Megan Miranda‘s debut novel Fracture came out last month. This month Miranda is here to talk about her writing as well as her first book–a unique combination of paranormal suspense, science, and old fashioned good writing.
Miss Print (MP): Can you tell us a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?
Megan Miranda (MM): I always loved to write, but I spent a lot of time after high school not writing. I loved science as well, and I pursued that through college, eventually working in biotech and teaching high school science. It wasn’t until I was home with my two young kids that I really wondered why I wasn’t taking a real shot at writing. I started writing again, at night, when my kids were sleeping, and haven’t stopped since. I think my writing incorporates my love of science as well—I’m so thrilled to be doing something that I love.
MP: What was the inspiration for Fracture? Did your background as a scientist and teacher (not to mention your BS in biology from MIT) play a part in your vision for the story?
MM: It did, but in a somewhat roundabout way. There is definitely science in Fracture, but the idea for the story came from questions I had about the things that science attempts to explain, but isn’t always able to. In that way, Fracture walks the line between science and paranormal… which is just something that science can’t explain. Yet.
Teaching high school really helped in creating characters. It removed me from the equation, from the way I remembered high school, and helped me see everyone, not just the people I would’ve been friends with. It made me realize that everyone is the main character of their own life. I hope all my characters, even the small ones, seem like real people.
MP: Fracture is filled with evocative winter scenes of Delaney’s small Maine town–I felt like I was really there while reading the book. Is Delaney’s town real or based on a real location?
MM: Thank you! My dad grew up in Maine, and we used to visit in the summers. We’d stay in this small town on a bay, and the water was always freezing, even in June. The setting for Fracture is based on that town, but after the tourists leave, in the winter. And I changed the bay to a lake.
MP: Les Miserables plays a significant role in the narrative. Did you always plan to include that specific book and its musical adaptation in Fracture? If not, how did it come to be included?
MM: I love Les Mis—both the book and the play. The first version of Fracture had a reference to the book, but it shifted through the drafts to be a reference to the play. It did always play a part in the story, but the way it was included evolved over time.
MP: Fracture has elements of paranormal in the story, but one of the most interesting things for me was how well the story dealt with the aftermath of Delaney’s accident. How did you approach writing about this complex topic?
MM: I tried to read a lot about the people side of the science. Researching medicine and details is one thing, but exploring how it affects a person is a different issue entirely. I was really drawn to the dichotomy of the before and after. If a person survives, but is slightly different, how do others treat them? Do they mourn for the person who used to be, or do they embrace the one that remains? In Fracture, this change takes the form of something “other,” but I think it can really be anything.
As far as writing about it, my method was the same as it would be for anything else. I closed my eyes and I tried to imagine being in that situation… with the doctors not trusting me, and then my parents…and maybe even my friends. Would I even trust myself?
MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project?
MM: Sure! I have another standalone YA set to come out in early 2013. It’s in the same vein as Fracture in that it walks the line a bit between science and paranormal, but it’s also pretty different. It’s a psychological thriller about the thin line between the real and the imagined.
MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?
MM: Write. Read. Whatever makes you different, throw it into your writing. And don’t be scared to start over.
Thanks again to Megan Miranda for taking the time to answer my questions!