I’m so happy to welcome an author who is in the very beginning of her publishing career. While Megan Linden is a new name, and a new writer to all of you, I’ve known her for several years. We ‘grew up’ together, attended the same school of hard knocks, and learned our craft from many of the same sources. My Beta Reader is a mutual friend of ours, and has been one of the greatest sources of constructive criticism, and emotional support.
I’ve been enjoying Megan’s writing for years now, so I’m thrilled that the world gets to discover her now, too, and that MLR Press is the one bringing her to all of you!
Now, sit back and enjoy getting to know the geekier side of Megan Linden. Be sure to stick around until the end, because she’s giving away two ebook copies of her Olympic themed story, “Running Off The Edge”.
About Your Craft:
1. Which genre are you most/best known for?
I write only contemporary m/m for now, so if anybody knows me, it’s for that.
“Running Off the Edge”, my Winter Olympics story. It’s got good reviews and even made the Are bestseller list – not bad for a debut book! 😉
KENDALL: Not bad at all, even for a veteran author. You should be very proud. One of the things I’ve always liked about your writing is, even if you were to write a story that didn’t meet my tastes (hasn’t happened yet, that I know of!), your technical style is clean and smooth. You learned character and story development in the trenches, right along beside me, and it shows.
3. Do you have a ‘signature’ or a ‘trademark’ feature in your work? If yes, was it accidental, or intentionally developed?
I’ve noticed that nine times out of ten I would put a military or ex-military character into a story. It’s not deliberate, I just always find myself with at least one of those. But I’m not the only one who loves them – and I’m looking at you, Kendall – so that’s probably not a ‘signature’. Just a good taste, let’s say. 😉
KENDALL: But see, writing those Marines in combat IS my trademark! (Love and Dog Tags!) You watched me discover I have a particular talent for it, though, on top of the interest. Which is why I consciously made it my niche. You might still be developing your ‘signature’.
4. I love stories that feature classic heroes and/or sympathetic villains, but I particularly adore anti-heroes and reluctant heroes. Do you have a preference, or a fondness, for one character archetype over the others?
Here comes an unpopular opinion – I’m really tired of anti-heroes! They seem to be everywhere and I’m just like “well, okay, but what about dropping the anti- part?”.
I have a soft spot for the good guys, idealists who believe they can do better and that the world can, too. They get beaten, but they will stand up again. They will get some of their ideals shaken, or shattered, but they will keep going anyway.
KENDALL: I’m fairly certain that anti-heroes are so prevalent, because we’ve all realized that the pure ‘white hat’ hero doesn’t actually exist in real life. Human beings are flawed, they’re complex, and they’re complicated, and anti-heroes reflect that. You didn’t call me out, though! In the question, I stated that I adore anti-heroes and reluctant heroes, but I don’t write them! My heroes are flawed, buy they’re pure, squeaky-clean good guys. I figured you would have called me on that!
5. My brain knows the correct spelling of the word serious, but my fingers always insist on typing the word seriouse. Do you have a similar typing tick?
I have problems with spelling thigh (I had to check again now and good thing I did, because I would have spelled it wrong), but I can’t blame it on the typing, I’m afraid. But as far as typing ticks go, I always seem to make thought into thougth for some reason.
6. What work did you do to develop your craft in preparation for becoming a ‘professional’?
I wrote fanfiction for years and that definitely taught me A LOT about writing. Other than that, I did what everyone tells you to do – I read a lot and I wrote a lot. Okay, scratch that last part, I definitely wrote less than I should, I’m a terrible procrastinator…
KENDALL: Fanfiction! Where we both cut our teeth and developed our thick skins! I think fandom is the best training ground EVER for writers, especially when it comes to dealing with the toxic atmosphere of Goodreads. And I agree, you should write more.
I make myself write semi-regularly now. Waiting for the inspiration just meant I wasn’t getting anything done. And I think I’m getting more focused during my edits – thinking about what works and what doesn’t, trying to take a step back and look at it as a reader.
8. Which aspect of your craft seemed to come easiest to you, early on? Has it changed with time and/or experience?
I used to write very short pieces only – drabbles and flash fiction. Short, to the point, usually angsty. I was always going for that killer punch line that makes or breaks short fiction. I couldn’t imagine writing anything long. Obviously I got over that.
9. Which aspect of your craft was the most difficult for you to master? Do you still struggle with it? Is there a new aspect you find you need to work on?
Descriptionnnnnnnnnns. Descriptions are evil. I struggle with them A LOT. I’m afraid of overdescribing but then I always end up with comments like “VOID” or “you need some descriptions here!” from my beta reader.
KENDALL: She does the same thing to me.
I also used to be terrified of writing dialogue. I’m a funny person in life, but I was afraid to use it in writing, I was sure no one would find it funny. Now I got over that and I actually like writing dialogue, funny or not so much.
10. Briefly describe the mechanics of your creative process.
“I should be writing. I will just check Tumblr one more time. Yeah, and my email when I’m at it. I should be writing… Oh, hey, that blog post I wanted to read! I will definitely write later. I will.” (I won’t.)
KENDALL: Well, welcome to life as a professional writer! You’ve joined the club with the rest of us!
Oh wait, you meant actual creative process. Well. I get an idea from somewhere (a quote, a passing sentence in a description of a movie, my burning need for a story in a world of politics that suddenly spirals into a series etc, etc), I write it down on a small piece of paper, and then I… well, I either lose it and forget all about it, or I get to it right away, mulling it over and over in my head, until I have more flushed out idea that then turns into a basic outline. Then it’s writing time (which is filled with procrastination as described above). Sometimes I write linear, sometimes not so much. There are times when the scene just show up, already formed, and I just have to write it down right now.
11. None of us work in a vacuum. We all depend on others to help us fully develop our creative projects. My beta reader and my MLR editor are absolutely critical to me. With regard to developing your craft, who are you most reliant on and appreciative of?
I wouldn’t get anywhere without my beta reader, that’s for sure! I can trust her to be honest with me and I think that’s the most important thing in this kind of relationship – I know she will tell me when I screw up. She will also tell me when I did something good, which is nice. 😉 And of course my MLR editor who pushes me to make the story better. I want to keep improving and I think it’s not possible without other people.
12. While practicing your craft, have you ever experienced a ‘happy accident’? If so, what was it?
I’d say getting an idea from a call of submissions from MLR Press when I was stuck on another story I was working on was a very happy accident. I ended up writing “Running Off the Edge”, my first published story.
1. My job during the Zombie Apocalypse would be_____?
I’d be at a base somewhere, trying to help people who can’t handle the crisis or already lost someone. In between I’d probably try to get in to the main operations room to give them my opinion of what we should do. Unless I’d really trust whoever was in charge, I wouldn’t be able to stay away.
2. The monster of which I am most afraid is___? Why?
______ a. _______ b. _x______ c. ______ d. _______ e.
I was thinking of humans, but zombies are undead humans, so that’s even worse…
3. Anakin and Luke are classic character archetypes (The Hero & The Christ Figure), or just a couple of whiney brats?
Both, but closer to the whiney brats, especially Anakin. I would take Obi Wan over both of them any day.
4. Star Trek: Classic, Next Generation, or Reboot? Why?
Reboot, because that’s the only one I’ve actually seen.
5. Griffyndor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, or Ravenclaw?
Gryffindor! I have a lot of Hufflepuff in me as well, but Gryffindor would win, especially when I was 11.
6. ‘Boy Bands’: Pop music genius? Or devil’s spawn?
I wouldn’t call any boy band genius (unless it’s marketing genius, because they definitely are that), but some of them are cool. I do have some sweet memories of listening to Backstreet Boys as a very young girl. 😉
7. Madonna or Cyndi? Katie or GaGa?
Madonna & Katie, all the way!
8. You’re attending ComicCon in San Diego, this year. You befriended a famous Hollywood FX make-up artist who has offered to create a costume for you. What fictional character would you cosplay?
Ooohh, that’s a great question! I’m on Captain America hype lately, so maybe a female version of Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, with the arm and everything.
9. I’m not a hoarder, or anything, I just like to collect___?
Pieces of paper when I wrote down another “brilliant idea”. I have tons of them.
10. You have a magic wardrobe that doesn’t necessarily lead to Narnia. Where does it lead?
It’s flexible and lets me into whatever land or world I want to visit at the moment! Most days it just transports me into work really fast.
A man walks into a recruitment office… and nothing goes according to plan.
Matt Holston, soon-to-be college graduate, tries to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One of his ideas? US Marine Corps. But when he goes to the recruitment office to learn more about a possible military career, he meets a guy who is a complete opposite of what Matt imagined a recruitment officer should be.
Cole Perry had suffered PTSD after his second tour overseas and now he just wants to get to the end of his contract. Transferred from his old unit, he’s a glorified office clerk, as he calls himself, but what he’s definitely not is a guy who would help anybody make the same mistake he did.
So what makes Matt come back to see Cole again, if not the spiel about serving his country?
Social Media Info (website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, et al)
MLR – http://bit.ly/MLROpenEnd
Amazon – http://bit.ly/OpEndAmazon
Are – http://bit.ly/OpEndARe
Kobo – http://bit.ly/OpEndKobo
Here we are, at the end! Megan is generous enough to offer two (2) copies of her first book, “Running Off The Edge”, as prizes! Two winners will be selected to each receive one ebook! You can enter below for a chance to win!