Monday, July 13, 2020

Interview with contemporary fiction writer Meredith Egan

Novelist Meredith Egan is here today kicking off a new week. We’re chatting about Tide’s End: a just living novel, which is a mashup of contemporary fiction and hopepunk!

That’s right, hopepunk.

During her virtual book tour, Meredith will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Meredith Egan is an author of critically acclaimed novels, Just Living: a novel and Tide’s End: A Just Living novel. The stories are shaped from her work with crime victims and violent prisoners over more than thirty years. Meredith is trained in mediation and peacemaking circles., and has been honoured to learn from many First Nations peoples. Meredith coaches writers and other creative folks and offers workshops and training through her Daring Imagination work.

Meredith is the principal at Wild Goat Executive Coaching where her clients include leaders in the automotive, technology, government and small business fields. She lives at the Groundswell Ecovillage in beautiful Yarrow, BC. with her dog Mollie, and rambunctious feline sisters Firefly and Filigree. For fun she dabbles in cooking soup for her neighbours, and soaking in her hot tub with her four adult children when they visit.

You can find Meredith through her website, and on Facebook and Twitter for information about her novels, and her coaching work. Meredith welcomes opportunities to speak with groups about justice, and writing. Her books are available through Amazon and local bookstores.

Welcome, Meredith. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Taylor Smythe dreams of having a loving family. But first, he has to rescue his little sister Jenny from the gritty underbelly of the child cyberporn industry. Taylor journeys from homelessness in the inner city to a community in the dripping forests of the Pacific Northwest to confront the relentless pounding of his fiercest pain.

Can he become the big brother Jenny needs right now, and for the rest of their lives?

Tide’s End: A Just Living Novel explores the many faces of sexual assault and human trafficking, and how life can shatter for those most affected the victims.

Because #MeToo is more common than we can imagine.
As is #ChildrenToo
And even #BoysToo
It tears apart our families and neighbourhoods.

And wherever there is suffering, there are guardians and helpers who still the relentless pounding to encourage Tide’s End.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been privileged to work with people who are profoundly affected by crime for decades, and to hear their stories of pain, and their struggles to be resilient, to make meaning out of what happened to them. I collected those stories in my heart for years, but they aren’t my stories.

An Elder I worked with encouraged me to think about how I could share what I’ve experienced with the broader community I live in. That inspired me to take some of the fiction I’d been writing and really lean into finishing a novel. And a second.

As a community, we have to get better at helping our neighbours who have experienced trauma, because unhealed trauma affects everyone. And it’s far easier to learn about oppression, and inequality, and addictions – all the difficult parts of life – through fiction, through story, and through experience.

I’m most happy when I encounter a reader who says, “I never thought about that!”

Excerpt from the beginning of the Tide’s End: a just living novel:
Chapter 1
Warming Up

If this is what I have to do to rescue Jenny, I’ll figure it out, I thought as I drove along the dark, narrow roadway. My little sister is worth it, even if I feel like throwing up. Occasionally the overhanging trees dropped massive dumps of water onto my car. Or rather, into my car through rust holes and windows that didn’t seal. Every time there was the thunder of falling water, I ducked.

What the hell have you gotten me into, Marta? I thought, wishing daggers at the social worker who’d sent me here. Crawling further up the driveway, I turned a corner and gasped.

Holy crap, I thought, staring at the building in front of me. I’d stayed in dodgy motels. Run down apartments. But I’d never been in a place like this before.  Ever. In my life. This place was huge, and gorgeous, and knew I wouldn’t fit in. I’d registered for the Survivors of Sexual Assault Retreat, but would it be okay? What would it take to blend?

The money I’d need to pay for the rest of the damned retreat was in my torn duffle. But this looked decidedly upper class, and, well…here I was hoping my junker would make it up the driveway. It’d been my home for the last three months…so not upper class.

Is this really what I need to do to get Jenny back? I’d just turned 19, and getting custody of Jenny Benny, being an epically amazing big brother for a change…that was the most important thing to me. Marta thought I’d better deal with my sexual…history first.

My mind bounced all over. Then it landed on maybe tonight I’ll get warm. Like, to my bones, warm. I smiled.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently I’m working on the third book in this series, Ricky’s Place. It’s about a family struggling with disconnection and the pain that comes from growing up in a dysfunctional home.

The children -  two brothers – Preston, a successful business owner and Butch, his incarcerated brother, along with their younger sister Becky, reunite after 20 years in part because Butch is dying in prison.

Together, they have to figure out how to get along with each other, deal with their mortality, and what it means to be an unlikely hero.

You know, sex, death, and money.

All the important bits of life.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing stories as a strategy to deal with all the pain and hurt I learned about through my work. It was exciting to be building a world that I could control! I didn’t think of myself as a writer, however.

I think the first time I shared a story with someone in a writers’ group and they were touched by my writing I started to wonder if I could be a writer.

When I started to receive invitations to speak with other writers, coach writers, and share about my books with book clubs and in libraries I started to really think of myself as a writer. It took years!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full time, and I’m not sure that would ‘work’ for me. I’m definitely an introvert, and if the pandemic has taught me anything it’s that too much alone isn’t good for me…so my work demands that I work with others! I’m a Professional Certified Coach, working with businesses and teams to help them grow, and find “success”, however they define it. Luckily, I have successful clients!

This allows me to balance work and writing, along with spending time in my community (I live in the Yarrow EcoVillage, a co-housing community in British Columbia). It also helps that my four children are all grown and self-reliant!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I think of writing as a mutual act of creation – me with my characters. So, often I spend time talking to them, asking what they think about things, and what they’ll do next.

They regularly surprise me when they answer back on the page!

Also, I often listen to podcasts before I write to inspire me. The tone and compassion on My Favorite Murder lifts me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I knew I wanted to help people. And that I didn’t want to be a nurse (because in the 70s they were terribly treated by the healthcare system), so I decided to be a pharmacist.
It didn’t go so well…after 2 degrees, and about 12 years of work, I changed careers to work in the justice system.

And I learned what I really wanted to do! Help people who’ve been hurt by others…!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love to connect with readers, answer their questions, and find out what they think about the stories I tell. Please reach out to me!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

James Robert said...

Sounds like a great read, thanks for sharing and for the giveaway.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

Bernie Wallace said...

Who is your favorite character from your book?

Meredith Egan said...

You are welcome! I hope you spread the word to those who would be interested in reading!

Meredith Egan said...

And my favourite character was Jenny...even though she was difficult to write. She's found her way into my newest novel...

Meredith Egan said...

You are so welcome! Thank you for reading, and please spread the word th those who might be interested!

Meredith Egan said...

Thank you for reading, and please spread the word to reader friends who might be interested!

Victoria Alexander said...

Sounds like a very good book, thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

You have been and always will be such an inspiration for me. The hard work and dedication you have to help both victims of crime and offenders is outstanding!

Sherry said...

Sounds like a great read.

Bernie Wallace said...

Where do you do most of your writing?

Meredith Egan said...

Thank you for your interest. What parts interested you? I appreciate the chance to get to know more readers!

Meredith said...

I write mostly in my home office on my computer, but this week in my trailer!

Meredith said...

Thank you Victoria! I hope you can help spread the word

Meredith said...

Thank you Sherry. What parts are of interest? I love to get to know readers' interests...

Meredith said...

Thank you!
I've felt so privileged.

Debbie P said...

This sounds like a great read.

Meredith said...

Thank you Debbie!
I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think once you've read it!

Bernie Wallace said...

How did you come up with the title of the book?

Meredith Egan said...

Hi Bernie,
The train bridge where I lived up until 5 years ago (I'm only about 40 minutes down the road) was the point at where Department of Fisheries and Oceans consider the change from tidal vs river (non-tidal).

It was an interesting concept to me - the place where the tide's end...

It stuck in my mind and reappeared as a title!