• Kate Hawthorne

Author Spotlight - Meredith Spies

Welcome today, Meredith Spies!

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I'm originally from Texas but live elsewhere now. While I've always loved writing and stories, I was originally going into anthropology in college. I'm nonbinary and identify as queer, have an awesome kid I call Spawn online to keep them private, two cats who are sure they're gods, and an a TBR pile that might actually smother me in my sleep one day. I fell into writing after college, where I'd been on the student paper for a bit. I was teaching belly dance at a local community center and saw a greeting card near the door. It had a beautiful faerie prince on it, and a story unspooled in my mind about him. A year later, I'd written it and it'd been accepted to be published by a small, now-defunct, indie. The bug bit and I've been writing ever since, pretty much all UF and PNR for some reason, lol.

How would you describe your brand? What makes one of your books inherently YOU?

Queer-centered romance with banter, a hint of strange, chosen families, and happily ever afters.

Tell us about what you're currently working on.

I'm working on the first book in a new series I'm very excited about. It's a bit spec fic, urban fantasy, a "what if" world where magic is real but fading, and people are trying to bring it back.

If you could dream cast your favorite book into a movie, whether yours or someone else's - what book would it be and who would you cast?

This is so hard. In part because I have more than one favorite book, lol. I'll go with a dream cast for Hawk's Widdershins and say

What is the weirdest place you've ever written before?

Weird for me, anyway--riding cross-country while my SO drove, moving from Texas to CA and writing on my phone. There's only so many miles of empty desert you can stare at before it all blurs together and you get ideas for creepy stories.

What does the writing process look like for you? What comes first? How do you start? When do you know you have a good idea vs a dream?

Typically for me, I get a character in my head first and they have a story attached. I let them ramble at me a while and if it starts to make sense, it becomes a story. If it's just "hey, this is a neat person" and it goes nowhere, I tuck them away for later and either they bloom out into a story or become a character in another story. I'm a pantser but I am working on trying outlining, at least my own version of it, because I want to be more organized in my writing and just with my time in general. So with my baby outlining, if I know the character is part of a larger story, I'll start writing down everything about them, all the details, even things that may never make it into a story at all like what their favorite flavor gummy bear is or something. From there I'll bring in the other characters and then map out the story. I've been using Campfire for this lately and it's been great, if a little more time consuming than I expected. I've found doing this also helps pare down on my "oh god, I need to delete this entire chapter!" moments!

If you could write about any character or story that you haven't written about yet, what would it be and why?

I have been carrying around an idea for a MM historical mystery/PNR for a while and I feel like 2021 might be the year it happens. The characters came to me ages ago and have been whispering and bugging me to get them on paper. They are some of my favorite ones I've dealt with, even though right now they are tucked away in "story ideas" folders and a paragraph here and there of dialogue filed away for later. I love historicals and works like Jordan L Hawk's Whyborne and Griffin series (and his new Rath and Rune book), and KJ Charles' entire oeuvre and they've really inspired me to let this story idea out to play and grow. The characters I have planned are a Vaudeville stage magician and a dissolute youngest son of a wealthy shipping magnate... And that's all I'm saying about them for now!

Which of your characters do you think is the most under appreciated and why?

Argh! That's hard, lol! I'm going to say Julian Weems, from Bump in the Night, but that might be just because HE feels he's under appreciated in the story. Either him, or Mark from The Devil in the Details--he's so at sea when it comes to dealing with demons, witches, and all of that--I think his awesomeness can get lost a little in all of that.

What is your favorite book? One of yours and one of someone else's.

It's hard to pick from my own because I feel like they're all my babies. I think for mine I'd end up going with The Devil You Know because it felt the best to write after a year of dealing with severe anxiety and depression, getting back to writing and coming up with that felt so good. And someone else's is actually harder lol. I think I'll say Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga, specifically A Civil Campaign. I love her writing and the world building and characterizations so much.

Favorite show to binge watch?

This is where we find out I watch way too much TV. I like to binge old sitcoms, and also cartoons like Miraculous Ladybug and She-Ra. I think lately though it's mostly been things like I'll BeGone in the Dark, Ghost Hunters (now that the transphobic guy is gone!), and Kindred Spirits. I do love me some ghost shows.

Favorite quote or song lyric:

“It doesn't stop being magic just because you know how it works.” (Terry Pratchett, Wee Free Men)

Is there anything else you want anyone to know?

Wear a mask, ffs!

Where is the best place to find you online?

facebook.com/meredithspiesauthor or twitter.com/meredithspies

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