Today we have one of the newest Musa Publishing authors in to chat. Meggan Connors, award-winning creator of speculative fiction, is here to discuss life in general and her new release, Jessie's War.
I'm a wife and a mom, a teacher and, now, an author. It looks like my undergrad majors in college (Literature and Linguistics) might finally pay off!
Other than that, I like to read (what author doesn't), particularly romance. Right now I'm reading Paulo Coehlo's Aleph, and I like it. One of my New Year's resolutions has been to broaden my literary horizons, so I also have a couple of history books in the TBR pile. Mostly Scottish histories regarding the peerage of Scotland, and a history of the Tower of London. I guess so I could look smart, I also started reading Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku, but I can only take that in small doses before my eyes cross and my lone brain cell starts complaining about being overworked.
I've got two kids in early elementary school, and they sure keep me busy after work. Luckily, I have a super supportive husband who steps up to the plate when I'm working on a deadline.
Tell us about your book.
Jessie's War is a steampunk romance, set against the backdrop of Nevada's silver boom and a prolonged American Civil war. It's about a woman who has spent years putting her life back together after the death of her lover, only to discover he's not dead when he shows up on her doorstep and demands her help.
Needless to say, she has a few trust issues with him after that.
If you could only have one vice what would it be?
But I have so many! Limiting me to just one seems cruel.
If I have to choose, it would be coffee. I know it's not the most exciting answer, but I'm not sure I can live without it. I'm kind of a coffee snob, too. Sure, I like Starbucks, but give me a dark roast Ethiopian blend, strong and black, and I'm a happy girl. I studied in Germany for a year, and it turned me into a ginormous coffee snob. Pre-Germany, instant coffee was fine. Afterwards, oh, heavens no!
Who is your favorite character from one of your books and why?
It's trite, but my favorite character I've ever written is Luke Bradshaw, the hero in Jessie's War. I loved him from the first word I wrote, even though getting him to cooperate with me was quite the trick. Jessie opened up easily, but Luke… the man was an enigma, and I created him!
What I like about Luke is that he's complicated. The son of an alcoholic prostitute, who was always in trouble with the law before he joined the Union Army, he's a man with a lot of baggage who is not ashamed of the person he's become. He's willing to make the hard decisions, and to make sacrifices, because he believes it's the right thing to do.
What’s your favorite movie?
The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis. Gads, I love that man. I've seen it in four languages. (Yes, I really have seen it that often. I've watched it at least once a year since it came out. I guess it's not really a surprise that I write historicals, is it?) Since I have the lines basically memorized by now, it doesn't matter if it's in a language I speak or not. I know what's being said!
What’s your favorite quote?
Not from The Last of the Mohicans? Because I love it when Hawkeye says, "Stay alive, no matter what occurs… I will find you." I mean, shoot. What girl doesn't want a guy like that?
Otherwise, here's another quote I like. Not only is it brilliant and funny, but when I was tearing my hair out writing clothing for one scene (those wacky Victorians and their underwear!), it was good advice to bear in mind.
"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." –Mark Twain
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Prague, Czech Republic. I went there for a few days during that year in Germany, and I loved it. It was not long after that block of countries really opened up to tourists (yeah, I just dated myself), and there was something so gothic and mysterious about the place. Everything, from the spires on the cathedral, to the castle atop the hill, to the cobblestone streets, spoke of history and ghosts and mysteries.
It was a beautiful city, magical even. The countryside was lovely, and the people were friendly. So, if I could pick anyplace, it would be there.
What genre do you write and why?
I write a little bit of everything. I haven't really tried my hand at contemporary yet, but I've written two historicals (one with minor magical elements), an urban fantasy, and a steampunk. I started the steampunk because of my love for both historicals and fantasy, so why not combine my two favorite genres?
The main element that connects all of my stories is the romance. The books that I connect to the most are the ones that contain a love story, and I can't seem to write a story without it.
Where do you find inspiration?
This question cracks me up, because I find inspiration everywhere. The inspiration for Jessie's War started with a map of the mines beneath Virginia City, NV (hence the setting). Then once I heard the song “Dead Letter and the Infinite Yes” by Wintersleep, the story almost wrote itself.
For the story I'm writing now, it all stemmed from something my husband said to me as I was listening to The Dropkick Murphys… "What are you listening to? Dueling bagpipes?"
I laughed, and a highlander story was born. Which, ironically, has nothing to do with dueling bagpipes.
What is your biggest distraction when it comes to writing?
Kids. And work. And kids. I like them, and they demand attention! Weird, kids wanting attention, right? I figure I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
And here they come now.
Before I go, please allow me to share a little from Jessie's War.
She's about to become a pawn in a brutal game between nations...
The American Civil War has raged for more than ten years. The outcast daughter of a famous inventor, Jessica White has struggled to salvage what little remains of her life. Then, one cold winter night, the lover she'd give up for dead returns, claiming the Union Army bought the plans for her father's last invention. But he's not the only one who lays claim to the device, for the Confederacy wants the invention as well. Both sides will kill to have it.
...And only he can save her.
As an agent for the Union Army, Luke Bradshaw is a man who will use whomever and whatever is at his disposal in order to complete his mission. An attack by Confederate soldiers ensures that Jessie will turn to him for help, but Luke can't help but wonder about the secrets she keeps--and if those secrets will ultimately prove fatal.
To read an excerpt from Jessie's War, please click HERE.
Meggan Connors is an award-winning author who writes primarily historical and steampunk romances. As a history buff with a love of all things historical, she enjoys visiting both major and obscure museums, and reading the histories of the Old West and the British Isles. She makes her home in the Wild West with her lawman husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets. When Meggan's not writing, she can usually be found hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow, or with her nose in a book. Favorite vacation destinations include the sun-kissed hills of California, any place with a castle or a ghost (and both is perfect!), and the windswept Oregon coast.
Learn more about Meggan Connors on her blog, There's a Bee in my Bodice. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.