Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Interview with Megg Jensen

We're stepping back to Megg Jensen's Anathema for today, as Megg was kind enough to do an interview for The Edible Bookshelf. To learn more about Reychel, the Cloud Prophet, and her role in Megg's books, read on!

1. What was your inspiration for The Cloud Prophet Trilogy? 

First, I wanted to thank you so much for having me on your blog. :D

Anathema came to life one beautiful, cloudy afternoon. My husband, kids, and I were driving to my parents' farm when my daughter said she could see things in the clouds. I asked which shapes she saw, but she sighed and said, "No, not shapes. I can see the future." At that moment, Anathema was born. It all kind of snowballed from there.

2. Hair is such a simple thing, something many of us take for granted. Why did you choose having hair or not having hair as the social divider for your society? 

My husband had recently started shaving his head. It was just something that was on my mind, I guess, and it wormed its way into my story. I also had this vision of a girl with a fox tattooed on the back of her head. It was striking, but quickly evolved into a painful brand from a cruel overlord.

3. Was there any special way you went about choosing the characters' different gifts? 

Sometimes I was just as surprised as the reader. The only gift I purposely chose was Reychel's. Everything else was a pleasant surprise - particularly Krissin's gift in Oubliette.

4. Gray was an interesting character in the first few chapters, yet he was not in the majority of the book. Why did you choose not to use him more? Does he play a bigger part in the following books? 

Gray was a part of the life Reychel left behind. I'm also not a huge fan of the stereotypical love triangle. I wanted her heart available and open to love someone else. The crush she had on Gray was a product of her sheltered life.

5. Reychel's progression from completely naive to beginning to understand the treachery of the world built slowly throughout the book. How did you plan out her development? 

I tried to make sure Reychel had a lot of growth and she continues to do so all the way through the trilogy. The end of Severed reveals a far more mature Reychel than the girl we meet on page one of Anathema.

6. When you sit down to write, do you plan out each book/trilogy before you start, or do you write and develope a story at the same time? 

I don't. I'm what we writers call a "pantser," meaning I write by the seat of my pants. My books usually begin with one thought, one tiny idea, and the storyline blossoms while I write. Once the first draft is done, I do comb through it very heavily to make sure all the characters and the story itself develop the way I want them to.

7. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? 

When I'm writing I need to be alone. I can't deal with interruptions. I have no idea how people write in public places, like coffee shops. I would be too distracted. However, I do play music, really loud, and (this is weird) I sing out loud while I'm writing. I'm not sure how my brain allows me to sing words that I'm not typing, but it works for me.

8. You are one of the owners of DarkSide Publishing, correct? How did being an owner of the publishing house alter the publishing experience for you, being the writer as well as the publisher? 

DarkSide Publishing is not a typical publishing house. It's a group of authors who work together to make their books the best they can be. Publishing is a very involved business. I'm never just a writer except for when I'm first drafting. Everything else I do comes from my publishing eye.

9. Can you tell us a little more about The Cloud Prophet Trilogy and The Swarm Trilogy? 

I can tell you that the two trilogies are related. I wrote a short story, The Initiate, that is a prequel to both, but ties them together. Sleepers (Book 1, The Swarm Trilogy) takes place 20 years after the end of Severed. Readers will see characters from the Cloud Prophet Trilogy appear in the second book in the series, Afterlife (releasing summer 2012).

10. DarkSide Publishing is not currently accepting submissions, but can you tell us more about your publishing house? 

We are not taking submissions because we are all over-extended right now with our own work. DarkSide isn't a true company. It's really more of a critique group on steroids. I'm currently the process of incorporating my own business, which will be the official publisher of my books. It's really exciting and scary at the same time.

Thanks again to Megg Jensen for taking the time to answers my questions. It's always great to get to know more about authors and their writing. Thanks, Megg!