Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Megan Curd Interview
8/6/2011 10:33:40 PM
YA author, Megan Curd discusses her debut novel and the writing life!
LTS: Twitter is a regular treasure trove of writing talent and this is where I met today’s guest blogger! I’d like to introduce you to YA Urban Fantasy author Megan Curd! Not only does Megan have a new novel, she’s entering a whole different phase in her life as a new mom! Congratulations, my friend! I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers. I know you graduated from Northwestern College and you currently reside in Wisconsin, but tell us, what do you like to do when you’re not writing?
MC: Obviously, I love to spend time with my husband, son, and family! Besides the obvious, though, I love to snowboard. Winter is my favorite season and I always try to get on the slopes as much as possible with friends. I play video games with my brother, who lives in Ohio, when we’re both free (we both have kids, so that’s scarce now).
LTS: You have been reading since you could hold a book in your hands. When did you decide to start writing and seriously start thinking of becoming a published author?
MC: My friend I was living with while in my junior year of college actually convinced me to try my hand at writing. She kept saying she thought I’d be good at it, so during winter college finals, I decided to write Bridger. I’m a bit of a procrastinator! : ) I didn’t have any intentions of it becoming a true novel, nor did I think about getting it published, until a couple of my friends started encouraging me to do so. Bridger was written in about 5 weeks (first draft), and I began querying it in February of 2010.
LTS: I understand your debut novel, ‘Bridger’ is already garnering some great reviews! What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Ashlyn McVean?
MC: I actually called my mom one evening and told her about my friend wanting me to write, so we Googled “cool legends” (super scientific, haha), and uncovered the legends of the fae in Ireland. Immediately I thought there was a story that could be woven from what I was reading, and I jumped in. It was a lot of fun to research what was already in place, plus add my own spice to the stories.
As for Ashlyn, I think Ash is a lot like me in different ways. She’s just a teenage girl trying to figure out her place in the world. She’s not perfect, but she’s not a damsel in distress, either. I didn’t want to have a weak protagonist; she needed to be capable of holding her own in the world she’s thrust into unwillingly. I wasn’t sure how to write a completely fresh character, so many of Ash’s friends and foes have traits from my friends and I. They all know who they are in the story, so it’s kind of fun for them to see their personality traits on pages. I even borrowed a couple names. McVean is actually the surname of a good friend I met while working at an orphanage in Bolivia. I asked if I could borrow her namesake, and she obliged. I hope she approves of the resulting character!
LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open ‘Bridger’?
MC: Hopefully twists and turns they don’t see coming! You’ll get a trip to Ireland, along with other places you may not have imagined existed. There’s a couple cute boys, some fighting, and of course Ash has to figure out what to do with everything on her plate. I don’t envy her much with all the decisions she has to make!
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times and we both know what it’s like to have a literary agent we decided to part ways with. Do you have any advice you’d like to share with the author struggling to find representation?
MC: Don’t think that an agent is the end-all you need to get published. There are plenty of routes to publication, and they’re all great options. Never limit yourself. If you feel your work has the merit to be read, put the effort in to make it the best and cleanest that you possibly can, and present it to the world – be it through an agent, through going indie, or however you go. There is nothing wrong with exploring your options. Good books will be read, you just have to be willing to put the time and effort into making your writing the best it can possibly be.
LTS: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
MC: Patience and perseverance. Patience, because nothing happens overnight (or over two nights), and perseverance, because you WILL be rejected at some point. The important thing is getting back up and going at it again. I don’t even know how many times I was rejected before finding my agent, then even afterward I would get rejection letters from agents I’d queried 7-8 months ago. There will be bad reviews. Your book will not be everyone’s favorite. The important thing is to make sure you hit your audience as best possible, and learn from the mistakes made along the way. Continue to write. The more you write, the more effective your writing will become. Practice makes perfect.
LTS: Excellent advice, Megan! I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
MC: I am very much a relaxed writer. I always have been, but especially now with my son around, I really can’t set a word goal or time limit on my writing. I write when he’s asleep or with his daddy. Sometimes I’m just tired and need to sleep. There’s no shame in that for me. When the muse attacks me, I’m all over it, but I’m not one to force words down for the sake of it, either.
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
MC: I’m totally a pantser. It would drive me bonkers to try to figure out a plot line before I write. My characters definitely lead the story where they want it to go in their own time. I actually was working on the sequel to Bridger a couple days ago and it took a turn I didn’t expect. The character just kind of said, “Hey, this is what should happen.” I was taken aback. We’ll see what happens…I’m curious myself! : )
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
MC: Well, before my son, I absolutely loved going to Acoustic Café in downtown Eau Claire to write. I’d warn my husband that I’d be MIA for a few hours, go down there, get a coffee and a bowl of Texas Chili. It was great. The atmosphere is wonderful, I can people watch, and there’s great music. Now that my son is here, I’m going to have to invest a lot more in my Keurig coffee maker, haha. I love to sit and write with a good cup of coffee.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
MC: If I get writer’s block, I go to my music collection. Music drives my writing almost as much as coffee does, and many times I can see my characters within a song. Bridger has a playlist, as does my upcoming book, The Guardian Chronicles: Forbidden. I feel like I can make these soundtracks to my character’s lives, and it makes them more real. When I can hear what they might be feeling via music, it loosens up the block a lot.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
MC: JK Rowling by far is the most influential author for me. She can make you feel for any character. I was actually just talking with a friend about how much I love Severus Snape. Yes, I loved to hate him, and then I loved to love him. Any time he was on the page, he elicited emotion. For me, that’s a win as an author. Rowling can make you feel for any character, be it good or bad. I want my characters to be able to do that as well. She also made Harry’s world completely believable. Muggles, Witches, Quidditch, etc. all are commonplace, and you believe it. You can see it, touch it, taste it. She’s an excellent writer and definitely has a gift.
LTS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
MC: If I try to push my writing, it doesn’t come out nearly as good. I have to let it be a completely organic experience. There are days I want to write, and only can get a thousand words when I wanted to crank out five thousand. There’s other days that the five thousand is beyond easy and I can write for hours. I just go with it. As for how it’s touched others, I actually was talking with a friend whose friend stole her copy of Bridger. She’s an elderly woman and although I’ve never met her, my friend tells me she’s eating it all up. That amazed me. I love when I can read people with my words; it’s something I never saw coming. It is so much fun to get on twitter and have someone who’s read my book comment about a character like it’s a friend of their own. I hope that continues, because it really makes my day when I see/hear those things. It makes me want to write for a long, long time.
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
MC: I’m reading The Light of Asteria by Elizabeth Isaacs. I have wanted to read it for a while, but I just put it on my iPhone, so when my son is eating, I read chapters. It’s nice because I can read it whenever, wherever. It’s also on my Kindle, but the iPhone is a little easier to tote around. Isaacs’ book made it on my to-read list because I met her on Twitter, and she’s an amazing woman. I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with her and spending time with her in person, as my family lives in Ohio and she’s in Kentucky, so when I go home to visit, we’ll meet halfway, along with fellow author Hope Collier. We have way too much fun together. It’s great getting to meet fellow authors, and Twitter has allowed me to meet great people, such as yourself, Lorna! I’m truly blessed by all my author friends.
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from YA Urban Fantasies into other genres? Can your fans expect a sequel to ‘Bridger’ in the near future?
MC: I see myself working on both the Bridger series and The Guardian Chronicles series. Maybe something else, as well? Who knows. I really enjoy writing YA Urban Fantasy, but I won’t say no to anything else, either. I will always probably go with YA, though. I enjoy the genre too much, and I haven’t grown up yet myself. When I grow up, maybe I’ll write about other things. Right now, I just have too much fun doing what I’m doing. : )
And yes, fans of Bridger will hopefully be able to get their hands on the sequel to Bridger, tentatively titled Traitor, next spring. I’m about a third of the way through writing it right now, and if my son allows me to write as much as I’d like, I’m hoping for a spring release. In the meantime, The Guardian Chronicles: Forbidden, is going to be out by late fall. I’m going through revisions on that new series right now, and it will be going to beta readers very soon. I can’t wait for people to be able to read that one. I really enjoyed writing the characters for TGC.
LTS: Thank you so much for taking the time from your crazy busy life and dipping into your naptime to answer these questions, Megan! I’ll catch you on Twitter.
For more information about Megan Curd and her novel, check out:
Follow Megan on Twitter: .MeganCurd
Where to buy the book: http://amzn.to/kcXQ1G
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