Jen: Today we welcome Megan Tayte to Romancing the Book. Megan, will you share a short bio with us?
Megan: Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.
Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s Independent Woman Author of the Year award.
Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in the village of Standish, Greater Manchester. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Megan: My Ceruleans series is based on a simple premise: if the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?
There are many inspirations for the book. The story is quite personal to me, based on a mix of experience and fiction woven from my imaginings and ponderings. The setting – in a part of coastal Devon where I spent every summer as a child – was a key inspiration. But 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.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Megan: Romance with soul.
Jen: If you could have dinner with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Megan: I deliberated over this question for a ridiculously long time, because there are so many authors I’d love to meet. I’m going to settle for J.K. Rowling. Why? Two words: Harry Potter.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Megan: My favorite character in The Ceruleans is Cara, a feisty, outspoken, courageous teenager living with crippling leg injuries after a car accident. She’s sassy, she’s zany, she’s fabulously blunt. It’s a lot of fun writing a character who skips social niceties and pokes the elephant in the room, and who sees the world through a lens of popular teen culture.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Megan: I received a moving email from a reader who told me Book 2 of The Ceruleans, Forget Me Not, had helped her grieve the recent loss of a relative; the reading created a safe space for her to feel the spectrum of emotion associated with grief, and find some peace. She’s not the first reader to mention ‘ugly crying’ while reading my fiction. I don’t set out to make anyone cry, but I love to know that some readers believe that much in my characters.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Megan: We have a little family party. It’s geared towards my children – huge cake, party hats, sparklers, cheesy music – but we all have a laugh and generally get silly. My kids LOVE publication parties so much they beg me to get on and write another book. Like me, cakeage is a huge motivation for them…
Jen: What’s next for you?
Megan: I have several books in progress at the moment. The one currently taking centre stage is set on the arts scene of London. I lived in London for years and by far my favorite aspect of life there was the culture – musicals in the West End; open-air concerts in Hyde Park; art shows at the Tate Modern; impromptu opera at Covent Garden. It’s the perfect setting for romance.