Book Nerd Interview
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two cats (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she has yet to make friends with a ghost, though she welcomes the opportunity. Her first novel, GIVE UP THE GHOST, was published by Henry Holt in 2009 and is now out in paperback. Her second novel, THE WAY WE FALL, is coming in January 2012 from Disney-Hyperion.
What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
I don’t actually remember what the first YA book I read was, but I think I started reading YA via my cousins, who were two years older. They were both avid readers and had shelves full of YA horror—Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine and the like—and during family visits I’d often end up picking up one. I’d have been around ten. Not long after that, I started working through the small YA section at my local library, having exhausted the children’s section.
I didn’t know I was going to write YA until sometime in my twenties, though. When I was a teenager, I wrote about teens because that was what I knew. I always assumed when I got older I’d write about older characters. But it turned out that after I got older I still enjoyed writing about teenaged characters more than adult ones. There’s just something about that period in people’s lives: you’re experiencing so many firsts, and making decisions about what sort of person you want to be. It’s all very intense, which makes for powerful stories.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
The first book I queried agents with was not YA, but a chapter book (early MG). It’s the only book for that age range I’ve written, perhaps because it didn’t end up working out.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book during most of my freshman year of high school (so I was 13 when I started and 14 when I finished). I’d tried to write novels before it, but the stories either turned out shorter than I expected or I wasn’t able to finish them. This one, which ended up being over 200 pages long, was a very derivative high fantasy novel, and I knew pretty much as soon as I’d finished the first draft that it wasn’t so great, but it was a big step just knowing I could finish a whole book.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
The most important thing I learned wasn’t anything explicitly taught, but more what I picked up through my experiences and observations. Which is that, everyone’s going to have expectations of you, and judge you, and many of those expectations and judgments are going to be contradictory, and there’s really nothing you can do about that. If you want to be happy, you’re best off doing the things you enjoy and as much as possible not worrying about what anyone else thinks of them or you.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative, determined, introverted.
Did you learn anything from writing The Way We Fall and what was it?
I learned an awful lot about viruses and epidemics during the research for the book. As for the writing itself, it was the first time I’ve written a book that focused so strongly on the mood, and so I’m sure I learned a lot about setting the scene and getting across a particular atmosphere, just by working through that.
For those who are unfamiliar with Kaelyn, how would you introduce her?
Kaelyn is a sixteen-year-old girl who’s always had interests most of her peers found kind of odd—she loves animals and would spend hours watching them and writing observations, wading through ponds or climbing trees to get a better look. She finds animals a lot easier to understand than people, and after moving to a busy and often overwhelming big city when her father was transferred for work, she retreated almost completely into her shell. But now that she’s back in her small home town, she’s decided it’s time to stop being so shy and awkward, and is making an effort to really get to know people.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I haven’t been directly mentored by anyone. I’d say the two writers who had the most influence over my writing as I was growing up are Roald Dahl and Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
If something’s really important to you, and makes you happy, don’t let anyone tell you that you have to give it up—that it’s too childish or impractical. There’s room in everyone’s life for dreams and pure fun.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Well, I try to be honest as much as possible. The closest would probably be, if someone asks me about a popular book that I didn’t care for, I won’t say very much about it. I don’t believe in publicly bashing someone else’s work just because it’s not to my tastes.
Who was your first boyfriend?
My first boyfriend was a guy I met online when I was sixteen, through a local message board (so we lived in the same city and met in person soon after). We dated for four years.
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
My least favorite summer job was my first one, temping as an admin assistant at my mom’s office when I was 15. It mostly involved filling out forms and photocopying, and there is nothing more boring than standing by the photocopier watching it copy and collate a hundred sets of some thirty page document. It would have looked unprofessional for me to have a book, so I really just had to stand there doing nothing.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
I don’t usually call anyone—I come home and talk to my husband about it.
When was the last time you cried?
I have to admit I don’t remember, so it obviously wasn’t over anything very catastrophic.
Where can readers stalk you?
I can be looked up on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Tumblr, and I have a blog on my website as well. All my contact details and links are here: http://www.megancrewe.com/contact.html
When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.
Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.
Because how will she go on if there isn't?
Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.
Megan Crewe’s suspenseful and uniquely written book, The Way We Fall, is a read that many fans of Dystopian literature will enjoy. It is written through Kaelyn’s letters to her best friend, Leo. This approach may have readers question if it will supply enough development but as soon as the first letter is consumed, all presumptions are forgotten. In fact, it provided a more detailed and in-depth look at Kaelyn’s inner feelings that otherwise would not be presented.
The plot is truly amazing, thrilling, and gripping. All the details that revolved around the viruses and its repercussion were comprehensive and seemed practical. It is evident that Megan put in a lot of research into her writing. This kind of dedication set forth in a book makes for a wonderfully written story. Even through Kaelyn’s letters, readers get a full dosage of the secondary characters. Each administered their own weight to this very intriguing storyline.
Megan is a powerhouse storyteller. It was amazing to read a character’s letters that fully developed into a forceful story. It felt more personal with a journalistic approach. The ending presented a perfect way to close the curtain on the storyline’s first book and leaves a slight opening for what is to come next. Megan will have the gears in readers’ mind grinding and have them pleading for the next installment.
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