The coffee and conversation just keeps rolling and there’s still more to come from many of our awesome SCBWI MD/DE/WV 25 and Still We R(ev)ise 25th Annual Conference presenters! Today we have author and creative writing teacher, Meg Eden in the cyber chair. But first, have you missed any previous interviews? No worries, here’s the links:
- Author Laura Gehl
- Mary Barrows, Conference Logo Competition Winner
- Author Sue Macy
- Author Megan Wagner Lloyd
- Author-Illustrator Courtney Pippin-Mathur
- Closing Keynote Speaker, Hena Khan
Meg’s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, RHINO and Gargoyle. She teaches creative writing at the University of Maryland. She has five poetry chapbooks, and her novel Post-High School Reality Quest is published with California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.
The Online Pitch Contest Phenomenon, Saturday 1:40 PM – 2:30 PM
With Tamara Girardi, Laura Shovan, Meg Eden, Pintip Dunn: Online contests like #Pitchwars and #Pitmad are becoming an increasingly common way for authors to find agents and enter the publishing market. But what exactly are these online contests, how do they work, how do participants benefit from them, and what are the best ways to make your submission stand out? This team of writers, contest participants and mentors will discuss their experiences and answer questions about online pitch contests.
And now on to the interview!
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 CS 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, Barren Cove by Ariel Winters 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 Philip Dacey. The site allpoetry.com really spurned on my journey as a poet, and I still remember the haiku course I took on that site really influenced my perspective on that form.
How were you inspired to write your current or upcoming release?
For my novel Post-High School Reality Quest, 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 awkward situations? But there wasn’t any structure to it. My friend said one day “What if you wrote a novel in the form of a text adventure”—that is, those classic text-based video games—and for fun, 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.
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 or cartoonist—so possibly that.
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. Right now I would LOVE to have time to finish reading Tanaz Bhathena’s amazing A Girl Like That!
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?
CS LEWIS, hands down.
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. But if I had to spend it, it would probably be on an absurdly overpriced Japanese import stuffed animal.
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, talking about video game storytelling, drawing, woodworking (scroll sawing), 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, persist.
And finally, what’s your favorite:
Time to work? Before noon & after 10pm.
Music to listen to while writing? Video game soundtracks—particularly FTL, Dear Esther, and There Came an Echo.
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 sharing, Meg, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference!
And as always, happy writing and drawing, everyone!