Interview with historical novelist Meggan Connors

Today’s
guest is historical novelist Meggan Connors as she promotes her newest book, a western steampunk romance called Jessie’s War (Civil War Steam).

Meggan
will be awarding a silver pocket watch pendant and a cameo choker, and a signed
paperback copy of The Marker, her
historical romance to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US/CANADA
ONLY) Make sure to leave an e-mail addy with a comment below for a chance to
win. And if you’d like to increase your odds of winning, stop by and comment at
Meggan’s
other tour stops
.
Bio:
Meggan
Connors is a wife, mother, teacher and award-winning author who writes primarily
historical and steampunk romances. As a history buff with a love of all things
historical, she enjoys visiting both major and obscure museums, and reading the
histories of the Old West and the British Isles. She makes her home in the Wild
West with her lawman husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets. When she’s
not writing, she can usually be found hiking in the mountains, playing in the
snow, or with her nose in a book. Favorite vacation destinations include the
sun-kissed hills of California, any place with a castle or a ghost (and both is
perfect!), and the windswept Oregon coast.
Welcome, Meggan. Please tell us about
your current release.
Set against
the backdrop of a prolonged American Civil War, Jessie’s War is about a woman who needs to learn to trust again
after a long-ago betrayal and hard years of living as an outcast.
She’s about to become a pawn in a
brutal game between nations…
The
American Civil War has raged for more than ten years. The outcast daughter of a
famous inventor, Jessica White has struggled to salvage what little remains of
her life. Then, one cold winter night, the lover she’d given up for dead
returns, claiming the Union Army bought the plans for her father’s last
invention. But he’s not the only one who lays claim to the device, for the
Confederacy wants the invention as well. Both sides will kill to have it.
…And only he can save her.
As an agent for
the Union Army, Luke Bradshaw is a man who will use whomever and whatever is at
his disposal in order to complete his mission. An attack by Confederate
soldiers ensures that Jessie will turn to him for help, but Luke can’t help but
wonder about the secrets she keeps–and if those secrets will ultimately prove
fatal.
What inspired you to write this book?
Since I
started writing, I’ve been writing westerns. One day, I was looking at a map of
the mines underneath Virginia City, Nevada. Beneath the city is a warren of
mineshafts—the map was even color-coded to help you keep the shafts straight.
As I was looking at it, I thought to myself: “Wow, what a great place for a mad
scientist.” I had visions of zombies, mad geniuses, and magical aether.
While none of
those things actually show up in Jessie’s
War
(we have scientists and inventors, but none of them are precisely mad),
the story did develop from that small kernel of an idea!
Excerpt:
Someone
knocked, and Muha’s tentative barking turned hysterical.
Taking her
revolving shotgun back down, she crept to the lever that would pull down the
shutters and arm the Gatling gun mounted to the rooftop.
Go home,
sheriff. Not talking to you today.”
“It’s not the
sheriff.”
Her hand
froze and the shotgun clattered to the floor. Gooseflesh dotted her arms and
her pulse quickened, a frantic rat-a-tat-tat
like a hail of bullets, as her body recognized what her logical mind denied.
The room went
quiet. Muha sat with her ears pricked up, her tail thumping cautiously against
the worn pine floor. The wolf recognized the gravelly voice, too.
The knock
became more insistent, sharper. “Please open the door, Jessie.”
It was a dead
man’s voice.
She struggled
to fill her lungs with air as the pine door shook beneath her visitor’s heavy
fists. Those hands would be big and strong and ridged with calluses. Her heart
twisted painfully in her chest, and she tried not to think about them. Or their
owner.
She’d gotten
over his loss just like she’d gotten over all the others.
With
trembling hands, Jessie picked up her shotgun and rested it against the wall.
Her legs leaden, she walked to the door and put her hand on the knob, but
hesitated.
She’d dreamed
of this moment for years, of this man walking back into her life.
Now she
couldn’t bring herself to let him in.
“Please. It’s
freezing out here.”
She turned
the knob, and Luke Bradshaw stood in her doorway, the brim of his hat heavy
with snow, and small flakes clung to the dark lashes fringing his silver eyes.
He was as
tall as she remembered, towering over her as he stood on her sagging front
porch, bringing with him the scent of smoke and sulfur and snow. A black slouch
hat covered his head and rested low over his eyes, and a black duster swirled
around his bright-spurred boots. The silver six-shooter on his left hip
glittered in the low light, and a large, black satchel was strapped to his
broad back.
Muha pushed
her head past the door.
Luke gave her
a lopsided smile and took off his hat. “Hi, Jess.” A scar she didn’t remember
ran through his right eyebrow, and another creased his chin. He held his hand
out to Muha and scratched behind her grizzled ears, the way he always used to
greet her. He handed her a piece of jerky, and despite the long years, a
friendship was immediately rekindled. “There’s a girl.”
“Luke.”
Jessie reached out to touch his cheek. The stubble of his unshaven jaw was
rough beneath her palm, and his skin was cold. Her fingers trembled as she
traced his lips, his breath warm against them.
He kissed her
fingertips.
Dead men
didn’t breathe or kiss a girl’s fingers. Dead men didn’t leave as boys and come
back as men. Dead men didn’t come home with new scars or shiver with cold.
“You’re
alive,” she whispered.
“Yep.”
His sweet,
boyish smile melted her heart, and something inside her, denied for far too
long, splintered and howled in despair.
She slapped
him.
The crack
echoed in the empty, snow-lit darkness behind him. Jessie stepped back to slam
the door on this would-be ghost who had the gall to walk back into her life and
act as if he’d never left.
What exciting story are you working on
next?
Right now,
I’m working on a follow up to Highland
Sons
, my historical novel. It’s tentatively called Highland Deception. After that, I think I’m going to go back to
steampunk and work on a follow up to Jessie’s
War
called Belle of Baton Rouge.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
A real
writer? I don’t know if I do, even after three published books. For as long as
I can remember, I’ve written—stories, tortured poetry, novels, you name it. It
wasn’t until I really started pursuing publication that I started telling
people that, in my free time, I write. So, I guess that was about three years
ago.
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, which might be why I don’t consider myself a “real writer.” I
do have the “dreaded day job,” which I really do enjoy (I’m lucky that way).
So, because I teach during the day, my work day looks something like this:
6:00: Wake
up, roll over, get the phone, and check e-mail. Do a promotional Twitter thing
if the mood strikes me.
6:30: Get
out of bed, get in the shower. By this time, I’m usually feeling a little less
old.
7:00: Wake
up the kids, if they’re not already up. The small one is always up, but I
usually have to find him some socks and tell him to put his shoes on the right
feet. The sock gnomes don’t often visit my household to sort socks, so we have
a sock basket. Need socks? Go to the sock basket and find two that go together.
None of them match? Well, I hear it’s trendy to wear mismatched socks.
7:30-7:45:
Pack lunches for everyone. Do the dishes if we didn’t do them the night before.
And have coffee. Need coffee. (Thank heaven for Husband. He’s always made the
coffee by the time I get downstairs)
8:00: Load
everyone into the car and leave for work.
8:15: Get
to work (Yay! A short commute!)
4:30 or
5:00: Leave work, take Thing One and/or Thing Two to whatever sporting event
they may need to go to. If we have two at the same time, Husband will go to
one, I will go to the other.
6:00-6:30
Home. Make dinner. (This can often mean that I stop by the store, get a rotisserie
chicken and a bag salad, or it could mean fast food. If I’ve been good, I
assembled the meal in the crockpot the night before, or at least have something
ready to go into the oven sitting in the fridge. Alas, I am not perfect.)
7:00:
Homework checks/piano practice
7:30:
Showers for everyone (because, by this time, everyone smells like a wet dog).
Husband will either do the dishes or a load of laundry, depending on what we
need done.
8:00
Bedtime for kids. I start writing.
10:00: Bad
writing night? I go to bed.
12:00: Good
writing night? I go to bed.  
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I will
struggle with a story until I’ve assigned a song to it. Once I’ve found the
song that captures the tone of the story, the story seems to almost write
itself. For instance, for Jessie’s War,
the song(s) I assigned to it were: This
is Why We Fight
by The Decemberists, and Dead Letter and the Infinite Yes by Wintersleep.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
What didn’t
I want to be? Shucks, I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, an archeologist, a
scientist (probably a mad one, if we’re being honest), an author, a teacher, a
marine biologist (alas, the sea sickness go the better of me on this one), a
botanist (the realization that I can’t keep plants alive took the fire out of
this idea), a mom, and an investigator.
I’ve done
three of those. I guess those aren’t bad odds.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
It’s crazy,
but I have this recurring nightmare where I’m back in high school and, in the
middle of Advanced Algebra class, I turn into a giant hamburger. I’ve had this
dream since I was actually in that Advanced Algebra class. I still haven’t
decided what it means…
Ways to get
in touch:
Thanks for
having me! This has been fun!
Definitely my pleasure, Meggan (really
got a kick out of your schedule). Happy touring!
Readers,
remember the giveaways: Meggan
will be awarding a silver pocket watch pendant and a cameo choker, and a signed
paperback copy of The Marker, her
historical romance to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US/CANADA
ONLY) Make sure to leave an e-mail addy with a comment below for a chance to
win.

6 thoughts on “Interview with historical novelist Meggan Connors

  1. Rita Wray says:

    Reading about your day made me exhausted. I can't imagine writing after such a long day. I'll stick to reading. lol

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

  2. Andra Lyn says:

    lol! I was the same as a kid! Artist, Astronaut, Barbie Queen…I wanted to be them all! Thanks for the interview!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for stopping by, everyone!

    Ingeborg: The day is tiring, but it's so worth it.

    Andra: When she was two, my girl wanted to be a part time mermaid, part time polar bear. I think she gets it from me!

    BN: Thank you!

    –Meggan

    PS Sorry for the anonymous–I'm not computer adjacent, and my phone and blogger have issues!

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