Steamboat teen author publishes 3rd book in sci-fi series
Mackenzie Ostrowski was in Silverthorne browsing the aisles of Target when she was recognized.
“A girl came up to me and asked if I was Mackenzie Ostrowski, and she told me that she had read and loved my books,” Ostrowski recalled. “It was awesome.”
Ostrowski, a sophomore at Steamboat Springs High School, said being a young author has changed her life, but it wasn’t always easy.
After publishing her first book, “Captive Assassins,” when she was just 13, she went on to publish the second book, “Parallel Crimes,” in what she had imaged to be a trilogy. The third installment, “Nameless Chaos,” was released in July.
“Nameless Chaos” was originally supposed to be the last book in the science-fiction trilogy, but Ostrowski said when she was nearly done with it, she realized that it wasn’t going to work as just one book.
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“If I were to leave it on its own, it was going to be way too long,” she explained. “I also felt like the second half of it was very rushed. I realized it wasn’t my best work, and I was a little disappointed. I couldn’t put it out like that, but I love the first half of it, so I just cut it in half.”
The book follows protagonist Rohana Walters as she finds herself in a new role in her life after her predecessor is murdered.
“It’s a story of her journey and general growth,” Ostrowski said. “As it goes on, we find out that not everything is as it seems.”
Each book in the series follows the same characters, and each takes a big turn. According to Ostrowski, “ideas just come to her,” and she prefers writing on a whim versus planning out the plot beforehand. Her first two books took under a year to complete, but “Nameless Chaos” proved to be more difficult for her.
“It took me a year to finish it, and it was a really hard year,” she said. “It got to a point where I was setting expectations for myself that I knew I would never achieve, and I knew I was going to disappoint myself.”
As she grew increasingly upset, she realized that her mental state was reflected in her writing.
“I looked at the work and thought, ‘This isn’t me.’ I had no clue what I was doing or where I was going, and all I cared about was impressing everyone else with my work,” she said.
She made a conscious effort to recalibrate and got rid of her goals and schedules by creating new patterns.
“I knew it would be worth it in the end — I didn’t want to rob myself of being proud of my work for the sake of impressing other people for 10 minutes at a dinner party,” she said. “The biggest takeaway was that not everything is going to go according to plan all of the time. No matter how powerful, dedicated or successful people are, there is always room for failure — and that’s OK.”
With “Nameless Chaos” under her belt, Ostrowski is currently hard at work on what will be the fourth book in the series, titled “Corrupted Intelligence.” That book will close out the series, and Ostrowski will move on to other projects, which she has already begun to conjure up.
“My next book is going to be a standalone book,” she said, “and it’s going to be fantasy rather than science fiction. Fantasy is my favorite genre, so I’m excited to see how different the writing ends up.”
Ostrowski’s books can be purchased at Off the Beaten Path in Steamboat, as well as on Amazon.
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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