Fun Fact: “One of my great grandmothers was Rebecca Brooker (née Jenner) 1819-1887. The daughter of famous British physician Edward Jenner (inventor of the smallpox vaccine), she was a missionary nurse and a signatory to New Zealand’s famous Treaty of Waitangi. Rebecca Avenue in New Zealand’s Christchurch is named after this famous ancestor.”
Who would Lee like to see in the lead role of her novels?
For the protagonist of Into the Mist, and now INTO THE SOUNDS, I’d love to see a home-grown actor play the role of Taine McKenna, so my pick would be New Zealand actor Xavier Horan. A personal trainer as well as an accomplished actor with multiple credits, Horan could be Taine McKenna’s brother as you can see from this excerpt from Into the Mist, told from the point of view of Taine’s commanding officer, Major James Arnold:
“Go through, Sergeant McKenna,” she said, turning sideways and offering the junior officer her prettiest smile as he stepped into the office.
James could hardly blame her. At thirty-four, Taine McKenna was closer to her age, and with steely eyes from his father’s side and skin liked polished rimu – a legacy from his Māori mother ‒ he was a handsome mongrel. What’s more, the boy had all the power and dexterity of an All Black midfielder, and abdominals to match. James couldn’t even remember the last time he saw his own abs. Today though, McKenna’s musculature was hidden under regulation combat fatigues.
He came to attention before the burnished kauri desk. “Major Arnold.”
James waved away the younger man’s verbal salute as Dawson closed the door. “At ease, McKenna. Take a seat.”
“Boss,” McKenna said, using the SAS diminutive for his commanding officer. He folded his two-metre body into a chair with surprising grace.
James took his seat. “A job for you, McKenna. From Aitkens Street,” he said, referring to the Defence Force head office. Not that there was anything much left to run these days, the force whittled away to the bare bones. The work of short-sighted suits in government – she’ll-be-right types, who thought the country was perfectly safe, simply because it was stuck on the arse-end of the globe…
With his NZDF sense of duty and loyalty, my protagonist, Taine, is also a gifted matakite (seer), imbued with all the spirituality and mysticism this role engenders, and Horan’s portrayal of Rangi in Toa Fraser’s acclaimed film The Dead Lands reflected all of these qualities. In fact, this was Fraser’s vision, the director setting out to create a movie that combined an action film narrative with a deep regard for New Zealand history. As he tells Stuff reporter Siena Yates: “I wanted to tell a story in a way that I imagined our ancestors told stories.” In writing the Taine McKenna adventure series, I hoped to give readers that same experience: a New Zealand action narrative infused with deeper revelations about the complexity and beauty of New Zealand’s cultural heritage.
Cast of The Deadlands, Xavier Horan far left, director Toa Fraser, far right. (IMDb image)
Check out Lee’s interview about Into the Sounds
and her pictures of her four-legged author assistant, Bella.
Lee Murray is a ten-time winner of New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award for science fiction, fantasy and horror. Her books include the military thrillers Into the Mist and Into the Sounds, and supernatural crime-noir titles Hounds of the Underworld and Teeth of the Wolf (co-authored with Dan Rabarts). She is proud to have co-edited nine anthologies, one of which, Baby Teeth, won her an Australian Shadows Award in 2014. She lives with her family in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Find her at leemurray.info