Some frequently asked questions about myself and my writing
How do you pronounce your name?
The first syllable is not pronounced like the month of May but like the “Mi” in the name Mike. The second syllable is pronounced just like the name Ken.
This is how I say it: Mayken (Click to listen.)
And what are those dots in your last name?
The “ü” is called an “umlaut”, and the convention is to replace the dots by an “e” if the umlaut is not available, such as in e-mail and website addresses.
Hence www.maykenbruenings.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
You live in Paris. Do you write in French as well?
No. Though French is the language I live in, English is the language I write in.
I want to read the Mage Girl books. Where can I buy them?
I have rewritten the first Mage Girl book, Dragonflame, making it available only to my critique partners, but I hope to see it in print some day.
Have you written other books besides Mage Girl?
Yes, the paranormal fiction novel Emily in my Head. At the moment, I am actively looking for a literary agent to help me take the story from manuscript to print. You can find out more about it here.
I am currently working on a time travel story set in the early 16th century at the court of French Renaissance King Francis 1st, with the working title How I Saved New France. More about it here, but please keep in mind that it is a work in progress.
I also have a few short story works-in-progress, I am Delphine Lamarck, and Nunavut. You can read more about them in the Speculative Fiction pages on this site.
How long did it take you to write Mage Girl?
The first draft of Dragonflame took me three and a half years, but I started out writing by hand in a notebook, then on a PDA with a cute little folding keyboard, before I got myself a laptop. The first draft of Girl Mages only took half a year, by comparison.
How did you get the idea for Mage Girl? Was this your first book?
The first presentable one, yes. There was a silly holiday adventure story I wrote when I was about 15, a detective story that started out as a school essay, and a time travel story that laid the foundations for A Gap in Time (see in Speculative Fiction).
As for how Mage Girl began, read The Origins of Mage Girl on this site.
Do you drink as much tea as your characters do? And what’s your favourite flavour?
Almost. My favourite is Rooibos vanilla with milk. Contrary to my characters, I can’t drink tea without milk. Lots of milk, in fact.
Are there any real-world places that have inspired your stories?
Several. In the Mage Girl universe, the Numara watchtower was inspired by the Cordouan lighthouse in the Gironde estuary just off the French Atlantic coast. Takond looks much like the Tuscan village of Pitigliano. And the red cliffs of Numara are a reflection of the German North Sea island of Heligoland.
As for Emily in my Head, all the places described in the story are real, except for Clare’s family’s house.
The historic places in How I Saved New France all exist (or existed) in the real world. Since I started writing this story, I have visited no less than six Renaissance-area châteaux in the Paris area and the Loire Valley for research purposes.
Have you ever been to Nunavut?
No, though I’d like to go some day. I have to thank the Internet and my online friends for help in research. Where else can you find out average daytime temperatures in February for the Canadian Arctic with two mouseclicks?
Are you a competitive swimmer yourself? What’s your best stroke?
I am an active swimmer, and I do compete in swim meets, but I have never been (and never will be) anywhere near the level of my protagonist Clare. My best stroke is backstroke, though I wish it were butterfly.
Do you have a question? Contact me!