Welcome Back to the Fiction Reboot! In this week’s Friday Feature, FR blogger Hannah Hunt interviews Megan Shepherd, a young adult author rooted in the Gothic tradition. Her publications include the The Madman’s Daughter (2013), Her Dark Curiosity (2014), and A Cold Legacy (2015) of the Madman’s Daughter Trilogy, as well as The Cage (May, 2015). Her works are chilling and fast-paced, taking a twist to the old classics in her Madman’s Daughter trilogy, and readers can’t wait to find out more about The Cage.
Megan Shepherd was “born” into the book world, growing up in her parents’ independent bookstore in Western North Carolina. She is the author of THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER trilogy (Balzer+Bray/2013), and THE CAGE trilogy (Balzer+Bray/2015). When Megan is not writing, she can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. She is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.
Interview with Megan Shepherd:
- What’s your favorite genre to read and why? (Because every author reads)
I love literary fiction with a touch of fantasy, or genre fiction with a touch of literary…however that makes the most sense! Some of my favorites include THE NIGHT CIRCUS, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE, and NIGHT FILM.
- Where do you find the most inspiration from? Or, what do you do to get inspired?
I get inspired during quiet times. It seems like everyone is so busy now, but often we’re doing that to ourselves unnecessarily. There’s always the TV on, or the radio in the car, or we are rushing from email to email or meeting to meeting. I find that when I’m busy like that, I never get inspired. I need quiet alone time to clear my head. Then, often an idea will simply come to the surface.
- Is there a craft element you still struggle with while drafting? (Character arcs, world building, avoiding plot holes, etc.)
I often find high stakes to be my biggest frustration. I love to populate a world with complex characters, develop dynamic settings, and have a twisting plot, but I sometimes struggle to keep the focus on why all of the action matters, and what is truly at stake.
- What’s been your favorite part of being published?
It’s very satisfying to hear that my stories have affected readers emotionally. My editor and publishing team are invaluable in helping make the book as strong as it can be, but ultimately this is a solitary job and at the end of the day, I’m responsible for the story. That creates a lot of pressure, but when it works out, a lot of satisfaction too.
- What was the hardest part of drafting THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER trilogy?
Because each book in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER trilogy is inspired by a different Gothic classic (THE ISLAND OF DR MOREAU, JEKYLL & HYDE, and FRANKENSTEIN), it took a lot of careful planning to create one solid, original plot arc and at the same time weave in inspirations from the other books.
- Do you have any quirky writer habits? (Writing with a bowl of M&Ms on the desk, only writing after drinking coffee, writing at night/in the morning, etc.)
Whenever I find out one of my books is going to be sold in a foreign country, I go out to eat to a restaurant that specializes in that country’s cuisine to celebrate.
- If you could live in any time period besides the present, when would you live and why?
I think the 20s, 30s, or 40s. I’d like to live before the technology age.
What Critics Are Saying:
Shepherd masterfully blends yet another classic horror story into a new setting, and the continuing echoes of H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau combined with Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde result in a book that resonates with evil and suspense. – Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas, School Library Journal
A riff on a Twilight Zone plot unfolds into a richly drawn alien dystopian replete with romance and horror. – Kirkus Review
About the Contributor:
Hannah Hunt spends her free time writing about pickpockets, cyborgs, and global conspiracies. Just not at the same time. She’s served on the submissions review board for Flip the Page and the Wittenberg Review of Literature and Art, and has published several short stories. When she’s not working on one of her manuscripts, you might find her painting, burrowed beneath a pile of books, or plotting world domination.