Friday, October 25, 2013

Feature Friday: Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda is the author of Fracture and Hysteria. She spends a great deal of time thinking about the "why" and "how" of things, which leads her to get carried away daydreaming about the "what-ifs." Megan has a degree in Biology from MIT and currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and two young children.

Interview:

A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Megan:
Read. I’m sure this is a frequent piece of advice, but I think there’s a reason for that. Read A LOT. Read books in your genre, and books out of your genre, and books you never thought you’d ever read. Read books you love and books you want to throw across the room—and then think why you loved it, or why you wanted to throw it across the room, or why you picked it back up and started again. What made you care? What made you want to keep reading?

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Megan:
Oh, I can’t pick! Also, my answer probably varies depending on my reading mood. But here are a few of my favorites from the last few years: Looking for Alaska (for all the reasons); The Adoration of Jenna Fox (because it made me question what it meant to be human); I Am The Messenger (haunting and quirky and beautiful and I adore it); Gone Girl (pure brilliance, and I am filled with writer-envy).

A.L.:
Where did you get the idea for Hysteria?

Megan: 
I had a character in my head before the big idea for Hysteria, but I didn’t have her story yet—I had to write my way into it first. While I was writing, I got really interested in how memory works, and how the psychological can manifest in physical ways. But I think the big moment happened when I started thinking about the idea of haunting, and all the things that can haunt, and in all the ways they can haunt.

All of these ideas led me down the research-rabbit-hole, where I read about individual cases, such as that of a real-life soldier portrayed in the Band of Brothers miniseries (he went blind in a battle, though nothing was physically wrong with him). His story, and others like it, inspired the “what if” idea that became Hysteria.

A.L.:
Did you hit any snags while writing Hysteria?  What were they and how did you fix them?

Megan:
Oh, sure. Throughout the majority of the book, my main character isn’t sure if she’s suffering from paranoia or if there’s something really after her. I focused a lot on trying to get that line right—to let the reader feel that paranoia, but to also ground them firmly in the story so it wasn’t disorienting. I addressed it in pieces, with many rounds of revision, trying to view each scene from Mallory’s perspective, and then from a reader’s.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters in Hysteria is your favorite and why?

Megan:
Easy question: Mallory’s best friend, Colleen. Actually, I’m pretty sure she’s my favorite character ever. She’s fiercely loyal – and she would do anything for Mallory.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Megan: 
Sure! I started writing seriously when my youngest had just turned one (and was finally sleeping through the night). I wrote at night, every night, treating it like my job in the hopes that it would one day become my job. I queried and signed with my agent in the fall of 2009, and then spent 6 months rewriting that book from scratch (twice) before we sent it on submission to publishers. That was my debut, FRACTURE. I’ve been pretty much writing full-time ever since.

A.L.:
What are you working on now?  Sequel?  Something new?

Megan:
VENGEANCE, the sequel to FRACTURE comes out in February. I’m currently working on my 2015 book (currently called AFTERLIFE), which is a contemporary sci-fi where, much like DNA fingerprinting, the science of soul-fingerprinting also exists.

A.L.:
Do set out to write thrillers or do they just happen?

Megan: 
I’ve always loved thrillers. I didn’t set out to write a thriller for my first book – but I wasn’t quite sure what type of book it was (see question 6, about all that rewriting…) My agent asked if it was a thriller, and I was like, OF COURSE! A THRILLER! Which helped me give shape and focus to it during revision. But now, yes, it’s safe to say that I set out to write them.

A.L.:
What's your favorite place to visit in Charlotte, NC and why?

Megan: 
I live a little north of Charlotte, and my favorite place to visit is Lake Norman. I love the lake. My kids love the lake. It’s where we spend most of our summer weekends.

A.L.:
What do you do to get inspiration on those days where the words just don't want to come out of your fingers?

Megan: 
 Ugh. Those days. When the words won’t come, and I need some real inspiration, I read (see answer #1)

Thanks so much for having me!

The Giveaway:

Hysteria:  Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others.

In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.



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