Meagan Spooner-Interview with the Author
The Reading Cafe would like to welcome NEW YA author Meagan Spooner
You can find Meagan at these LINKS:
TRC: Hi Meagan and welcome to The Reading Café. We recently had the chance to review your new novel SKYLARK, which will be released in October 2012. Now is our chance to learn about the author behind the book.
TRC: Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Meagan: Hi, and thanks for the welcome! Well, the short story version is that I’m a young adult author from Virginia, with a weakness for dark fairy tales and epic space operas. But some things the internet may not know about me? Hmm… well, I can stand on my head indefinitely, or until the blood rushes to my head and I pass out. I’m six feet tall. And I know how to fend off a drop bear attack.
TRC: Your biography states that you have travelled extensively around the world
including Egypt, Greece, Chile and the Artic Circle. What were the
occasions to visit such exotic locales?
Meagan: I was lucky enough to have the awesomest parents ever. I definitely inherited my love of travel from them. Ever since I was a baby, they’d take me and my older sister with them when they traveled the world. And they tended to gravitate toward the unusual and the exotic, as opposed to the more common vacation destinations. The best part is that even though now my sister and I are both adults, doing our own things, my parents still take us with them when they travel. I’m actually headed for southern Africa in a week!
TRC: What is your favorite travel destination and why?
Meagan: I’m torn, because if we’re talking about my favorite place to visit on repeat, that’s Australia. I love it there, and I love the people. I have so many friends there, and it’s a great place to live. But if we’re talking exotic vacations, then I’d have to say my favorite was Antarctica (though Egypt runs a close second!). There was just something completely awe-inspiring about being able to stand on the desk of the ice-breaker ship and watch the icebergs float by under the midnight sun… there’s no experience on Earth like it. It was truly like being on another planet.
TRC: Your older sister started you on your love of science fiction. Who is
your favorite science fiction author and book, and why?
Meagan: Hmmm. Straight up science fiction? I’d probably have to say ENDER’S GAME, by Orson Scott Card. In my mind, science fiction is all about self-examanation–we use it like a lens through which to view our own humanity. And there’s nothing quite like the moral questions raised in ENDER, presented side by side with the sheer brutality humans are capable of. Of course, that makes it sound like a super dry, philosophical book! It’s also just really exciting and impossible to put down. Not to mention packing a twisty punch that still gets me every time I read it.
But my love of fantasy developed hand in hand with my love of science fiction–which is why it’s not always clear which SKYLARK is. For fantasy, I’d say some of my favorites include STARDUST by Neil Gaiman, THE LAST UNICORN by Peter S. Beagle, and THE GOLDEN COMPASS by Philip Pullman.
THE GIVER by Lois Lowry is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s not really hard science fiction, but it’s not fantasy either. It’s dystopian, but not in the way we think of dystopian novels today. It’s a quieter book, but no less harrowing. I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.
TRC: SKYLARK (Young Adult novel) will be your first published novel. What
inspired you to write your first book?
Meagan: I think what inspires me to write is the need to reach out to other people I might otherwise never meet. It’s not just about telling a story, although I do love that part of it. But it’s also about forming a connection with someone while they’re reading your words. From “once upon a time” until “the end,” you get to speak directly to that person’s heart through your characters and your world. To me, that’s magic.
Meagan: SKYLARK takes place in a world much like our own, except that instead of electricity, magic powers technology. In the past, this power was abused to the point where wars broke out–now, the only safe haven in the world is a city inside a dome. Or so Lark believes. When she finds out that the rulers of her city plan to enslave her and make use of her newfound unique abilities, she decides to risk everything and flee beyond the Wall. No one has left the city and survived in over a century, and so Lark finds herself in a magic-ravaged wilderness unlike anything she could have imagined. She must fight her way through the magically twister monsters outside, and the machines her city have sent after her, searching for a fabled place where people like her can be safe.
TRC: Did you find anything particularly challenging with writing SKYLARK?
Meagan: Lark is alone for much of the book, which was extremely difficult. The easiest way to reveal information about a character is through their reflection in the people around them, so I had to find ways to bring the reader into Lark’s psyche without the benefit of those ready-made mirrors. But the cool thing was that this actually ended up being a real help–the necessity to give Lark someone to interact with when she first leaves the city led to the creation of a creature which quickly became one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written.
TRC: If the Skylark trilogy becomes a runaway hit with the readers, would you
consider extending the series beyond 3 books?
Meagan: I don’t think I’ll ever write another novel about Lark after the end of the trilogy. I could see a short story here and there, but I know where the series is going and her story will be done at the end of the trilogy.
That said, I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a prequel about Lark’s older brother, Basil. He left the city a few years before Lark did, but never returned, a disappearance that continues to haunt Lark throughout her story. Basil’s story is almost as fascinating to me as Lark’s, but we only learn about him in glimpses and flashes as Lark’s journey progresses. I’d love to go back after finishing all three Lark books and write about the boy who really started it all.
TRC: THESE BROKEN STARS is another Young Adult novel (and the first book in the trilogy) you have co-authored with Amie Kaufman due for release in the summer of
2013. Will you please tell us the premise behind this new series?
Meagan: THESE BROKEN STARS is a dual-POV novel following two people who were never supposed to meet–Lilac, a socialite celebrity and daughter of the richest man in the universe; and Tarver, a young war hero from the humblest possible origins. They’re thrown together when the vast spaceliner they’re both traveling on crashes, and they have to depend on each other to survive on a planet which, by all galactic records, doesn’t exist. As they make their way across the wilderness in search of rescue, they begin to unravel the mysteries surrounding the abandoned planet; and together, they uncover a terrible secret that sets into motion a story spanning worlds.
Each book in the TBS trilogy follows a different couple on a different planet, and each builds upon the mysteries and revelations in the previous novel. Three worlds, three loves stories, one enemy.
TRC: What are you currently working on?
Meagan: I’m finishing up the first polished draft of the second book in the SKYLARK series, and working on line edits for THESE BROKEN STARS. Although having two trilogies going simultaneously is pretty hard, whenever I do get a spare moment, I spend it on a project titled HUNTED–a retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in medieval Russia. Given my current work load it’ll probably be years before I can do too much with it, but I love working on it.
TRC: Have you learned anything during your writing experience that has been
beneficial to you as a writer?
Meagan: Are you kidding? I feel like I learn something new and invaluable every day. But I think the single most important thing I learned happened when I first started writing SKYLARK. I used to think that creativity was something that came in inspired flashes, that you could just wait for your muse to show up. But this is rarely consistent enough to build a career on. I learned that books may get started through a burst of inspiration, but they get finished with hard work, every day, whether you feel like writing or not. If you want to be a professional writer, if you want to make books your job, you have to treat it like a job. One that you do every day, even on the days when you’d rather be outside, or playing video games, or reading.
Despite all of that, I still think it’s the best job in the world.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Meagan: I love talking to readers and writers alike, and I don’t bite! So if anyone has a question or a comment, don’t hesitate to stalk me at any one of my various internet haunts.
Flourless chocolate anything
Favorite TV Show
Last Movie You Saw
Dark or Milk Chocolate
What book are YOU currently reading?
BITTERBLUE, by Kristin Cashore.
TRC: Meagan, we would like to thank you for taking the time to answer our
questions. We wish you the best of luck with your writing career. Please
keep in touch and let us know about your future novels and storylines.
Meagan: Thank you so much for having me here at The Reading Cafe! It’s been a blast answering these questions.