An interview with Kirsten McKenzie
An emerging novelist with an eye for the past, Kirsten’s first book, Fifteen Postcards was published through UK boutique publishers Accent Press
For fans of Shortland Street or antiques, Kirsten might well look familiar. You’ll often see her as a nurse in a scene on the popular series, taking someone’s blood pressure, laying out surgical instruments or generally looking efficient and professional.
In her other life she has for many years worked at Antique Alley, the business set up by her father and then inherited by her brother. That was until she retired to work full time on her writing. Antique Alley is not only full of treasures from other eras; it was the setting for her first novel, Fifteen Postcards. A book she describes as a crossover between The Antiques Roadshow and The Time Traveller’s Wife. Because Sarah, the protagonist, time slips through several eras, it was necessary for Kirsten to complete a lot of research. While having a prodigious knowledge of antiques there was a lot more work required to flesh out the various time zones in which Sarah lands without warning.
One scene she didn’t have to research was that of an armed hold-up, having first-hand experience of this during a robbery at the family business. Even with a gun pointed at her head she had the presence of mind to implore the robbers not to take the men’s rings as these were, and still are, very hard to come by.
Kirsten is currently working on her third book The Ruination of Art set in modern day Florence, Italy. It follows the story of five individuals whose lives intersect in spectacular fashion centring on the art held, restored and produced in Florence.
New Zealand Customs allowing, she will have copies of her second novel The Long Letter, the sequel to Fifteen Postcards, in time for this year’s NZ Book Festival in Auckland in November.