A Chat with NYT Bestselling Author MEGAN HART
Today on the Witch Haunt, I'm happy to be chatting with Megan Hart, whose session on romance and horror (and sometimes both) I attended at StokerCon 2018. Please welcome MEGAN HART!
WH: Hi, Megan! Please give us a brief introduction of your fabulous self:
My name’s Megan, and I write books. Some of them use some bad words, but most of the other ones are okay. I love music, the ocean, glitter, rainbows and zombies. I used to live in PA, but now I live in OH, and discovering this means I am now a “Midwesterner” has given me a bit of an existential crisis.
WH: Aw, man, for someone who loves the ocean, you're getting farther away! Megan, you write in different genres: romance, speculative fiction, even a little YA. Can you tell us what it’s like writing to different audiences?
I don’t approach writing anything differently, even for different audiences. I have the same process and routine for whatever I’m writing. I do, of course, try to keep the intended audience in mind when plotting and writing, but I will admit I’m a bit of a “your peanut butter is in my chocolate” kind of writer. My horror often has some sexy bits, my romance has some scary stuff, my YA is scary and emotional, too.
WH: That's because a good story is a good story. So, what other career would you have if not writing/publishing?
Rock star. I did want to be a mortician, but at the time women were not really welcomed into the business unless they had family connections. It’s different, now, but I don’t regret not becoming one. The hours aren’t great.
WH: That would've made for some great speculative fiction, I'm sure. And there's still plenty of time to become a rock star. What’s your writing process like?
I think about the story a lot when I’m doing other things, and as for the actual writing, now that I’ve moved permanently and have my office set up and I’m not traveling back and forth between states, it has settled back into a pattern. I get up. Take the pot of coffee my husband has made for me (lucky me!) up to my office. I light my Yankee Candle True Rose scented candle. (Occasionally it’s a different scent, if I can’t find a True Rose…they sometimes go out of stock so I buy them in bulk on sale and clearance when I can.) I put on my music, pretty loud. Sometimes it’s a set playlist, sometimes just on shuffle. I used to fart around on the internet a lot but have been more disciplined lately, so I open my document and get started.
I use Scrivener, so I always have my target window open showing me how close I am to the day’s word count goal as well as the overall. I try to hit that, and if I have time and feel good about it, do more. After I’m done with my rough draft, which can be fast or slow depending on the story, I revise it. I do a pretty bare bones first draft and layer in themes and subplots during revisions. Sometimes I get stuck and start revising before I’m finished so I get a handle on the book. I really try not to write more than I have to, just to cut it out. And, I usually write out of order to keep the pace steady. I’ll write the scenes I feel strongly and then stitch them together when I’m finished. This usually means I write the end of the book first. Or at least the most exciting scenes!
WH: That's fascinating. I don't know my ending until I'm halfway through, so I could never start with it. Which of your novels are you most proud?
DIRTY was the first book I wrote knowing I was going to sell to a traditional publisher. I just knew it. Right book, right time in the market. TEMPTED was the first book I wrote for a full contract for a traditional publisher, and the fastest book I’d written at the time (maybe even to date!) And TEAR YOU APART, aside from winning some awards, was also the hardest book I ever wrote, although it was also the one I wrote knowing it was not going to follow conventions.
WH: If you could interview any author, gone or alive, who would it be?
Hmmm. I used to do interviews for my blog, for fun, and I enjoyed that. So I’d say, really, any other author is going to have something interesting to say that I’d like to hear. I’ve been reading Daphne Du Maurier lately, so maybe her.
WH: How have you changed as a person from your early life until now?
I got taller and older.
WH: HA. How do you like your coffee? Do you have a favorite libation? What’s your favorite dessert? I ask everybody this, because I can tell a lot from food-related answers.
I like flavored coffee, black, although I’ll drink non-flavored coffee, also black. And in copious quantities. I used to drink cola all day long, but I’ve given it up. I drink seltzer, instead. It gives me the same “kick” without the sugar and chemicals. I used to be way into Gin Rickeys but I think I’m off them now, perhaps because of a few overindulgences? (Funny how that works.) My favorite dessert is probably chocolate something or other, either with mint or peanut butter. The dessert I really do NOT like is fruit pie, other than cherry.
WH: Based on those answers, I'd say you're an intense romantic who's passionate about everything she does. Okay, switching gears... Let’s say the horror genre is high school. Where would you fit in?
The quiet, evil genius doing weird experiments in the background until she’s pushed too far…
WH: Yikes. Love it. What is the witchiest thing about you (we’re all a little witchy)?
I have good intuition. I wouldn’t go so far as to say predictions, but I can usually extrapolate situations in my head and figure out what’s going to happen.
WH: How difficult do you feel the horror industry is for women to break into? Do you have any advice for aspiring female writers looking to enter the genre?
I’m not sure if I can say whether or not it’s difficult. My career was based in the romance world, but I always wrote and read horror. I rose up as a writer just after the huge horror boom of the 80s and early 90s, and focused on romance writing because that was popular, I liked writing and reading it, and I could sell it. I didn’t actually write a full horror novel until a few years ago, and any trouble I had placing it was due to the market (I think) not because of my gender. However, having had a romance career and then trying to sell something that isn’t romance, I did get a number of rejections complaining that my book “was too much of a romance.” Yeah, ok, the story is about a woman who loathes her asshat husband and regrets just about every second she’s with him, but they had sex one time in the book, so I guess that’s a romance. My eyes rolled so far back into my head I could see my own butt. So…do I think it’s difficult, in general, for women to break into horror? I can’t say.
My advice for aspiring female writers looking to enter the genre is the same for any genre: write your best book. Then write another one. And another one. Write the books you want to write, not the books you think you should write.
WH: I have a hard time fitting into any one genre. My YA isn't contemporary or paranormal enough, my romance isn't alpha-male enough, and my horror isn't hardcore enough, but I seem to please the gothic horror crowd.
What do you feel makes a speculative novel suspenseful or scary?
Emotion. Always emotion. I read a really popular novel once by a really popular novelist, and it featured a horrific scene with a toddler zombie. It was gross. It didn’t scare me. It also didn’t make me feel anything. A child zombie is a dead child. There should have been emotion pouring out of that scene – fear, disgust, grief. The stories that affect people most are the ones that make them feel. If I don’t care about the characters, if I can’t see myself in them, I’m not going to be scared.
WH: Very true. So, tell me, what is the most awesome thing happening in your life right now that you’d like to share with us? What’s next for you? We can’t wait to see what you have coming up!
The most awesome thing happening in my life right now is that I get to go to sleep in my own bed and work in my own office in the house I live in all the time, and I’m not driving back and forth between states! Hooray for me!
I have a new book coming out February 14 from Flame Tree Press. It’s called BLACK WINGS and is my second full-length horror novel (I’d say it’s psychological horror or suspense) and I’m really excited to see it making its way into the world! I’m also working on a thriller and some more horror and some sexy, dirty romance, because that also makes me happy.
I’m looking forward to getting to know my new town and maybe even make some real life friends or people I can hang out with sometimes, when I can be convinced to leave my house.
Sounds like you have a lot of great things going on, Megan, and we couldn't be happier for you! Congrats on the new release. We look forward to reading it! Happy Book Birthday!
To follow Megan Hart, visit these sites:
* Website: www.meganhart.com
* Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Megan-Hart/e/B001IGNWW8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1549420193&sr=1-2-ent
* Latest release: Black Wings
* Facebook: facebook.com/readinbed
* Twitter: twitter.com/megan_hart
* Instagram: Instagram.com/readinbed
Megan Hart writes books. Some of them use bad words, but most of the other words are okay. She's published more than forty novels and novellas and writes a little bit of everything from horror to romance. Once, she was on the NYT Times Bestseller list for a few weeks. That was fun. She's a recent transplant to Ohio, and still doesn't know how to get anywhere without using the GPS. Learn more at meganhart.com, twitter.com/megan_hart or facebook.com/readinbed.
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🔮 GABY TRIANA ☠️