Friday, June 19, 2015

Megan Tayte Interview

Hello Luvlies! A while ago I had the privilege to interview Megan Tayte, and it was pretty fun!

Question 1:
What was your inspiration to become an author?

Other authors, fundamentally. I've loved books since I was very young – in fact, my clearest memories of early childhood aren't of my own life, but of story worlds. Then one day when I was staying with my grandparents, it occurred to me to ask how books got made, and my grandmother explained the process. That was my Eureka! moment: once I realized that such a thing as ‘author’ existed, I knew I wanted to be one when I grew up. My grandmother was my biggest supporter in that dream, and she was so thrilled the day she went into her local bookshop and bought my first book. She’d have loved to have read The Ceruleans, and would have recognized a lot of inspiration from the times we spent together. I dedicated the third book, Wild Blue Yonder, to her.

Question 2:
What is your biggest writing related ‘pet-peeve’?

That there aren't enough hours in the day to write! Ignoring for now the other demands on my time from my family and my business, when I carve out ‘Megan Tayte writing time’, I frequently find I don’t get any fiction writing done – I’m busy planning, marketing, publishing, designing. I’d love to have more time for pure writing; there are a lot of stories haunting me that I want to get down on paper. One day!

Question 3:
Would you consider writing one of your biggest achievements? How so?

Yes. Because I wanted to do it so much for so long, and the journey to doing it was really tough, so it’s meaningful that I persevered and got there in the end. When I stand back and look at what I've done with my own writing, I’m happy that I’m setting a good example for my kids: showing them that it’s great to have a passion; that achieving a dream takes a heck of a lot of sacrifice and hard work; that you can be brave enough to create something and share that with the world. 

Question 4:
Have you ever based your characters on someone you know/have met in the real world?

The only character in The Ceruleans who bears a resemblance to a real person is the heroine, Scarlett. Like her I was independent at a young age, have always been happy enough in her own company, am sensitive when it comes to emotions, and definitely am not at ease in a loud, crowded nightclub. But we differ widely too: for example, Scarlett overcomes her fear of the ocean to become a pretty kick-ass surfer. That’s not me at all: I’d remain as Scarlett is at the start of the book – bobbing about on the waves, clinging to a surfboard for dear life and in dire need of rescue. Ideally, by a very hot surfer, of course.

Question 5:
Do you have any funny, strange, or outright odd writing rituals? What are they?

Because I write for a living, I've had to strip out ‘I can only write here...’ and ‘I can only write when...’ and ‘I can only write if...’. When deadlines are always looming, you just have to get on and write.
But I do have one absolute essential for writing: ear plugs. I don’t need silence in order to write; I frequently write in cafes, and I love the buzz. But I need noise filtered into the background. When I really want to concentrate, I wear a double layer – foam earplugs with squishy silicon plugs over the top. I get some odd looks in cafes, but the writing flows beautifully so I don’t care. I just have to remember to remove the earplugs before going up to the counter to order another coffee, or the conversation ends up going something like:
Barista: Hmna ghrt albslo?
Me: Huh?
Barista: Hmna ghrt albslo?
Me: Can’t hear you – what did you… Oh, hang on. [Rummages in ears and pulls out plugs to the bewilderment/disgust of all around.]

Question 6:
How long have you been writing?

Since I knew how to hold a pencil and form a word! I have some very early attempts at stories in a keepsake box, in which I display vast enthusiasm for using lots of wonderful, interesting, amazing, brill, fabulous, awesome (etc. etc.) adjectives in my prose. 
Somewhere in my teens, I lost confidence in my ability to write. I had two English teachers, one who told me I had talent, and one who couldn't stand me and knocked me down whenever she could. So doubt crept in.
After university, I figured I must be able write fairly decently to have got a good degree, so I applied for jobs that required writing skills. A few years of writing for a living later, it finally registered that I could write. So I began writing not just for clients, but for myself. Minus the long strings of adjectives! 

Question 7:
Where do you get your ideas for your books?

There are so many sources of inspiration for me, from art, music, theater and literature to architecture and scenery. The story in The Ceruleans is quite personal to me, based on a mix of experience and fiction woven from my imaginings and ponderings. It’s based on my own efforts to make sense of a world in which people close to you can die; in which being true to yourself can be incredibly difficult; and in which love – for people, for places, for a way of being, for a passion and an ethos – is the only reason to hold on.

Question 8:
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing for my day job or for myself, I’m usually with my kids. Lego, play-doh, blowing bubbles, coloring  reading books, baking, feeding the ducks at the park – it’s not rock ’n’ roll, but I love it. Once the kids are in bed and I've finished writing, I usually get an hour or so to myself. I spend it in our ‘snug’, which has a seaside theme and lots of paintings of Devon and Cornwall seascapes on the wall by the artist Claire Henley ( I read novels – anything from crime fiction to romance – or watch TV: dramas series and comedies, mostly, plus property shows, as my husband and I renovate.

Question 9:
What was one of the biggest things you learned while writing your first novel?

To trust the process. Whatever happens in the writing – when you’re planning, typing, daydreaming – it’s all taking you where you want to go. If you just relax and let the writing come, you’ll reach that ‘click point’ where everything makes sense. Just be prepared for that process to take a very, very long time and a lot of work!

Question 10:
If you could go back and re-do any part of your books, would you?

No. I’m a professional book editor, and I know that I could edit my books endlessly, picking away at them. But the more you do that, the more you lose the magic that happened when you wrote the first draft – you lose the joy of writing, and I think that carries through into the book. As Steve Jobs said, ‘Real artists ship.’ You have to ‘ship’ what you created – you have to let it go, so that you can write the next thing. Because the next thing will be better, and you’ll learn so much as you write it.
All art is, by nature, imperfect, and when you know that, you don’t need to go backwards and re-do, only forwards and do.

Question 11:
What do your family & friends think of your writing?

My husband was the first person to read any of my fiction. I was quite nervous about showing it to him, because he’s a pull-no-punches Scotsman who says exactly what he thinks – and somewhere deep inside I’m still the girl he first met who wants him to ‘get’ me. He did; he loved that writing. Actually, I've teased him ever since because his first words after reading the novella – a humorous romance – were, ‘I’m surprised it’s that good...’ Since then he’s been my biggest champion, from sitting up late to help me brainstorm plot directions to working through countless iterations for the cover designs – which he creates.
My number-two fan is my six-year-old son. He talks about characters from my books as if they’re real, asking what Scarlett's been up to today and suggesting ideas (for him, I worked in a dinosaur mention in Book 3). And because he’s a budding artist, he often illustrates scenes for me. Here’s one:

Displaying GDW.jpg

As for the rest of my family and my friends, they’re supportive too, and proud that I’m working towards a dream I've talked endlessly about for twenty-odd years. From fellow mums in the playground to old school friends to former colleagues to family close and distant, I've been touched by the interest and the respect for my creative pursuit. 

Question 12:
What helps you get past writers block the most?

I haven’t encountered that problem with my own writing. If my pace is slowing, it’s a signal I’m tired, and after a good sleep the words flow again. If anything, I have the opposite problem – a constant desire to write! Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck wrote of: ‘the overpowering necessity to create, create, create – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, [your] very breath is cut off...’ That’s exactly how I feel.

Question 13:
Is there any news you can share about your next novel? 

The next book in The Ceruleans series is called Devil and the Deep. I can’t share much without dropping spoilers, but it’s my usual mix of poignancy and an edge of humor. In this one Scarlett has a lot more control over her life, but that means struggling with difficult choices. And if I had to choose one word to sum up the book, it would be this: family.
I’m editing Devil and the Deep and I hope to publish it this summer. Then I’ll be preparing the explosive finale to the series, Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully, to release by the end of the year. 

Stay tuned for next weeks secret post!
Much love,

No comments:

Post a Comment