Interview with Megan Collins, Author of The Winter Sister

by Dan Stout in


As part of the ongoing celebration of upcoming debut novels, I’ll be running highlights of interviews from a number of my fellow debuts through the end of 2019. The full interviews are available on DebutAuthors19.com.

Today, we’re continuing the series with a conversation with Megan Collins, author of THE WINTER SISTER, releasing from Atria on Feb. 5th, 2019.

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ABOUT THE BOOK:

THE WINTER SISTER is an exploration of grief and guilt—how the two can compound each other and how forgiving ourselves can be even more difficult than forgiving others. Though the book begins with the murder of eighteen-year-old Persephone, its story really belongs to the people who loved her: the mother, Annie, who drowned her grief with alcohol until she had nothing left; the sister, Sylvie, who tried to escape her past by lying to her friends and herself along the way; and the boyfriend, Ben, who’s long been suspected of being the one who killed Persephone, even though he swears he’s innocent. Sixteen years after the devastating murder, the lives of these three characters intersect once again, and it’s only then that the truth about what happened to Persephone finally comes out.    

Interview Excerpt:

Where did you get the idea?

 THE WINTER SISTER is inspired by the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter, which has always been my favorite myth because of the many ways in which it can be read—as a story of motherhood, a story of what happens when we refuse to let go of grief, or a story about the effects of trauma. The idea for this book came to me when I wondered what would have happened if Demeter had had another daughter, if Persephone had had a sister, who was left to navigate her childhood in the wake of her mother’s neglect and rage and unending grief over Persephone’s disappearance. Sylvie, the narrator of THE WINTER SISTER, is my answer to that question.

How long did you take to write this book?

 It was about two years from the initial outlining of this book to the final revision I made with my agent before it was sent out on submission. But during that time, I took nearly a year-long break, as I got stuck for a while and chose to focus on revising another project instead.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

In a way, I feel like I’ve been researching this book for half my life, ever since I first heard the myth of Persephone, and in all the years since, whenever I’ve re-read it, taught it, or devoured any reimagining or adaptation of it I could find.

What did you remove from this book during the editing process?

When I worked with my agent on this book, our goal was for me to get it down from 135,000 words to under 100,000 in order to tighten the story and improve the pacing. At first, that seemed like such an impossible task because it meant cutting a quarter of the novel, but once I got into a groove, I was trimming down sentences ruthlessly until I was left with prose that was much more muscular and could therefore pack a bigger punch than its previous, more padded version.   

Can you share your writing routine?

 I have a home office that I write in, and given my teaching schedule, I tend to do most of my writing in the mornings. This works best for me because my mind is fresh, and it means I can spend time at night just decompressing from the day by reading or watching TV.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Megan Collins holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University. She has taught creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Central Connecticut State University, and she is the managing editor of 3Elements Review. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in many print and online journals, including Off the CoastSpillway, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Rattle. She lives in Connecticut.

Connect with Megan:

Website: www.megancollins.com
Facebook
Twitter: @ImMeganCollins
Instagram: @megancollinswriter
Goodreads

Buy THE WINTER SISTER

by Dan Stout

Starred Review in Publisher's Weekly for Titanshade!

by Dan Stout


As a writer, the only thing you really control is the words on the page, and the process you use to get them there. Anything else — reviews, sales, feedback, whatever — is out of your hands.

So it’s a surprise and delight to see reviews from readers popping up in places like Goodreads or NetGalley. And this one was a real shock: a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly.


Click the image to go to the review.

Click the image to go to the review.

I’m really thrilled to see Titanshade clicking with early readers, and I’m hoping that other people will pick up a copy at a store or library, and come along for a ride on those cobblestone streets.

by Dan Stout

Interview with Erin Bartles, Author of WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS

by Dan Stout in


As part of the ongoing celebration of upcoming debut novels, I’ll be running highlights of interviews from a number of my fellow debuts through the end of 2019. The full interviews are available on DebutAuthors19.com.

Today, we’re continuing the series with a conversation with Erin Bartles, author of WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS, releasing from Revell Books on New Year’s Day, 01/01/19.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

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The story begins when journalist Elizabeth Balsam is tasked with returning a box of never-before-seen photos of the 1967 Detroit riot to a relative she didn’t know she had. Elizabeth wants to use them to further her flagging career. But as she connects with her long-lost great-aunt in the family’s 150-year-old farmhouse outside of Detroit, she begins to uncover the stories of two women who lived in that very house a century apart, who were involved in the Underground Railroad and the tumultuous Civil Rights Era. What she discovers about her family’s past has repercussions for her own future.

Interview Excerpt:


How long did it take for you to write WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS?

The first inkling of the idea came in 2011 or 2012. I researched for all of 2013. I drafted it in 65 days at the beginning of 2014. Then it was revise, revise, revise. I signed with my agent in 2015. We went on submission in 2016. In 2017, I signed my publishing contract. And it finally hits shelves January 1, 2019. It’s been a long road. 

How much research did you do for WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS?

I read well over a thousand pages on women in the Civil War, Michigan’s involvement in the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, funerary practices in the Victorian Era, Reconstruction, the Great Migration, Jim Crow, the development of the city of Detroit, civil unrest and the Detroit riot of 1967, and more. I also watched documentaries, listened to podcasts, and interviewed people who had lived in Detroit in the 1960s.

 
How did you get into writing?

I was an English major, so I adore great writing, be it novels, poetry, plays, short stories, or essays. After reading other people’s novels for work for about a decade, I think it was inevitable that I would try my hand at writing one.

 What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?

Finding time. I work full time. I’m a mom. I have a house to keep up. Etc. Finding time is always, always a struggle. But if something is important to you, you make it work.

Find WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS on Amazon.

Full interview here: DebutAuthors19.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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ERIN BARTELS is a copywriter and freelance editor by day, a novelist by night, and a painter, seamstress, poet, and photographer in between. Her debut novel, We Hope for Better Things, is scheduled to be released in January 2019 from Revell Books, followed in September 2019 with The Words Between Us, which was a finalist for the 2015 Rising Star Award from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Her short story “This Elegant Ruin” was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. Her poems have been published by The Lyric and The East Lansing Poetry Attack. A member of the Capital City Writers Association and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, she is former features editor of WFWA’s Write On! magazine.

Connect with Erin:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Goodreads

by Dan Stout

Author Interview with B.P. Donigan, author of FATE FORGED

by Dan Stout in


As part of the ongoing celebration of upcoming debut novels, I’ll be running highlights of interviews from a number of my fellow debuts through the end of 2019. The full interviews are available on DebutAuthors19.com.

Today, we’re kicking off the series with a conversation with B.P. Donigan, author of FATE FORGED, an urban fantasy from Red Adept Publishing, releasing 12.18.18


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Growing up on the streets of Boston, Maeve O’Neill learned to rely only on herself. Paying bills isn't glamorous, but her life is on a better track—until she starts having agonizing visions of torture. Desperate to rid herself of the paralyzing episodes, she follows her visions to the scene of a murder. Instead of answers, she gets an unexpected gift from the victim: Magic.

With the unwanted power, Maeve becomes the access point to all of Earth's untapped magic. Now, powerful enemies are after her and staying alive means striking a bargain with an untrustworthy ally with a long-shot plan. Maeve has to keep the magic in check until she can get rid of it, but her control is slipping and everything could go wrong. If the plan fails, her unlikely ally betrays her, or her enemies catch her, she'll be handing over all of Earth's magic...and her life.

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Interview Excerpt:


How long did it take for you to write Fate Forged?

I first sat down to write a novel four years before Fate Forged was published. The first year was all about learning how to write a novel. I've always been an avid reader, and I knew what I liked, but I had no idea how to plan, plot or pace a novel. An entire second year was spent editing my work in progress and then getting beta readers and critique partners.

 

How much research did you do for Fate Forged?

I researched everything! For the story itself, I had to map out the character's road trip, and Google search weapons, how to realistically kill someone in hand-to-hand combat, and watch lots of videos online just to make a coherent fight scene. For a while there, I was pretty sure my internet searches were going to flag an FBI raid on my house.

 
Did anything change significantly in your book during the writing or editing process?

A: Yes! Many of the character's names changed, and the title of Fate Forged used to be The Lost Sect, which I liked, but the publisher didn't think had enough depth. After some soul searching, I decided "Fate" was a thread that will reach across the entire series, and then I attempted to find a title with the word Fate that didn't sound like a romance novel! To make it all cohesive, I ended up coming up with titles for the first three books (as well as the Series Title) so the extra effort was worth it.

 

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Plotter all the way. I’m always looking for better ways to plan out the plot, the characters and pacing. For me, it’s so much easier to write creatively if I know the bones of the story are solid.

Find FATE FORGED on: Amazon | Kobo | Red Adept Publishing | B&N | GooglePlay

Full interview here: DebutAuthors19.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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B.P. Donigan was born and raised in Wasilla, Alaska (which would later become famous thanks to one infamous politician who could see Russian from her house, but at the time was about as rural as you can get).

She attended college in rural Idaho earning a degree in Print Journalism, and then not-so-rural Utah earning a degree in Marketing, and finally moved to very-not-rural Boston where she lived and worked for ten years. After paying her dues to the Extreme Winters, she resides now in sunny California, with her two kids, two fish, two dogs… and one amazing husband. Like any good superhero she spends her daytime building her cover story behind a desk, and her nights saving the world (on paper, at least).

by Dan Stout

Holy Crap we got a Cover!!

by Dan Stout in


I couldn’t be happier to share this incredible cover with the world. I mean, c’mon: just look at it. It’s got FACE MANDIBLES!!

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Carter's a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It's also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster.

Chris McGrath’s art is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the team at DAW Books did an amazing job of capturing the grit and decay that permeates the city of Titanshade.

The cover will be popping up soon in places like Goodreads and Amazon, (where it's already available for pre-order).  And of course it will be available in bookstores, libraries, or whatever your favorite story-swapping location might be.

Every day brings us closer to the March 12th, 2019 launch, and I’m continually stunned by how much fun (and work) each step of the process is. Whether you’re new to Titanshade or have been following along since the beginning: Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and sharing in the story!

If you want to make sure you get all book-ish updates as they happen, be sure to click on that Mailing List link.

by Dan Stout

Week 5 of #Debut19Chat

by Dan Stout


 

 

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Day 26

Currently reading: QUEENPIN, by Megan Abbott. A brilliant, calculating gangster. Her protege. And the male fatale who carries destruction behind sorrowful eyes. I could quote my favorite lines, but I'd just end up re-typing the whole thing.

 

Day 28

Currently working on the sequel to TITANSHADE. 

My *completely unrelated* side project is screaming obscenities at my computer monitor while rocking back and forth in my chair, fingers clawing at my tear-stained cheeks.

Day 30 

Other places to find me!

Web:  DanStout.com 
Mailing List:  bit.ly/2PRYL5k 
BookBub: bookbub.com/profile/dan-stout
Curious Fictions: curiousfictions.com/authors/34-dan-stout
Twitter: @DanStout
Patreon: patreon.com/DanStout 
IG:  instagram.com/danstoutwriter/ 
Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/7938095.Dan_Stout
Amazon: amazon.com/author/danstout 
Butt: InChair

If you're local to Columbus, OH, you can also find me teaching the Story Structure & Business of Fiction class at the Columbus Idea Foundry!

Day 31:
Final Day!
Thanks to everyone in #DebutAuthors19 - so great to learn more about the amazing debut authors of 2019! TITANSHADE's cover art hasn't been released yet, but it is available for pre-order on Amazon.
And it's also on Goodreads.

by Dan Stout