Today we have a very special guest at Bookwinked: Megan Derr. As you may have seen, I frequently review books by this author and it’s no secret I like them. Megan Derr has been among a few “constants” for me in this genre along with a couple other authors. Needless to say, it was high time I did an interview and Megan graciously accepted.
Hiya Megan! Welcome to the blog. Tell us, who is Megan Derr?
The Queen of Fluff and Nonsense :3
I am 36, married to a wonderful woman, have 8 house cats and four strays we look out for, more books than this house can hold, and enjoy baking and playing video games. I’m asexual, biromantic, and was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which is one of the reasons my writing has slowed down the past couple years. More than anything I love to write, especially about dumbass nerds who make falling in love needlessly difficult.
A lot of people are very happy you started writing, but can you tell us a bit about how you became an author?
Fanfiction, really. I always secretly wished I could write, but it was something I put on a pedestal. I didn’t seem to be like what I thought real writers were, so I never tried. Then I got into fanfiction, from there original work that fanficcers wrote, and it really sunk in that anybody could write, if they were willing to work at it. And I was. When I started, I knew that 1) if I was going to be a professional, it would take a long time, at least a decade and probably more and 2) I would suck for a long time before I got okay, and then good, and the chances of me being great were slim (and I do believe I settled at ‘good’ and that’s where I’m happy, honestly)
You have a number of series in various genres and you characters are always different. Where do you get your inspiration from for your characters?
All over the place, really, and some are rather ordinary and some are completely random.
Sahayal from Sandstorm was inspired by my eternal love for Ardeth from the Mummy (he is my Hot Desert Man, always and forever).
Chris from Dance with the Devil was inspired by my love of detective novels and the question ‘what would happen if a living person and a ghost had a baby?’
The four main characters from Treasure (Raiden, Kyo, Kin, and Taka) were inspired by insomnia and thoughts of dragons, and the question ‘what would happen if, instead of having to kill the gods, the characters had to bring them back?’
Sarrica and Allen from The High King’s Golden Tongue were partly inspired by a prompt, but Sarrica is also my spin on ‘how to write an alpha without making him an alphahole’ and Allen was shaped by the idea of someone being raised explicitly for one thing, and actually wanting and seeking and enjoying that thing, instead of being the rebellious problem child.
Of all the books and stories you wrote which story did you have to most fun writing?
Tournament of Losers, I think, though other stories are really really really close seconds (Sandstorm, Dance in the Dark, Harem Master, High King). But my heart belongs to fairy tales, and Tournament of Losers is the first novel-length fairytale I’ve ever managed, and Disney should make it into a movie, is all I’m saying.
And, of course, which story was the hardest to write?
Hmmm. Different stories are hard for different reasons. The Painted Crown was difficult because Istari’s chronic pain and anxiety/depression strike a personal note, and his attempted suicide was rough because it brought up memories of when my brother tried (twice) to kill himself.
The entire Lost Gods series was hard because sort of like DM, I had to track so much, but across five books rather than one. I had to be patient, set things up in book one that wouldn’t become relevant until book five. I had to kill people I really didn’t want to kill.
So on a technical level, Lost Gods was the hardest. Emotionally, The Painted Crown was the hardest.
What do you find is the best part of writing stories?
The moment everything goes to shit. I love love love writing the buildup, weaving everythign together, then BOOM Johnnie dumps his bodyguard in the most dramatic way possible, or Rath figures out what’s up with his lover, and so on. I don’t know why, but those moments are always the most fun. Maybe because it just makes the conclusion all the sweeter.
But, for a different answer, I enjoy the solitude. Like, every now and then it gets to me, because writing is a pretty lonely gig. I’ve always been an introvert though, happy to live in my own head. So writing suits me pretty well. There’s nothing better than a successful day of writing, and seeing all the pages you managed to fill.
How would you describe your writing style? And what is important to you when writing a story?
I’m a pretty minimalist writer. I always think of an article or something I read in college, about Jekyll & Hyde being a true example of minimalism in writing. And for a fantasy writer, I am remarkably short and brief regarding story length. You wouldn’t think so, given my stories are often in the 80-100k range, but most fantasy writers start at 200k and go on from there. Most writers I know have to trim their manuscripts in edits, but I always have to expand.
I also tend to be pretty straightforward. I never got the hang of some of the more lyrical prose, or denser prose, that my peers are so good at.
What are the books you like to read for yourself?
I read queer romance, queer fantasy, YA, and occassionally stray into horror and mystery. But I’ll practically anything so long as the main characters are queer, poc, and/or female.
As a last question, do you have advice for new authors?
Write what you want to read, write for yourself above everyone else, and don’t let the muggles get you down.
About Megan Derr
Writing and reading are my life. I’m pretty equal opportunity, there is very little I do not like to read. But, I think it’s safe to say that romance and fantasy are my primary stomping grounds :3 I love writing slash, it works for me in a way that writing other things never did. Past that, I’m all over the board – fantasy, supernatural, contemporary, space operas, you name it.
Outside of those primary obsessions, I love cooking, baking, reading, movies & TV. I also enjoy harassing my five cats. I live in a beach town so I never again have to put up with snow.
If you need/want to reach me, email is your best bet (doesn’t matter which), but I’ll respond anywhere as long as I see it. I can be slow to reply to emails, fair warning. I get a lot of them and stuff gets buried fast. But I will eventually reply, and by all means harass me if I do not reply quickly enough.