Kev’s Author Interviews Presents:
A Short Bio
Megan Tayte writes the kinds of books she loves to read: young-adult paranormal romances. Young adult, because it’s the time of life that most embodies freedom and discovery and first love. Paranormal, because she’s always believed that there are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. And romance, because she’s a misty-eyed dreamer who lives for those ‘life is so breathtakingly beautiful’ moments. Megan lives in Nottingham with her husband and two children, and when not writing she’s to be found creating carnage in the kitchen in the pursuit of her impossible dream: of baking something edible.
Kev: What is your latest book about?
Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.
Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.
As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.
What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.
To believe the impossible.
Kev: Who or what influenced you to write it?
So many things. My own experiences. Beautiful coastal settings. Music and literature and art that moved me. People I’ve loved and lost; people I love and hold dear still.
Ultimately the story, about love and loss, light and darkness, good and bad, is based on my own efforts to make sense of a world in which people close to you can die; in which being true to yourself can be incredibly difficult; and in which love – for people, for places, for a way of being, for a passion and an ethos – is the only reason to hold on.
Kev: Did you do any specialised research for your story?
I took three trips down to Devon and Cornwall, where most of the series is set, and explored. I knew most of the places already from summering in Devon as a child, and my emotional connection to the area comes through strongly in the story.
Kev: What challenges did you face while writing the story?
Two spring to mind:
1. How the writing consumed me. The series really took over, and demanded to be set down on paper in first draft format very fast. So I had a hazy few months of writing alongside working and being a mum and struggling with morning sickness.
2. How vulnerable I felt. Some of the elements of the story are based on personal experiences, and Scarlett and I have certain things in common. Plus, I explore some pretty emotive issues: loss, illness, death, betrayal. None of these make for easy, jolly writing, and some days I felt like I’d been rubbed raw with a cheese grater.
Kev: Who is the protagonist?
Scarlett Blake. Seventeen. Stronger than she thinks, but with a way to go before she knows who she is and what she’ll stand up and fight for. Sensitive. Intelligent. Loyal. Quirky. Dealing with some really difficult stuff: sometimes well, sometimes not so well.
Kev: What would you say is the protagonist’s greatest weakness or obstacle and why?
At times, her emotions paralyse her – hinder in moving forwards. She has Sensory-Processing Sensitivity (Dr Elaine Aron explains this well), which means she feels very keenly and thinks a heck of a lot.
Kev: What would you say is the main antagonist’s greatest strength?
An ability to hold a principle above all else – even personal happiness.
Kev: Could you provide a short passage from your book to give us a taster?
As I fought to remain on the flimsy polystyrene surfboard that seemed more bucking bronco than wave rider, I thought: That’s how easy it is – you just let go. Just release the grip on this world that in recent months had seemed so much an effort, and sink into the blue, beneath the waves, where chaos and fury turned to quiet and calm. Like she did.
Was drowning as they claim? I wondered. The easiest way to die – peaceful? How would it feel to give up all the dragging myself through the day, all the struggle to evade the aching void inside? A relief?
Another wave rose me up and slammed me down with breathtaking power. Its force stirred me. You could say a lot of things about Scarlett Blake – she’s a loner, she’s a wallflower, she’s a menace in the kitchen – but no way was ‘she’s a quitter’ on the list of character flaws.
‘Screw you!’ I shouted through the spray.
Funny, sounded like someone shouted back. But who else would be out in this tumultuous sea at six a.m. on a summer’s morning? Solitude was the entire point of hauling myself out of bed in the still-dark and picking my way down the cliff path to the beach just in time to see the horizon light up with the first burnt-orange glow of the rising sun. No one to see me make a damn fool of myself on my first surfing attempt.
‘Trying… yourself killed?’
Definitely a voice. Male. Angry.
Kev: When you write, do write off-the-cuff or do you use some kind of formula?
A mixture of both. I plan books pretty carefully, but then I give myself permission to go with the flow as I write as well. Sometimes I end up discarding the material I write on a deviation; sometimes I love the new course and follow it all the way. The Ceruleans series is twisting and turning – some of those twists were planned, some were gifts of the muse.
Kev: How do you deal with writers’ block?
I haven’t encountered that problem with my own writing. If my pace is slowing, it’s a signal I’m tired, and after a good sleep the words flow again. If anything, I have the opposite problem – a constant desire to write!
Kev: Preference for writing: Day or night?
Day. Early morning. I love to be up and at my desk within minutes of waking up; I can happily write from five a.m. until lunchtime. Later in the day, fatigue sets in and my speed slows. But with two children and a busy job, I have to grab time to write whenever I can, and recently that’s meant evenings.
Kev: What is your process for editing your work?
I try to turn off my inner editor when I’m writing the first draft, and just let the words flow unhindered. Given that I’m a book editor, that’s pretty difficult! I put the first draft away for a while, and then read it several times, making notes. Then I do the first edit. Then the second. Then sometimes a little more focused editing on particular scenes. Usually, the book’s then ready for proofreading several times – by myself, and by colleagues.
Kev: How do you come up with your book covers?
I go through many concepts before settling on one. For inspiration, I do a lot of cover hunting online and in my local bookstore, and I browse image banks for many, many hours. I do a lot of rough mocking up using PicMonkey, before moving on to the ‘proper’ design work in Adobe.
Kev: Do you think the book cover is important?
Hugely. People really do judge a book by its cover!
Kev: Which publishing platform do you prefer and why?
At the moment, I’m only on Amazon, in the KDP Select programme. All sorts of reasons for that, but it’s suiting me well as a sort of soft launch for Megan Tayte.
Kev: Do you face any daunting obstacles during the publishing process?
I’m lucky in that I work in publishing so I know the game pretty well and I’ve played it over and over. There have been no great difficulties in publishing, but then I’m only at Stage 1 of a long and rather involved plan, so we shall see!
Kev: What methods do you use to promote your work?
There are so many options available to authors, and to do them all you’d need to make marketing a full-time job. Impossible! So I follow a fairly simple marketing plan: blog and engage on social media, solicit reviews, write guest posts and interviews, and engage in price promotions.
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
Have fun and keep writing! I’ve worked with plenty of authors who risk killing the joy of writing by getting bogged down in the business of being an author. I try not to take myself too seriously. I love to write, and if others enjoy reading what I write, that’s a brilliant bonus – but either way, I’ll still write.
Kev: Which social media platforms do you use the most?
My website: http://megantayte.com/
I’m slowly getting to grips with Google+ as well.
Kev: Is there anything else you would like to add?
The first two books in the Ceruleans series, Death Wish and Forget Me Not, are out now, and the next book, Wild Blue Yonder, is due to publish in May. For more information on the books, you can visit my website: http://megantayte.com/.