Authors on the Verge: Meet Megan Crewe, young adult novelist

Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe
Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe

This week, we have Megan Crewe. Megan lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and two cats. She has worked with children and teens for several years, in rec centers and schools, and as a private tutor for children with special needs. In her free time, she reads everything she can get her hands on, travels to distant locales, and speculates about the ghost that may or may not be living under her bed.

Here’s a little bit about GIVE UP THE GHOST, Henry Holt, Fall 2009.

GIVE UP THE GHOST is a paranormal YA in which a teen outcast who sees ghosts and uses the secrets they dig up to expose her fellow students’ deceits must choose between revenge and compassion when the popular student council V.P. comes to her for supernatural help.  It will be published by Holt in Fall 2009.

Now let’s start the interview. When you received your offer, what happened?

Megan Crewe
Megan Crewe

I had a funny situation, because just before Christmas we heard from an editor that he planned to offer after the holidays.  So I had a little moment of happy dancing and joyous shrieking, but I had to try not to get too excited just in case it didn’t actually happen.  Then I did more shrieking and babbled to my husband and called up my parents when the offer officially came.  A week later, we got another offer.  All I can say is it’s a good thing the walls of our apartment are thick because otherwise people would have been wondering what crazy, shrieking person lived next door!

So now that you have a contract, what’s it like to be on the other side-on the verge of publication? What does it feel like to be official?

It feels…  really nice.  Okay, really really really nice!  I love that now when I say “I’m a writer” to people, and they ask, “Oh, do you have any books published?”, I can tell them there’s one on the way.  I love looking at the shelves in the bookstore knowing not too long from now my book will be there, too.    It seems silly, because I always considered myself a writer, and I don’t think you have to be published to call yourself one, but it all feels much more real now.

Tell us a little bit about your path to publication.

I’ve been writing seriously since my early teens.  I had several short stories published between then and my early twenties, but I’ve gradually realized that novels are my real love.  I knew I wanted an agent before pursuing publication, and I was lucky enough to find a wonderful one who loved my book.  It was a long haul–exactly one year from the book going on submission to publishers to the first offer–but we both believed in the book, and now here I am!

And here’s our favorite question. How many rejections did you receive in general (not just for this book) before you landed your first major publishing contract?

100+

Tell us about one of your most heart-breaking rejections and about one of your best.

The most heartbreaking rejections were from the editors who wanted to make an offer on the book, but couldn’t because somewhere along the process someone else at the publishing house said “No.”  Knowing you’re that close, and that there’s someone who wants to work with you but can’t for reasons beyond your control–it’s hard.  But at the same time those are the best rejections, because even if it was a “No”, I knew someone had really loved the book.

How long did it take to sell your books, from putting the first words on the page to receiving an offer?

3 years +

Prior to selling your books, you were …

Working a part-time job unrelated to writing

Now that you’ve sold some books, you plan to …

Not change a thing

What are some of the new things you worry about now that you have a contract?

Worry, me?  Heh.  Let’s see:  Will my revision letter give me a heart attack?  Will I like my cover?  Will people buy my book?  Will people like my book?  Will people assume I am my main character and start asking me to talk to dead relatives for them?  So, just a few things.

Describe a typical day in your writing life.

I get up, eat breakfast, and then sit in my comfy writing chair with my laptop.  My desktop computer stays off during this time because otherwise I am easily sucked into online wanderings.  If I’m writing a first draft, and I have time, I’ll usually write a chapter (I try to write 1000 words at a minimum).  If it’s a later draft I may write two chapters.  Then I catch up with my email and online communities, maybe post in my blog, and get ready for the day job.

What is one of the biggest myths in children’s book publishing that you wish aspiring writers would just forget about?

One of the biggest myths in publishing in general is that you can only get published if you have connections.  I’ve seen people give up because they believed this, which makes me incredibly sad because it’s so untrue.  I didn’t know any of the editors who bought my short stories.  I’d never talked to my agent before querying her, or even commented on her blog, and I didn’t know any of her current clients, either.  I had no connections to anyone in book publishing.  And most of the people I know who have books out or coming out got there the same way–by writing the best stuff they could and querying and sticking with it.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Read lots, in lots of genres.  You never know what will inspire you, and the more you read, the better you understand plot, characters, setting, and everything else, in all their variations.  And write.  Write even when you’re afraid you’ll get it wrong.  Nothing is set in stone.  If it doesn’t come out quite the way you wanted, rewrite.  And rewrite again.  Eventually, you’ll get there.  You don’t get anywhere if you’re not writing.

Finally, Snoop wants to know: What would you most want to see happen to your books after publication?

I would love, more than anything, to have a fandom.  For readers to enjoy my books enough that they want to be a part of them, to discuss them and add to them, to write fanfiction and draw fanart.  Knowing people got into the books that much…  It would just be amazing.

This concludes our interview with our latest author Megan Crewe. We wish her much success with her debut novel GIVE UP THE GHOST.

To see what Megan is up to these days, visit her blog at http://megancrewe.livejournal.com or her website at http://www.megancrewe.com.

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