Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The 3:2 Interview with Kelly Meding

Welcome to the third 3:2 Interview, wherein I ask a spiffy author three questions about writing and two others that hopefully allow us to get to know her better as a person. (I also cheat shamelessly and work in several questions whenever I can, so you’re really getting more than five questions here.)

Today I’m very excited to have Kelly Meding with us, author of Three Days to Dead. Readers were hooked from the moment Evy Stone woke up in a morgue in someone else’s body, with only three days to figure out how she died—and why she came back. The second book in the Dreg City series, As Lie the Dead, is out today and you can snag it at your favorite bookstore or online here.

Writer’s Grove: Thanks for joining us, Kelly. I’ve recently heard that you’re going to write two more Dreg City books after As Lie the Dead, so that’s outstanding news for your fans (!!!), but I’ve also heard you have another deal for a completely different series. Could you tell us something about that, what's in store for Evy going forward, and maybe how you handle the multitasking between writing two series (possibly more if you’re hiding them), plus blogging, reading, and networking on top of your day job?
KM: Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your interview series! I'm so glad to be here.
   I'll tackle the Evy part of your question first.  If you thought she had a lot going on in THREE DAYS TO DEAD…well, to rely on an old cliché, you ain't seen nothin' yet.  Evy's going to go through the wringer, both emotionally and physically, over the next few books, but don't fear!  She will come out a much stronger, more well-rounded person for the experiences.  There's a lot of truth in the saying "that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger."
   In As Lie the Dead, Evy has to deal with the consequences of decisions made and actions taken in the first book (er, spoilers!)—the destruction of the Owlkins, her new not-dead status with the Triads, and her attraction to Wyatt.  Now that her clock has stopped counting down the hours, she has to face the complications of life in the body of Chalice Frost, and her part in the death of Alex Forrester.  Plus murder, betrayal, and magical hijinx.  You know, the usual.  Books Three and Four…well, I can't say much about them yet.  But I'm very excited to be able to continue Evy's story, flesh out the cast of supporting characters, and expand on the world of Dreg City.
   The new deal you mentioned is with Pocket Books, and it's for a modern superhero story.  I have loved superheroes since I was a child, and I especially love team stories. "The New Teen Titans" of the 1980's is my very favorite title.  But one of the things that is rarely addressed in either comics, shows or movies, is the collateral damage caused by heroes and villains fighting each other.  I wanted to write something where those hero/villain battles nearly destroyed the world (and each other), and the effect that collateral damage (ruined cities, a fearful public) would have on a new generation of heroes.  The first book in the series, WARDEN'S TRANCE, could be out as early as Summer 2011.  I'm beyond thrilled to have sold this series and to be working with Pocket.
   As for multitasking, I'm very lucky in that my day job is part-time, usually around 20 hours a week.  It gives me quite a lot of freedom to keep up with my other book-related responsibilities, such as writing, blogging, reading, and interacting with fans, as well as my family and social life.  When I was working a full-time job, my free time was more limited, but that's when you make sacrifices—I'll write 1,000 words instead of playing online poker for an hour; I'll write this blog post instead of watching this movie.  It's important, when time is limited, to prioritize.  And I'd be lost without my To Do list—it makes sure things get done.
WG: Though you probably don’t have the time to keep up with comics these days, did you read comic books when you were wee? What titles/heroes/heroines did you particularly enjoy, and why? Any graphic novels that make you purr? (I mean that in the figurative sense, but heck, if any of them literally make you purr, we probably need to know where we can get a copy.)
KM: As I mentioned above, "The New Teen Titans" (Wolfman/Perez) is my favorite.  I stumbled into it accidentally when I was eleven, because I found an issue with Robin on the cover.  I had no idea Robin had been part of anything besides Batman, so I was intrigued.  I read it, then began a several-year hunt to find every issue I could (this was before eBay, when the internet was still very, very young, so I had to actually find used comic sellers and hunt in person).  I love team stories and large casts (books, movies, whatever), and one of my favorite themes in fiction is "the family you make."  And the Titans were very much a family.  Plus they were young!  The idea of eighteen year-old superheroes was a fabulous novelty to a tween.
   For graphic novels, I absolutely adore Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" and "Batman: Year One," Joss Whedon's "Fray," Alan Moore's "Saga of the Swamp Thing" and "Watchmen."  I've also picked up the first two compilations of "Fables" and want to get my hands on "Runaways" very soon.
WG: Describe the ideal writing situation for you. Pajamas? Music? Beer? Music about pajamas and beer? Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write in terms of word count, or finishing a scene, or do you simply sit and say, “Well, let’s see what happens?” Do you think aspiring writers should adhere to a schedule or routine of some sort?
KM: While I'm definitely a beer gal, I don't like to mix it with writing.  Or any alcohol with writing.  I prefer to be clear-minded and alert.  Now, I do mix alcohol with brainstorming sessions—I got an entire novel out of a pitcher of sangria once.
   I don't know that I have an ideal writing situation.  I can write almost anywhere, in most circumstances.  But there's nothing quite as nice as spending a day in my pajamas, writing a fun, exciting chapter, with coffee and/or chocolate within easy reach.  The goals that I set for myself tend to be weekly goals.  I think setting a daily word count can be detrimental for me, because if something unexpected happens and I can't make my count, I feel like I've failed.  But giving myself a word count to shoot for by the end of seven days is more realistic.  Some days I may not be able to write; other days I have hours on end to get it done.
   And yes, I do think setting goals is very important for aspiring writers.  It's all part of learning discipline and Butt-In-Chair techniques.  Everyone writes at a different pace, and in different methods (editing as you go versus waiting until the draft is done), but setting word count goals is a must.  Even if it's as low as 300 words a day.  If you hit 1000 words, that's great!  If you only manage 250, you're close!  But set a realistic goal and aim for it.
WG: OK, so you're a beer gal. What about coffee and tea? Will you share your favorites of each?

KG: Coffee.  Mmmm....cofffee wakes me up in the morning and sometimes puts me to sleep at night (yes, I can drink coffee and go to sleep two hours later--I am a freak of nature).  I generally prefer brewed coffee to fancier lattes or milky drinks (but I won't turn one down if you put it in front of me).  One of my favorite coffees is Harry & David's Chocolate Cherry beans.  So amazing when freshly ground and brewed up, with a dash of Hazelnut creamer.  I'm also recently in love with a local convenience store's Chocolate Mint Iced Coffee.  It tastes just like a Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint (although I have serious doubts about actual coffee content).
  Tea.  For hot tea, I'm pretty boring and will occasionally dip into a good ole cup of Lipton with milk and sugar (I know, tea enthusiasts will hate me now).  I do like bottled tea, though.  Any sort of lemon-free sweet tea. Snapple has a yummy Nectarine White Tea that's So Good.  Nestea's Red Tea Pomegranate Passion Fruit is also super-yummy.  I could drink that stuff by the gallon (and used to until the soda machine at work switched from Coke to Pepsi).
WG: There are rumblings out there on the Internet(s) that perhaps the market for urban fantasies featuring vampires is a bit glutted at the moment—the idea being that Twilight skewed the market in one direction and now editors are flooded with knockoffs and would rather see something else. Might this be true? Where do you think the urban fantasy genre is headed? How does one anticipate the market and come up with something fresh?
KM: I think it's very true.  Vampire books are hard sells, unless you have something very unique in your hands.  Plus there are so many long-running, best-selling vampire series out there that in order to compete and win over those fans, you have to offer something new.  Of course, there are always readers who will pick up anything with vampires in it, and that's awesome! But as the UF genre continues to grow, and more new authors are picked up every year, readers are given more and more to choose from, which means becoming more selective with their time and dollars.
   The thing I love most about UF is that there is still so much ground to cover.  Look at some of the books coming out this summer that feature selkies, furies, ghosts, and djinn.  There is a wealth of lesser-known creatures to explore from dozens of different cultures and myths.  I'm looking forward to reading what my fellow authors have to offer, as well as the chance to explore some of them myself.
   Honestly, I think anticipating the market is impossible.  Even editors can't be sure what's going to be the next bestseller, or the next hot creature.  Look at all of the literary mash-ups coming out.  The first one or two sold really, really well, but some of the online chatter I've seen is that people are already getting tired of them.  Some folks are saying angels are next big thing.  The best advice I usually see is "write the book you'd want to read."  Don't write toward trends, don't try to write what you think will be popular.  What's hot now might not be what readers want in two years.
WG: Kelly, thanks so much for hanging out with us! Best of luck with As Lie the Dead and your new series!
Thanks so much!  Thank you for having me and letting me babble for a while!

1 comment:

  1. Happy release day, Kelly! I love the "no drinking and writing" policy. I recently came to the same typo-assaulted conclusion myself.