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.
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