Author Interview: Meg Mitchell Moore

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Meg Mitchell Moore is an American writer who has branched out and is celebrating the release of her debut novel titled The Arrivals.

We recently asked her to take some time out of her busy schedule and help us get to know her a little better.

B&L: What made you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Meg: I have always wanted to be a writer. Truthfully, there are not many other things I’m good at. (You should see my pitiful attempts at drawing. Or hear me sing.

Or watch me do math…well, you get the picture. Deciding I want to be a fiction writer was the harder thing for me: deciding it, and then undertaking the long hard slog to get there!

B&L: Previously you worked as a journalist and wrote non-fiction, what prompted your switch to fiction?

Meg: I had been writing fiction on the side for a long time before I officially made the switch. (Actually, I’m not sure I have made an official switch; I really like nonfiction and hope to go back to it at some point.)

In 2005 I applied to and was accepted at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference (a conference that takes place in Vermont, where I was living at the time). That’s a hard conference to get into, so that gave me a lot of confidence.

By then I was getting enough positive feedback that I thought that if I really put my mind to it I could write something good enough to be published.

There was one year, a few years after that, when we invested in really good child care, enough that I could keep the nonfiction going and work on the novel that became THE ARRIVALS at the same time. I knew I wouldn’t have this opportunity forever so I promised myself to finish a draft and start looking for an agent while I had it.

meg mitchell moore author

B&L: Where do you get your inspiration?

Meg: I guess it comes from all different places. THE ARRIVALS happened sort of organically, when I abandoned a novel that wasn’t working.

My second novel I sold based on a paragraph so I had to follow through on that plan. My third one is brewing in my mind right now and was partly inspired by a trip I took last summer to the town I lived in for my last year of high school.

B&L: Your debut novel ‘The Arrivals’ has recently been published, what can you tell us about it?

Meg: It’s about three adult siblings who return to their parents’ house over the course of a summer, bringing their adult problems with them back to their childhood home.

B&L: Who are your target readers? Who do you think is going to love this novel?

Meg: There are three generations represented in the novel: the sixty-something retired couple, their three children (and spouses/boyfriends), and their children.

Obviously the littlest generation (the kids in this book are three years old and three months old) are not into adult literature, but I hope that readers in the other two generations find something of interest. I like to say that if you are a parent or you have a parent there’s something here for you!

B&L: What do you love to do when you’re not writing?

Meg: I spend a lot of time with my kids (three girls, ages eight, six and four). I spend a lot of time in the car, shuttling them around! I am also a big runner and, of course, a huge reader.

B&L: Can you share with us one interesting fact we wouldn’t know about you?

Meg: I rarely say no to dessert.

B&L: What has been the highlight of your career to date?

Meg: As I write this my book has been out in the U.S. for only a week. I just received my first email from a reader, a non-friend, non-acquaintance reader, someone from another part of the country, who just picked the book up, and then took the time to write to me and tell me how much the story hit home with her. (She, by the way, was a member of the oldest generation represented.)

That was such a wonderful feeling, to know that my book was out there reaching strangers.

B&L: Can you tell us what’s next for Meg Mitchell Moore?

Meg: When I sold The Arrivals I signed a two-book deal. My second novel will come out with my U.S. publisher in 2012. I’d like to start working on a third book this summer.

B&L: What does being a woman mean to you?

Meg: Wow, loaded question! 

I think it’s challenging, in this day and age, to define what a woman can and should be. To me, personally, at this stage of my life, it means figuring out how to take care of my family and my career and myself and give my all to all of those, which is not always easy.

It is so interesting to me that while women have come so far in so many ways I often get the question of how I managed to get a novel published and write a second one while taking care of three kids. (The answer to that: good babysitters!)

I have never heard a male author be asked that question, and I think that’s pretty telling. I hate to use the word “balance” because it sounds like such a cliche, but I think that’s what it’s all about for many women. It is for me right now.

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