Big welcome to Rachel Mans McKenny, whose debut novel, The Butterfly Effect, launches today!
Author Name: Rachel Mans McKenny
Book Title: The Butterfly Effect
Book Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Upmarket Fiction
Release Date: December 8, 2020
Publisher: Alcove Press (distributed by Penguin Random House)
How would you describe The Butterfly Effect?
An “antisocial butterfly” (who actually studies butterflies) has to quit a research trip early when her twin brother has an aneurysm. She has to return home to take care of him– and rebuild the relationships that she’s ignored for years.
How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?
This book took me four years from start to finish. It began as a NaNo project in 2016. I originally wrote it in three points of view— Greta (the grumpy entomologist), her twin brother’s, and his fiancee’s, but eventually revised to be completely from Greta’s perspective. As I did so, I dove into lots of research about bugs! I got to shadow the director of our local butterfly house, interview entomologists, and of course, do lots of interesting reading. Part of the fun of this book is finding out more about insects while you read, and maybe coming to like them (or at least tolerate them) a little more.
What drew you to the women’s fiction genre?
I’m a reader, first and foremost, and I want to write books that I would love reading and discussing with friends. I’m part of four book clubs, and my dream has always been to write books that made good discussion fodder for people. Women’s fiction hits that sweet spot– emotional, smart, and surprising. I love this genre.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
Making time! I have three little kids, and especially this year, my blocks of free time have been few and far between. It’s a privilege to have any child care, and when I do have it, I try to focus as much as possible. The “write every day” advice doesn’t work well for me.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read The Butterfly Effect?
Besides writing fiction, I write a lot of humor. I think one of my talents is working funny moments into serious scenes. I also loved writing my “not Midwest nice” heroine. I’ve gotten the comment that while some readers were absolutely frustrated by her at times, they adored the novel and her transformation throughout. If you like a good “healing” book, this is a good one to pick up.
How does your day job inform your novel writing?
I teach public speaking and business writing at a college– which I adore. I find this helps me the most in thinking about communication in different spaces really distinctly, like how we might talk differently at work and at home, and how that informs our characters. I love my day job, but I miss being in the actual classroom with students! Online teaching isn’t quite the same.
Are you working on a new project?
A few! I can’t wait to share details.
Where can readers find you? Feel free to include any upcoming, live/online events, too!
I’m on Twitter and Facebook, and I’m an Instagram newbie, so feel free to say hi on any of those platforms! I’ll be holding an event with Jesse Sutanto (Dial A for Aunties) and Jen DeLuca (Well Met, Well Played) for Ripped Bodice at 7PST on December 8th on their Facebook Live, and a reading/Q&A event for Dog-Eared Books on December 11th. There will be more events announced in the future, so people can check out my website for more details!
Thank you, Rachel! The Butterfly Effect is available as of TODAY!
“A warm, winning debut from a talented new Midwestern voice.” –J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest
A Man Called Ove meets The Rosie Project in this “delightfully off-kilter” (Rachel Yoder, Nightbitch) tale of a grumpy introvert, her astonishing lack of social skills and empirical data-driven approach to people and relationships.
Is there such a thing as an anti-social butterfly? If there were, Greta Oto would know about it–and totally relate. An entomologist, Greta far prefers the company of bugs to humans, and that’s okay, because people don’t seem to like her all that much anyway, with the exception of her twin brother, Danny, though they’ve recently had a falling out. So when she lands a research gig in the rainforest, she leaves it all behind.
But when Greta learns that Danny has suffered an aneurysm and is now hospitalized, she abandons her research and hurries home to the middle of nowhere America to be there for her brother. But there’s only so much she can do, and unfortunately just like insects, humans don’t stay cooped up in their hives either–they buzz about and… socialize. Coming home means confronting all that she left behind, including her lousy soon-to-be sister-in-law, her estranged mother, and her ex-boyfriend Brandon. Real life is messy, and Greta will have to ask herself if she has the courage to open up for the people she loves, and for those who want to love her.
The Butterfly Effect is an unconventional tale of self-discovery, navigating relationships, and how sometimes it takes stepping outside of our comfort zone to find what we need the most.