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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Interview: Meghann McVey

Fantasy author Meghann McVey is dropping by The Writing Greyhound for a chat about her life, her writing, and most importantly of all, her novel Rescuing the Prince.

Firstly, please could you introduce yourself?
I grew up in Hawaii and currently live in New Orleans. Although I have a Master of Arts in English, I have worked in commercial nuclear power since 2008. 
I’ve been writing since high school and am very excited about the rise of indie publishing. In a way, I feel I’ve seen the beginning of a new era, a transition from traditional publishing houses to opportunities for everyone to get their work out there.
How did you first become interested in writing?
I’ve always had an active imagination and was fortunate to grow up in Hawaii with friends who also enjoyed pretending, inspired by 80s and 90s TV shows and printed media. As I became older, I discovered Dragon Lance, The Wheel of Time, and was introduced to fanfiction, and that’s where I began putting the pen to the paper, myself. Fanfiction evolved into original fiction when my sophomore English teacher praised my work.
rescuing-the-prince, meghann-mcvey, book

Tell me about Rescuing the Prince.
Rescuing the Prince is the story of Leah, a California girl who unexpectedly enters another world trying to rescue her boyfriend Gerry from a dragon. On her journey to save him, she finds her courage while facing overwhelming obstacles. Although Leah is about 20 years old, I see the book as a coming-of-age story. I draw heavily from my experiences moving from school to work and being in a different and difficult environment. The value of good allies in such situations can’t be overstated.
Why did you decide to write for young adults?
I lovingly describe my first novel, Lachlan of Marinus, as a cinderblock. It’s long and dense and draws a smaller audience that likes that sort of thing. Rescuing the Prince began as a thought exercise to make my writing accessible to a wider audience, preferably a situation like Twilight, a series which is meant for preteens but can be enjoyed by teens and adults. 
Although I enjoy history, heroes, and elevated language, I also love a good romance with strong characters. I wanted to see if Rescuing the Prince would be faster to write (it was; 3 years part-time versus the 10ish years part-time it took to get Lachlan of Marinus where I wanted it). Additionally, I think Rescuing the Prince reflects where I was in life, new in position at work and taking on responsibilities.
What drew you to writing fantasy?
We have my dad to thank for that. When I was in 2nd grade, he read a bit of The Hobbit to me every night before bed until we finished the book. As a kid in the late 80s and early 90s, I was able to enjoy many animated fantasy shows on TV such as Adventures of the Gummi Bears, My Little Pony, and Sailor Moon. And in school, I read various fantasy paperbacks such as the Shannara series, Dragon Lance, and the Wheel of Time. All this to say, I enjoyed the source material so much, I began to create something new with it myself.
Did you find writing the book a challenge?
Finding time to write was a challenge because writing has always been my side gig. My schedule as a nuclear professional interfered in lots of ways – massive overtime, unexpected shift changes, and more. I liked to write on weekends, but these weren’t guaranteed. 
Sometimes I managed to write before the work day started when on “normal” day shifts.
I made real progress by taking two “writing vacations” in 2016. I literally took a week’s vacation from work (twice), went to my parents’ house because I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend, and finished a good quarter of the book.
How did you get inspiration?
I like to listen to music. Sometimes stuff would happen at work (good and bad things), and I’d think “I can use this.” And some variation would show up in the book. Queen Arencaster is based heavily on one person I worked with. Faxon has elements of another individual. You may have guessed that I butted heads with both of them. And now I have a private joke about them in print. I’m so bad.
What’s your writing process?
I used to just turn on the music and write. Now I like to outline, heavily. That way if a plot element or scene isn’t working, I can junk it without feeling like I invested lots of time and pretty prose.
meghann-mcvey, author

What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Promoting. My mom and dad helped me a lot with it, telling people in our community about my books. I’m so grateful for that. 
As far as writing itself, sometimes in revision, I realize I have to make a scene/plot element consistent by painfully going back over the draft and looking for setup opportunities. Frequently this is the result of not following Orson Scott Card’s advice to build the world first. (It’s such good advice, but I’ve not followed it yet... I drew the map for Lachlan of Marinus after the book was complete, and I keep meaning to make a map for Rescuing the Prince.) I’m hoping outlining and thinking more about the work in advance helps with this.
What do you love most about writing?
Inspiration in all its forms. I think it is the closest thing to magic I will experience in this world.
Which authors inspire you?

  • Ray Bradbury
  • Shakespeare
  • Stephen King
  • Tolkien
  • Gene Wolfe
  • Amanda Hocking
  • Charlaine Harris

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Having a day job that pays your bills will make your writing more true to yourself and the story.
What are you currently working on?
A sequel to Rescuing the Prince called Star Crossed.
What are you reading at the moment?
The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and The True Believer by Eric Hoffer.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Ideally, I’d become rich and famous from it, though paying the bills and saving for retirement with my writing would be a close second.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

  • Jogging
  • Hiking
  • Languages and cultures
  • Japanese animation
  • Fine Arts
Rescuing the Prince is available to buy now. 

Will you be reading the book? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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