Author Crush Friday with Meg Kassel
Glitter girls, you have pressing questions for your favorite authors and we have their answers. Welcome to our weekly segment, Author Crush Fridays.
We love asking questions and we love the answers from some of our favorite authors. Today we’re talking to Meg Kassel, author of the beautifully written paranormal YA, Keeper of the Bees (September 4, 2018; Entangled Teen). Thank you for talking to us today, Meg! We’re honored! The author who inspired her in high school and her reason why they inspired her is an answer we absolutely adore!
GLITTER: Tell us five things that people might not know about you.
If you tell me a joke, I may get it a few minutes later. Or you may have to explain it to me.
I suffer from (sometimes severe) anxiety.
I strongly prefer even numbers to odd numbers.
I cannot watch horror movies.
I break into song and dance whenever I hear the Spice Girls. It’s not a choice.
GLITTER: How would you describe Keeper of the Bees to a new reader?
MEG: A dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast. With bees.
GLITTER: How do you find the emotional truths in your writing?
MEG: Obviously, I’ve never been through what my supernatural characters have, but emotional truth comes from inside, through experiences. Through living. I know what it’s like to feel elation and happiness; fury and hopelessness, and all the swill that floats in between. I’ve been in dark, dark holes, as most people have, and I’ve also known absurd levels of joy. In writing, all that can to be mined, filtered/interpreted through a character, and put on a page. It can be uncomfortable—it used to be very draining—but I’ve learned how to use memories and feelings in my writing without letting it take me for an emotional ride. I remember the reader has no idea what experiences I’m referencing from my own life to create the emotions in my characters.
GLITTER: What one question sparked the whole plot?
MEG: I kind of fell in love with my villain from my first book, and I wanted to see if I had the chops to make a villain into a hero. This book is the result of my selfish desire to hang out more with a Beekeeper and see what happened if one fell in love.
GLITTER: Do you have any particular writing rituals?
MEG: I used to pound peanut butter cups, but I’m not to eating sugar so much anymore. The only writing ritual I have these days is listening to music. I made a Pandora station, which, after five years, has distilled to near perfection. So this is my writing trifecta: music, green tea, and a decent stretch of uninterrupted time.
GLITTER: What character do you relate most to?
MEG: I most relate to Essie, the other main character in Keeper of the Bees. Although I don’t suffer from the Wickerton curse, I have always worked hard to keep grounded in reality. I lean creative, having been an art school graduate and now a writer, so I sometimes struggle with small talk and practical matters of life. Also, I’m forgetful. I make lists and forget them. I have a little kid who can attest to this.
GLITTER: What was the first book that you ever wrote, even if it wasn’t published?
MEG: I wrote lots of short stories, fanfic, and started many books, but the first one I actually finished was an adult paranormal romance with a brooding vampire hero. It was thinly veiled fanfic of a TV show that was canceled after one season. It will NEVER be published. Ever. It was (I’m not exaggerating) a terrible book.
GLITTER: Do you have anything that you love to collect?
MEG: Tea. I have dozens of varieties, including a prized jar of mint I bought in Morocco which I don’t use, but I occasionally open up and smell.
GLITTER: Did any of the authors you read in high school affect how you write now?
MEG: Absolutely! When I was in high school we had to read a lot of the classics. I learned a lot from one of the most grueling books I was forced to read—A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. Let me be clear: I despised that doorstop of a book until I learned that it was first produced in weekly serial form. THEN, it became interesting. He did a great job of making mini stories of each chapter, and making you need to know what happens next. Now that I think of it, I learned the most valuable techniques from the books I disliked the most.
GLITTER: What are you passionate about in life?
MEG: Being a better storyteller. Being a better parent. Being a better human.
GLITTER: What are you working on right now?
MEG: I don’t know! It’s the summer, which a brief paradise up here in Maine. I’m currently recharging and enjoying the warm weather with my family. When I get back into my usual writing schedule, I’d like to try some sci-fi, or start a new paranormal. There’s so much I want to write, but knowing which idea will carry through to a full story is always a bit of an unknown.
Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before embracing her true passion, writing. She now lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her family, and is busy at work on her next novel. A fan of ’80s cartoons, original Netflix series, daydreaming, and ancient mythology, Meg has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. When she’s not writing, Meg is reading, hanging out with her husband and daughter, hiding her peanut butter cups, or walking her rescue mutt, Luna.