An Interview With Megan O'Russel

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Thank you so much for sharing your book with me and agreeing to do a Q&A for my readers. 

Give us a quick summary of Girl of Glass the first book in your fantasy series!

Girl of Glass is a blend of Sci-Fi and paranormal in a dystopian world. 

Two worlds... one glass wall... no turning back.

The human race has been divided. The chosen few live in the safety of the domes, watching through their glass walls as those left on the outside suffer and die. But desperation has brought invention, and new drugs have given the outsiders the strength to roam the poisoned night unafraid – but it comes at a price.

Seventeen-year-old Nola Kent has spent her life in the domes, being trained to protect her little piece of the world that has been chosen to survive. The mission of the domes is to preserve the human race, not to help the sick and starving. But when outsider Kieran Wynne begs for Nola’s help in saving an innocent life, she is drawn into a world of darkness and danger. The suffering on the other side of the glass is beyond anything Nola had imagined, and turning her back on the outside world to return to the safety of the domes may be more than she can stand. Even when her home is threatened by the very people Nola wants to help.

Your other two series, The Chronicles of Maggie Trent and The Tale of Bryant Adams are also fantasies. What about this genre draws your interest so much?

I love all the possibilities fantasy allows. Maggie Trent takes place in a whole different world, but Bryant Adams happens in Manhattan. You can tweak and toy with reality in so many amazing ways. It’s like working with an endless playground.

The country of Girl of Glass paints a grim future for our world. What inspired the world of Vampires and Domes that we see here?

I wanted to look at the end of the world from the point of view of the one percent chosen to survive. I chose to keep the cause of the end of the world realistic (pollution and the overuse of resources) and allow paranormal elements to exist outside the realm of the privileged few. At the end of it all, I really want readers to look at the madness of Girl of Glass and ask themselves what the obligation of the fortunate are to help those in need. 

What is your writing process like? Do you plan everything out in advance or let yourself discover the story as you go along? 

It really depends on the project. Sometimes, I know exactly where I want all the twists and turns to happen; other times, I start with only a concept and an end point in mind. For Girl of Glass, I knew the premise I wanted to use and how the world worked, but from there I really let the story grow as it unfolded. It’s made the process a ton of fun. 

Girl of Glass is published through Fiery Seas Publishing, a small press. Can you share why you decide to work with Fiery Seas and what the benefits of a small press have been for you?
I enjoy working with a small press because of the freedom and intimacy a tight knit work community allows. I know who my editor is going to be. I’m in direct contact with the head of the company. There are no assistants to the assistant filtering through emails. It lets the work get done in a much more streamlined manner. 

How long did it take you to get this book published, from its initial conception to the release date? 

About two years from first deciding I wanted to write a mid-apoclyptic sci-fi with chemically-induced vampires to the book actually being in print.

What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in completing your book? 

The end of the vampire hype. I was ready to submit Girl of Glass just as vampires fell back out of fashion. It took quite a few submissions, and I’m so thankful Fiery Seas was willing to look beyond the word “vampire” to what the story really is. 

What other books and authors inspire you? 

I’m currently obsessed with Six of Crows by Leigh Burdugo. Her world building and intrigue skills are just fantastic. Her writing is something we can all aspire to. 

The central characters of the book, Nola, Kieran and Jeremy are all such complex characters. Can you share with us how you create your vibrant cast?

It all started with Nola. I wanted her to be strong enough to take on the challenges presented to her, but not the type you would pick to be a hero. For the boys, I knew I wanted them both to be damaged. I don’t think a good person could watch the world crumble and not have some massive issues. From there, it was a matter of building their histories and learning their individual strengths and needs. 

There are many different kinds of vampires in Young Adult literature. What makes your vampires different? 

My vampires, rather than being created through paranormal means, are made by taking drugs created to survive the extremely deadly environment of the outside world. They have the same need to drink blood as their only nutrition, the same deadly reaction to sunlight, but there is no supernatural involvement. 

The second book of your series, Boy of Blood is already out. When can we expect Book 3? 

Absolutely! Book three is already to Fiery Seas, and I’m really excited to begin work on the fourth and final installment. 

What is the first book that made you cry?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 

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What is your writing Kryptonite?

I write too many things too quickly, and it drives my agent crazy. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers looking to publish their first novel? 

Just keep writing. It’s hard. Editing sucks. Submissions are worse. But keep writing. If the story never gets off your laptop, putting down the words is still a worthy endeavor. 

What is your favorite book to recommend to others? 

Six of Crows! Also anything by Madeline L’Engle, and the Chronicles of Narnia. 

You can buy the first book in Megan's series, Girl of Glass, now on Amazon!