Congratulations are in order for area member Meg Eden on the release of Post-High School Reality Quest.
Buffy’s your typical cosplaying, retro-gaming, con-going geek girl, but as her high school graduation approaches, she finds she has an unwelcome guest in her mind: <>the text parser.
Narrating her life like it’s a classic adventure game (cough Zork cough), the text parser forces her to interact with the world through a series of a typewritten commands: Finish school.
Go to party.
Fall in love.
At first it’s pretty cool. It’s not easy making the transition from high school to college. It’s not easy dealing with roommates. It’s not easy being in a new relationship with her lifelong crush. Buffy makes some huge mistakes along the way, but the text-parser lets her fix all of them.
It’s like having superpowers…until the text parser won’t shut up.
Buffy is desperate to get rid of it, but no matter how many times she tries to restart or reset, the text parser won’t go away. Before long, her life starts to crumble: her friends grow apart, her roommates turn against her, and her boyfriend falls into a deep depression. Buffy’s life has become a game, but how can you win when there’s no final boss?
Meg Eden’s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, RHINO and Gargoyle. She teaches at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks and her latest novel is from California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at http://www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.
To help us celebrate, Meg stopped by the Cyber Café for a chat.
Welcome! Let’s started. First off, what was your favorite book as a child? As a teen? And now, as an adult?
This is a really hard question! I’d say as a child, Anne of Green Gables was probably my favorite. As a teen, Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (still one of my favorites) and/or Totto Chan: the Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. As an adult, I still love all of these books, but would add Three Scenarios in which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail by Kelly Luce and The Battle is the Lord’s by Tony Evans.
What is your favorite writing how-to book, technique, or website that has helped you improve your craft or provided inspiration?
I think Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott was a really important book for me. One of my favorites that I still reference as a poet is Strong Measures by Phillip Dacey.
How were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?
The first few drafts were me just playing around with characters similar to people I knew. What would happen if these people were thrown in these situations? But there wasn’t any structure to it. So when my friend said “What if you wrote a novel in the form of a text adventure,” I gave it a shot. It turned out the text adventure format gave that old story some bones, and helped me transform those characters from people I knew into their own entities.
What is your favorite line(s) from this book?
I’m really bad at actually remembering the lines I write, but one that comes to mind is: “Don’t rage quit, Buffy. It’s unbecoming.”
If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?
I think high school was when I started wanting to become an author, so I’m on the right track! I also wanted to be an artist–particularly an animator.
You’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read! Your glasses are fine, (whew,) so what’s the first book you crack open?
One of the many books on my “to read” bookshelf. That would probably start with The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan (who’s actually the person who introduced me to SCBWI in the first place!)
For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?
You magically find a $100 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it?
I’m really thrifty so realistically, it would go straight in the bank. If I was frivolous / needing a pick-me-up, I’d probably go on yahoo Japan auctions and spend it on Pokemon plushes and knick knacks.
What is your favorite quote?
“Nothing is new under the sun,” which is all over the place in Ecclesiastes.
What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Playing / watching other people play video games, drawing, woodworking (scrollsawing), taking walks and admiring unusual architecture.
If you could sum up your best advice for new writers in only four words, what would they be?
Read, write, submit, cry over rejection letters with a tub of ice cream, repeat.
Time for the lightning round—no more than four words per answer!
Do you …
Outline or wing it? Wing it!
Talk about works-in-progress or keep it zipped? Talk (in moderation)
Sell by proposal or completed draft? Completed draft
Prefer writing rough drafts or editing? Both are terrifying!
Dread marketing or love it? Love it!
Read Kindle or traditional books? Old school (traditional)
And finally, what’s your favorite:
Time to work? Before noon & after 10pm.
Music to listen to while writing? Video game soundtracks
Trick to staying motivated? Contest deadlines
Pair of shoes? None at all/ flip-flops
Guiltiest pleasure? Toys from Japan
Line from a movie? Oh hi, Mark. (The Room)
Thanks so much for dropping by, Meg!!
Happy writing and illustrating!