems and short stories.
GR: Any reason why you write?
JM: I love to tell stories. I enjoy telling stories.
GR: Have you ever had any rejection(s)?
JM: So many rejections.
GR: When do you write?
JM: I normally write in the mornings when there is fresh energy.
GR: What theme(s) do you write on?
JM: I write on big themes readers can identify with: developments, human-trafficking, environmental concerns and so forth.
GR: Any favourite author(s)?
JM: Lots of them but most influenced by Lee Child. But there are too many to name.
GR: Are you working on any book?
JM: Yes. I am editing my new book titled Pale Horses.