Monday, 5 August 2013

Megan Johns - A Shore of Secrets

My guest today is the talented author, Megan Johns, who lives in a pretty village in the UK countryside complete with a duck pond and stocks on the village green.

Welcome Megan!

Your latest book - A Shore of Secrets is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It reminded me of some fabulous holidays I've had in Italy.

Okay, would you like to learn some interesting facts about Megan? Her writing routine? Her favourite hobby? Then here we go...

What was the first book you read that really impressed you? Can you explain why?

I was a late starter when it came to reading for pleasure, having been force-fed some very heavy, philosophical literature at school. Unfortunately, that put me off reading for years thereafter. One of the first books to re-engage me was The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. The story of the love that develops between Meggie and the Catholic priest Ralph de Bricassart is heart rending. But more than that, it is also a gripping family saga, a powerfully moving story that left a lasting impression on me.

Who are your 5 favourite authors, whether living or dead?

Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Joanna Trollope, Maeve Binchy, Rosamunde Pilcher

What is your favourite snack?

I’m a banana fiend and I eat at least one a day. They have to be just so, however, and I don’t like them over-ripe.

Which usually comes first in your mind when writing a story? The characters? The plot? The setting?

For me, the setting comes first. I choose places with which I am familiar and which have an emotional significance, often as a result of holidays. When I go anywhere, I like to delve beneath the surface to explore the indigenous lifestyle and what makes people tick. If I subsequently transport myself there mentally and put my characters in the setting, I find it sparks my creative juices. The environment influences how the characters behave and interact with each other, which in turn determines how the plot shapes.

Are you a pantser or a plotter when writing a story?

In my first novel I was definitely a pantser. Now I would say I’m a hybrid. I don’t think I could write to a rigid format, but at least I start with a plan of where the novel is heading. I am definitely more aware now of the need for discipline in order to meet genre requirements.

Do you have a rigid writing routine or do you fit it into your busy day whenever you can?

When I am writing, I tend to work mostly in the mornings. I would love to say I write whenever the muse strikes, but I find that a regular routine works best for me. I firmly believe no effort is wasted even on a ‘bad’ day. It’s surprising how you can re-shape material that looked destined for the bin when you re-read it with a fresh mind.

Have you tried writing somewhere other than your home? Where?

Sometimes I scribble notes when I am out, especially if something captures my attention. When it comes to actual writing, however, I tend to stick to my home environment. I guess it’s like going into the office every day and my brain seems to engage into work mode much better when I am in my usual writing place.

When writing, do you take breaks or continue on until a mealtime?

I make countless cups of tea to keep me going whilst working. Generally, I don’t stop for a break until I’ve achieved the day’s target or lunch, whichever comes first.

What is your favourite hobby that has nothing to do with being an author?

Currently, I’m trying to resurrect my schoolgirl French. It’s such a beautiful language and I just love listening to the sound of it.

Who is your favourite character from A Shore of Secrets and why?

Of course, I am in love with the hero, Giovanni. But my favourite character is Abi, the heroine. She’s independent, intelligent, determined and gutsy, yet vulnerable enough to be likeable.

Which scene/chapter did you spend the most time on? Why?

The first chapter, definitely. It’s so important to try to engage the reader’s interest from the outset.

Are you presently writing a story? If so, please give a few details.

My wip is a romance story about an upper class Brit who inherits the crumbling family manor and her efforts to save it from the hands of a developer.

Thank you, Megan, for answering my questions. I'm sure my blog readers enjoyed finding out a few facts about you. Now it's their turn to make comments, and then they'll be entered into the draw for a copy of A Shore of Secrets. I'll need each commenter to also include an email address, just in case s/he happens to be the winner. The drawing stays open for three days - until midnight 7th August.

Buy Links for A Shore of Secrets

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

MuseItUp Publishing

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Cymllon - A Magical World.

Most of the events that happen in my Fantasy story - Taken - are set on Cymllon.
It’s a world where creatures and beings we consider to be mythical really do exist. Dragons, lycans, centaurs, gryphons, demons, angels and the Faery Folk live there. Demgels {half demon, half angel} and even some humans spend their days on this magical world. It's a place where romance might bloom, but danger is ever-present. If you should find your way to Cymllon, be ready for adventure, surprises and magic. You might even meet the one you're destined to love.
I first introduced the reader to this world in the final book of my Angelic Chronicles trilogy. It was somewhere I didn't expect to give too much attention to, but it quickly drew me in. Since discovering Cymllon, I've written two further stories that take place there, and I'm busily writing a third.
I've tried to make certain things similar to what are found on Earth, but also others that are not the same. Some familiar objects have different names, e.g. a phone is a voicer, a taxi is a transportercab and a fridge is a cold cupboard. Money isn't used there. City dwellers have little, metal tablets into which virtual cash amounts are either deposited or withdrawn by way of special machines. Those who live in the rural areas trade with each other. Time passes more quickly on Cymllon compared to the passage of time on Earth, yet its inhabitants live much longer than we do. Just like here, some individuals are good while others are evil. Demgels, in particular, fascinate me. They can be ruled by their demonic side or are guided by the angel within.
The hero of Taken is Dreydon, a demgel. He's not evil, but I had fun allowing his demon to take control now and then. One reviewer apparently appreciated this, saying, "Dreydon was a study of contrasts existing in harmony." Esther is the heroine. Being abandoned on the day of her birth, she has grown up with issues of self-worth. Kidnapped and taken to Cymllon by one demgel, she's soon rescued by another, Dreydon. I hope my tale of how two individuals from different worlds become attracted to one another, also what happens between them, will let you escape for a few hours from your everyday life.