First, how would you describe Skylark in a sentence or two for those who might be interested in reading it?
Skylark is a dark, twisty story about a girl fleeing the life she knows for the unknown wilderness beyond the Wall. She has to survive in a strange world of magic, danger, and betrayal—all that good movie trailer stuff!
One of the things I liked best about Skylark was how it blended fantasy, magic, steampunk, and dystopia. It definitely wasn’t your typical post-apocalyptic read! Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration?
It’s funny, I never thought about genre until after Skylark was finished, and only then because I had to write a query letter and pick a label for my book. For me, genre is more of a spectrum than a category—think a series of overlapping Venn diagrams with shared tropes rather than isolated zones. To me, there’s no reason a fantasy novel can’t have machines with artificial intelligence, for example. And sure, my character might have magic, but it’s governed by very concrete rules grounded in physics. I’ve always been drawn to both fantasy and science fiction—and much of my inspiration comes from the books and movies I love—so in my mind, there’s no reason the two can’t overlap!
As a writer, I’m always interested in hearing about an author’s drafting process. What was it like to write Skylark?
Skylark was actually the first book I ever wrote. I’d been writing since I was a child, but I never stuck anything out, always flitting from idea to shiny new idea. The idea for Skylark was just the right one at the right time; I’d reached the point where I knew I wanted to try finishing something, and then the world of Skylark just showed up in my head one day. And I knew it was The One. In order to make sure I saw it through, I gave myself a non-negotiable daily word count goal. Small enough to be doable, but big enough to force me to sit down for long enough for the words to flow. I wrote the actual book in only a couple of months after that.
I know I’m anxious to hear sequel news! Can you tell us what you’re working on next, and what we can expect from the Skylark trilogy?
The next book of mine to hit the shelves will be Shadowlark, the sequel to Skylark. It’s coming out Oct. 1, 2013, in the U.S. It follows Lark as she journeys north in search of her long-lost brother, Basil. I can’t tell you too much about what happens, but I will say that we’re not quite done yet with certain characters who Lark thought she was leaving behind forever. And Nix, too. There’s lots of Nix!
After Shadowlark, I have another book coming out Dec. 10, 2013 from Disney-Hyperion called These Broken Stars. It’s a science fiction romance I wrote with my friend, Amie Kaufman, and follows the story of two unlikely companions who get shipwrecked on a strange planet when the luxury spaceliner they’re both traveling on crashes. Like Skylark, it’s a bit of a genre-bender!
Let’s talk books! What are your favorite classic novels? What 2013 releases can you recommend?
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is one of my all-time favorite books. I saw the movie first when I was very little, and then when I was old enough to read the book, I just fell in love. I also adore works by Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce on the fantasy side, and Orson Scott Card on the science fiction side.
As for recent books, if you read ONE book from 2013, you must read The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd. It’s absolutely gripping, and beautifully written. I also loved Through The Ever Night, the sequel to Veronica Rossi’s Under The Never Sky. It’s so hard to make a second book top the first, but I think Veronica Rossi managed it with this one!
Any final words? What else would you like readers to know about Skylark and your work?
There are a lot of twists and turns in this book, and in this trilogy. I once got a rather heated email from someone after she read one of the big twists that happens in Skylark, in the “how could you DO that to [character name redacted], I hate you!” way. That was actually one of my proudest moments as an author. If I can give you all the feels, I’ve done my job!
Thanks, Meagan! I can't wait for the release of Shadowlark. If you want to find out more about Meagan Spooner and her work, you can visit her at her website, www.meaganspooner.com, or follow her on Twitter, @MeaganSpooner.
Now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a pack of signed Skylark swag from Meagan Spooner, as well as my ARC of Skylark. (This is my first time using Rafflecopter, so be gentle with me please, and leave a comment if you have any trouble.) This giveaway is open through March 27th, and the winner will be contacted by email within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway. Thanks for entering, and good luck!