Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, Meghan Maslow – Meghan Maslow is truly a rare breed. No, not a unicorn (although that would be sooo cool). She’s a. . . gasp!. . . extroverted writer. It may seem counterintuitive that as someone who is energized by people, she spends most of her time alone. Yet, that’s the case. And she doesn’t mind. Mostly.
Thanks so much, Meghan, for joining me!
Comment on this post for a chance to win an audio copy of By Fairy Means or Foul 🙂
J. Scott Coatsworth: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
Meghan Maslow: I don’t have any superstitions and I’m not sure this really applies, but lately I don’t like to write in my office unless I have a kitten with me. There’s something about having a kitten/s with me that I find very calming and they will often do something ridiculously cute that makes me laugh. It helps keep anxiety and other negative feelings at bay while I write. Also, while I can write just about anywhere, I have trouble tuning out my kids and DH, so headphones are critical to working from home for me.
JSC: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
MM: I knew I wanted to write since I was in middle school. I flirted with the idea of being a cartoonist. . . except I have absolutely no ability to draw. But writing I always seemed to do well. I don’t think I felt confident I could write until much, much later. I wrote the draft of a novel in 2004 that promptly went in a drawer. But it was the beginning and I learned a lot from that first attempt.
JSC: Tell me about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
MM: Oh, I have a really odd habit to share. If I’m really close to someone and we’re having a meal together, I want to eat something off their plate. It doesn’t matter what, but there’s something about sharing food that subconsciously indicates closeness to me (Freud would have a field day, I’m sure). I don’t even know I’m doing it! My dearest friends all know this about me-tease me mercilessly about it-and will always leave me a bite of something. My DH automatically gives me a bite off his plate. I’m not even certain he’s aware he does it anymore. I didn’t even realize I did this until a friend pointed it out many years ago. But don’t worry, I don’t randomly go around eating off people’s plates-I swear I won’t accost anyone’s plate in a conference bar! LOL. It really only happens with a handful of people in my life.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
MM: I tend to either write mysteries/suspense or fantasy/urban fantasy/paranormal. I love to world build and I also love a good dead body. Romance was hard for me to write initially because so much of it is driven by internal dynamics, while mysteries and epic fantasy are driven by the external – a murder, a quest of some sort. I probably won’t ever write a lot of contemporary romance for this reason, but I enjoy combining romance with a good fantasy or paranormal. And hopefully in the not-too-distant future with a good mystery.
JSC: Were you a voracious reader as a child?
MM: I was always a reader, but I’d say I hit voracious around sixth grade. I read everything I could get my hands on. I’ve always been very social so I would spend lots of time with friends and then withdraw into a book. Once the book was finished, I would go seek out people and then the cycle would continue. It hasn’t changed that much over the years. I still manage to read several books a week and keep a fairly active social life.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
MM: I had three short stories published around the same time. The one I’m happiest with is called The Wrath of Stan and is about a nerd vampire who was turned at a Star Trek fan convention in the 1980’s and is stuck being young, pimply, and horny for all eternity. It’s still one of my favorite pieces. I have the first draft of a novel starring Stan, but I haven’t had time in my writing schedule to edit and polish it. Maybe someday. . .
In romance, my first publication was A Cobra’s Charm. I’m very fond of this piece because it wasn’t just the first publication, but also the very first romance piece I ever wrote. Before then, I wrote (under another penname) exclusively in mystery/suspense and wasn’t sure I had the chops to write a romance. It was a happy surprise and kept me coming back.
JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?
MM: The kittens haven’t started sleeping on my keyboard, but they both vie for my lap. Since they’re starting to get big this is a bit of a problem. Duma, which means Cheetah in Swahili, is a marmalade kitten with the most loving disposition. Moshi, which means Smoke in Swahili, is the tuxedo kitten with the most curious nature. They keep me on my toes.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
MM: I’m a pantser. I get a kernel of an idea and either just go for it or wait a bit and let certain scenes develop in my head first. I try to write at least five days a week, but life happens and that’s not always possible. I like to keep myself accountable by having a weekly word goal, but again, it doesn’t always happen. I am fortunate to have an office in my home that is very private and where I can lock myself away. I’m also an extrovert which is somewhat unusual for a writer and every couple of days I go to a café to work just so I can be around people. As long as I have music on, I can work almost anywhere – bar, café, airport. And I almost always listen to music when I write because certain songs will get associated with my WIP and will tell my muse to put the margarita down and get to work (she’s flighty and needs some direction).
JSC: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
MM: Um, I think we’ll focus on the mystery aspect of this question and not the romance one. LOL. I’ve crawled into the trunk of the car to see how much room my MC would have to maneuver. My DH refused to drive around the neighborhood with me in it, though. (spoil sport).
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
MM: I’m working on A Fairy Game, the second book in the Starfig Investigations series. It’s comic fantasy that began as an homage to fantasy authors whom I read obsessively as a tween and young teen – primarily Robert Asprin and Piers Anthony. Throw in romance and some mystery and it’s got everything but the kitchen sink. I’m hoping to release it in April. Because I write under another pen name, it can be a bit of a balancing act, but it’s almost ready to go.
And now for Meghan’s latest book: By Fairy Means or Foul:
The last thing half-dragon, half-fairy private investigator Twig Starfig wants to do is retrieve a stolen enchanted horn from a treacherous fae, but there’s no denying the dazzlingly gorgeous unicorn who asks Twig to do just that. Literally, no denying, because compelling the reluctant detective is all part of a unicorn’s seductive magic.
To add to his woes, Twig is saddled with the unicorn’s cheeky indentured servant, Quinn Broomsparkle. Dragons are supposed to want to eat humans, but Twig’s half-dragon side only wants to gobble up Quinn in a more . . . personal way. Making matters worse, it’s obvious the smokin’ hot but untrustworthy sidekick is hiding something. Something big. And not what’s in his trousers. In the PI business, that means trouble with a capital Q.
Throw in gads of zombies, a creepy ghost pirate ship, a malfunctioning magic carpet, and Twig’s overbearing fairy father’s demands to live up to the illustrious Starfig name. Naturally, an old but abiding enemy chooses this time to resurface, too. Those inconveniences Twig can handle. The realization he’s falling for a human who isn’t free to return his affections and whose life may hang on the success of his latest case?
Not so much.
“Twig Starfig,” Nyx sneered. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Where you’re concerned it’s never a pleasure.” I stepped a little closer. When I got my hands around his scrawny little neck. . .
“Tut tut. Aren’t you glad to see your brother?”
I snorted. “Like a pox.”
“Then we’re even. Though you do have impeccable timing.”
The whole time we bantered the demon threw itself over and over against the pentagram, its eyes fixed on Nyx, harsh shrieks tearing from its throat each time the pentagram held. Nyx had definitely made a powerful enemy. Not that I could blame the demon. I wanted to tear Nyx limb from limb, too.
Quinn started muttering behind me and energy raised the hairs on my nape. He was about to go all badass wizard on Nyx.
Unfortunately, Nyx seemed to know it, too. He snapped his fingers and glowing bars shot up around us, caging us. If they were made of fire, they’d never hold me. I reached out, but Quinn yanked my hand back.
“Don’t, Twig,” he hissed. “They’re bars of vampiric malady. It will drain the life force from you if you touch them.” I steadied him as he swayed on his feet, his face pale. “It’s already draining my magic.”
I concentrated. Yeah, it was draining my fairy magic. Since my other side was dominant it didn’t seem to affect me to the same extent as Quinn.
“Your little human is smarter than I expected. I wouldn’t think you’d care about brains in a bed slave.” Nyx eyed Quinn up and down like he was a tasty piece of pie.
I growled. “He’s a wizard and you know it.”
Nyx smirked. “Yes, and you brought him right to me. I’ve always wanted a pet wizard. I bet he’s good in bed, too.”
I forced myself to laugh. “Okay, short stuff, since you hardly come up to his ankle, I don’t think that’s likely to happen.”
Nyx hated to be reminded he was little. He was average sized for a fairy, but ever since I showed up on my father’s doorstep he’d been incensed about his diminutive stature. I guess he hated not being able to look down upon me in a very physical way.
His face turned bright red—not a pretty color on him. “Father managed with your mother”—the way he said it dripped with venom—“so I’m sure I’ll have fun trying.”
“I never pictured you as an ankle humper. No, I’m lying. I did.”
“You shut up!” Nyx stomped his foot like a petulant child. It probably didn’t help that the demon stopped throwing itself at the pentagram and started guffawing. Who knew demons had a sense of humor? “You think you’re so superior—”
“Because I am.” I held my arms out so he could get a good look.
“—but you’ll be sorry. You’ll all be sorry.”
“Quinn, if there’s one thing my half-brother excels at, it’s monologuing.” I pitched my voice high. “I’ll get you all. You’ll all pay. Blah, blah, blah.” I dropped the voice and refocused on Nyx. “Don’t you ever get tired of listening to yourself? I know I do.”
Quinn panted in my arms, leaning heavily against me now. “Maybe you shouldn’t bait the crazy fairy when he’s in the process of draining our magic? Just a thought.”
I tightened my grip on him, held him close. “Don’t worry, he should get to the point soon. I hope. So how about it, Nyx? What evil plan are you cooking up this time? You planning on impaling yourself on the unicorn’s horn? I gotta say, I think that would be a fantastic idea.”
“Ha, you wish, brother dearest. No, you’ve never appreciated my genius—”
“If you want Quinn to appreciate it, you should probably get a move on with your story before he passes out.”
Her initials say it all. . .
Meghan Maslow is truly a rare breed. No, not a unicorn (although that would be sooo cool). She’s a. . . gasp!. . . extroverted writer. It may seem counterintuitive that as someone who is energized by people, she spends most of her time alone. Yet, that’s the case. And she doesn’t mind.
If she gets writers block or starts to go a little stir crazy, she heads to a coffee shop, a restaurant, a friend’s place—anywhere to fill up her need for human contact. It also helps that she spends a lot of time with the voices in her head. Some of them are really quite opinionated.
She loves writing gay romance because she’s a sap for a happy ending, and she believes everyone—regardless of orientation—should be able to find books that have them.
She believes life is for living, kindness is contagious, and a good book makes the world a better place. She loves travel, reading, world music, Moscow Mules, awkward dancing, dreadlocks, her family, and um. . . writing.