Friday, October 03, 2014

Author Interview: Megan Chance: 8 Historical Romances, 7 Historical Fiction, a YA Fantasy Trilogy

Megan Chance is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of several novels. Her latest bestselling work of historical fiction, Inamorata, (August 2015) was released in August, and the first book of her young adult trilogy,The Shadows¸ as well as a historical fiction short story, The Elopement, were published earlier this year. MeganChance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.

Your real name and pen name? 

I have no pen name. Megan Chance is my real name.

About your education?

I have a BA in Broadcast Communications from Western Washington University
Megan at Quebec Citadel, 1969

What career did you plan during your education days?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was six years old, and pretty much everything I did through high school was in pursuit of that goal. My high school sent me to writing workshops and arranged to have me study with a locally published author my senior year. But in college I became disenchanted with the whole idea of majoring in English, and I disliked Creative Writing courses. I experimented with a couple of different things (archaeology was always an interest, and geology, and visual communications) before I ended up in Journalism and then Broadcast Communications. I worked in television news as a photographer for a few years, and learned an enormous amount about the human condition (perfect fodder for a writer), but I wasn’t getting any writing done, so I quit, became a waitress for a while, and then worked for a commercial photographer before I decided to write full time.

What languages you can speak and write? 

I took two years of high school Spanish. I also took a year of German. I don’t speak or write either very well.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life? 

Actually, I’m inspired by almost everything. The world is a very interesting place.

What hurts you most in this world? 

Injustice infuriates me. Intolerance is a close second.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why? 

I think I would choose Lord Byron. I’ve been fascinated with him since I was thirteen. Lady Caroline Lamb once called him “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” and I think he deliberately cultivated that image for his own purposes. He had so much talent and passion, and he was also impatient, highly sensitive, and cruel. He was complex and interesting and I’d like to see through his eyes for a day.

What is your favorite genre and why? 

I don’t have a favorite. Obviously, I love historical fiction and young adult fiction and fantasy, but I also read a great deal of nonfiction and biography, and I love 19th Century literature and French literature. I read across all genres—except for horror, because I’m far too susceptible, and True Crime, because I worked too long in news to have any taste for it.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing? 

I started writing very young. I wrote the first story I remember in fourth grade. It was called “The Horse from Outer Space.” I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t telling myself stories. I really write for myself—to tell the stories I want to read—but I have to admit there’s a lot of satisfaction in opening up a reader’s world to new possibilities and new ways of thinking.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work? 

I’ve published 8 historical romances, 7 works of historical fiction (with more to come), and a young adult historical/fantasy trilogy (also more to come, both with the trilogy and with other YA works, hopefully), as well as one short story (hopefully more to come there as well). For a listing of my published work, go to www.meganchance.com.

What are your forthcoming writings? 

The second book in my young adult trilogy, The Web, will be out January 20, 2015. I’ve just finished a new adult historical fiction, which is the second book I’ve set in Venice. It’s a ghost story. There’s no publication date scheduled for that yet, but watch my website for updates.
What genres you write in and why? When I first started writing, I was really drawn both to historicals and to fantasy—there’s something about world-building that I obviously really enjoy, and I have always loved research and history and the big drama of fantasy. As I matured as a writer, I began to lean more and more toward historical fiction, but lately, I’ve been throwing a bit of fantasy in there as well. The young adult series is a perfect mix of that, and there are touches of the paranormal in my more recent historical fiction projects as well. I tend to gravitate toward stories with a lot of human drama and emotion.

What keeps you motivating towards writing? 

I love telling stories. Even if I weren’t published, I would keep writing for myself.

If Writing a Book is taken as a project, What are the key essentials you take care of in Project Management? 

The most important thing to know is how long it actually takes you to write a book, so you can plan your time accordingly. Then the biggest essentials are research, actually planning and writing the story, and editing. I tend to do the first draft quickly, and then spend most of my time editing it. You also have to plan time for your agent’s and editor’s changes, as well as copyediting and proofing the finished pages. And you have to add in time for promotion and marketing. For me, it takes about 4-6 months to research, a year to write and edit, and then the rest I fit in as it comes up—generally two weeks to a month and a half to do the changes my editor asks for, and a week here and there for the rest.

How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments? 

I work six-seven days a week, taking care of email, promotion and marketing stuff as needed in the morning, and then at about eleven a.m., I start to write. I work until 3:30-4:00 or later if I’m at the end of a book and approaching deadline. Because I’ve been doing this for a while, I know about how long a book is going to take me to write, and when I can spare the time to fit in a short story or something else along the way. I am extremely disciplined because I have to be. I have children and a family and friends, but this is my career, and if I wasn’t disciplined, I would never get anything written.

What are your future plans? 

I always have new projects in the works. My plan for now is to keep writing until something stops me—assuming it could.

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why? 

I like them both for different reasons, but since I got my Kindle, I have to admit that I love the convenience of it. I love being able to order a book on a whim and have it be there immediately; I love being able to highlight; I love the ability to have several books with me at a time. Also, holding physical books is uncomfortable for me—my hands are always falling asleep or losing circulation—and that doesn’t happen with an ebook. I still order my favorite books and authors as physical copies for my library, and I love being able to look at covers as they sit on my coffee table (I miss that in ebook), but more and more often I’m likely to have both an ebook copy and a physical copy of my favorite writers. I’m much more willing to try a new author in ebook. Right now, I’d say the percentage of ebook to physical books for me is about 70-30, in favor of the ebook.

How much real life goes into a fiction writing? 

I think every writer pulls a great deal from real life in writing fiction.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author? 

Yes. I think it’s probably the most important aspect—to be able to ask questions you have no answers for, to let words and images and ideas take you to a different place and to be able to follow a thought wherever it might take you. That all requires imagination.

Your favorite time of the day? 

Evening, just after dinner, when everyone is home and comfortable and peaceful and safe.

Your zodiac/ sunsign? 

I’m a Capricorn.

Your favorite color and why? 

Midnight Blue. I love the deep, rich color and the hint of green in it. I’ve loved that crayon color since I was very small. It’s dark and mysterious and lovely.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading? 

I just finished reading My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, and I’m currently reading Trespass, by Rose Tremain

Your favorite book and why? 

My favorite book is The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox. I’ve read it six or seven times. I don’t know why I love it as I do. It obviously speaks profoundly to something in me, but I could not explain to you what that is.

Your favorite movie and why? 

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It has everything. Beauty, high drama, emotion, and important themes. It’s Tolkien’s story almost perfectly realized, in my opinion.

Your favorite food? 

I love fried chicken and pizza.

What is the force that drives you? 

The search for knowledge and understanding, challenge. If a project scares me—if I’m afraid I can’t do it—that’s when I know it’s what I should be doing.

Some quickies: 

Sun or Moon? Moon
Laughter or Smile? Laughter
Morning or Evening? Evening
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Mountain or Sea? Sea
Long Drive or Short Drive? Short Drive
Silence or Conversation? Silence
Water or Fire? Water
Air or Earth? Earth
Mars or Jupiter? Jupiter
Tulip or Rose? Tulip
Red or Blue, Blue
Left or Right? Left
Glance or Stare? Glance

First thing you do in the morning after waking up? 

Feed the dog

Last thing to do before sleep? 

Put on lip balm

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote: 

I have two favorites: “Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” (Neil Gaiman paraphrasing C.K. Chesterton). Or: “Try not. Do … or do not. There is no Try.”(Jedi Master Yoda)

Links & other relevant details:
ISBN-10: Inamorata: 1477823034; The Shadows: 1477847189
ISBN-13: Inamorata: 978-1477823033; The Shadows: 978-1477847183
ASIN: Inamorata: B00H8UTBNC; The Shadows: B00GP2IOSW
Publisher: Inamorata: Lake Union Press; The Shadows: Skyscape Publishing
Twitter handle: MeganSChance  
Goodreads author page: www.goodreads.com/meganchance

Any other links: www.meganchance.com
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