Hey, welcome back! It’s Daniela and today’s Beyond The Bio author is the amazing Megan Shepherd! Like most of us, Megan binge watches Westworld and Game Of Thrones on her free time and enjoys spending the day daydreaming at cafes. You may have already heard of Megan as she is the author of other amazing books such as The Madman's Daughter series, The Cage series, and The Secret Horses of Briar Hill. Megan also just happens to be the author of the newest YA fantasy, Grim Lovelies. Lucky for you, Grim Lovelies hits bookstores at the beginning of next month! However, we're teaming up with our friends at HMH to give away five copies before they're available in bookstores! Be sure to enter if you're interested in taking an epic magical journey through the streets of Paris! I’m super excited for this interview and I know you are too so I won’t keep you waiting, let’s get to it!
Daniela: There’s so much I love about your new book, Grim Lovelies! Can you tell us a little about how you first came up with the idea for such a magical world?
Megan: I was thinking about the mice-turned-coachmen in Cinderella. Cinderella only has until midnight, but so do the mice. They’ve been enchanted from animal to human, allowed to feel things like laughter and love, only to face it all taken away from them at the stroke of midnight--but what if they don’t want to lose it? This is their fight to keep their humanity.
Daniela: If you were a part of the Haute, would you rather be a witch, a Goblin, a Royal, or a beastie?
Megan: The Goblins have the most fun, but they also drink rat blood, so I'm going to go with Royals. Rich as sin, nearly immortal, and live in a luxurious Parisian penthouse. They're slightly evil, but I could live with that.
Daniela: Grim Lovelies is similar to some of your other books, The Madman’s Daughter and The Cage trilogies. They all have that dark, animal-to-human aspect. What draws you towards gothic YA novels?
Megan: I can't seem to get away from the animals-vs-human theme. It keeps popping back up in my mind with new questions. The Madman's Daughter trilogy looked at what it means to be a creator, and Grim Lovelies flips that and examines the life of the creations.
Daniela: There was so much suspense during the countdown for Enchantment hours that I couldn’t put my book down. What was your favorite scene to write?
Megan: Without giving away spoilers, I loved writing when one (often poorly behaved) character unknowingly drank a love potion and became completely devoted to another character. It was extremely satisfying to see a jerk get what he deserved.
Daniela: I think I’m obsessed with the Parisian lifestyle, and your book made me love it even more. I really want to visit. Have you?
Megan: Yes! I briefly had a French boyfriend who was a train conductor. He showed me around Paris and we ate ate cafes and strolled down beautiful little lanes. It was so charming that I wanted to write a book about it.
Daniela: I was so fascinated by the fountain on Rue des Amants. Is it a real place?
Megan: It only exists in my mind, at least I think so. If anyone knows of special fountains tucked away in any Parisian neighborhoods, let me know.
Daniela: Hunter Black and Petra are both queer. It's wonderful seeing the way that the fantasy genre has started to move away from the default straight white male hero. Who are some of your favorite marginalized characters from other YA fantasy books?
Megan: I love the diverse representation in THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton, SOUND by Alexandra Duncan, and ASH by Malinda Lo.
Daniela: I know a lot of our readers are going to be heading to the bookstore after this interview. What are some YA books they should be adding to their bag?
Megan: YA fantasy is exploding right now! I'd encourage anyone to pick up CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi, THE BONELESS MERCIES by April Tucholke, the THREE DARK CROWNS series by Kendare Blake, and the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN series by Robin LeFevers.
Daniela: I just finished Grim Lovelies and I'm already excited for the sequel! Can you share any teasers or clues about Book #2?
Megan: We have a title! It's called MIDNIGHT BEAUTIES and it jumps from Paris, to the Black Forest in Germany, to a London overcome by plagues. I must miss traveling through Europe…
That’s it for today’s interview with Megan. But don’t leave just yet! We’re teaming up with our friends at HMH to give away five hardcover copies of Grim Lovelies! You can enter to win by clicking on the image below. And be sure to come back again next week when James will be chatting with bestselling author Kelly Barnhill about her Newberry-winning book The Girl Who Drank The Moon. Be sure to come back then!