Today we have the amazing Megan Grey with us. Not only has she published her new book, Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer and Other Tales, but she has appeared in multiple magazines, won short story contests, and has received several semi-finalist and honorable mention awards in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest (which is not an easy feat).
This book is an anthology of several of my previously published short stories (from various anthologies and magazines), as well as a never-before-seen novelette, “Hotel of the Damned.” The stories vary widely—the title story is a modern-day tale about an unlikely friendship between a teenage girl and the retired demon next door, while another story is a medieval-era fantasy about an illusion mage whose illusions suddenly become all too real, and dangerous. The stories may all be different, but readers who love the fantastic will hopefully enjoy the common thread of mixing fantasy with real-world sorrows and joys.
Where did these ideas come from?
Everywhere and anywhere. I’ll usually just have a little seedling of an idea, like “what if my neighbor was actually a grumpy retired demon?” or even a random name that sparks something—my story “The Faerie Journal” started with the name Twilly that just popped into my mind and built itself out from there. I start with these little bits and pieces, and then start asking myself questions, like “Who is Twilly? Why such an unusual name?” or “How would regular people interact with a retired demon?” and I just let my brain work on it until the pieces start to fall into place and feel right.
What is your writing routine like?
I wish I could say I had a very regular routine. I believe in the daily “butt in chair and write” method, but believing and doing can sadly be two very different things. So months often go by where I don’t get much done, and then there will be months that I write nearly every day—I’m not sure I would really recommend this strategy, as getting the inertia going to start up again is generally difficult. Right now I’m trying to average about four writing sessions a week (usually about 1-2 hours each), and it helps me a ton to get out of the house and go to Starbucks or the library to write.
Do you have a favorite writing snack, and if so, what?
Absolutely. Nothing beats Starbucks hot chocolate for getting my mental writing gears spinning.
All your short stories are fantasies. Is this your favorite genre to write, and why?
Fantasy has always been my favorite genre, ever since I was twelve years old and fell in love with Lord of the Rings. New realms of fantastical worlds and creatures and people became my obsession. As I got older, I started to love tales of magic in our world, as well. As a child, I think it was because the real world felt rather mundane, and so it was great fun to escape to a new world full of adventure and magic. Now I think it’s somewhat the opposite—I see that the real world is already full of these things, in its own way, as well as darkness and tragedy to compete with anything some fantasy world Dark Lord could dish out. Writing fantasy helps me make sense of it, helps me to appreciate the many small miracles of life and also to keep faith that there will always be those who will fight the darkness, and ultimately win.
Why did you start writing?
I can’t really say, because I started writing before I even remember doing it. My parents thankfully saved loads of my original work, including 6-year-old Megan’s classic horror story, “Hatchy Hen Strikes Again,” about a murderous hen with the power to lay eggs that contain weapons.
Now that I think about it, perhaps I started writing as therapy…
Why do you keep writing?
I’ve tried before to stop, honestly. Writing can be hard, and really emotionally demanding–especially when the stress of the business aspect of it started to weigh on me. But even though I’ve had months and even years where I’ve written nothing more strenuous than a Facebook update, I always come back to writing. I won’t say it’s the most important thing in my life—my family takes that spot—but writing gives me an outlet, and ultimately a sense of fulfillment that I don’t get from anything else. I find I’m a happier person in general when I’m deeply immersed in a story or novel I’m working on.
Do you use a crit group/beta readers and if you do can you tell us a little about it/them?
I’ve had several fantastic critique groups over the years, and have learned things and grown from each of them. Not all critique groups are ideal for everyone, though, so I think it’s important to find one that works for each writer personally. The current one I’m in meets weekly, in person, and they are amazing. For me this group provides the perfect mix of support and constructive criticism. I’ve also had several great beta readers over the years, and continue to use them on more finished drafts.
If you could tell your readers one thing about yourself that they don’t know, what would it be?
One of my hobbies is making medieval/renaissance-themed dioramas for Barbies. I’ve always loved Barbie dolls (long after I was old enough that I was ashamed to admit it) and creating these elaborate set pieces for them in medieval fantasy style has been a really fun blending of my childhood (and now grown-up) loves. Plus, Barbie-sized medieval weaponry is AWESOME.
What advice would you give other authors or pre-published authors?
Finding other writers to commiserate with, to share not only feedback on our projects, but all the ups and downs of this career, has been probably the most valuable thing for me. No one else really gets it like a fellow writer.
Are you working on anything new?
I am! I actually just took a bit of a break from the fantasy genre and wrote a super fun chick-lit novel set in the soap opera world (so it definitely has its own brand of fantastic elements). And I’m also working on a huge epic fantasy series as a collaboration with a couple very talented friends of mine. It’s a lot of work, but the most fun I’ve had on a project.
Megan, thank you so much for being with us today! If you haven’t picked up her new book yet, you’re missing out! Do it!
Find out more about Megan Grey and her books: