Below is an interview with a very cool and dynamic lady. She also happens to be a successfully published author. She’s recently been branching out into other genres, and I was interested in hearing her thoughts on that, and a few other things as well.
She graciously agreed to let me question her.
Here’s what I think is really great about this woman: she is incredibly smart, she is fun and has a fantastic sense of humor, she is open and accessible to her fans as well as with her fellow writers, and she also happens to be one of my favorite authors.
Her books capture me in a way that most others don’t. Her writing is real and raw. That is the best way I can describe it. If you’re like me, or most people, and didn’t have a picture perfect childhood or don’t live a Brady Bunch, cut out of cream cheese life as an adult, then her books will hit home for you. She has a style of writing that lets you peek into the life of someone else that is not a typical romance fairy-tale, but does have a happy ending.
She has a gift and I’m honored to know her.
Without further ado… May I present: Megan Hart.
1. Please give us a bit of a biography to start?
The short version is: I was born and I lived awhile. Then I did some stuff and things. Now I mostly write books. The long version is...boring.
2. When did you start writing?
The first story I remember writing was in kindergarten or maybe first grade. It was about vampires who captured ladies and put them in their underwear in a basement. I drew pictures. I saw it on the front of a comic book at the card shop, and I guess it captured my attention.
3. Was there a favorite writing teacher or mentor?
I did have a really tough English teacher in high school, I can’t say she was a favorite, but she definitely learned me mah bizness.
4. Are you an avid reader? Who are your favorite authors?
I am! Sadly, I don’t read for pleasure as much as I used to. There never seems to be enough time. I’d say my favorite authors are Jacqueline Carey, Robert McCammon, Clive Barker. I’ll always be a Stephen King fan. Love John Irving’s books, especially the earlier ones.
5. Do you have any writing rituals?
I listen to music. Often I’ll burn a specific scented candle, but mostly because I love the smell of it, not because it helps me write. I sit at my desk. I drink Coke Zero or sometimes coffee or tea. That’s about it. When I’m done with a book, as in completely finished, I do the “End of the Book Dance” which is...a sight.
6. How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
I don’t get writer’s block, of the sort that leaves me without ideas. I definitely suffer from lack of motivation, and some days the words come easier than others. Some days I can’t wait to get to the story, others, I’d much, much, much rather do something else. But I just work through it. This is my job. When it wasn’t my job, it was still my job. You don’t get to be a writer by not writing. You have to put the words down. Otherwise you’re just a wanna-be.
7. What are the most difficult aspects of writing?
Sitting in one place for a long time. I’m getting older and my day is spent in front of the computer. I’m sedentary. My hands are starting to hurt. I’m starting to feel creaky. I need to force myself into activity, and it’s hard to write and be active because the nature of it is that you’re at the computer or with a laptop or at least a notebook. The other thing is that I don’t feel like I’m ever finished with anything, my work is never done, and so consequently I could really work all the time. ALL the time. And I still feel like I don’t work hard enough.
8. Most authors say their characters find them and suddenly begin telling their stories. Is that what happens with your characters?
Hmm. I don’t usually view my characters as people, they’re firmly made up and I’m firmly in control. But they do get revealed to me, piece by piece, as I think about them. Actually, I’d guess I’d say the idea for the story comes to me first, and then I figure out what sort of people would live through that story, and how they’d react.
9. Are your characters sometimes composites of people you know or knew?
Sometimes. Don’t piss me off. ;)
10. What genre(s) do you write in and which is your favorite?
I write erotic fiction, erotic romance, romance, mainstream, horror, young adult horror, science fiction, fantasy...umm...a little bit of most everything. My favorite has always been science fiction/fantasy but I love horror too. I do really enjoy writing a good, sexy story thought, obviously, since the bulk of my published work is erotic.
11. You’ve recently ventured into writing Horror, what inspired you to write in this genre?
I started writing horror. (Remember the vampire story in first grade?) Always been a fan. Love to read it. Love to watch it. Wanted to write it.
12. What about writing Horror intrigues you?
The same things that intrigue me with writing anything else: what’s going on with the people. Yes, blood and gore can be scary, ghosts, zombies, monsters. But at the heart of it, we are more scared when we care about the people that the scary things are happening to. Stephen King’s a master at writing horror novels that are on the surface about the big bad thing, but when you really take a look at it -- Pet Semetary is about the fear of losing a child. The Shining is about how alcoholism ruins a family. I want to write things that scare us but also are stories about people.
13. Who is the ideal reader for your books, Horror and Romance?
Well, I’d say that readers with open minds who aren’t looking for something specific...I guess? LOL! I don’t know. Smart people? Pretty people. Umm...people who smell good. They should read my books.
14.Will your regular audience be able to relate to this new endeavor into Horror?
Some will. Some won’t even look because they don’t like scary, and that’s fine. It’s a beautiful, big world with lots of room in it for things we love, there’s not a reason for someone to read books they don’t like. But I think readers who like my romance because of the characterization will find the same thing in the horror. I hope.
15. Do your Horror books have a romantic element to them?
Some do. The Resurrected has a romantic through-thread, with some upcoming parts definitely a little bit more on the romance side.
16. What made you decide to self-publish them versus traditional publishing?
I decided to go with self-publishing for The Resurrected because when I planned them, there wasn’t a good place that I knew of to put out a serial. One story a month, short horror. I also had a vision of how I wanted them to be released and the pricing of them -- the first part is as free as I can make it (except places where it won’t go up as free!) and the other pieces are .99 each. I want to be able to offer them for free to my newsletter subscribers and offer coupons and all that sort of stuff to generate interest. Also, I wanted to make sure I controlled the release dates so I could keep myself to a schedule that didn’t interfere with my bigger projects.
17. Where is the best place to find your Horror books?
Right now, The Resurrected parts 1-3, with part 4 making its debut soon, are available on Amazon.com, BN.com, Smashwords.com. Part one is free from my website, www.meganhart.com. They’ll be available in other places forthcoming as they get distributed. My future horror work is still in the works, but I hope it will be available everywhere!
18. How has Twitter been for you overall in attracting potential readers and meeting fellow writers?
I’m not sure how it is for attracting readers, since I don’t approach Twitter as a place to solely promote. I like to talk on Twitter. I like to meet people. It’s fantastic for connecting with my fellow writers and fans of things and strangers and whatever.
19. What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Write. Write some more. Don’t do something just because it seems easy – self-publishing, for example. YES, of course you can bypass all those stinky pubs and editors that don’t see your genius, but...be honest with yourself. Look at your work with a super critical eye. Is your work really ready for publication? Maybe those editors are right. Or maybe self-publishing is the best venue for you, for one reason or another, but educate yourself first about whether or not that’s true. Work hard, write hard, revise, get critique, and don’t be afraid to cut words. Don’t be afraid, and this is the hard one, to put something away and say “this is not my best work.” Not every word you write is gold. Sometimes, you need to put it away.
20. If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
21. Any last parting words?
Live long and prosper!
Thank you again, Megan, for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you great success with your career and I know, since I’ve also read “The Resurrected,” you will have even greater success with this new phase of your writing career.
You can find Megan on Twitter and Facebook:
Take care, lovelies.