No matter how long a writer has been working, no matter how much they write, or how often, they always feel their writing can be better. Well, the good ones, anyway. It’s something writer Megan Mackie realized while preparing the new reissue of her urban fantasy / cyberpunk novel The Finder Of The Lucky Devil, which originally came out in 2017, and kicked off her Lucky Devil series, and has now been released in paperback and digitally by eSpec Books.
We went into the background a bit in our previous interview [which you can read here], but real quick, what is the Lucky Devil series about and when and where is it set?
The Lucky Devil series is set in an alternate Chicago where magic has always existed and is out in the open, but technology has started to catch up to what magic can do and is replacing it. We follow a young woman who has magic and a cyber-altered man as they try to navigate this world.
And then what is The Finder Of The Lucky Devil about and where does it fit, narratively and chronologically, into the Lucky Devil series?
The Finder Of The Lucky Devil is the first in the series, so this is where it all begins. It’s about Rune Leveau, who has been hiding a terrible secret for the past six years, that she is actually this wanted criminal Anna Masterson and at last St. Benedict the cyber spy has asked her to help track Anna Masterson down, of course not realizing it is her.
With magic, cybernetically enhanced people, and an alternate version of Chicago, The Finder Of The Lucky Devil sounds like it’s a cross between cyberpunk and urban fantasy. Is that how you see it?
It’s very much primarily those two genres, and I worked very carefully to try to balance the identifiable tropes from either genre in my narrative. If there is anything else, I’d say I’ve sprinkled in a little horror and slow-burn romance for flavoring.
Are there any writers or novels that had a big influence on The Finder Of The Lucky Devil but not on any of the other Lucky Devil stories?
I think more in this story than any others I pulled from old fairy tales and folk tales to build the smaller storylines and characters from. I also have these Mythologies From Around The World books that I pulled from so I would make more not-typically-seen races in fantasy, like Nagas and Shivas and Quaztecoatlians.
What about such non-literary influences as movies, TV shows, or video games? Did any of those have a big impact on The Finder Of The Lucky Devil?
Now, as I mentioned in the intro, this is a reissue of The Finder Of The Lucky Devil, which originally came out in 2017. Aside from a new cover, what else have you changed about this new edition and why did you make those changes?
The majority of the changes have been small, mechanical things, like how in 2017 I simply didn’t understand the difference between a passive verb and an active verb, and last year it finally clicked for me, so my storytelling in terms of technique has gotten better. Also, in the course of evolving with this book, I have had several different editors work on the book and correct things as I’ve gone on. What this did was introduce odd inconsistencies over time that honestly the readers wouldn’t notice but I could tell, so this last time we also smoothed those out. In terms of plot, nothing has changed, it is the same story that people are falling in love with.
Given that your writing has evolved since The Finder Of The Lucky Devil came out, why did you decide not to make more significant changes to the text?
One of the things I’m grateful for is that, though how I write has only gotten better, what I write has been consistently good and Finder is a tight, compelling story. I wrote a book I wanted to read, and I’m so happy that for me I did it. I’ve been blown away how readers will devour this book in two days and immediately come back for the next.
Now, along with The Finder Of The Lucky Devil, eSpec Books are also reissuing your Lucky Devil novels The Saint Of Liars, Death And The Crone, and Saint Code: The Lost. Do you know when those will be out?
Death And The Crone and Saint Code: The Lost are already reissued, The Saint Of Liars is the last to get the top-shelf treatment, and then we’ll be publishing the first version of The Devil’s Day, next in the series.
And will The Saint Of Liars be similarly changed?
Similar changes, cleaning up my verbs, fixing my commas, cosmetic things like that.
In addition to those reissues, you’re also helping to write the tabletop role-playing game Legendlore. What kind of game is it and what is that game about, story-wise?
Legendlore will be an RPG tabletop game, similar to D&D in that there’s elves and dwarves and orcs, but this is a world where you the player have been transported to this world and have been translated into your “truest self” so you may become a dwarf or elf or simply a human with powers, it’s up to you, but you’re from Earth and have been sent to have an epic adventure because of it.
Do you think working on Legendlore has had any influence on your prose writing?
This was where I cracked inactive verbs, so yeah [laughs].
But honestly, I think it’s had more influence on my writing career in that I am building a sustainable career shift, learning the different ways to make a living.
Finally, if someone enjoys The Finder Of The Lucky Devil, what similar novel of someone else’s would you suggest they read while waiting The Saint Of Liars to be reissued?
I mean if you haven’t read the Dresden Files or The Hollows series yet, I would get on it, if you like Finder you should like those too.