By: Cari Zahn- A&E Editor
For many college students, stating their greatest accomplishment may be difficult. For Chicago-native junior McKenzie Burns, that question might be a little bit easier to answer.
Within the past four years, Burns has written and self-published two entire novels. She began writing her first novel, “Fighter,” during her senior year of high school at St. Francis High School in Illinois. She finished it by December of her freshman year at UD. By January 2016, she completed her second book, “Valiant.”
Burns was able to compose two full-length novels in such a short time by simply reminding herself of her lifetime goals.
“I was very determined to do something as a writer and make my work stand out,” Burns said. “It’s just always been a goal of mine.”
The novels are a mixture of genres, including fantasy and thriller, and are targeted for a young adult audience. Burns was deeply inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, so much so that she was moved to start writing her own books. She gets her inspiration from other fantasy, thriller, and sci-fi authors such as Veronica Roth and Sarah J. Maas.
“They’re a mixture of everything,” Burns said. “It’s a little magic, romance, anything you could ask for. I included everything I know people love in a YA novel.”
Despite her determination, Burns runs into some challenges with writing as well. She is a self-proclaimed procrastinator and said that’s the biggest difficulty she faces. Like most writers, she also deals with a great deal of writer’s block.
“I sit down with the intention of writing and get five words in,” Burns said. “Other days I sit down and write 9,000 words in a day. It’s all about being dedicated to what I’m doing.”
Burns may have finished her novels only recently, but she’s been writing for a long time, starting with a short story cycle she composed in the third grade about a cat and a dog who were best friends . Despite her lifelong love for writing, Burns doesn’t see it in her future as a career.
“I would love to be the next J.K. Rowling, but the chances of that happening are very slim so I plan on keeping it a hobby,” Burns said. She is currently pursuing two degrees: one in marketing and one in international business management.
Burns hasn’t let her alternate career path get in the way of her continuation with writing. She is currently working on book one of three in what she calls, “The Moonlight Trilogy.” The trilogy will feature more fantasy novels. Burns hopes to complete the first book, “Moonlight Princess,” by the end of February or early March of this year. Alongside the trilogy, she is in the planning stages of another stand-alone novel.
“Fighter” and “Valiant” by McKenzie Burns can be purchased for electronic reading on Amazon. The books are available for $0.99 each.
Book Art Courtesy of Amazon.com