Saturday, 5 March 2016

Interview - Megan Tayte Author of The Ceruleans Series

Today I'm hosting an interview with Megan Tayte, author of The Ceruleans series.

When did you start writing?
I don’t remember; I was that young. I have diaries and stories dating back to age four or five. Everyone who knew me as a kid thought I’d do something involving writing when I grew up.

What makes you want to write?

When I write, everything makes sense – the world, other people, me. I’m most peaceful and alive when I’m writing.

Do you ever get writer’s block and what do you do to get over it?

I haven’t encountered that problem with my writing. If my pace is slowing, it’s a signal I’m tired, and after a good sleep the words flow again. If anything, I have the opposite problem – a constant desire to write. Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck wrote of: ‘the overpowering necessity to create, create, create – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, [your] very breath is cut off...’ That’s exactly how I feel.

Do you have a special way of going about writing?
Once I’ve done my research and plotting and got ‘the feels’ for the story (usually via visiting the settings and immersing myself in culture that inspires me) I like to write quickly and in as interrupted a flow as possible. Then I emerge from my haze, reconnect with reality and start editing.

Do you have any works in progress?

I’ve just started writing a new novel set in the arts scene of London, about the daughter of a prima ballerina who passed away in her infancy. 
What are your hobbies? 

A busy business, two kids and my writing don’t leave me a lot of time for hobbies, so I tend to do things I can share with my children, like baking and walks in the countryside. Reading is my one pleasure that creates ‘me time’. I like reading late at night, when the house is silent, by lamplight.

How did you choose the character names for the Ceruleans series?

I can’t tell you how I agonised over the names of my son and daughter, and yet for some reason I find naming characters easy. Scarlett is a name I’ve always loved, for the passion it suggests; and because the Cerulean light that Scarlett has is blue, I wanted a name that suggested an opposing colour, that suggested she was not a great fit with the Ceruleans. Luke and Jude, the two main guys in the series, have simple names, monosyllabic, and with Biblical associations. The only name I considered changing was Sienna – for a while I tried Elle and for a while Ruby – but for me, once a character is christened it’s very hard to rename him or her. She was born Sienna on the page, and so Sienna she remained.

Who is your favourite character in the Ceruleans series? 
Cara. Not only is she sassy, confident and hugely brave about disability, but she’s brilliantly blunt. It’s a lot of fun writing a character who skips all the preamble and dancing about delicately and just pokes the elephant in the room.

How did you get the idea for the Ceruleans series?

The Ceruleans series began life as several discrete ideas that I planned to make into several discrete books. Then one day as I was walking (something I do when I’m looking for inspiration) the ideas knitted together, and from there the overall story arc of the series took form.
There are many inspirations for the book. The story is quite personal to me, based on a mix of experience and fiction woven from my imaginings and ponderings. The setting – in a part of coastal Devon where I spent every summer as a child – was a key inspiration. But the story is based on my own efforts to make sense of a world in which people close to you can die; in which being true to yourself can be incredibly difficult; and in which love – for people, for places, for a way of being, for a passion and an ethos – is the only reason to hold on.

What was your favourite part of writing the Ceruleans series?

Finishing the final chapter of the fifth and final book. I’d been working towards that day for a really long time, through morning sickness and the exhaustion of pregnancy, and it was a great moment to type the words ‘The End’. As I recall, I cried. Which was a little awkward given that I was in a Starbucks, but one great thing about being heavily pregnant is that you can go ahead and tear up in public.  

What are you currently reading? 
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (the second book in her Outlander series).

 What is your favourite book? 

I have a ‘favourite books’ shelf at home and it’s stuffed to bursting. If I had to choose just one, I think it would be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, because it was my first proper grownup read and it made me want to be a proper grownup writer someday.

 Who is your favourite author? 

  Toni Morrison. Discovering her books, and Alice Walker’s, in my teens was transformational and put me on the path to my degree studies.

What is your favourite film?

Amélie. It’s so quirky and whimsical, and I love the Parisian setting (it reminds me of trips I took there in my teens and twenties).

What is your favourite TV show?

I watch a lot of romance/drama, and comedy. Geek that I am, The Big Bang Theory stands out as a favourite.

Quick-fire questions:

Chocolate or ice cream? Chocolate.
Paperback or ebook? Paperback.  
Dogs or cats? Dogs.  
Go out or stay in? Stay in.  
Summer or winter? Summer.

Find Book One, Death Wish on:

Goodreads | Amazon