Monday, January 23, 2012

Debut Authors of the Class of 2k12: Megan Bostic

I'm pleased today to bring you a second interview with a debut author from my sister class of 2k12. Megan Bostic's novel, Never Eighteen, sounds like a really wonderful and important read, and I'm very excited to introduce you to Megan. I know you'll enjoy her thoughtful answers.

Congratulations on the publication of your novel, Never Eighteen. Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?

Never Eighteen is a story about love, loss, and letting go.  The protagonist, Austin, is facing an uncertain future.  So many people around him are plagued by abuse, addiction, or loss that they’ve quit living life, their one shot at existence.  Austin decides that he needs to go on a crusade to try to fix the things that have broken and make those people realize that their one chance to live should not be wasted.
While on the journey Austin realizes that his own life isn’t exactly in order and that maybe he should also tie up his own loose ends before it’s too late.
As for inspiration, it goes back to November of 2001, when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer.  By the time they found it, it was all over her body.  In March of 2002 I closed down my day care and my husband and I took her into our home to do hospice rather than have her put into a nursing home.  So I was witness, first hand, at how a cancer patient is affected by chemo, and medications such as morphine, and how fast the disease can take you when not treated.  When my mother-in-law was no longer conscious, the hospice nurse explained how her body was shutting down from the cancer.  She was in our home less than three weeks.

My husband actually came up with the idea for the book, and I ran with it.  I think people take life for granted, thinking it will always be there until we're old.  But what if it isn't?  What if you knew you only had a short time left?  What would you do?  Where would you go? Who would you see?  Whose life would you try and touch before your time was up? 

This story is twofold though.  Not only was I a witness to my mother-in-law's cancer, but after she passed, I didn't go back, to work.  I was grieving with loads of time on my hands and needed a distraction.  That's when I wrote my first novel.

What a beautiful story, and what a great inspiration. And how terrific that you turned your grief into art. How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort? 

I have a total of about seven novels finished, though not edited.  My first effort was a series of middle grade novels about a teenage super hero.  I finished that first book about four years ago, unfortunately agents and publishers weren’t as excited about it as I was. I complete three books in that series and I have three YA manuscripts finished, one of them being my debut, Never Eighteen.

Can you describe your path to the publication of Never Eighteen?

I wrote Never Eighteen back in 2008.  It began life as a NaNoWriMo novel titled Mending Fences.  After numerous, extensive revisions (13 to be exact, but who’s counting, right?) I started querying it out to agents.  I’d queried about twenty five, with no luck, so was about to give up, when a friend gave me another agent’s name.  I told myself last one, once I’m rejected more revisions.  But this agent wanted to see ten pages, then fifty, then the full manuscript.  Then she wanted to sign me.  I thought I was in some cruel nightmare and I was going to wake up at any second.  But no, it was real.  She sent it out to five publishers and two weeks after I signed with her, I had a book deal.  I know mine is a bit of a Cinderella story, things don’t usually happen that fast in this business, but I didn’t work outside the home at the time so I could edit full time, and my agent obviously knows the editors she works with well.    

It's the perfect story! Actually, your persistence is what got you to that place. Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

I would tell beginning writers to never stop trying to improve their craft and take criticism gracefully.  As writers, we will never be perfect and there is always room for improvement.  If you surround yourself with other writers, you will probably be able to find people willing to give you feedback. Also, learn patience.  This is a very slow business, in all aspects.  Agents take a while to get back to you, same with publishers.  Even if you get a deal, things happen at a very slow-almost-to-a-stop pace.  Just to give you an idea, I was offered my deal in April, and I wasn't slated to debut until Fall 2011(changed to early 2012). Lastly I would tell beginning writers to never give up on their dreams.  Even if it seems impossible, it’s not.  I’m living proof.

Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?

I have many inspirations.  The people that surround me inspire all the time, my children, my writing friends, my non-writing friends.  And life inspires me every day.   I would say life itself is my muse and I often draw from real life experiences and emotions when I write.

Plans for the future are not as clear cut for me.  Here is what I know: I want to continue writing, to be a good mother, sister, daughter, and friend.  I want to make good choices, but also mistakes so I can continue learning and growing as a human being.  Mostly I want to live life to its full potential so I don’t have too many regrets.  You only have one chance at life, and I want to make the most of it.

That's such a lovely sentiment. Do you have any new writing ventures underway?

I ALWAYS have new writing ventures underway, and old ones that need editing, lol.  My current favorite projects however, are two YA novels, one titled Withered about issues that arise around eating disorders, and the other is called Taking Zoey, which will be a very introspective story from the viewpoint of a kidnapping victim.  I also have an adult dystopic project I’m very excited about.

Do you have a website where readers can learn more about Never Eighteen?  

Coming to a server near you: 


Annie said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this book--it sounds great!
I loved Megan's advice about "taking criticism gracefully".
Congratulations on your debut, Megan!

Janet Fox said...

Hi Annie - agreed! :) Thanks for stopping by!