Sunday, July 1, 2012

INTERVIEW & CONTEST - Yours Truly Chats it up with Author Kelly Meding!

Today on Calliope's Domain we have a real treat - author Kelly Meding has swung by to chat about her writing, current releases, impending works in progress and anything and everything else that might have come to mind, LOL. Scribe of not one but two kickass urban fantasy series, Ms. Meding has been entertaining readers since her first release, Three Days Till Dead, hit shelves in 2009. Skip ahead three years and five, yes, five books later and Ms. Meding continues to deliver fresh, engaging takes on themes and genres long ago thought exhausted.

And stayed tuned for a chance to win winner's choice of a book from Ms. Meding's Metawars series!

So, without further ado, I give you...Kelly Meding! *cue the applause!*

So, I guess I may as well start with the basics: who exactly is Kelly Meding? And, um, you don’t happen to work for any sort of top secret government agency do you? Seem to have a lot of that going on in your books, LOL.
Hah! No, no government agencies. I'm actually pretty boring. I'm a writer. I have a day job in retail. I have a pretty close family who live nearby. I am owned by a very needy cat who shows up in my Twitter feed once in a while. My favorite ice cream is chocolate peanut butter cup....

Has writing always been a passion of yours?
Yes and no. Storytelling has always been a passion of mine. I've made up stories since I was very small, playing with my Care Bears and Cabbage Patch dolls. On the playground, I'd order the other kids around and tell them how our "playing" would go, so we acted out an actual story. I didn't start writing (such as it was) until high school. But by high school, I was more interested in screenplays than in prose, so I learned more about that format. I even took a screenwriting class in college and loved it. Then I rediscovered my love for prose and have been at it since.

I guess the ordering-fellow-kids-around tied in to your interest in screenplays?

I suppose it did, in a way. Mostly it tied into wanting to tell a story. At the time, I didn't understand that regular people wrote books, so it never occurred to me that I could do that one day (don't ask where I thought books came from, because I have no idea). All I knew is that playacting with other kids (or with my toys) was the only way I knew to tell a story.

What about the actual act of writing - how did childhood you feel about that?
I didn't think much about it at all. Writing was something I did for school, not for fun. It didn't become fun until long after childhood. :)

A lot of writers have a horde of stories of one sort or another that they've written and promptly locked away or destroyed, denying their existence ever after. Have you got one of those?
I've kept everything I've ever written. Most of it I have never reread, but that's only because there hasn't been a reason to. Some of the stories I may revisit one day to cull for ideas and maybe rewrite. But I don't have anything locked away that I'm extremely embarrassed about. Everything I've written in the past helped me grow as a writer, so why be ashamed of that, you know?

Speaking of your writing; right now, you've two published series - Dreg City and MetaWars. You most recent release, Changeling, is the second book in your MetaWars series so we'll focus there. How would you describe this series in your own words?
MetaWars is a series about actions and consequences. It follows a team of superheroes who've regained their powers after a fifteen year absences, as they deal with a world permanently scarred by the battles of their predecessors. There's action, drama, awesome powers, and a little bit of romance. The first book, TRANCE, tells how these superheroes come back together and battle an enemy from their past. Book two, CHANGELING, introduces a brand-new enemy for the team to battle.

There are obvious connections to be made between your heroes and comic teams such as X-Men, Avengers and the Justice League, which begs the question: are you a comic book geek?
I'm not as big a geek as I wish I was. I enjoy comics, and I keep up with what's going on in the DCU and Marvel universe. The idea for MetaWars actually spawned from a high school obsession with "The New Teen Titans" books, starting with the first Wolfman/Perez run in the early 80's. I was riveted by those characters, because at the time, they were teenagers just like me. Most of them were sidekicks who's struck out on their own, and each character was unique but still worked well with the other members of their team. I could gush more but I won't. Beyond the comic books, though, I'm a huge fan of comic-based movies. The Avengers still makes my heart flutter....

I'm so on board that bandwagon with you - not only do they have found themselves some rather delicious heroes, they have actual plot to boot!
And they made the heroes seem somehow real, like they'd really exist in the world. That's not easy to do in a movie. So many times, superhero films end up campy.

Too true. There are a lot of disaster hero movies out there and no doubt a lot more to come. Was potential for campiness a concern you had when writing your own hero adventures?
Anytime you're writing about superheroes, you run the risk of people pre-judging you as being campy. They think of spandex and brightly colored clothing, of over the top villains and Batman "Kapow!" bubbles. I wanted to established right away that this world was realistic, and that these were regular people who just happened to be able to do extraordinary things.

One of things the MetaWars series calls attention to is the collateral damage that results from super-powered confrontations. I myself am a huge fan of superhero cartoons - Batman, Superman, Iron Man, X-Men - if it was animated and had heroes, I've watched it, and one of the things they all have in common is that sooner or later something's going to get destroyed, be it a building, a city block,
or whole a urban community. Superman in particular had a thing for going through buildings. And then the next week it's cleaned up, rebuilt, and getting destroyed again. What made you want to go beyond the magic wand?
Realism. There are villains in real life who destroy buildings and ruin lives, and in real life, there are consequences to actions. In most superhero stories, there isn't as much detail paid to the consequences--not just to the villains actions, but the actions of the heroes, as well. No one ever talks about the collateral damage. No one talks about the single father whose livelihood is destroyed when rubble from a damaged building crushes his hot dog cart. Those small things fascinated me, and it made me wonder about a world that had been brought to the edge of ruin by battling supers.

In the first book, Trance, we're introduced to the team and see them struggle to readjust to their powers and find their place in a world made wary by the last generation's legacy. How exactly did you go about putting together this team?
I wanted the team to have a wide variety of powers, but those powers also need to compliment each other in a fight. I knew Trance would have an energy power--she had to be the strongest, but also have a weakness (her body rejecting the new powers she received). Tempest came from my favorite superpower, which is the ability to fly. William was my "Superman." The specifics of each character, including their personalities and backstories, developed as I built the world in which they lived. Each adult hero is very much a product of the life they lived post-War.

I am still upset about William - it's just plain cruel to makes us fall in love with someone and then take him away so soon!
It was cruel, yes, but Trance and her friends live in a cruel world where people die. Letting him go was hard, but in a way, William was my Wash (Serenity reference). He was the moment when readers (and the other characters) sat up and said "This shit is gettin' real!"

Like Firefly, you've had something of a shift in medium happen. Your next two MetaWars books are going to be digital first, right?
Yes, they'll be part of the new Pocket Star imprint, which focuses on original digital content.

Can you spill any plot-related beans on the upcoming installments?
I'm really excited about TEMPEST (book 3) because it's my first male-POV, first-person novel. It's Ethan's story, and it also heavily features a character we meet in CHANGELING. The only big spoiler I'll give now is that he spend quite a bit of time on the east coast... CHIMERA (book 4) may or may not have two POV's, and at least one of them will be Renee.

Did you have any challenges with writing Ethan's POV?

It took a while to find his voice, because Ethan is a very two-sided person. He's the person his friends know, the calm, loyal teammate. But the internal Ethan, the one whose voice is all over that book, is someone very different. Until I wrote the book, I didn't realize what a complex person he was--or how much he was hiding. Finding a good balance there, and just being true to the character, was the main challenge.

So, what are you working on right now?
Right now I'm editing a short story that will appear in an anthology next year. The anthology hasn't been officially announced, but it's a great lineup of authors and a fun concept. Hopefully we'll be able to say something soon. After that, I'll be starting on CHIMERA.

Will the short story connect to either of your series?

No, the story is set in a new universe unconnected to MetaWars or Dreg City, but it is a universe I hope to play in again.

Speaking of revisiting universes, your publisher has made the decision to forgo picking up more Dreg City books - which is just incredibly phrase it extremely mildly. Is this truly the end?
Not necessarily. I have more story to tell in that world. Evy deserves a happy ending, and she isn't letting me forget about her. I want to write more, but the issue is time. I haven't ruled out self-publishing a few more books to finish out the series, at some point in the future.

Hello Ray of Hope! Excuse me for a moment while I order a parade. Or two. Or three.


While we're on the subject of endings, do you have any other beginnings ahead of you? Series wise, that is?
I have a trilogy proposal on submission--no news on how that's going, but it is out there, so keep your fingers crossed.

Toes too! ^^ What do you consider the most difficult aspect of writing? The easiest?
For me, the most difficult aspect of writing is finding the start of the story. The beginning sets the tone for the book, and you have to drawn in the reader. But once I've found the start, the rest comes. The easiest aspect, I think, I get back to you?

LOL, of course. So, last question (I think...probably...possibly) if you could switch lives with any of your characters, who would it be and why?
Oh've read the things I do to my characters, right? *shudder*

They would probably LOVE for you to take their place for a bit, get a taste of what you put them through. And besides - they all end up happy eventually right?
The ones that live....mostly happy.....
Astrid Dane, from WRONG SIDE OF DEAD. She's strong, she kicks ass, and she can shift into a jaguar.

Always a handy trick that.
Yes. And I have a weakness for shifters.

Oh, who does? From Curran (Ilona Andrews) to Marco (Kelly Meding) to Adam (Patricia Briggs) there are some pretty great shifters out there. And those are just the guys. The women - like Faythe (Rachel Vincent) and Riley (Keri Arthur) tend to have the nifty powers AND the kickass factor working for them
Yep, yep.

Okay, I thought of a new last question but this time I mean it. What are you reading right now?

I am not currently reading anything, but the next book I plan to crack open is "The Pregnancy Project" by Gaby Rodriguez.

And that's it. I'm done. Close the curtain. Slam the door. Make with the giant hook. I want to thank you for taking the time to put up with my interrogation...I mean interview. Interview.

Hehe. Not a problem. It was a lot of fun, and thanks for inviting me!
Ms. Meding has generously offered to provide one lucky winner with their very own copy of either Trance or Changeling, their choice. Simply follow Calliope’s Domain and comment below to be eligible! Contest is open to everyone with a mailing address in either the United States or Canada and will end midnight, July 7th, 2012. I'll announce the winner on the very next day - Sunday, July 8th, 2012.

You can find information regarding Ms. Meding’s backlist available at Goodreads, Indigo, Amazon, and Book Depository. Also, be sure to check out her blog - Organized Chaos.


Barbara E. said...

I adore Kelly Meding's Dreg City series, but I haven't had a chance to start the newer MetaWars series yet. I'm looking forward to it though, since I know I'll love it.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

Sara M said...

I love both series! Great interview. :)

Sara M
sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

Almira said...

I can't say enough how much I enjoy Kelly Meding's work. Love them!

woundedroses at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I recently found the Dreg City series and am hooked!! I am looking forward to the next series.
Thank you for this giveaway!