Friday, December 7, 2012

Q&A With Author Megan Thomason + Giveaway

Today I would like to welcome the super sweet author Megan Thomason to the blog for an interview. Megan is not only going to talk about her book and share personal stories she is also offering several copies of her book for some of you to win.


THERA’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

“Mr. Rosenberg, where on God’s green earth have you brought me?” I gasp. “Technically, Ms. Donovan,” Spud grunts between spasms, “we are no longer on God’s green earth.”

The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Life(TM). The cause sounds benevolent enough. Which prompts grieving Kira Donovan to agree to spend her senior year with the SCI at one of their more remote locations, Thera. Serving others will help her forget the explosion that killed her friends, and the promised payout is huge—a full-ride college scholarship. However, SCI training proves to be brutal, tests worse; plans for her, disturbing. And her job description? All kinds of wrong. Blake Sundry’s father, fierce adversary of the SCI, has trained Blake for a decade to join—and help destroy—the SCI. Ethan Darcton’s the son of SCI elite and expected to follow in the family business, but his heart’s not in it. Juggling what’s expected, what’s possible, and what’s right may be too much to ask any of them.

Full of competing agendas, romantic entanglements, twists and turns, daynight is Megan Thomason’s debut young adult dystopian novel and first in the daynight series.



BlueInk Review *Starred Review: "gripping young adult dystopian novel," "the compelling conflicts and high stakes drive the powerful narrative," "the surprises keep coming," “strong writing,” “the story is a page-turner, with engaging teenage characters," "Readers will be hungry for the sequels in order to find out what happens next."



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1.   Can you tell us what inspired you to become a writer? 

I have always loved to write. I’m one of the only people I know who actually liked to write papers in college (lots of English & literature classes). Then I spent years as ‘an idea person’ and translating my ideas into product, marketing, and business plans.

It wasn't until I helped my husband with the plotting and editing of his book that I decided to write my own stories. I found being completely immersed in a story and new world to be exhilarating. I have always had an overly active imagination and no shortage of concepts, so writing them down came naturally. Now I feel an intense need to write, and often can’t sleep until the words in my head are on the screen.


2. How long did it take you to write daynight?


daynight took a good 6 months to write and 6 months to edit. But the final product didn’t sit right, so I tabled it for a couple years, periodically coming back to make major changes/rewrites. Recently I had the ‘aha’ moment I needed and did a rewrite that I liked enough to release. It kills me a little though. A story is like a living organism and needs to evolve. I’m trying to suppress any desire to change the first book and channel the energy into book two.


3. What inspired you to write this particular book?


As I was hiking the canyons of San Diego on a particularly hot day, I ruminated on what it would be like to live in a place so hot that days and nights had to be inversed. This was the impetus for Thera (the setting for daynight), and from there the idea grew rapidly. The Second Chance Institute (ruling entity on Thera) and their purposes are purely figments of my twisted mind.


4. Do you have any special or unique rituals? Do write in the day or night?


I carry my 11” MacBook Air everywhere with me and write any time I can, day or night. Doctor’s offices, school pickup lines, haircut appointments… I will write anywhere. I prefer to write in long stints—up to fourteen hours—but I’m rarely afforded that luxury.

When I’m thinking, I often pace or chew (gum when I’m off sugar; Hot Tamales when sugar binging). When my neck starts to get stiff, I move to our massage chair and write there. I often wake up in the night with ideas and furiously type them onto the Notes app on my phone.


5. Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?

I love all three leading characters—Kira, Blake and Ethan—but they carry some hefty baggage and I like to laugh. Comic relief comes by way of Jax and Bailey, two seemingly minor, but important characters who provide a lot of foreshadowing. Jax gets my nod for today’s favorite character with his constant stream of double-speak.


6. What was your favorite scene to write and what was the most difficult?

Favorite… perhaps Ethan and Kira’s reunion, because she learns something about him that plummets him off the pedestal she has had him on. Let’s face it, no one’s perfect, and it’s naive to think they are.

Most difficult… Kira’s training with the SCI is full of exposition about how things work on Thera, so that the reader can ‘switch planets’ alongside Kira. A necessary evil, but I prefer writing high drama, action scenes and clever dialogue over lots of description.


7. Do you have a favorite story to tell about being interviewed about your book?


When asked whom I would cast in the movie version of daynight I went horribly OCD for hours, researching and sampling the candidates’ works to craft the perfect audition list. Getting the right combination of looks and acting ability—quite difficult.


8. What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

“Where do you get your inspiration?”

Writers are always told to write what they know. I’m not sure all knowledge translates to good fiction (and am pretty sure if I wrote about some of what I know it would be more of a horror story or come across as an invitation to my pity party). There’s some seriously messed up stuff that I’ve had to deal with, and the desire to escape reality fuels my imagination. As a result of the hard times, I’ve gained a huge pool of experiences and emotions to inspire me, from dark to uplifting, each giving more depth to my writing. I also know that humor can lift me on my bad days, and so always try to use humor as I write. The somber themes in the daynight series require comic relief. And while I try to avoid themes from the huge number of books I read, I know that the more I read, the better I write.


9. Which (if any) authors have been most influential to your own writing?

Classics: Jane Austen for the power of witty dialogue; J.R.R. Tolkien for an immersive world; Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky for gripping plots; L.M. Montgomery for character development; Louisa May Alcott for distinctive and memorable characters; John Steinbeck for proving twisted equals interesting; Anne Frank for exuding great strength despite despicable circumstances; George Orwell for ‘Big Brother’ and for looking at the world through distorted glasses, and in doing so, shedding immense light on our own society.

Modern: Suzanne Collins, for creating an ‘onion masterpiece’ (layer upon layer of meaning and reveal), for characters with real flaws, and for the brilliant anti-Disney ending; Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Harlen Coben, Suzanne Collins and Addison Moore for creating comic-relief characters (Adrian, Myrnin, Win, Haymitch/Effie, and Marshall/Tad respectively).


10. If you weren't writing, what would you want to be doing for a living? What are some of your other passions in life?

I’m very project-driven and I give 2000% to any given project at the time, almost none of which I could live off of. I already had a very successful career in the software industry, which I abandoned after becoming pregnant with child number 4. So now I fill my time with whatever I’m passionate about at that moment. Examples of past endeavors include helping produce local theatre productions (with theatre voted #1 in San Diego); assembling a world-class weapon collection; planning Gala fundraisers and community holiday parties; building a website; organizing a youth camp; reading 600 books in a year; world travel; house remodels; interior design; hiking and other exercise; various service projects. I get bored easily, so variety is essential. What’s next? Who knows, but I can’t wait to find out.


11. If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?


To write a book you have to be a) completely immersed in the world, b) be willing to read said book hundreds if not thousands of times, and c) be completely invested in the characters. So, as much as I’d like to say ‘Pride and Prejudice’ so I could swap barbs with Mr. Darcy, I don’t think I could tolerate some of the uppity snobs and all the lounging about and writing letters. So, I’m going to go with ‘The Hobbit’, because that’s a cool enough world to immerse oneself in for years. I’d have an excuse to learn how to use all the weapons in my collection. And, I’d have a movie coming out this year. The Hunger Games would be a very close second.


12. Tell us about the biggest challenges you face in your writing process.

My life distracts me—with five kids I have a lot to manage. There just aren't enough hours in a day to do everything I want to do. And I write best when I’m fully immersed in the story. Often real-life drama overshadows my fictional drama, forcing me to step away for a time. But I always return. If I hit a roadblock, I edit until inspiration hits.


13. Please list seven random likes; then do the same for dislikes, go way random. 

Likes:

- Mozartkugeln… first had them in Austria. Chocolate, pistachio and marzipan equal melt-in-your-mouth yummy.

- Dinner with my family… like a comedy show

- Chiropractor appointments… magic

- Torrey Pines Reserve in San Diego… stunning cliffs and hiking trails with a view over the Pacific Ocean; almost always see dolphins

- Date night… my husband and I go out to dinner every week; best thing I can recommend to keep a healthy relationship

- All Apple products, but I have extreme co-dependent relationships with my iPhone and MacBook Air.

- European architecture… Compared to today’s shoddily built, cost-controlled junk, I vastly prefer the fine workmanship seen in an intricately carved door in Florence, Notre Dame in Paris or Windsor Castle in England. I feel the same way about writing… I believe in taking the time to fully develop and craft a story, the characters and back stories, rather than jamming it out in a couple weeks, lightly editing and throwing it out there.

Dislikes:

- Any display of egregious driving (driving slow, running red lights, cutting people off, etc.)

- Bills (if they don’t have an auto-pay option, they will have to wait to be paid)

- Heights… I’m thinking of a particular instance of hiking to the top of a Mayan temple in Belize and watching my daughters dangle their feet off the edge… just the memory makes me want to vomit.

- Waves… almost drowned in post-Hurricane waves in Hawaii and have nightmares about waves to this day

- Lack of self-awareness… such as folks who use the entire conveyor belt at the grocery store for their three items, even if you are carrying 100 lbs worth of groceries in your arms behind them

- Leftovers. No one eats them; they rot in the fridge and grow nasty variations of mold (actually that’s kind of cool as long as you aren't the one cleaning it out).


14. Is there anything that you’re working on that we need to be looking out for?


Yes, expect the follow-on to daynight, arbitrate, in 2013.

I am also writing B*Lies, the story of a girl who makes the decision to run to escape her abusive father.

And perhaps I’ll get around to rewriting my original young adult romance trilogy: the thin veil, the thin line, and thin skin. As they stand, I love the stories and characters, but the writing isn't where I want it. While busy with the daynight series, I haven’t been able to re-immerse myself in the thin veil trilogy long enough to do the rewrites.



Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. 

A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn't typing away on her laptop, she's reading books on her phone—over 600 in the last year—or attending to the needs of her family.

Megan is fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac.


Daynight is Megan's first published novel, but fourth written one. 



Thank you very much for taking the time to visit with us Megan!



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