Today I’m very happy to have Meagan Spooner visit Xpresso Reads for a fun interview. She’s the author of Skylark which, as you can see on my sidebar, I’m reading at the moment and I can tell you it rocks! My review will be posted next week so keep an eye out! 😉 Now let’s see what Meagan has to say about BEA, Science Fiction, and of course, Skylark.
Interview with Meagan Spooner
Q. Let’s start with telling us a bit about how Skylark came to be.
A. SKYLARK was a result of a lot of factors conspiring to hit me in the right way, at the right time. I’d attended the wonderful Odyssey Writing Workshop the year before, and had spent about six months digesting what I’d learned there and how to make it work for my own writing. I was just starting to feel like maybe I could try writing a novel again when a chance encounter with an op-ed piece on the energy crisis got me thinking about alternative power sources. Combine that with my lifelong love of fantasy, and the concept for magic-powered technology was inevitable. The idea hit me so hard that I started writing immediately (no outlining whatsoever) and wrote every day until I finished the book a couple months later.
Q. I saw that it was at BEA (Book Expo America) in June, tell us a bit about your experience of that event.
A. BEA was completely nuts. It was my first time there, and my first time attending any writing or industry conference as an author and not simply as a reader and a fan. It was a wholly different experience. I’m a pretty serious introvert, so the sheer numbers of people had me pretty well ready to hide in the bathroom at first. But luckily I adjusted, and I got to meet so many fantastic writers—and the best part was that I got to meet fans! It was definitely a “How do you even know who I am?” moment, but there were a few people who had read SKYLARK already who recognized me and stopped me for autographs. I felt like a rock star! I was exhausted for weeks afterward, though—took me a loooong time to recover! I can’t wait until next year, though.
Q. What was your most favorite part about writing or publishing this novel?
A. There are a lot of great moments. The moment when your agent says, “Guess what? You’re going to be a published author.” The moment when you tell your family. The moment you see your cover for the first time. A lot of firsts, and not all of them good (the first negative review, for instance, is always a bit of a shock no matter how well braced you are). But I think my favorite part of this whole experience so far is the very first fan letter I got from a young reader. She was thirteen years old, and her teacher had loaned her an ARC of SKYLARK she’d gotten from a conference. She told me I was her new favorite author. I actually printed that letter out and I keep it in my desk drawer, because sometimes in the midst of everything you need a reminder of why you’re doing this.
Q. Did you experience a lot of “writer’s block” while writing Skylark? How do you deal with it?
A. Actually, no. I think I made a preemptive strike against writer’s block by writing every day. I made the resolution that rain or shine, weekday or weekend, sick or holiday or on a plane, I was going to write at least 500 words every day until I finished the book. For me, writer’s block only really takes hold when you stop writing—you hit a point you find tough, and you stop, and then you lose your momentum. So you’ve got a double whammy working against you. Not only are you at a point that’s challenging to write, you’re also trying to tackle it without any kind of forward momentum. I had parts that were hard to write, but I clawed my way through them 500 words at a time, and I never stopped. I can say without hesitation that this particular resolution is the number one reason I ended up with a finished, saleable project.
Q. I saw in your bio that you traveled a LOT – what is your favorite place that you’ve visited?
A. Oh, that’s so, so hard. I loved Egypt, because I’ve been obsessed with Ancient Egypt since I was little, and seeing all of the monuments and tombs and antiquities in person was mind-blowing. I also loved Antarctica, because it was like visiting another planet—it was so far removed from anything I could’ve possibly imagined. But I think in terms of sheer oh-my-god amazing moments, my most recent trip to Africa wins out. There’s nothing like being three yards from a wild mother lion nursing her cubs, or watching an elephant playing in the mud outside your room. I can’t wait to go back.
Q. You seem to be a big science fiction fan from your bio and books, are there any sci-fi books that would you recommend to all sci-fi lovers (other than yours, or course 😉 ?
A. Aha, this one I can answer succinctly! Hands down, ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card. It’s one of my all-time favorite science fiction books—and if you read and like that one, ENDER’S SHADOW, the companion novel told from a different POV, is fantastic too. I think it’s an accessible book, too, easy to get into even if you’re new to science fiction, or if you usually prefer fantasy or contemporary. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and get on that right away!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Meagan! It was a blast to talk to you and I’ve GOT to get my hands on Ender’s Game!
Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She’s traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there’s a bit of every trip in every story she writes. She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there’s no telling how long she’ll stay there. In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads. She is the author of SKYLARK, coming out August 1 from Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner Books. She is also the co-author of THESE BROKEN STARS, forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion in Fall 2013.
Release date: August 1st 2012
by Carolrhoda Lab
Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.
Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children’s innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.
Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret – but can she stay alive long enough to find them?