Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Interview with Megan Kelly Hall

I have a special treat for you today. Megan Kelly Hall, whose fabulous new book SISTERS OF MISERY just hit the shelves last month is in the house! I had a chance to ask her a little about her book and I'm excited to bring you the first of several author interviews I'll be posting in the coming months:

LG: Peer pressure can be a terrifyingly strong force - strong enough to bring about the Salem Witch Trials and strong enough to test the loyalty of family. Have you ever been pressured by your peers into doing something you wouldn't have otherwise chosen to do?
MKH: I’ve never been pressured into doing something I felt strongly opposed to. I’m sure that there were one too many drinks or shots that I was coerced into taking during my early twenties (or even in college. Yikes!). But, overall, I was pretty strong in my own convictions and wasn’t the type of person to let others push me into something I felt bad or comfortable about. And I’d never do anything to hurt another person—especially within my own family!

LG: What was your inspiration for writing this book and how did the idea for this book evolve?
MKH: I live right next to Salem, Massachusetts and I’ve always wanted to write something that captured the essence of the gothic undertones of growing up in a place that had such a dark history. Plus, I wanted to show how people really haven’t changed all that much—that persecution and ostracism are still alive and well in today’s society. The book actually grew out of a recent local legend. There’s a stone wall in a neighboring town that supposedly was the site of a car crash not too long ago. Three kids were killed in the car crash and some say that if you shine your headlights on the wall at a certain time of night, you can see their faces in the wall. I’ve never actually seen it, but I decided to build my book around that haunting image.

LG: SISTERS OF MISERY has been called "a true Gothic." What are some of your other favorite Gothic novels?
MKH: I’ve always loved suspense novels, especially as a teen. So many YA suspense novelists like Lois Duncan, Christopher Pike and Stephen King inspired my writing. In college, I devoured any short stories with a gothic element; stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, Joyce Carol Oates, William Faulkner. Other favorites include Wuthering Heights, The Turn of the Screw, The Haunting of Hill House and my all-time favorite, The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

LG: Which of the characters in your book are the most like you and how?
MKH: I’m not as cool as Cordelia, not as wishy-washy as Maddie and definitely not as mean as the girls in the Sisters of Misery. I’m probably somewhere between Cordelia and Maddie. Like Cordelia, I was never a follower and I’ve always stood up for myself and others, but I was similar to Maddie in terms of being a bit shy and quiet at times.

LG: What are you working on now?
MKH: I’m working on the second book in the SISTERS OF MISERY series. It’s called THE LOST SISTER and will come out in August 2009. I’m also playing around with a nonfiction memoir describing how I overcame major health setbacks (open heart surgery two years ago) to fulfill my dream of being a published author. Additionally, I am a partner in Kelley & Hall Book Publicity, an independent literary publicity company ( that I started with my mother and sister. It’s a challenge to keep authors (especially fiction authors) in the news, but we’ve worked with some great authors – NY Times bestselling authors to self-published debut authors – and it never gets boring.