Ask Megan Abbott & Michael Koryta - Thursday, September 12th! discussion

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Featured Author Chat > Ask Megan and Michael!

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message 1: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) Welcome to the group! Megan and Michael will be answering questions throughout the day on Thursday, September 12th in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for Megan or Michael, or just want to introduce yourself, feel free to do so in this thread.


message 2: by Nigel (new)

Nigel Bird (nigelbird) I'll try to kick off with a question off the top of my head. It's for Megan.
It seems to me that your books have shifted somehow in tone from those crafted as very strong 'noirish' stories that have a cinematic, almost black-and-white feel to them and become more personal with a transluscent feel to them. I wonder if you have any thoughts on the shift (or even if you understand the question in the way I've put it). Maybe I should just ask how your subjects and styles have changed over the years - try that.

Thanks.


message 3: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Kraus | 2 comments Good Evening! I'm a huge fan of Michael's "Lincoln Perry" series, being a Clevelander. Just wondering 1. Any new Lincoln works coming soon? 2. Are any being considered for a cinematic take?
Thanks!
Wendy


message 4: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Hersh | 1 comments I've enjoyed all your books, but I'm with Wendy, any Lincoln Perry books in the future? After reading them, I purchased copies for my sister-in-law who lives outside Cleveland and she loved the books too.


message 5: by Dave (new)

Dave | 1 comments Hi Megan,

I wanted to ask you if there had been any new developments or movement on Normandy Gold, the graphic novel you co-wrote with Alison Gaylin?

Thanks,
Dave


message 6: by Nigel (new)

Nigel Bird (nigelbird) And I'm coming up for air and one more. Megan, your mum's a talent in her own right - a seriously good writer. I guess that means it's in the genes. I wonder who inspired whom? (though I'm unsure about the grammar in the question).

Michael, I'm sorry that I haven't read any of your books, but because you're here with Megan I'll put that right very soon and look forward to it.


message 7: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Rivard | 3 comments My question for Megan has to do with design - your earlier books had a very specific "noir" feel to their covers, but it seems as though your publisher is trying to broaden your readership (yeah!) with the covers for "End of Everything" and "Dare Me" - do you have any input on that, any feelings on it?


message 8: by Emily (new)

Emily Villela | 1 comments Hello Megan,

I was very impressed by Dare Me. Your voice lends spark and originality to what is, in some ways, a classic tale. I'm extremely interested in work that borrows from the conventions of genre-thriller, crime novel, young adult novel-but utilizes them to create something new, a crime novel that isn't solely about the crime, young adult fiction that isn't for young adults. So, I suppose my question is this: do you have any advice for striking that balance?

Thank you.
Emily


message 9: by Sierra (new)

Sierra | 1 comments okay this is really cool. Megan, I love your books Dare Me and The End of Everything. Sadly they are the only ones at my library by you. I love your books! In Dare Me, I got to understand a cheerleader and her life like never before. It made me want to do a back spring. No such luck. The story just pulled me in. I loved that.
I want to know why there wasn't more about Beth and her feelings. It's like we got a little glimpse, and then nothing. Same with cheer camp. Why didn't you expand more on those?

i love you books! They were dark and delicious! thanks for your time, Sierra


message 10: by Jake (new)

Jake (jakebranch) | 1 comments For Megan, out of all of your novels, do you have one of which you're most proud or was most enjoyable to write? Keep up the great work, and I eagerly await more from you.


message 11: by Robert (new)

Robert | 1 comments For Megan, my question pertains to your development as a writer and how it was you found your initial voice in Noir? What is it about this period and its complications that drew you in?


message 12: by D (last edited Sep 07, 2013 12:45PM) (new)

D Michael Koryta,

First a comment...I know the pic's on your web site are supposed to show you as intense, but the scowl is a bit much. I prefer the one where you're almost smiling. :-) Just a comment...(meant to be a friendly ice-breaker)...

The question...your stories seem to involve deep, long running disputes or tragedies. Is this intentional? If so, where does this come from, some personal experience?


message 13: by Diana (new)

Diana (kansaswriter) | 3 comments Michael, I was working at a public library when I saw SO COLD THE RIVER come up on the cart of new books. I fell in love with the title, and then I fell in love with your books. Thanks for your amazing storytelling.

Here is my question: Your otherworldly books seem to spiral out from something very central--in So Cold the River, it was the abnormally cold bottle. Do you know where your story is going from the onset, or do you want to see where it goes from this central idea?


message 14: by Bill (new)

Bill Kupersmith | 2 comments Megan,

I love stories about schools and students and Dare Me was not only my favorite book for 2012, but is one of my favorite school stories ever. I hope you'll read my reviews on Goodreads or Amazon to see what I loved. But after many readings I am still confused by the climax--the 2-2-1 stunt and what happened. It seems that Beth deliberately ruined the stunt and injured herself by releasing herself early. Was she trying to kill herself? That didn't seem in character on first reading. But given her samurai ethos, maybe she would if the alternative seemed to be dishonor and rejection, especially by Addy. Or was she trying to perform a spectacular but extremely risky stunt? I'd really like to understand this scene better and would much appreciate anything you can add that I may be missing.


message 15: by Simone (new)

Simone Francois (simonefrncs) | 1 comments Megan I am a new fan of yours. Was is easier or harder for you to write in the voice of a teenage girl versus a adult male?


message 16: by Connie (new)

Connie (cjjojo1yahoocom) | 2 comments Hello Michael,

I had the pleasure of hearing you speak twice at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading and was so happy to see you on Goodreads discussions. Can you give us a little hint on your next book Those Who Wish Me Dead? And will you be revisiting the supernatural genre soon? Can't wait for your next novel and thank you for your books.


message 17: by Nik (new)

Nik Korpon (nikkorpon) | 1 comments Hi, Megan,

What was the experience like of adapting your novel for the silver screen? Would you do it again?

Also, most of your novels deal with similar themes, though the settings of the early ones are markedly different from the later. Was it a conscious decision to move away from the classic hardboiled stories to more contemporary? Or was it just a different environment you wanted to explore (the suburbs being more of a post-WW2 phenomenon)?


message 18: by William (new)

William | 1 comments Hi Megan,

How often do you write? When you are writing steadily, do you have any rituals to keep you connected to the creative process?


message 19: by Denise (new)

Denise | 2 comments Megan,

Two questions: any tips for writers in the hinterlands who have not gone to creative writing schools to get published?

And will you ever return to period noir?


message 20: by Michael, Author of The Prophet (new)

Michael Koryta | 18 comments Mod
Cynthia wrote: "Welcome to the group! Megan and Michael will be answering questions throughout the day on Thursday, September 12th in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for Megan or Michael, ..."

Thanks, Cynthia! It is a pleasure to do this, particularly with Megan, who has as much literary range as anyone I know, and is a surprisingly talented vocalist as well.


message 21: by Michael, Author of The Prophet (new)

Michael Koryta | 18 comments Mod
Wendy wrote: "Good Evening! I'm a huge fan of Michael's "Lincoln Perry" series, being a Clevelander. Just wondering 1. Any new Lincoln works coming soon? 2. Are any being considered for a cinematic take?
Thanks!..."


Hi Wendy and Jeffrey. Really appreciate the “fandom” of Lincoln Perry. It’s interesting to note that you both have some connection to Cleveland, as well. I have noticed there is definitely a regional support for the books, because there aren’t that many set there. Les Roberts, of course, and some others, but it isn’t a Boston or Chicago or New York or LA in terms of fictional detectives. I love the landscape of the city for fiction, and I enjoyed writing the character. Whether I’ll go back to him is a difficult question, and because you took the time to be here, I will answer it as honestly as I possibly can. One thing people don’t realize is that I started writing with that character, and in his voice, when I was 18 years old. Most of us, I believe, want to move on and try different things from what we were doing at 18! Ha. But I’ve done that now, certainly – it will be five books away from Lincoln now, ranging from thrillers to supernatural stories. That’s a long break, and I feel I have the creative separation that I wanted to achieve, but now in some ways it may have been too long of a break. I’ll admit that my publisher would probably not leap into the air and click his heels if I announced a return to Lincoln. (Maybe I’m wrong, though. We will see…) That’s the “planning” brain at work. Unfortunately, my planning brain doesn’t work. If I announce what I’m going to do two books from now, you can bank against it. I honestly believe that you won’t write anything worth reading if you feel you’ve chosen the story. You need (or I need) the story to choose me. For whatever reason, Lincoln hasn’t knocked on the door in the last few years. Now, the book I’m working on now is a detective novel, and I feel as if the lead could become a recurring character for me. This is both exciting and surprising, because it has been a long time since I felt that way about a character. Again, we will see. As for scratching the itch, Lincoln is a character in a longish short story I wrote from the point of view of Thor, his old, uneasy ally. That one was great fun. It will be released as a Kindle Single (really the only market for so long a story that isn’t a book) sometime in the next few months. I really, really enjoyed that one, and it certainly has put Lincoln back in my mind.

As for the cinematic take, we sold rights to the Lincoln Perry series to CBS Studios. I have not heard much since then! So Cold the River rights were bought by New Regency, The Cypress House belongs to 1492 Pictures and Chris Columbus, The Prophet to Nick Wechsler Productions, and The Ridge is being developed for television. So there are a lot of projects out there, and we will see which, if any, actually go into production. I’ve read the script of The Cypress House and love it. Reid Carolin is supposed to script The Prophet with Channing Tatum attached. We will see what happens! I am of the “cross your fingers but don’t hold your breath” school of thought when it comes to film and TV. It is a very hard business, and getting too emotionally involved in what’s happening in Hollywood doesn’t seem healthy for the books.


message 22: by Michael, Author of The Prophet (new)

Michael Koryta | 18 comments Mod
D wrote: "Michael Koryta,

First a comment...I know the pic's on your web site are supposed to show you as intense, but the scowl is a bit much. I prefer the one where you're almost smiling. :-) Just a comme..."


First a comment...I know the pic's on your web site are supposed to show you as intense, but the scowl is a bit much. I prefer the one where you're almost smiling. :-) Just a comment...(meant to be a friendly ice-breaker)...

Funny. I don’t get to pick the photos, the publisher generally does, but I hear this a lot – “why so serious” as the Joker would say. Often it seems that photographers want the “fun” of trying to take a noirish-looking shot. But I was working with a photographer on a publicity tour in France a few years ago and he says “Okay, now try a few smiling.” Click, click, click. He looks at camera, shakes his head, and says “That just doesn’t work for you.”

The question...your stories seem to involve deep, long running disputes or tragedies. Is this intentional? If so, where does this come from, some personal experience?


Great question. I’m working with a new editor for the next book, and he made the observation that I like to write about “the haunted” whether the story is supernatural or not. I thought that was fair. I’m a fan of the Gothic sensibility that the past is never far away, and apparently drawn to stories where the characters desire some level of atonement. I can’t say why beyond the fact that I like understanding what the internal struggle is before I hit the page. So, keeping in mind that I don’t know where the plot will go and what struggles it will present, I’m a backstory nut. I need to arrive with someone who is already damaged so I can see their motivations. I had an editor say once, musing about a character he didn’t feel as connected to, “What’s his burden?” And I thought that was a great line. I love stories in which the present is driven by the past, because that’s generally how I feel we live. I feel as if that’s the truth of it, for most of us. Even small decisions are informed by past experiences. I love to talk with people about why they made a change, from relationships to professions to hometown. You will rarely hear an answer that is simply geared with eyes toward the future. Certainly not if you dig deep enough.


message 23: by Michael, Author of The Prophet (new)

Michael Koryta | 18 comments Mod
Connie wrote: "Hello Michael,

I had the pleasure of hearing you speak twice at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading and was so happy to see you on Goodreads discussions. Can you give us a little hint on..."


Connie wrote: "Hello Michael,
I had the pleasure of hearing you speak twice at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading and was so happy to see you on Goodreads discussions. Can you give us a little hint on..."



Thanks for coming out to that event, Connie. (And to this one). The Tampa Bay festival is one of my favorites. As for Those Who Wish Me Dead, I don't know if you were at the Tampa festival the year I spoke about having just gotten back from a Montana hiking trip, but that is where the book comes from. I keep calling it my cheerful walk-in-the-woods story like, you know, Deliverance! I have also been fascinated by the way the west keeps burning, and the heroic firefighters who are out there each summer in what is generally a very hard, very dangerous, and very low-paying job. As for plot summary, I am awful at that, but here’s the gist from the publisher:

When 14-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he’s plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare. The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are on a violent and methodical quest to reach him, from Indiana to Chicago to Montana. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of mountains.

The Blackwell Brothers leave a trail of blood and fire behind them, and with Jace on the run, Ethan Serbin is forced to turn from protector to hunter. His new mandate is simple: find the boy, or lose his wife. The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind.


message 24: by Michael, Author of The Prophet (new)

Michael Koryta | 18 comments Mod
Diana wrote: "Michael, I was working at a public library when I saw SO COLD THE RIVER come up on the cart of new books. I fell in love with the title, and then I fell in love with your books. Thanks for your ama..."

Thanks, Diana! Funny story about the title – it was the original title of my second Lincoln Perry novel. The early draft was a disaster, I scrapped it and moved on, but my editor said “don’t ever lose that title.” Well, several novels and a change of publishers later, I sold a ghost story under the title The Lost River. That title was my agent’s idea because he thought it sounded more like a thriller. That or maybe he just had bad memories of the first disaster titled So Cold the River. I really was partial to my title, but I gave in and titled “part one” So Cold the River instead, because the line is important to the book. The book was in preliminary galleys when someone in marketing decided that was actually the better title, and I was happy to agree. So that one has been with me for a long, long time and almost didn’t see the light of day, because if I’d blown it on a “part one” subtitle I never would have used it again. Somewhere out there in the world, there might be a few galley copies of “The Lost River” floating around.
As for the otherworldly or supernatural books, this is a great question. I respond best to fiction of this type when it is grounded in reality at the start. I want you to believe that this could happen to you. So my approach to the supernatural is sort of a recipe of two parts reality, one part creepy at the start. You need to be careful with the way you portion out things that will seem outlandish to the reader, you need to earn those moments rather than just expect them to ride with you into the weird stuff. So you are correct that I want them to spiral out from something central, though I had never thought of it that way. The bottle was one of the first “creepy” elements, and at the time I had not the faintest idea what was in it, or why it was the way that it was. I’d seen the real bottles – the Pluto Water story isn’t my creation, the company was real, right down to the devil logo and the water coming from mineral springs that were believed to have mystic powers – and I just saw so much potential there to dive into the history of those towns, West Baden and French Lick, if I used the water as an entry point. I was probably 400 pages into the book before I could come up with a reason for the damn thing to be cold, though! The owner of the resorts, the late Bill Cook, gave me an original bottle of Pluto Water after the book came out. It still sits on my desk today, though I have to admit I check it every now and then. Still room temperature. But sometimes, when the writing isn’t going well, I look at it and wonder…maybe just a sip? Just to see? Hmm…


message 25: by D (new)

D Michael wrote: "D wrote: "Michael Koryta,

First a comment...I know the pic's on your web site are supposed to show you as intense, but the scowl is a bit much. I prefer the one where you're almost smiling. :-) Ju..."



Wow! Such a great response! Thank you so much for sharing about the direction and source for your writing. I think you do the "haunted" or "burdened" character very well - because they're burdens seem almost unbearable, yet it has not really broken them - they haven't given up - they still seek atonement. And, of course, the seek that atonement with a passion that's something to behold.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share! Love your books!


message 26: by Michael, Author of The Prophet (new)

Michael Koryta | 18 comments Mod
D wrote: "Michael wrote: "D wrote: "Michael Koryta,

First a comment...I know the pic's on your web site are supposed to show you as intense, but the scowl is a bit much. I prefer the one where you're almost..."


Thanks, D. I really appreciate it!


message 27: by Michael, Author of The Prophet (new)

Michael Koryta | 18 comments Mod
A question for Megan (and everyone else): what are the three best books you've read this summer? I'm always on the hunt...


message 28: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Rivard | 3 comments Michael wrote: "A question for Megan (and everyone else): what are the three best books you've read this summer? I'm always on the hunt..."

This is a GREAT question! I can't wait to see what people suggest. I really liked Steve Hamilton's "The Lock Artist", Kelly Braffet's "Save Yourself" and Lauren Beukes "The Shining Girls". In a cheerier vein, I thought Lauren Graham's "Someday, Someday, Maybe" was fun.


message 29: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Nigel wrote: "I'll try to kick off with a question off the top of my head. It's for Megan.
It seems to me that your books have shifted somehow in tone from those crafted as very strong 'noirish' stories that hav..."


Hey, Nigel! Great to hear from you! I think, for me, the shift has been an organic one--and maybe not as big a shift as it appears. Though I've not been writing about the 1930s-50s, the subjects I'm interested in exploring remain the same: desire-gone-wrong, the way impulses can overtake us, female ambition/power. In part, I think DARE ME and QUEENPIN are a matched set, though one takes place in the present-day world of cheerleading and the other in the midcentury mob heyday. Both tales of female mentor-protegee relationships gone awry. So from the inside at least, it all feels part of the same crazy quilt of my head!


message 30: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Dave wrote: "Hi Megan,

I wanted to ask you if there had been any new developments or movement on Normandy Gold, the graphic novel you co-wrote with Alison Gaylin?

Thanks,
Dave"


Hey, Dave! NORMANDY GOLD project has recently been optioned for a TV show -- Alison and I just wrote the pilot script. I would love to see something happen with it. Doesn't TV need a female sheriff-turned-vigilante investigating her sister's disappearance in conspiracy-shrouded 1970s Washington DC?


message 31: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Jocelyn wrote: "My question for Megan has to do with design - your earlier books had a very specific "noir" feel to their covers, but it seems as though your publisher is trying to broaden your readership (yeah!) ..."

Good question! My earlier books were with a different publisher, but their time period also dictated their look. (The cover artist for those books, Richie Fahey, is incredible, isn't?)
For THE END OF EVERYTHING and DARE ME, set in present day or close to it, the look was definitely going to change. I've been thrilled with the covers Little, Brown has come up with--and I am constantly trying to spread the rumor that the mouth on the cover of DARE ME is mine (ha!).


message 32: by Connie (new)

Connie (cjjojo1yahoocom) | 2 comments Yes!!!!! I was at that festival. You were fabulous there. .....Now the count down is on until April for your new one... I am in book depression and am counting down for Dr. Sleep by Stephen King.



Michael wrote: "Connie wrote: "Hello Michael,

I had the pleasure of hearing you speak twice at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading and was so happy to see you on Goodreads discussions. Can you give us a..."



message 33: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Rivard | 3 comments Yes, or at the very least there should be one of those magazine-type lipstick credits, like "Max Factor Ruby Red" (dated much?)!!


message 34: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Emily wrote: "Hello Megan,

I was very impressed by Dare Me. Your voice lends spark and originality to what is, in some ways, a classic tale. I'm extremely interested in work that borrows from the conventions ..."


Emily, thank you so, so much! It's a tricky balance and one of my abiding concerns when I'm working on the book. Usually for me the key is character. In both DARE ME and END OF EVERYTHING it took me a long time to nail the voice of the young girl narrator, to be sure I was seeing everything through her eyes, permitting her to respond as she would. Drawing on memories I thought were long forgotten about being a teenager, I eventually felt, during the writing process, that I could summon up how BIG and IMPORTANT everything feels (and, in some ways, *is*) at that age, and under those circumstances. The stakes involved in intense female friendships, the pain of disillusionment (which is almost the perennial experience of being a teenager: the world is always disappointing you)--all of it came flooding back and helped me ground the story.
Boy, I don't think I answered your question at all, did I? ;-)


message 35: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Sierra wrote: "okay this is really cool. Megan, I love your books Dare Me and The End of Everything. Sadly they are the only ones at my library by you. I love your books! In Dare Me, I got to understand a cheerle..."

Thank you, Sierra! Beth ultimately became my favorite character--she was meant to be a much smaller force in the novel then she turned out to be but I liked her so much! But since everything is from Addy's point of view, and Addy is so urgently trying to push Beth's overwhelming influence out of her life, I felt like I had to be true to the way Addy would be thinking about Beth. Addy's pretty hard on her because Beth's been so controlling for so long. That said, I'd love to do a book just about Beth!


message 36: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Nigel wrote: "And I'm coming up for air and one more. Megan, your mum's a talent in her own right - a seriously good writer. I guess that means it's in the genes. I wonder who inspired whom? (though I'm unsure a..."

She's an incredible writer, right? And my dad, Dr. Philip Abbott, trumps us both: http://us.macmillan.com/author/philip.... I was definitely raised in a book-loving family--they both inspired me and continue to, as does my brother who, as a prosecutor, is always giving me good plot ideas!


message 37: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Jake wrote: "For Megan, out of all of your novels, do you have one of which you're most proud or was most enjoyable to write? Keep up the great work, and I eagerly await more from you."

Thank you, Jake! Boy, that's a tricky question. They were all struggles to write, but who wants to hear that, right? I think I always feel closest to the most recent one, so right now, I'm especially attached to THE FEVER, which comes out next year. I have three main characters--a father, brother and sister--whom I grew really attached to and it's always hard to let your characters go once the book is done.
But DARE ME was by far the most fun to research--I am still watching cheerleading tournaments!


message 38: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "For Megan, my question pertains to your development as a writer and how it was you found your initial voice in Noir? What is it about this period and its complications that drew you in?"

Boy, I often wonder that myself. I think the key for me was that film noir became, essentially, my fairytales (aren't all fairytales dark?) as a kid. Since I watched so many at such a young age, their themes, pulses, beats and shadows formed the foundation of my fantasy world. I've never been able to let them go!


message 39: by Michael, Author of The Prophet (new)

Michael Koryta | 18 comments Mod
My favorite reads of the summer:

1) DOCTOR SLEEP by Stephen King. Comes out in, let's see...12 days. Pre-order it now. I will admit that I had deep reservations when I heard he was doing a sequel to THE SHINING but there's no question that he pulled it off. This one stands alone brilliantly, but the pairing -- after 35 years away from that story -- is really remarkable.

2) THE SON by Philipp Meyer. A dark, multi-generational family story set in Texas and spanning almost 200 years. Meyer is also the author of AMERICAN RUST, which I thought was excellent.

3) LET'S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS by David Sedaris. One of the funniest people alive, and he is certainly in form with this collection.

4) THE MAID'S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell. It has been a long wait for his new novel (7 years, I believe) but this one not only lives up to WINTER'S BONE, it exceeds it. One of the best writers we have.

5) THE LITTLE WOLVES by Thomas Maltman. A very nicely done character drama of people in a small town dealing with the damages of a shocking crime. Reminded me at times of Stewart O'Nan's SONGS FOR THE MISSING, which is high, high praise.

6) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. This is Hill's first swing at the "big horror novel," big being defined through a complex formula utilizing number of POV characters, time sprawl, and gross weight. He's a master. There's so much that I love about his work, but at the top of the list is how much fun you feel him having with it. In that way he reminds me a bit of Elmore Leonard. You KNOW he's enjoying telling you the story. And, boy, can he tell it.

On that note, let's pause for a salute to Mr. Leonard and also to Richard Matheson. We lost two of the all-time greats this year.


message 40: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Bill wrote: "Megan,
SPOILER ALERT
I love stories about schools and students and Dare Me was not only my favorite book for 2012, but is one of my favorite school stories ever. I hope you'll read my reviews on Goodreads or Am..."


Bill, thank you so very much for your kind words! Great question and beautifully put. I think in some ways everything you say is true. I don't think it was one thing for Beth but all those things--a kamikaze gesture, a desire to ruin the stunt, to wake up Addy, to punish her, to punish herself more obscurely. I meant it to be a bit ambiguous and open to reader interpretation because I think her motives are obscure and ambiguous even to herself. It's an impulsive act, ultimately--and not so strategic. It's interesting because early on in the writing of the book ( SPOILER ALERT ) I originally intended her to die--but I liked her too much and couldn't do it.


message 41: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Simone wrote: "Megan I am a new fan of yours. Was is easier or harder for you to write in the voice of a teenage girl versus a adult male?"

Thank you, Simone! At first, it was quite hard--not just the teenage element but, in the case of DARE ME, a cheerleader (I wasn't a cheerleader at that age--and not an athletic bone in my body). I think w/ all one's characters--regardless of gender, age, etc.--the key is having to write and write and write until you find the part of yourself in the character, or the aspect of the character you see in yourself. And the teenage girl feelings -- in particular, Addy's hunger for life, her ambition -- I definitely remembered those feelings. They all came flooding back--and some had never left at all!


message 42: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Kraus | 2 comments Michael wrote: "Wendy wrote: "Good Evening! I'm a huge fan of Michael's "Lincoln Perry" series, being a Clevelander. Just wondering 1. Any new Lincoln works coming soon? 2. Are any being considered for a cinematic..."
Michael,
Thank you for the very candid response about Lincoln and your writing evolution. Besides identifying with the stories on the basic level of being a Clevelander and being able to visualize the action of the book happening in the actual neighborhoods, Lincoln represents the overall persona of the city and residents which really let me connect with him on a far more personal level. Ask any Clevelander, and they will tell you we're the most underrated city in the country; far more to offer than failed sports teams and punchlines of decades-old jokes. And many times, we say it out loud to not only convince others, but also ourselves because there's always that lingering doubt of inferiority and inadequacy. Lincoln is much the same; always trying to prove to both himself and others that he was far more than what was his past.

I am looking forward to reading "The Prohpet" now that my children are back in school and I have some additional free time. Thank you for the update on the various stages in production of your projects. I can only imagine how hard it is to "let go" of your work and have someone else work it with their touch.

Continued success to you!

Wendy


message 43: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Nik wrote: "Hi, Megan,

What was the experience like of adapting your novel for the silver screen? Would you do it again?

Also, most of your novels deal with similar themes, though the settings of the early o..."


Hey, Nik!
It was truly a bizarre experience adapting DARE ME for film. Before that, I'd never returned to my past books, so I having to not only return to a published novel but to transform it into this different entity--well, I've come to liken it to having an ex-boyfriend come back to town, shack up on your sofa and refuse to leave until you've worked out all the details of your past relationship.
But ultimately, it was a rewarding experience--watching the book shapeshift and turn into this different thing with its own (hopefully!) strengths. And to play with the visual in a much more spectacular way!
As for my prior 1930s-1950s novels vs my more recent ones, I think you put it better than I have been. The time and setting revitalized me, opened up some new windows for me, let me find some new (dark) corners to burrow into in the suburbs. And what's surprising is how much I ended up taking with me from those earlier books. One's obsessions never really change, do they? Desire, jealousy, loss, the complexities of female friendship.


message 44: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
William wrote: "Hi Megan,

How often do you write? When you are writing steadily, do you have any rituals to keep you connected to the creative process?"


Hey, William--these days, I write every day, starting early and going as long as I can. I find if I take time away at all, I lose the thread of the novel. It's also a phantom limb feeling for me. When I'm not writing I have this impossible itch I can't scratch. But a great deal of time spent writing isn't actually writing but problem-solving, word-smithing. researching, thinking through characters, inspiring myself (or trying to) by reading a passage from a favorite book. I used to feel guilty about how much time I spend writing-but-not-writing but I've come to see it as a necessary part of the ritual for me!


message 45: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Denise wrote: "Megan,

Two questions: any tips for writers in the hinterlands who have not gone to creative writing schools to get published?

And will you ever return to period noir?"


Denise, I never went to creative writing school either and when I wrote my first novel I was living in the wilds of upstate New York in a small, small town, so I sympathize! My main advice is to read constantly (which I'm sure you do, because you're here at Goodreads!), write with as much regularity as your schedule permits and, if you're at the finished manuscript stage, don't be put off by agent rejections. There's so many agents out there and I know so many writers who queried dozens and dozens of agents before finding theirs, and their route to publishing.


message 46: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Cynthia wrote: "Welcome to the group! Megan and Michael will be answering questions throughout the day on Thursday, September 12th in this thread only. In the meantime if you have a question for Me..."

Likewise, Cynthia--and Michael, who has me beat on both literary range and percussive instincts. Though not on the basketball court where, I assure you, I dominate.


message 47: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "A question for Megan (and everyone else): what are the three best books you've read this summer? I'm always on the hunt..."

Great question indeed! My big summer books were Sara Gran's CLAIRE DE WITT AND THE BOHEMIAN HIGHWAY, Gabriel Roth's THE UNKNOWNS and Kelly Braffet's SAVE YOURSELF. And the novel that I can't even let out of my hands right now is Daniel Woodrell's newest MAID'S VERSION. How about you, Michael??


message 48: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Jocelyn wrote: "Michael wrote: "A question for Megan (and everyone else): what are the three best books you've read this summer? I'm always on the hunt..."

This is a GREAT question! I can't wait to see what peop..."


I loved SAVE YOURSELF! I also need to read SHINING GIRLS, badly.


message 49: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
Jocelyn wrote: "Yes, or at the very least there should be one of those magazine-type lipstick credits, like "Max Factor Ruby Red" (dated much?)!!"

Maybe Bonne Bell Lipsmackers!


message 50: by Megan, Author of Dare Me: A Novel (new)

Megan Abbott | 23 comments Mod
I have a question for Michael and everyone else here! Who's the first author and/or first book that really changed everything for you, made you fall in love with books, stories, a genre?


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