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Thread: Meghan Brunner

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    Post Meghan Brunner

    The summer before she entered ninth grade, Meghan Brunner accidentally discovered the fantasy section of her local library. Things haven’t been the same for her since, and she doesn't regret it one bit. Among those metal shelves she found the brain-children of authors who believed worlds existed beyond the one in which we tread. Here were the kin of her soul, who saw the Magick in the world -and instead of laying it aside by "growing up" as society tells us we must, they enfolded it with words and set it loose upon those who cared to revel in its beauty and truth.

    At sixteen, Meghan was tossed into the romping, colorful, Magick world of Renaissance faires/festivals -and naturally fell as madly in love with them as she had with fantasy novels two years previous. Whether serenading a privy with a pack of scruffy peasants, peeling potatoes, debating Renaissancian politics with patrons, dancing to the beat of doumbeks, or singing beside the fire, she threw herself into her task with joyous abandon. Given her lifelong obsession with capturing the spirit of reality with words, it was only a matter of time before the world of the faire-folk fell subject to her pen.

    Meghan isn't sure when, exactly, she began to write. Her first "real" writing was published in a small magazine when she was in early junior high, and at age fourteen her school's drama club performed a play she had written. She regards those accomplishments as no more or less serious than the novels she now pens or the efforts captured in a photo in her family albums of a proud-looking urchin beside a blackboard with her name in child's-scrawl capitals. Every story is a process, a discovery, and a honing of skills. Like the day, you have to seize it and see where it will lead you.

    Meghan's dearest hope is that someone who is looking for kindred spirits will pick up something she has written and know that they are not alone.


    http://www.faire-folk.com

    http://www.loonbeam.net/fairefolkforum/

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    Post Re: Meghan Brunner

    Meghan Brunner is the author of From the Ashes, a magical tale that opens the door into a world few authors have focused on -- the Renaissance Faire. Now available through all major online book stores, this first book in the Pendragon Faire series will please anyone who has wondered about the true soul of the faires. For more information, and to get a glimpse at some lovely art, visit http://www.faire-folk.com/ .

    Cindy: Please give us a synopsis of your book?

    Meghan: From the Ashes is the story of those who call Pendragon Renaissance Faire home -the faire-folk who live there for two months before moving on, the Fair Folk who never leave, are rarely seen, but whose presence is undeniable...

    And - Magick.

    Magick is just a part of life at Pendragon. It can be as common and comfortable as an armchair, as rare and beautiful as a shooting star, and as powerful and deadly as a black hole.

    The first central character is Ryna, who has lived within this Magick since childhood. She and her family are modern-day Gypsies, traveling across the country from faire to faire, earning a living and making a life. For them, “real life” and faire life blend together as they personify their nomadic lifestyle as Gypsies within the Renaissance world.

    Most faire participants do not live such an integrated existence. For them, faire happens but 15 days of the year, and for those 15 days, it’s a party. For some, the party involves catching up with friends who are as close as family and escaping the mundane world. For Liam, it’s a chance to exercise a power that is not truly his. As a member of the Village Militia, he portrays the law, and he employs this illusion to prey upon the yearly batch of new entertainers who are dazzled by the brightness of the faire and his apparent gallantry.

    Within the ranks of these rookies shines Bea, the younger sister of a veteran
    “rennie” who has pulled her into this enchanting world. Just out of college, she’s struggling to find the moon, the stars, and a sense of belonging.

    Ashes follows their hopes, their loves, and their struggle to deal with powers far greater - far older - than themselves.

    Cindy: Tell us what you went through to get published? Why did you choose to go with 1stbooks? Would you suggest 1stbooks to anyone else?

    Meghan: I went through a lot of rejection slips - I think every author does that.

    I chose 1stBooks because it allowed me the greatest amount of artistic control. It’s been a learning experience getting to that end product, but I have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s MY story. I can take advice… just not when it comes tagged with “you’ll do it because we’re the ones publishing your book and we say so.”
    I would suggest that anyone considering 1stBooks take a few precautions to avoid the pitfalls that snagged me:

    1- Edit a hard copy. Keep making new ones and editing them until you can’t find a single thing wrong. Get some friends to help, if possible. Make sure you have it absolutely, positively the way you want it. The 1stBooks corrections department (at least, in my experience) tends to make some changes, not make others, and randomly insert problems that weren’t there before. I went through ten galleys. Enough said. Beyond that, there are corrections fees and the wait time for the next galley - neither of which is pretty.

    2-Find your own cover artist. I requested the cover artists at 1stBooks to make one with a phoenix flying from a campfire towards a full moon. They got the campfire and the moon right, but somehow confused a mythological bird of flame with game fowl and I wound up with a very scared-looking PHEASANT instead. It took up half the cover - and there was no mistaking it for anything other than a pheasant. I think I would’ve been more horrified if I could’ve stopped giggling. Palidyn, my interior artist, was kind enough to save me from the horror of prairie game and designed the beautiful one that is now on my book - but even so, it took some fussing to get the title and byline where I wanted them.

    3- Maintain a sense of humor and a large stockpile of chocolate. You’ll need both.
    Still, I’d go with them again, unless (obviously) someone made me a better offer. I think now that I know what not to do, the next book will go much more smoothly.

    Cindy: Why did you choose to become a writer? Who are your influences?

    Meghan: I think I had as much choice in the matter as I did in my eye color - I can put in colored contacts and pretend to be something else, but that doesn’t change what’s underneath. Even if I never touched another pen or keyboard, I would always be a writer.

    As to influences… my family always encouraged my storytelling habit, and I’ve been lucky to have many school teachers who also gave me that extra nudge. My friends are simultaneously merciless and wonderful.

    So far as literary influences go, it’s hard to say. I learn from everything I read, even if it’s what NOT to do. People always underestimate the importance of a bad example.

    Cindy: Do you plan to return to the world of the Pendragon Faire? What other projects are you working on?

    Meghan: In its first draft, Ashes was a stand-alone book. My muse had a thing or two to say about that, and suddenly I had a trilogy on my hands. And then the trilogy became a series. I’m trying to avoid “epic,” but I’m not sure how much say I’m going to get. I only do what the little voices tell me to.

    I’m currently working on the sequel to Ashes, Into the Storm. It and the third book, Toward the Fates will be set at Pendragon as well, though further books in the series will take place at other faires and highlight other of the Gypsies as the main characters.

    Cindy: What is it about the Faires that inspired you to write this book?

    Meghan: A few things, really. Partly it’s that a lot of people have misconceptions about the people who work Faires/Festivals - that we’re there for the drugs, the sex, the money, and the booze. We’re not. We’re there for the family. For the knowledge that we’ve made a memory someone might carry for years. I wanted to show people Faire’s soul.

    The intensity of working a year at Faire has always fascinated me. You’re pushing yourself to the limit, both physically and emotionally. It seems that nothing is by halves - things are either fantastic or unbearable. So much happens in seven short weeks. How could you not write a book about it? But no one has.

    Seriously, though, I didn’t do it to be unique. I did it for love of the subject. I want everyone else to - if not fall in love with it themselves, at least understand its beauty, maybe take away a scene or two that made them smile.

    Cindy: What do you want to accomplish as a writer? What is one word that you would want people to use in connection with you as a writer?

    Meghan: The same thing I want to accomplish in a day at Faire: I want to make a memory, touch someone’s heart. I want someone who is in need of a kindred spirit to read my book and know they’re not alone.

    One word? Magick. If I have enough power in my words to make people believe - that’s enough for me.

    Meghan: Who is Palidyn? Tell us about how his art works with your writing?
    How does it work? Beautifully. I’d known the man eight years (this life anyway) and had no idea he could draw until we were at an engagement party at a pub one night and I caught him “doodling” on his placemat. I put “doodling” in quotes because I would be hard-pressed to match it on one of my better days. I asked if he’d ever considered doing interior art for a book.

    “What book?” he asked.

    “Mine.”

    “Oh, all right then.”

    I’m still a little stunned that he said yes - he had no idea what it was about.

    Anyhow, I sent him a copy, he read it through a couple times, and presented me with a couple sketches he warned me were “quickies, and not that good.” And suddenly I was staring into my characters’ eyes. I can’t express just how surreal - how incredible - that was. I literally forgot to breathe, and the most intelligent comment I could make was something on the order of “Ah…ba…bub…uh…”

    I wouldn’t trade him for anybody. He pulls the pictures right out of my mind. Even when I’m not sure I have a picture in my mind, I’ll suddenly find it looking back at me. Just looking at his art makes me want to go out and write more.

    Cindy: What is the most important thing for a writer to possess?

    Meghan: Friends. A fantastic imagination and an eye for detail doesn’t save you when writer’s block hits. It’s hard to have faith and be persistent when you get your billionth rejection slip.

    Friends can kidnap you, cheer you up, tell you you’re wonderful - or, in the case of the four-legged variety, sit on the rejection slips so you don’t have to see them.

    Cindy: When you're not writing, what do you like to do?

    Meghan: I like to buy a hundred of those shiny foil balloons and hand them out to random kids - or would like to, rather. I’m not rich enough yet. Maybe someday.
    In the meantime, there’s Faire. And preparing for Faire. Those are the no-brainers.
    I’m fond of all varieties of craft-like things - if you can make it with your hands, I’ve probably tried it once. I’m beyond fond of music. I like to dance - mostly in the privacy of my living room. I like to drive at night in a thunderstorm with some Loreena McKennitt on the stereo. I like the theatre - visiting it and working it, though I don’t get to do nearly enough of either, alas.

    And, of course, travel. There’s a reason my main characters are Gypsies.

    Cindy: Will you be working the ren this year?

    Meghan: I think the only thing that could keep me out would be a pair of cement shoes and a really deep river. And even that’s not a guarantee.

    For more information and a peek at some of the pictures Paladun has drawn, please check out http://www.faire-folk.com/

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