Sunday, 2 December 2018

The Rite of Wands by Mackenzie Flohr

Title: The Rite of Wands
Series: The Rite of Wands, Book 1
Author: Mackenzie Flohr
Narrator: Chris Walker-Thomson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 6 hours 57 minutes
Publisher: BHC Press - 2018
Release date: Oct. 23, 2018

One boy…one Rite… And a world of deadly secrets that could change the course of history—forever.

And so begins the tale of Mierta McKinnon. When a horrible fate reveals itself during his Rite of Wands ceremony, he must find a way to change not only his destiny but also the land of Iverna’s.

Forbidden from revealing the future he foresees to anyone, he is granted a wand and his magical powers, but still must master the realm of magic in order to save himself and those he loves.

But Mierta is not the only one with secrets…especially when it’s impossible to know who to trust.

Amazon ⬫ Audible ⬫ iTunes ⬫ Google ⬫ Downpour ⬫
Scribd ⬫ Barnes & Noble ⬫ Kobo ⬫ Libro

About the Author:

Mackenzie is a multi-award-winning author of the YA Fantasy series The Rite of Wands, published by BHC Press, which has caught the attention of Doctor Who and Harry Potter fans worldwide. Readers agree that Mackenzie has crafted a robust tale of secrets, mystery, and uncertain destiny that rivals the works of Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling.

A storyteller at heart, she loves to inspire the imagination. Mackenzie makes her home in Mount Morris, Michigan, where she is currently penning her next adventure.

Interview with Mackenzie Flohr:

1. Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
It wasn’t easy, believe me! In fact, if anybody would have told me I would go through 3 narrators before finally getting the whole thing recorded, I would have probably thought “yeah, right”. Normally making audiobooks isn’t difficult at all, but my project, you could say was...unique. However, it has opened up some wonderful opportunities to appear at Comic Con and various writing conferences to teach others about the process of making an audiobook and especially, what not to do (because I probably did them all!)

2. Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
Oh, absolutely! My ultimate goal is to have The Rite of Wands series become either a movie trilogy or a television show (preferably done by HBO or the BBC), so I definitely had the idea of an audiobook in the back of my mind when I was writing the first book.

3. How did you select your narrator?
When I was auditioning various actors, I wanted someone who could do an impression of Matt Smith (11th Doctor/Doctor Who, Prince Philip/The Crown) since my MC was written for him, as well as someone who could read/perform Scottish dialect. I was fortunate to come across two actors, who are the best Matt Smith impressionists on the planet, and one of them was available and approached ME after hearing about my project through Doctor Who Online.

4. How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
I was very fortunate to be able to work as close as I was with Chris, considering he lives in England and I’m in America. I do have a day job where I work as a manager at a call center, but I also wanted to be available for him as much as I could. Not only so I could answer any questions he may have, but also because I honestly wanted the opportunity to get to know him a bit on a personal level, so I could get an idea of how it was best to get the project completed as smoothly as possible. (I can be overwhelming sometimes because I am so direct). I did provide him a character sheet with descriptions of the characters as well as a language guide. But as some of my spells don’t necessarily follow the mother language they came from, I had to occasionally provide some extra pronunciation help.

5. Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
Yes. As I mentioned above, I wrote the main character (Mierta McKinnon) for Matt Smith. There are personality characteristics of the character, which are similar to him, as well as some inside jokes, too. Other than that, there are some key elements Matt has stated he’d like to play in a character, and I’ll admit I did give Mierta some of those, with more to come!

6. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
Audio dramas. When I have listened to audiobooks in the past, the narrator has been so monotone, I’ve honestly fallen asleep. But then I got introduced to Big Finish Productions, and my love for audiobooks regenerated.

7. Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
Yes, there’s a particular scene between two characters where one of the characters is near death, and the reaction of the second character just comes through as heartbreaking. I actually started crying the first time I heard it performed, which is strange for me because I’ve never cried at my own words before!

8. If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?

Mierta McKinnon - Jacob Dudman / Matt Smith
Orlynd O’Brien - David Tennant
Lochlann McKinnon - Tom Hiddleston
Queen Anya - Lily James
King Deor - Tom Felton or Toby Regbo

9. Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
Know what your budget is, determine where you want your audiobook distributed to, and, if you decide to do the 50% royalty share option with ACX, make sure that narrator actually honors the terms of the contract.

10. What’s next for you?
I’m currently finishing up my first draft of The Rite of Abnegation, which is the second book in The Rite of Wands series. Then, I’ll be working on a standalone novel called The Burning Man, which will be perfect for YA ghost hunting readers.

About the Narrator:

Chris Walker-Thomson is a versatile British actor, voice artist and impressionist based in Chelmsford, Essex. He is most known for his highly-acclaimed portrayal of Doctor Who actor Patrick Troughton in various productions - as well as being a well-established character actor. Chris is also an exceptional impressionist, voice over artist and comedy performer.

Website ⬫ Facebook ⬫ Twitter ⬫ Instagram

Interview with Chris Walker-Thomson:

1. What got you interested in voice acting?
I’ve always had a thing for putting on voices. Earliest memory I have is of me putting on a different voice for each toy I played with, so they’d converse on whatever adventure I’d be putting them through. As they years went on, I discovered impressions – particularly Dead Ringer’s Jon Culshaw – and ended up emulating people around me. So it all grew from that really, until finally, I went professional.

2. What was it that got you your first “big” break?
There’s a few that I considered my “big” break until something even bigger happened. I did a lot of Doctor Who fan audio dramas, doing my performance as Patrick Troughton’s Second Doctor, which got a lot of attention. But one day I was asked to do the audiobook for City Of The Gods: Forgotten, which gave my first official credit and paid work that really pushed me into being a working actor. So I’m immensely grateful for them giving me a shot, and setting me on my way.

3. Where you would suggest someone brand new into voice acting start to find job opportunities?
I’ve found websites like, or Findaway very good. There are many others out there, some low-paid, some not, but experience is key. I started small, and am still small in comparison to others, but experience is great and attracts more interest. And never be ashamed to ask to be paid.

4. Do you enjoy working better independently or in a studio environment like Big Finish, and why?
Oh a studio environment for sure! I’m an actor foremost. As great as putting on voices is, and you can do so independently, to have someone to bounce off is such a thrill and really improves the performance. Even when it comes to Pixar films or any animation, they do feed the lines to the actor. Plus, I like the energy. Independently can get quite lonely, tiring and if you work from home, you get a bit of cabin fever from not going out.

5. How did you first come across The Rite of Wands?
Again I owe thanks to the Doctor Who fan world. I have got to know a lot of people in the community, such as people behind big blogging sites such as Sebastian J Brook from Dr Who Online. And Seb mentioned that an author friend (Mackenzie) was having trouble with her book, as the person who was meant to be doing it had to pull out due to other commitments, leaving her in the lurch. So he suggested myself. I was a bit down at this point. It had been months since my last job, and any job, so I was thinking of calling it a day. But on a whim, I dropped an email to Mackenzie and she got back asking me to audition. I was a bit late to doing the audition, but I did it, sent it off and left it as that. Then, in early January, I got an email from Mackenzie offering me the gig. Hilariously it came at the same time I also got a part-time job offer, so like they say about buses.

6. What kind of research did you have to do to prepare for recording?
Although I do record reading off a tablet (to avoid paper turning sound, etc.), I don’t find it a great way to read. Like everyone who has ever owned a Kindle says: they actually prefer reading a physical book in their hands. So I asked nicely if I could get a copy to read at my leisure, which Mackenzie was very kind to send me with a signed message within. For someone who does audiobooks, you’d be surprised to hear that I don’t really take the time out to read books as much as I probably should - mostly because it takes time out of the day. But I found myself engrossed in it and really finding it difficult to put it down, so I knew this was a good book if it managed to hook me in. Afterwards, I went over it again and made notes. But the research I had to focus on was my performance of the main character, Mierta McKinnon, which Mackenzie had noted as “I wrote it with Matt Smith in mind”. I could do a reasonable impersonation of Matt Smith beforehand, but I needed a refresher course, so I started a marathon of his Doctor Who episodes to let it sink in. The rest of the voices I’d pieced together, but Mierta’s voice took some time to prepare.

7. Knowing the history of the project being passed around multiple narrators, did you feel any extra pressure before recording it?
Only that the previous narrator was better at doing a Matt Smith impression than I was! So I kept saying “it’s not exactly right, but the best I can muster”, to which Mackenzie was immensely happy with my effort anyway, so I didn’t need to worry. So aside from that, I didn’t have any pressure. It was quite fun, until I got the email after I’d finished recording it, saying “we’ve redrafted the book”, and prompting me to redo it all from scratch. But I think it sounds better than it did previously, especially my Smith’ voice for Mierta.

8. Okay, be honest. How many times did you have to practice saying “Emaculavi el curpas y mehartis” before you got it right?
Too many to count! Quite a few spells got me frustrated. Especially as they’re not spelt accordingly due to their country’s origin, or the pronunciation guide in the book wasn’t exact. I’m all for learning new words, but wow. Ha.

9. How do you go about deciding which voice to use for a character?
It’s not a long process, I tend to read the dialogue and think, maybe this voice? Maybe later on I’ll change my mind, and go back to redo it. Orlynd was Scottish, which wasn’t my best accent, or one I’d spent a while working on. So I found the root of the voice in my memory as a scatty, young David Tennant, and just went from there. I found it also helped to jog the accent by swearing between lines of dialogue, just to really get the Scottish tone right. Then after a while it just settled in, and I can now talk fluently. The rest of the voices just seemed right.

10. Did anything in particular surprise you while you while performing?
Only that my neighbours really couldn’t care less as to what I was doing. Either they’d get out a pneumatic drill, or they’d completely ignore my dying screams. Probably used to my madness at this point.

11. Fans of the series tend to favour the character, Mierta, however, from recent discussions, I’ve learned Orlynd is your favourite character. What is it about him that you like so much?
Well I just think Mierta grows up to be a dick, ha. Orlynd has me feeling sorry for him from the first time we meet him in the book, and he’s stuck in a place he’s despised, yet is “Aye yur Majesty” in a sad, yet shy tone. But as he progresses, he gets stronger and becomes more heroic. He even shouts at the King’s guards. It’s great character development, and a delight to play.

12. What would you like to see happen in the series?
I’d like to see Orlynd and Deor become better friends as time goes on, and even more of Anya’s conniving. But I’d also like to see Lochlann (his brother) knock Mierta off his own pedestal. But from what I’ve heard of what’s going to happen, it’s already ticked my boxes.

13. How can others find out more about you?
My official website is and I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and such. I do keep it all updated if you’d like to follow me there?

Tour Schedule:

Nov. 27th:

Nov. 28th:

Nov. 29th:

Nov. 30th:

Dec. 1st:

Dec. 2nd:

Dec. 3rd:


  1. Thank you for being a part of my audio book tour, and helping me spread the word!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting Just Books, hope to see you again.

  3. Shared at several places (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+). Great article.