Wednesday, August 31, 2011

TBG Author Interview: Megan Miranda!

Today we have an interview with the lovely Megan Miranda, whose debut novel FRACTURE hits shelves on January 3, 2012 by Walker Books for Young Readers! Here's FRACTURE's summery from Goodreads:

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine

-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

Sounds right up my alley! And now, on to the interview!

1) Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Not exactly. I always knew I wanted to write, so I wrote. But I did it as a hobby. It seemed like such a dream, to be able to write as a job. I didn’t pursue publication until I was in my late twenties, but I think I was still a writer, to some degree, for most of my adult life.

2) How did you come up with the idea for FRACTURE? Did it just come to you, or was it more of a gradual progression?
It felt like it came to me quickly once I started to write, but I think it was really just a culmination of all the questions I’d been thinking about for years.
How much of us is predetermined by the wiring in our brains, by our DNA? And how much of us is something more? Why do people who are supposed to live, die? Why do people who are supposed to die, live? Writing Fracture was kind of my outlet for all the questions that had been churning away inside of me for years.

3) Where do you draw your inspiration from while you are writing? For example, do you listen to music while you write or sit outside?
Like a lot of people, I’m not able to write during the day (in my case, I have not-quite-school-aged children). So during the hours that I am able to write, it doesn’t really matter whether I’m inspired or not. I try to seize the time that I have. Typically, though, I spend good chunks of the day thinking about writing, so by the time I sit down, I’m itching to get it all out.

4) How do you stay motivated to write? Even though you are a soon-to-be-published author, have you ever wanted to give up? And if so, how did you pull yourself back from the "edge"?
Like I mentioned, writing is the part of the day that I really look forward to. It’s been that way since I started writing seriously, and it hasn’t changed yet. I used to write every day, no exceptions. But now, I’ll take a break for a week or so if something’s not working, and spend that time catching up on reading instead. Usually things work themselves out in my head in the meantime, and then I’m excited to get back to it! I really, really love creating a story, and I would do this regardless of whether I was getting published. So, no, I’ve never wanted to stop.

5) Tell us about your writing habits: where you write, when you write, how much you write, etc.
I write at night after the kids go to bed. I write in my room. I write for a while. I write until I don’t feel like I can write anymore, and then I stop. I don’t know the word count – I actually don’t pay a lot of attention to it. Sometimes I’ll write one scene, sometimes I’ll write one chapter, sometimes I’ll stare at the same sentence for the entire night. Some parts take longer than others, and I’ve grown to be okay with that.

6) How do you deal with constructive (or not) criticism? And if it's negative, how do you deal with it?
Well, I love getting critiques from my agent and my editor and my critique partners. I actually get excited to get something back because I know they’ll see some way for me to take my work to the next level. I know they want this book to be the best it can be, and I really trust them. So in that way, I think I deal with criticism pretty well. Honestly, though, I don’t look much outside that group of people.

7) How many stories did you start writing before you found a "winner" and how did you know you'd found a keeper?
Though I had written previously, Fracture was my first novel. But I wrote it three times, from scratch, before I got it right. Everything was falling into place that last time, like I could see the scenes and the themes stretching out in front of me, falling into place. I felt like I was racing to get there. I guess that’s how I knew!

8) Do you have any new writing projects in the works? Can you tell us about them?
I just turned in the draft of my second contracted book. It’s another stand-alone, psychological thriller. In the meantime, I’m toying around with several new ideas that I’m excited about.

9) What were the most difficult and best parts of writing FRACTURE?
The most difficult part of the process was realizing it wasn’t working. Twice. And opening up a blank document. Again. It was actually kind of terrifying the first time. It got easier the second time. The best part of the process was that third time I was writing Fracture, because I could tell it was all coming together. And it was pretty damn exciting.

10) What was your reaction and what did you do to celebrate when you found out that you were getting signed by your agent and then later when you found out FRACTURE was going to be published?
My reaction, on both occasions, was to stop breathing until I started to get dizzy. When I signed with my agent, I mostly stared off into space thinking HOLY CRAP, because I hadn’t really told anyone I was querying. When I found out Fracture was going to be published, I made my kids jump around the house with me. Yeah.

11) What did your friends and family think when you told them you were writing FRACTURE?
I didn’t tell many people, mostly because I didn’t want the added stress of other people’s expectations. I wanted to do this for me. I think people knew I wrote as a hobby, but it’s not something I talked about a lot. I told my mom because I needed her to critique it for me. Yes, my mother is one of my critiquers…I know that goes against popular advice, but it really works for me. She knows me. And she’s tough.

12) Now that you're a soon-to-be-published author and a more experienced writer, what advice would you give to your unpublished self?
Fear not the delete key.

13) How long did it take you to write FRACTURE from first to final draft?
The first version took 4 months. The rewrites took another 6 months. So I guess that makes 10 months, but it sounds more manageable to me to say 4 months plus 6 months. :)

14) Can you tell us about your journey to publication for FRACTURE?
I think I probably touched upon this in the above questions. Basically, I wrote Fracture frantically from July-October of 2009, signed with my agent in November 2009, had a good talk with her about what wasn’t working (okay, make that several talks), rewrote, twice, from scratch, and went out on sub in May, 2010. Walker/Bloomsbury pre-empted, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

15) What kind of atmosphere do you prefer to write in, calm or chaos?
CALM. Definitely calm.

16) What is your writing process like?
I fly by the seat of my pants. Generally this results in me plotting myself into a corner. Typically, a really horrible corner. At which point I throw it all out. But by then I have a good handle on my characters, so I do a very broad outline (like beginning, middle, end). Then I write. And I kind of outline a few steps ahead to make sure I’m not making those same mistakes. It typically takes me 2 or 3 drafts for me to find my story, honestly. So by the time I go to write the final version, I actually do have a detailed synopsis based off the drafts I’ve already written. That whole rewriting thing wasn’t an isolated incident. Apparently, it’s just my process. I’ve come to embrace it. Luckily, once I know what I’m doing, the writing comes pretty quickly.

17) What is the best and worst part(s) about being a soon-to-be-published author so far?
The best part is that I get to do my hobby as my JOB. How cool is that? I honestly haven’t experienced a worst part. I’ve had a really fantastic publishing experience so far.

18) Do you have any odd and unusual habits which help you in regards to writing?
I don’t think so….but I’m sure I do. I probably just don’t know they’re odd. Story of my life.

To find out more about Megan and her books, visit her website! Thanks again, Megan! I loved getting to know you better and I can't wait to read your awesome book! :)

~Ella

8 comments:

bridgetstraub.com said...

Hi Aaron.
I'm a fellow campaigner and Megan's book sounds interesting and like something my 13 year old daughter would enjoy.

Richard said...

Good interview.

Kimberly said...

Great interview. I love hearing these success stories and congrats to Megan on her soon to be released debut. It sounds really, really good.

By the way, we're in the same Dystopian group for the Platform Building Campaign and I wanted to say hi! :)

Catherine Stine said...

Interesting interview and journey to publication. Good luck! Hi, Blogger Girlz, I'm over here from the Campaign thingy. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Following you now.

Sheri L. Swift said...

Just hopping by on the Campaign Trail to say hello! Looking forward to meeting fellow YA Writers in Group 13! I'm also on Twitter @sherilswift ; )

Elana Johnson said...

I just finished FRACTURE -- and loved it! Great interview. Megan is amazing.

The Blogger Girlz said...

Thanks for all the wonderful comments, guys! I really appreciate it! Hi Elana, thanks for stopping by our little 'ol blog, I'm so happy to have you here-you rock! :)

~Ella

Cristina said...

awesome interview. and one more book for mu must read pile :)