Wednesday, October 26, 2005

From in the Shadow She Calls

Look look look at the pretty thing that landed on my blog today!

I am thrilled to be hosting the lovely Megan Crane here as part of the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Virtual Book Tour. How do I know she's lovely? Because I met her at my booksigning in Los Angeles, that's how. Megan came out along with Gayle Brandeis and Ann Marie Michaels for my reading, and there are even photos to prove it.

This pretty cover is for Megan's newest book, Everyone Else's Girl. It's being launched as part of Warner's new Five Spot line and has been blurbed by MEG CABOT. As in, THE PRINCESS DIARIES. Megan, my daughter is going to insist upon meeting with you!

About the Book
Meredith McKay has gone to a lot of trouble to create the picture-perfect life for herself-- far away from her troublesome family, thank you. When her father's car accident forces her back to her hometown, however, she soon discovers that there's no running away from family issues-- there's only delaying the inevitable. Can anyone sort out a lifetime of family drama in one hot summer? Throw in a hot guy from back in high school with an axe to grind, a best-friend turned enemy turned soon-to-be-sister-in-law, and, of course, the sometimes irritating/sometimes delightful members of her own family, and Meredith is on her way to figuring out that sometimes a little trip through the past is the best way to move forward.
Early Reviews
Library Journal
"...In her second novel (after English as a Second Language), Crane shows a growing depth. Her characters are human and flawed... there is warmth without being smarmy and hope but no perfect solutions. And the humor we enjoyed in Crane's debut bubbles up here, too. Recommended for all fiction collections."

Kirkus Reviews
"Amusing, heartfelt and emotionally sophisticated chick-lit."
About the Author
(in Megan's own words)
I was born in Houston, TX. I have been informed that this means that when (not if) Texas secedes from the Union, I can live there.

I grew up in New Jersey. I never bore even a passing resemblance to Stephanie Plum or any character from the Sopranos.

I went to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I wore a great deal of black and smoked too many cigarettes. Sometimes I also went to class.

After college, I lived in Hoboken NJ, Manhattan, and Atlanta GA. And also, my parents' house. I was, at various points: a customer service representative at a medical laser company, a temp at various industrial sites and one weird design firm in Georgia, a paralegal, a data entry clerk, a special events assistant, a bookseller (which means a drone in a corporate bookstore) and a donor relations coordinator for an alumni association. I distinguished myself at all of these jobs with my bad attitude and all the writing I did on the sly, using company resources.

After four years of this, I decided to go to graduate school. I arrived in England in the fall of 1998 and started an MA course at the University of York. In the fall of 2003, I successfully defended my PhD thesis and thereby completed my academic odyssey.

My PhD thesis was entitled: Infection, Fatalism, and Fiction: Representations of the AIDS Crisis in the Works of Larry Kramer, David Wojnarowicz, David Feinberg, and Tony Kushner. That and the rain nearly did me in!

I attended my graduation ceremony in July 2004, which involved parading about in a very funny-looking hat.

I sold my first book to Warner Books in 2003. English as a Second Language is out now!

Warner also bought my second book, Everyone Else's Girl, out now as part of the new 5 Spot line.

Now I live in Los Angeles, where, when not working on my next book, I am unreasonably obsessed with the good weather and where I am also becoming more and more blonde.
SEE, she's not just brilliant, but FUNNY, too! You can read an excerpt of Everyone Else's Girl here.

And onto the interview!

The Interview
MO'C: Welcome to the blog, Megan, and thanks for visiting.
MC: You're welcome!

MO'C: Your cover is quite striking. Can you explain the imagery that is used?
MC: I love this cover, too! I think they were experimenting with a bunch of different ideas, but chose this one after I said the title came from the Tori Amos song, "Girl." Particularly this line: "She's been everybody else's girl, maybe someday she'll be her own." I like the image of Meredith soaring above her hometown, quite literally jumping through hoops!

MO'C: In what ways are you similar to and different from Meredith?
MC: This is such an interesting question. Meredith tries so hard to do what she thinks is right, and pretty much falls flat on her face in a big muddy pool of her least attractive character traits. I haven't made the same mistakes that Meredith does, and I had entirely different lessons to learn, but believe me, I've been down in that mud just the same.

MO'C: The excerpt I read used a lot of humor. What do you like best about using humor and where do you get your ideas for humor?
MC: I never try to be funny-- I think I just approach things from a slightly sarcastic angle, and they take shape. I've learned that if I tell myself "okay, now write something funny" it NEVER works. It has to grow out of the material on its own, or forget it.

MO'C: Did you have a message that you want the readers to glean from your novel? If so, what?
MC: That life can be messy, and the only thing you absolutely have to do is be honest with yourself. Everything flows from there.

MO'C: Do you outline or use other graphical organizers for your work? Or do you let the story unfold and follow it wherever it takes you?
MC: I wish I was organized. Instead, I stagger around through the novel and never have any idea where I'm going. It's exhausting, frankly!

MO'C: What's your writing day like? Do you have any writing rituals, special tea you must drink, music that must be playing in the background, word count or hourly goal you must meet, tricks for warming up, etc., etc.?
MC: Nope. I procrastinate until I can take no more-- and I can take a lot, actually-- and then I write in a blaze for a while. I get pretty crabby, and left unchecked, suck down truly repulsive amounts of junk food. I have no rituals. I prefer silence, because I am easily distracted. And I like to pretend that blogging is a warm-up, when really it's a serious time-wasting tool. But somehow, it all turns into a book!

MO'C: Has your PhD helped you in writing your fiction? If so, how?
MC: I wrote my dissertation on AIDS literature in New York from 1980-1996. At first glance, this has nothing at all to do with chick lit. But one of the authors I concentrated on, David Feinberg, wrote hilarious novels/memoirs-- like Sex In the City if you happened to be gay, urban, HIV positive, and an activist in 1980s New York. That might not sound funny. The fact that it really, really is speaks to Feinberg's genius. His work has turned out to be a tremendous influence on me.

MO'C: What's the best ride at Disneyland?
MC: It's a toss up between Indiana Jones and Space Mountain. And why choose? You can do both!

MO'C: Any teasers on your Work-in-Progress?
MC: I think it's the best thing I've written so far. Is that teasing enough?
Thanks for visiting us, Megan! And don't forget to buy Everyone Else's Girl at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the bestest option of all, your local independent bookseller.