Welcome to Cheri's 20 Questions! My interviewee today is the ever-talented Meg Bonney. When she is not writing books, she has a corporate day job, two awesome kiddos, and she writes TV reviews and recaps for PureFandom.com. She doesn't have a ton of down time, but when she does, she likes to bake and go for walks around the pond near her house.
Hi Meg! Please tell us a little something about what you write: I write YA and am starting to dabble in mystery! My first book, Everly was published in 2016 and it’s sequel will be out this fall. My current YA series is set in a fictional fantasy world, but there are some very relevant themes popping up in Book 2, so that has been fun!
Cheri: What is the first book that made you cry?
Meg: Charlotte’s Web. I was a sobbing mess after that one. I had no idea it was going to end that way and it broke my little heart.
Cheri: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Meg: I would say it depends on what part of the writing process I am in. Writing without deadline or expectation is 100% energizing. Editing is exhausting. And I found writing a sequel to be a little more on the exhausting side because there is less freedom when you have to stick to your own source material, but it was still really fun.
Cheri: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Meg: To use contractions! My day job is in the legal profession so I have a tendency to write everything out. That was something I had to go back and fix after I wrote Everly.
Cheri: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Meg: I had more obligations for marketing so it was definitely an adjustment on my time. I had to find a balance so that I didn’t spend all of my time on marketing or all of it on writing. It has to be a good mix.
Cheri: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Meg: I hired a freelance editor to take a look at my very first manuscript and give me some tips and pointers. I wasn’t ready to have my friends and family read it and I wanted an honest opinion.
Cheri: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Meg: I think it was when I read Fahrenheit 451. It was a book I had to read in school, but it stuck with me for so long because of the message. In the book, they lived in a society that wanted to stop people from reading because (among other things), it encouraged so much independent thought. It really made me realize the power that books can have.
Cheri: What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?
Meg: I feel like all of the Fear Street novels by RL Stine get brushed off as kids books, but they are so good. He has a way of connecting them all in tiny ways even though they are one offs. It shows such great attention to detail and it was something I loved as a kid/teen and I am even more impressed by as an adult.
Cheri: As a writer, what would you say is your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Meg: The writers I work with at PureFandom.com call me a Unicorn, but I am not really sure why. If I had to pick for myself, I would say a cat that never sleeps.
Cheri: How many published, unpublished, and half-finished books do you have?
Meg: I have way too many unfinished books and random chapters to count. I have one published book and another on the way. I am also working on a new mystery book idea.
Cheri: What does literary success look like to you?
Meg: I think it’s finding a fan base and connecting with readers. Getting published is great and all that, but if you don’t have that connection with your audience it just feels like you sending these stories into a giant void.
Cheri: What do you feel is the best way to market your books?
Meg: For me, it’s been twitter. I am trying to get more involved in my local market but it was a tough cookie to crack. I don’t actually have a book store in my town.
Cheri: What kind of research do you do, and how much time do you typically spend researching before beginning a new book?
Meg: With my current series, I didn’t have to do a ton of research. I did look up some things on fighting and weapons, but with a fantasy world, I got to really craft it on my own.
Cheri: How do you select the names for your characters?
Meg: I am not even sure how I came up with my main character names. I think they just sort of popped into my head. For most of the characters in the realm of Everly, I wanted them all to have elemental names or names that had meaning tied to nature. I didn’t want the names to be too out there, but I wanted them to feel a little different than the usual names in our world. My main character is Madison and it’s a name I have always liked. It’s just a strong name that can shorten to a cute nickname.
Cheri: Do you hide secrets (or Easter Eggs) in your books for people to find?
Meg: Absolutely. I think it’s fun as a reader to stumble across things like that so I try to do the same when I write. In Everly book 1, there are a few references to the TV show, Supernatural.
Cheri: What was your hardest scene to write?
Meg: It’s a scene in book 2, Rosewood Burning. Madison and Ara are underwater for a good amount of time. It’s not something a human could really do, so I did have to do some research to get the particulars about what reaction your body would have in that type of situation.
Cheri: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Meg: Nit picking. I have a terrible habit of going back and picking at scenes and rewriting. I actually just did it to Book 2.
Cheri: How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Meg: I would say (without breaks) about 8 months.
Cheri: What is your favourite childhood book?
Meg: I loved the book The Hundred Dresseswhen I was a kid, but it was kind of sad. If we are going back to childhood, I would say any of the Bernstein Bear books.
Cheri: Where/when do you find yourself most inspired?
Meg: Anytime I am listening to music. Music is always my creative trigger.
Cheri: Lastly, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Meg: Don’t let your nerves stop you. It’s a crazy leap to let someone read your work because it’s like they are reading a little bit of your soul, but you should open yourself up. And always remember, you are your toughest critic. Be kind to yourself!
Cheri: Thank you so much for answering my questions, Meg, and letting us get to know you better! It's been a pleasure having you!
You can find Meg Bonney's Amazon Page here.
Join us next week for another edition of Cheri's 20 Questions.
Award winning historical romance author, wife, and stay-at-home mom of four. Chocoholic, nerd, & bath bomb enthusiast.