Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Conversation with Meredith McCardle, Author of THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN

Meredith McCardle, Author of THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN

Hi Meredith! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today. Your book, THE EIGHT GUARDIAN, releases this May from Skyscape. I'm so intrigued by the premise of a girl testing beyond her age range and having to leave everything and everyone she loves behind. Do you think that moment of first independence is important in Young Adult literature?


Oh, absolutely. For me, that budding sense of independence is what helps shape young adult literature. You find themes of independence--of figuring out who you are in this world--at play in most, if not all, YA. I think back to that time in my own life, and the memories that jump out most in my mind are those where I took those first few steps on my own, so to speak. Maybe that's why I've always been drawn to stories that feature, as you put it, the moment of first independence. 

Huh. I've never really thought about it before, but I think you're on to something, Jaye! Do you have a degree in psychology or something?? 

Armchair only, LOL :) - I think we authors have lots of armchair degrees, you know? Which bears the question, what's the strangest thing you had to research for The EIGHTH GUARDIAN? (or things!)

Oh my gosh, how much time do you have? Because THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN is time travel, it takes place in dozens of different time periods, which meant dozens upon dozens of questions popped up I had to research. Let's see, I researched everything from the price of gold at the turn of the nineteenth century to museum security systems in the 1990s to what, if any, makeup upper class colonial women would have worn. But hands down, the weirdest thing I did for this book was spending a solid two hours on the Internet trying to determine what year trash cans were added to Boston Common, a park right in the heart of Boston. That nearly stumped me. 

It's those little details isn't it when you're writing about different eras?

So on your blog I saw you were working on an edit letter for the second book in your Annum Guard series. What has been the biggest challenge of writing a sequel? Though I guess time travel must give you a little advantage!

I wrote the first book as a standalone, and my agent and I submitted it as a "standalone with series potential." And then it sold as a series. My first reaction was, "Yay!! I get to write a sequel!" But that soon turned into, "Crap, I have to write a sequel." 

When I ended book 1, I had a vague idea in my mind of what would happen next with the characters and the world, but as I started writing, it didn't take long to figure out that my original idea wasn't going to all. I had to go back to the drawing board three times before I figured it all out. It didn't help that I'd set up a very complicated set of time travel rules in THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN that I now how to follow. That was the biggest problem with my original idea--I realized it didn't follow those rules. At all. Can't have that! So trying to develop the plot in a way that played by the rules and was also dark and twisty--the hallmark of this series--was a challenge. But it all came together in the end! 

Okay, I'm veering in another direction but it's something I'm curious about. I notice there are quite a few lawyer turned writers in our class of debut authors (Lynne Matson and Jessie Humphries come to mind). Being a reformed lawyer yourself, why do you think this seems to be "a thing?"

Good question! I can only speak for myself, but my decision to walk away from law (at least for now) was a personal as well as practical decision. The short answer is that I wanted to have a family, and the type of law I was practicing (complex commercial litigation) doesn't lend itself very well to a part-time schedule. I realized that if I wanted to have quality time with my kids, I was going to have to make a choice: law or my family. I chose my family. 

But we lawyers tend to be the types who aren't happy unless we're busy, so writing was a logical next step. It's something that's intellectually stimulating as well as fun! I'm so, so blessed to be doing what I'm doing now. 

Secret Jro fact. For one brief moment of my life I was married to a lawyer. That job is insanity, I'd definitely want to step away.

Anyway, we're so glad you chose parenting and writing because now we all get to read about TIME TRAVEL!!! I'm so excited for the Eighth Guardian and I might even have read the ARC by the time I post this interview. (be very, very jealous everyone)

So last 3 questions. Next three books on your TBR pile, the best drink ever in your glass, and the song you can't shake from your head these days!

And thanks so much for taking time out of your busy revision schedule to chat with me, Meredith!! Y'all go pre-order her book today!

Oof. If there's one thing harder than being a lawyer, I'd have to say it's being married to one. :D

Okay! Next three books on my TBR list: OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord (speaking of ARC tours…), THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS by Skylar Dorset (ditto), and THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (because somehow I've never read this, and I need to fix that immediately).

The best drink ever in my glass was definitely a Gaja Barbaresco I bought as a birthday present for my husband many, many years ago. I'm a wine girl through and through. (Oh hey, fun fact. My dog's name is Peju, after a winery in Napa.) cute!

And finally, the song I can't shake from my head these days is probably the song that 90% of parents of young children can't shake: "Let It Go" from Frozen. I legit wake up in the middle of the night with "HEEEEEERE I STAND AND HEEEEEERE I STAY" looping over and over in my brain. Pray for me, y'all.

And thanks so much for hosting me, Jaye! I had a blast!

Next week stop by! I'll be hosting the first middle grade author in this series, Jen Malone, author of At Your Service.


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'