Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Interview: Megan Crewe

Yesterday was a pretty special day. Why, you ask? Well, it was Give up the Ghost's release day! (My review can be found here.) In addition to having written this awesome book, the fabulous Megan Crewe is also Canadian and an all-around super sweet person. It's with great enthusiasm that Lucid Conspiracy presents the following interview, so give it up for Megan Crewe!

Let's start off with something fun - tell us about GIVE UP THE GHOST in twenty words, and try to toss as many alliterations in there as you can.
Ghost-seeing girl gives grief over classmates' crimes and indiscretions, until popular boy pushes past her prickles and asks for assistance. :)

Well done! The concept of ghosts has been around for ages, but every author puts a unique spin on them. What differentiates your's in particular?
I think the most important thing about my ghosts is that they're more human than most. They're still pretty aware of what's going on in the world around them, even if they have trouble remembering specific events for very long, and they're not stuck on the past or trying to find ways to move on.

Your leading lady, Cass, definitely marches to the beat of her own drum. How did her character traits come about?
Well, I had to figure out what sort of person would prefer hanging out with ghosts instead of living friends. What made the most sense was that the living friends she used to have did something so horrible she didn't feel she could trust anyone any more. But unlike the typical school outcast, Cass has power through her ghostly friends. And having been betrayed, it's naturally very important to her to try to expose her less-savory classmates before they hurt others the way she was once hurt. Of course, ghosts can't be everything a living friend can, so she's got a lot of loneliness she's hiding underneath, too.

For sure; and Cass's journey is pretty exciting to witness too! Tim is also very different from the typical Gary Stu; in fact, his flaws are quite refreshing. Did you set out with the damsel-in-distress-role-reversal in mind, or did it just happen?
Funny, I never thought of it as a damsel-in-distress reversal, but you're right, it is! I knew Cass was going to have to help someone who was tempting death in one way or another. It felt right for it to be a guy. Maybe because Cass was betrayed by female friends, so she'd be even more distrusting of a girl who tried to make friends with her? And I knew if Cass was going to consider risking coming out of her shell to help him, he'd have to be pretty messed up.

GIVE UP THE GHOST is an interesting title, for sure. Could you share a little about the origins of that?
The original title of the manuscript was IN MEMORY OF. My agent felt that was too vague, so I started brainstorming new titles before we sent it out. I read through a long list of euphemisms for death and "giving up the ghost" jumped out at me. I felt it worked both in a literal way (because Cass has to face giving up her reliance on her ghostly friends) and a metaphorical way (because the story's about death, and also about letting go of the past). So the book went out and sold as GIVING UP THE GHOST.

But there was another YA novel a couple years ago with that title, so my publisher felt we needed to change it. I thought and thought and couldn't come up with anything I liked half as much. Thankfully, my editor decided that it only needed to be a tiny change, and that GIVE UP THE GHOST was fine! I think I like it even better than GIVING; there's more urgency to it.

Although those other titles are nice too, I really like the current title! If the apocalypse were coming tomorrow and you could only choose three books (in the entire world) to keep safe and bring into the "New World", which ones would you choose?
Oh, hard question! Taking this very literally, I'd say the biggest and most accurate medical text book in existence, the biggest and most accurate survival book in existence, and the best encyclopedia I could find (that counts as one book, right? It's just different volumes :D ). Then, once we've managed to stay alive and have some idea of what's what in the world, we'll start writing our own fiction! As much as I love novels, I don't think they'd be the most useful thing to hold on to at the end of the world.

Very literal indeed - it does make a lot of sense though! Good answer. ;) Any literary crushes?
On literary characters? I have a very large soft spot for Eugenedies in Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia books, and also one for the Fool in Robin Hobb's Farseer books. I like them clever, devoted, and inscrutable. :)

Now, about the unexpected. What're the best and worst unforseen things that have come along with this whole process (e.g. the planning, outlining, writing, querying, submitting, publishing, etc.)?
The best unforeseen thing was how involved my publicist would be. I wasn't sure what to expect and knew I might have to plan most/all of my appearances on my own. So it was a wonderful surprise to end up having my first talk and signing nearly a month before the book was even out, and more to come, all arranged by her. I'm pretty shy, so it's wonderful having someone else connecting with important people and setting things up.

The worse unforeseen thing was losing my first editor. The editor who bought my book and worked on all my revisions with me was laid off during the cutbacks that hit many publishing houses last winter. The editor I've worked with since has been amazing, and I'm glad to have her, but it was scary when it happened and I didn't know what the consequences would be, and it's sad not to be able to share the excitement of the launch with the person who was so instrumental in making it happen.

Any other projects currently in the works that you wouldn't mind sharing a little bit about?

Unfortunately I can't give any details, but I am continuing to work on YA novels, both paranormal and fantasy.

Thanks for the fun interview!

Aww, I guess we'll just have to wait and see what's next, but YA paranormal/fantasy sounds like it'll be great fun! Thanks for stopping by, Megan!

You can find out more information by visiting Megan's website.


Steph Su said...

Wonderful interview, you two! It really makes me want to get to know Megan and read her book now. :)

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Excellent interview! I read the book this week and really loved it; I'm happy to know there'll be more coming from Crewe in a near future!

deltay said...

Thanks, Steph! You should, it's a pretty great read ;)

Thanks, Kay! I know, I was really happy to hear there's more coming too :)

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