Thursday, August 3, 2017

Meghan Carver | Author Chat

I've got my coffee-scented candle burning and it's time to sit down for a chat with author Meghan Carver! Her book, Deadly Disclosure, comes out August 8th! Pre-order it today!
By sixth grade, Meghan Carver knew she wanted to write. After earning a degree in English from Millikin University, she detoured to law school, earning a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University. She then worked in immigration law and taught Comp 101 at the local college. Now, she homeschools her six children with her college professor husband. When she isn’t writing, homeschooling, or planning the family’s next travel adventure, she is active in her church, sews for her kidlets, and reads.
Let's get real...

Tell us a little bit about how you started writing:
I first discovered my interest in writing in sixth grade during a school-wide writing challenge. I loved the scratch of the pencil on the paper and the way the edges of the paper curled up as I used every single line. I don’t remember now what I wrote, but I remember scribbling along, thinking, I can do this. My love of writing and reading eventually led me to an English major in college. My writing was put on hold for law school and then six babies, but eventually, I couldn’t repress it any more. Now, I write because I have stories in my mind that need to emerge, because my family enjoys reading what I write and encourages me to keep it up, and because it’s a great stay-at-home-mom job.

Tell us a little bit about your book:
I got the idea for Deadly Disclosure when I was gathering my family’s birth certificates to apply for passports. When I have anything written in my hands, I read it word for word. You can blame my love of reading as well as a legal education for that. J That day, I thoroughly read each birth certificate, and I quickly noticed that there was a huge discrepancy between my date of birth and the date of issue of the birth certificate. I have always known I was adopted, so this didn't surprise me like it surprises my heroine. That difference in the dates is the time it took for my adoption to be finalized and a new birth certificate with the names of my adoptive parents to be issued. As I examined my birth certificate, an idea began to form. What if someone discovered as an adult that she was adopted? What if there was danger in her birth family that found her even before she discovered she was adopted? From there, my imagination took off.

My verse for the book is one that I meditate on quite a bit as an adopted person. Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” What a blessed assurance!

I researched quite a few interesting things while writing Deadly Disclosure. I confirmed that it truly isn’t as easy for an adopted person to find birth parents as many people think. I discovered that many wealthy people still have butlers and those butlers dress rather formally. I found a neat wristwatch for lawyers that may make it to my wish list. But I think the most interesting bit of research was watching videos of people shooting fire extinguishers. Better stand back!

Let’s talk about your writing life:
I wrote five books over the course of four years before I received that most wonderful of phone calls from an editor who wanted to buy that fifth book. That drive to complete a full-length novel was enough to keep me going in between (and sometimes during) nursing sessions with a newborn; diaper changes; dish washing; and phonics and math lessons with my older, homeschooled children. My husband is a huge encouragement and help, and he would often play with and manage the children while the baby was sleeping so I could get in an hour of writing. Now, my oldest girls are teenagers and love to brainstorm with me and proofread along the way. They are also available to run interference with the younger children if I need a bit of writing time.

I am a total plotter and don’t start the actual writing of a book until I have a detailed outline that can be fifty pages long. The very beginning of the process starts, of course, with an idea. It could be something in my life, like reading my birth certificate as I prepare passport applications, or it could come from a news article or something I see as I’m out and about. Questions begin to form, and I’ll scribble down everything that comes to my mind. Organizing those ideas can come later. The important thing in the beginning is to capture every single notion that occurs to me. Eventually, characters begin to form, and the first item I need to begin to visual someone is a name. Once I get the basics of the hero and heroine and the basics of a plot (inciting incident, three suspense turning points, and final showdown), both begin to grow exponentially. Through all this process, I brainstorm with my teen daughters and husband. Of course, everything is subject to change if a better idea comes along. The detailed outline is my favorite part because by that point I have a good handle on the story. Ideas are pinging about dialogue, beats, and plot details, and I give myself the freedom to get it all down without worrying about complete sentences and everything that’s necessary for a proper draft. After the detailed outline, I’ll usually go through three drafts before I feel like it’s done.

Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? If so, which one(s) and what were most helpful about it?
My first conference was the Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference hosted by Wesleyan Publishing House. It was a wonderfully thorough but relatively small conference, and I had a couple of friends who worked there, so it was an easy start for an introvert into the world of conferencing. In the three years I was able to attend before WPH decided not to host it any longer, I had the privilege of meeting Angela Hunt, Jerry Jenkins, Michelle Medlock Adams, and Dennis Hensley, as well as agents and editors. There, I learned of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and now I attend those conferences as time permits.

Apparently August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day (who knew). What is your favorite dessert?
Chocolate cheesecake (with a cup of coffee).

What are you currently reading?
Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Sword of the Wormling (Book II in The Wormling Series) by Jerry Jenkins and Chris Fabry

Connect with Meghan:
Twitter: @MeghanCCarver
Purchase: Deadly Disclosure

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