|Megan Whitmer, author of BETWEEN|
Hi Megan! I'm so excited you agreed to stop by the blog for a chat. You are one of the people I "know" online that make me smile and marvel on a daily basis. Not only have you written your debut novel (BETWEEN - Spencer Hill Press - July 2014) but you run #writeclub on Twitter, are active in All The Write Notes, and you have an awesome author Vlog at your Youtube, Scrambled Megs channel. And you have a family! So I have to know, how do you channel all this energy! Tell us your secrets!
One of the best motivators is the people who read the blog posts, watch the vlogs, and participate in #writeclub. YA Misfits and All the Write Notes have lots of awesome, interactive fans, and I generally get positive responses to my vlogs. #Writeclub is one of the best things I’ve ever played a part in, and it’s grown from one random tweet on a Friday night in October 2012 to an international Friday night tradition with its own twitter account (@frinightwrites). I have moments where I think I’m going to have to give up something (and I have actually taken a step back from #writeclub for the time being), but I enjoy all of these activities so much that I hate to walk away from any of them. I think that’s one of the key things—I don’t commit myself to anything I don’t fully love and believe in. When something becomes more of a drain on my energy rather than a task I enjoy, it has to go. Being a mother and writing novels are the two things I consider my full time jobs, so all of these extras are hobbies for me. I have times where I’m not good at keeping up with it all—I’ll miss a post here or there or completely forget to record a vlog—but for the most part, setting up reminders in my calendar and keeping a notebook filled with random blog/vlog ideas helps me stay on track.
I think there's an important life lesson in there. It's so easy to want to get wrapped up in every single bit of the debut author and online writer community and it's hard sometimes to say no even when you know it's outside your comfort zone. Like street teams, for me. Totally freaks me out. But you've started one recently! Can you tell us a bit about what you see as the advantages for marketing, or is it just for fun? What are some other authors' street team strategies you've watched and said "Hey, that's awesome, I totally am going to do that!" Maybe you can convince me!
I wasn’t really sure about street teams, either. I’ve seen other authors use them, but I just wasn’t sure that I necessarily needed one. I feel like I get an incredible amount of support from the awesome group of friends I have on twitter already, and I didn’t really think there was a reason to ask people to sign up to say they’ll help me promote Between when they’re already doing so.
But then I remembered that there’s a huge world beyond twitter (I have a tendency to completely forget this, which is silly, but twitter makes the world seem so small!). I’m hoping members of my street team will help me promote Between on a more personal level by equesting it at their local libraries and book stores and moving the Between talk to their individual areas, off line. Mostly, I feel like my street team is just another way for me to talk to people. And as we both know, I’m a super big fan of talking and interacting. I think of it as more of a community than a marketing tool. I want them to feel some ownership in Between’s success, since they’re excited enough about it to want to be a part of it!
What? A world beyond Twitter? Joking. Sort of. And that makes perfect sense!
And this world beyond is a perfect segue for you to tell us about the world in your debut novel, BETWEEN. I absolutely love the cover and want to know if the dark/colorful split has special significance.
Thank you! I’m thrilled with how the cover turned out. Each half is actually showing the same world in a before and after sense. That world is part of what’s at stake in the book. The contrast on the cover also reflects the difference between Charlie, my main character, and Seth, the character I have an inappropriate crush on. Charlie is an artist and she's full of personality and emotion. She chooses heart over logic every time. Seth, on the other hand, is more of a realist. He's serious and a little dark, because he has to be in order to perform his job in the Fellowship—keeping Charlie alive. When Charlie goes somewhere or meets someone new, she’s overcome by the beauty and magic of it all, whereas Seth looks beyond that and focuses only on the darkness and danger. I love the way they interact with each other. As Charlie says in the book, “Seth’s world is black and white. While I prefer to draw that way, I have deep appreciation for the gray areas, too.”
Charlie sounds like my my kind of main character. Is there an artist you imagine her work might be like or that she would admire? A particular painting that invokes Charlie for you? And since I know you personally LOVE music, which song would Charlie snapchat herself lip synching to her friends?
I don’t really have a particular artist in mind. Charlie uses all sorts of mediums, and she prefers creating realistic representations of things she’s seen and places she’s been in order to remember them. One of her most prized possessions is a sketchbook containing all sorts of drawings of home. As she goes from living in the mortal realm to the mystical realm, where the line between what’s real and what isn’t changes, she starts to develop more of a taste for art that represents an emotion rather than a specific person or place.
Oooh, music question!! It’s funny because while I’m obsessed with music, Charlie sooooo isn’t. Her brother, Sam, is the music nut in the family, so if she knows anything that isn’t mainstream, it’s only because he’s made her listen to it. I can totally see her busting out a Don’t Stop Believin snapchat video. She’d love Phillip Phillips’s Home, but she’d never know all the words.
You wrote a character not into music? Wow, that's kind of awesome. I mean, you know how characters dictate who they are despite our authorly interference, seems like Charlie had her way with you.
Okay, final questions. Next three books on your TBR pile, the liquid in your cup, and what's playing on repeat. And if that were to come in video lip synch form I would totally put it on my blog!
Oh yeah, Charlie was an artist even before I realized it. I’d write a scene and Charlie would start talking about colors and lines and I was like, "Oh, she appreciates beauty." Which led to, "Oh, she likes to create beauty." Which led to, “Well that’s just fantastic, Charlie. I know NOTHING about drawing or painting.”
Next three books in my TBR pile: Nil by Lynne Matson, which I’ve been waiting on for what feels like forever, Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay, and This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales.
Liquid in my cup: I’ve been surviving on coffee lately, and depending on the time of day it may or may not include a splash (or three) of Baileys.
What’s on repeat: Pharell Williams’s Happy, and OBVIOUSLY I will make you a lip synch video. (we're waiting, Megan! :))
Thank you so much for the interview, Jaye!
Thanks so much for stopping in, Megan, and don't forget to stop back next week when I'll be talking to Kelsey Macke, author of DAMSEL DISTRESSED.