Interview with Urban Fantasy Author Megan Paasch

Megan Paasch
Megan Paasch

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

In second grade, I had a teacher who was highly focused on writing and the writing process. My third grade teacher was the same way. And I loved it. I think that’s around the time I decided I wanted to be a writer.

I started reading and researching a lot about the craft before I had the courage to actually do it. How did you start?

I probably should have done that. It would have saved me a lot of time and trouble. I just jumped into it. I had an idea that had been simmering for several years, and every once in a while I’d write one or two chapters on it. Then I’d put it away when life got busy, and come back to it and start over again. Then one day I realized if I was going to write the book, I needed to just write it. So I did. It wasn’t until I’d finished that I went back and studied the craft a bit so I could figure out how to revise the darn thing.

What genre(s) do you write in? What is it that you love about them?

I write modern/urban fantasy and . . . I guess you could call it paranormal mystery? That’s what my current one seems to be turning into anyway. I love anything that puts some kind of fantastical twist on everyday life. Since it’s based in the modern world, it adds that tiny extra bit of believability to it—that if you just know where to look, there could be all kinds of amazing things hidden behind the façade of the mundane, and if you just happen to run into the right person, or open the right door, or step onto the right forest path, you might find it.

I LOVE this.

What route to publication are you interested in?

I’m currently pursuing traditional publishing, but I’m open to going indie or hybrid as well. I especially like the idea of being a hybrid author, actually, because it allows for a larger range of publishing options and more freedom to write whatever the heck you want.

 

All writers are readers first. Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

Oh gosh, I could fill pages with this. Let’s see. I’ve always been a huge Alexandre Dumas (pére) fan. He’s great with characterization and with mixing humor and light-heartedness with some very heavy and dark moments. I like to try to do the same with my stories. I’m also a huge fan of Jasper Fforde. His stories are both funny and smart—as I’m reading, I find myself wishing I could get inside his head and rummage around a bit to see if I can figure out how his mind works. I also love L.M. Montgomery, Charlotte Bronte, Terry Pratchett, Susannah Clarke, Maggie Steifvater . . . like I said, I could go on and on. I do find that a lot of my favorite authors are especially gifted in creating unique and rich characters—something I aspire to be able to do as well. Not sure if I’m there, but we’re all our own worst critics.

What inspires your ideas? How do you come up with them?

I . . . have no idea. Honestly, I really don’t know. I do find that I come up with a lot of ideas just randomly, like an epiphany, while I’m letting my mind wander doing something mundane like washing dishes or driving. Sometimes I’ll be inspired by something I read in an article. There is one story that I’m in the process of hashing out in my head that came to me after reading about this weird, internationally scattered art installation some guy is setting up in Europe. But that’s an anomaly. Usually a random thought comes in, or I see something while I’m driving along, and it hits some kind of chord with me and I have to come up with a story around it.

What are you working on now? Do you outline or write by the seat of your pants?

I’m kind of keeping the details of my current project close to my chest at the moment, but I will say that it’s a paranormal mystery—kind of Practical Magic meets Stephen King? I think? And it has to do with dreams. I’ve outlined this one extensively. More than once, actually. I think I’ve got it figured out this time. However, everything else I’ve written has been by the seat of my pants, which worked out really well for me with my first one, but started giving me trouble with subsequent stories, which is why I thought I’d change up my process this time.

What does a typical writing day look like for you/what is your process?

I’m a stay-at-home mom, and one of my kids is still only in half day preschool, so I don’t get a lot of quiet time to write. I try to use the time when my youngest is at school, but sometimes I end up using it to get chores or errands done. Or to, um, watch Netflix. Don’t judge! If I don’t write during that time, I’ll write a bit in the evening after the kids go to bed. And occasionally, very rarely, I’ll find I’m able to focus enough to get a few words in while the kids are keeping themselves occupied with something else and aren’t being overly noisy. As for my process, it involves a lot of staring, writing, staring, checking social media, chastising myself for checking social media when I should be writing, staring some more, writing some more, and so on and so on. So basically, a typical writers’ process from what I hear.

If one of your novels was made into a movie, which would you choose and what actors would you cast to play the three main roles?

I’d have to go back in time to get the actors that I want at younger ages, but I’d make Charlotte Elemental (a Fae modern fantasy that I’m currently querying) into a movie with a young Claire Foy as Charlotte and an also younger Lucas Bryant as Liel. The villain, Analeigh, would be played by Joanne Whalley at the age she was when she played Sorsha in Willow.

What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned has been to relax, and I’ve only just figured that out within the last six months or so. I’ve learned the hard way to slow down and remember that it’s not a race to get published, and that I write because I enjoy it. And if I let myself get too stressed and anxious, it isn’t so enjoyable anymore, and if writing isn’t enjoyable, what’s the point? So I’ve stopped setting word count goals, and I just try to write something everyday. And if I do miss a day, I don’t beat myself up over it. Sometimes the brain needs a break.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers about writing? What about the process of trying to get published?

Well the first bit of advice I’d give them is the answer to the last question—remember to relax and keep the work enjoyable. But, keeping that in mind, don’t get too lax either. Keep writing, keep working, be persistent. Your first novel is probably going to be your baby. It also probably isn’t going to be the one that gets you an agent (though it might!) Your second one might not either. Your third might. Or it might not. But keep cranking them out. With each novel you write, you’re learning things. Brandon Sanderson’s sixth novel was the first one of his that got published. (I think it was his sixth. Don’t quote me on that.) And he writes huge novels. That’s a LOT of writing and learning that took place before he got to where he needed to be to get his books on the shelves. So don’t get discouraged. Keep at it.

Thank you so much Megan! Where can people find out more about you and your books?

Thank you so much too! You can find me here:

Website: http://meganpaasch.wordpress.com

Online at: @meganpaasch (twitter) and also @writerneuroses (a twitter parody account)

 

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