Hi, Megan! In case any readers haven’t read the book yet, can you tell me a little bit about Fracture?
Sure! Fracture is about a girl who survives 11-minutes trapped under the ice of a Maine lake and awakens from a coma 6-days later, despite brain scans that show irreparable damage. She soon discovers that she’s drawn to the dying, but she doesn’t know whether she’s predicting death of causing it.
Talk me through an average day when you’re working on a novel. Do you have a set number of words you have to write per day or do you set yourself different targets?
I have 2 small children, and at least 1 of them is home with me most of the time. For revisions, or if a deadline is rapidly approaching, I’ll call in the babysitters, but for the most part, I’m a night-time writer. I don’t have a word count goal, honestly. I spend a lot of time when I’m not writing thinking about writing, so when I finally sit down at the computer, I usually have a good idea of the scenes I want to get down. Sometimes the words come easily. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I write a chapter. Sometimes more, sometimes less. For revisions, I do set concrete goals, but when I’m drafting, the only goal I set for myself is to sit down and write. Every night.
In young adult fiction in particular, it’s important that readers bond with the characters - what do you think is the most important thing to get right when you're creating a character?
I definitely agree. I think the most important thing is to give yourself over to that character. The plot is not in charge; the character is. I think if you get that part right (making sure the motivations stay true to the character), everything else falls into place. Like you said, bonding with the main character is really the key, so I think creating that emotional connection is pivotal. Make someone feel, and hopefully you’ll make someone care.
What sort of research did you have to do for Fracture? How did you go about doing this?
I went to school for science, so a lot of the science information comes from my background. But I did read a lot of first-hand accounts of people who had fallen through the ice, people who experienced near-drownings—how they survived, or how they didn’t. How they were rescued, or how they weren’t.
The YA book market is a competitive place, what do you think sets Fracture apart from the pack?
I think Fracture falls on the cusp of two genres. When I began writing, I came at the story from the science angle and wrote it with what I considered a contemporary, real-world feel. When I finished, I realized that it was technically paranormal, which is really just something that can’t yet be explained by science. I hope that fans of both contemporary and paranormal will enjoy Fracture.
Some writers relate take great inspiration from music while they’re writing. Do you listen to music while you’re writing? If so, what artists/bands do you like to listen to while you write?
I actually don’t. I don’t like any noise when I’m writing. Not even a car passing by the window…
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you always been this way?
I am a pantser…at first. This usually results in a giant mess, so then I go back and plot everything out. But at that point, I know my characters pretty well, so it feels more natural. I can’t plot from scratch.
Can you tell me a bit about your journey with Fracture? When did you first come up with the idea and what were the timescales involved between the first draft and the novel being accepted for publication?
I wrote the first words of Fracture I believe at the start of July, 2009. The story came fast, and I started querying agents in October of 2009… at which point I realized I really should’ve plotted more. I signed with my agent in November, 2009 after we discussed that I’d probably need to rewrite all of it—but she took the leap, and so did I. I rewrote Fracture from scratch. Twice. It took 6 more months to get it right. She sent it out to publishers in May 2010, Walker/Bloomsbury pre-empted it, and I am so, so happy there!
How important do you think social media (i.e. Twitter/Facebook/blogging) is in today’s market for a writer?
I’m not sure. I think the book, the writing, always needs to come first. That said, I love Twitter and Facebook because of all the people I’ve met. I really enjoy social media now… But… I don’t want to say it’s not important, but I think if you don’t want to do it, it’s not the biggest deal in the world. You can’t do everything, and at the end of the day, the book wins. Truth is, before my first book sold, I didn’t do any of it (except for a personal Facebook page). I’m very glad I do it now, but not doing it didn’t hurt in terms of getting an agent or a publishing deal.
Is naming characters important to you? What processes do you go through to come up with names for your characters?
In theory it is, but the names just….come. So by the end of a draft, I’ll read through and think, “Seriously? That’s her name?” But by then, she’s in my head that way, and I can’t think of her as anything else.
Do you think your teenage years have influenced you as a writer? If so, how?
Definitely. I loved to read the darker classics, and that was definitely reflected in my early writing. But the other half of me was a science geek who loved research—it took me until recently to fully merge those two sides of me. But they were there even when I was a teenager.
What books do you think we should be looking out for in 2012?
There are so many books I’m excited about it 2012! I’ve read a few great debuts recently: UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi & SLIDE by Jill Hathaway.
Thank you so much for your time, Megan. Before you go, could you tell me about any projects you have in the pipeline we can look out for?
I have another stand-alone psychological thriller set to come out in early 2013. It’s in the same vein as Fracture, in that I think it walks the line a bit between the science and the paranormal, but it’s also very different from Fracture. It’s about psychological things that can manifest into the physical, the thin line between the real and the imagined, and memories.
Thanks so much for having me!
There you have it. I loved reading Megan's answers, especially hearing how her journey from first draft to publication went. It was pretty quick from first draft to publication if you ask me!