MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MEGAN O’RUSSELL🦋
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Megan O’Russell, and The Girl Without Magic is a Young Adult Fantasy novel.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
The Girl Without Magic actually came out of someone’s review of a previous book I wrote in a different series. They wanted to see more of the Siren’s Realm, and it actually turned out to be a great idea!
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
My “day job” is actually as a musical theatre performer. Moving from acting to writing was a very natural progression for me since both are different forms of storytelling. I developed an interest in Young Adult Fantasy in particular because I love all the possibilities the genre provides. Your characters are figuring out who they are in a world where you make the rules. It’s so much fun!
What kind of research did you do for this book?
One of the locations is actually based on a real place I visited in Thailand! Other than that, a ton of research on different myths and legends.
Can you tell me about your Series?
The Girl Without Magic is book one in The Chronicles of Maggie Trent, so I’ll leave that book blurb here!
Death would have been easier, but the Siren wasn’t through with her.
Seventeen-year-old Maggie Trent fell out of a battle and into the Siren’s Realm, a land where secrets hide in the shadows and pleasure comes at a price Maggie is unwilling to pay.
The time for the Siren’s reckoning has come, sweeping away all she deems unworthy to live in her realm. Those without magic are hunted by the Siren. Those with magic are hunted by the Stricken. Fighting or hiding seem necessary to survive. But there is a different way.
Bertrand Wayland, unaging and unrelenting in his determination for Maggie to accept her fate, slips in and out through the stitches that bind the Siren’s Realm to other worlds, gaining magic and having glorious adventures. When Maggie follows Bertrand out of the Siren’s Realm, seeking an adventure of her own, she finds instead a world of magic on the eve of war. To save innocent lives Maggie risks her heart, her life, and her only chance of returning to the Siren’s Realm.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Right now, book one. I’ll let you know if it changes once book two is ready to be published!
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
It all started from that one review and spiraled from there. As for Maggie Trent herself, I wanted a strong female protagonist who wasn’t bound by gender roles. She doesn’t feel the need to be pretty or proper. She has no need to take the backseat to males. I wanted to write about a girl who wasn’t breaking through a glass ceiling, but instead has no concept that one should exist.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Absolutely! It’s a rather episodic series. Each book will find Maggie visiting a different land, though her home remains the Siren’s Realm. Sort of like how Doctor Who always comes back to the TARDIS.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Since I’m living on a bus for a national tour right now, my work day consists of writing on the bus until my computer battery dies. Then squeezing in a bit more time once we arrive at the hotel. If the day goes as planned, I shoot for writing a chapter a day, but on tour if I eat and sleep I call it a win.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I’m actually prepping the sequel to The Girl Without Magic for submission to my publisher at the moment.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
I love their names because I love my characters, but no, they don’t have significance beyond fitting their character.
Where do your ideas come from?
One series came from a dare on a hike. One came from a close call with frost bite. Maggie Trent came from a review.
Most of the time, I just bounce ideas off my husband and have him toss some concepts at me until I get excited about something. Having a partner who is willing to spend hours talking world building with you makes writing a much less lonely endeavor.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I would love to write a high fantasy series. I dipped my toe in last summer, but we’ll see what my agent thinks of it.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Waiting. Waiting for approval from my agent. Waiting through submissions. Waiting for edits. Waiting for more edits. I am not a patient person by nature.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I have trailers for three of my books, and I think they’re super fun! It’s a great way to catch potential readers’ eyes. I would never try and create a trailer myself though. It would be beyond my skill set.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Hmm. Not quitting when my first wo publishers closed under horrible circumstances.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Always having an excuse to daydream.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Living in a house with a lovely library and performing part time to fit in my book tour schedule.
Have you always liked to write?
I’ve always enjoyed storytelling. It’s the format that took me some time to find.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write. Don’t worry if it’s good. Don’t worry about commas. Just write the story you want to tell. If you finish writing and you’re done, good for you! You did something great. If you decide you really want people to read your writing, go back through and edit. Then edit some more. Then build yourself a support system to keep you going through the inevitable rejection. And start writing a second story.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I’d keep acting.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read most reviews. If it’s a good review, I’ll usually like it on Goodreads or retweet the post. If it’s a bad review, I’ll let it be. Bad reviews really don’t upset me. Being in theatre has given me very thick skin.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Waiting. All the waiting.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
It’s not quite to that phase yet!
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
I love YA fantasy because of the ability to explore. I want to pursue adult fantasy. I don’t really know how I’m going to balance it yet since that project is still waiting on my agent’s desk.
Where did your love of books come from?
I’ve loved books since I was a toddler. Being read to was my favorite activity, and it all continued from there.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Madeline L’Engle and The Chronicles of Narnia.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Oh no. A yet to be published character. Her name is Ena, and I love her for her strength. She is fearless, and bold, and beyond daring. I can’t help but admire her.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Depends on how it’s going on any given day.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Furniture. I tend to slip extra pieces in where they don’t belong.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I strive to offer something new while relating to the reader.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m a part of a few huge author groups through social media. The groups help me by not only keeping me sane when it seems like everything is falling apart, but by also keeping me driven. Knowing that others have signed movie deals and are reaching bestseller lists makes it a rational goal instead of a pipe dream.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
There’s Sequins in my Wine
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Oh that’s really tough.
I suppose it would be, “If you could tell your protagonist one thing, what would it be?”
My answer for Maggie Trent: You were loved.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️