Time Travel Confirmed: Q&A with Naomi Hughes

Hello Readers & Writers,

Joining me on the blog today is Naomi Hughes, author of Afterimage which comes out September 18th, 2018 from Page Street Publishing. This is Naomi’s debut novel and it involves ghosts, conspiracy theories, and a race against time.

Before I kick off the interview, here is a synopsis of Afterimage.

37941939.jpgA horrific explosion levels part of the city and Camryn Kingfisher is the sole survivor.

Amidst controversy, conspiracy theories, and threats from government officials, Camryn longs for the truth. But the only person who she can turn to is a transparent boy in a lab coat named Quint. Unsure whether he’s a hallucination or a ghost, Camryn has no choice but to trust him as they become embroiled in a plot that is bigger than either of them realize.

In a race where the fabric of time and space is at stake, they must figure out who caused the explosion before the culprit comes back to finish Camryn―and her city―off for good.

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / IndieBound 

 

1. Before we start off, I want to say thank you so much for joining me on the blog today! First question: does being an editor impact your writing process? As an editor too, I find that I often have to shut off my editor brain in order to get words on the page.

Naomi: Hey! Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to get to chat with you about Afterimage. These look like some really fun questions, so let’s dive in!

Being an editor has, for the most part, been hugely beneficial for my writing. I have a lot of amazing clients and by pinpointing areas of underdeveloped potential for them, I also help form more ideas about how to better develop my own work too.

On the downside, it can absolutely be difficult to shut off my editor brain. It sometimes helps to write early in the morning when my brain is coherent enough to write but not yet critical enough to stop me before I’ve started. It also helps when I can keep a light editorial workload during the periods when I’m drafting a new story, so my brain doesn’t have to switch between writer-Naomi and editor-Naomi too frequently.

2. How did the idea for Afterimage form? Did it come in pieces, hit you all at once, or something else?

Naomi: Afterimage started off as a tiny amoeba of inspiration and very, verrrry slowly evolved into what it is today. It took multiple forms in between, each of which looked like a completely different story, and I cut maybe around five times as much material (actual drafted scenes as well as random notebook brainstorming) as I ended up including.

3. Which of your characters do you relate to the most and why?

Naomi: I definitely relate most to Camryn. She and I both have Panic Disorder, annoying but ultimately loveable brothers (don’t tell mine I called him loveable), and a strong desire to do the right thing.

4. I saw this challenge going around twitter and I found it hilarious so, describe the plot of your book badly.

Naomi: A girl hop-scotches through alternate timelines with her see-through maybe-boyfriend. They do physics, eat pie, and occasionally jump off cliffs.

5. Did you have to do research for Afterimage and if so, what’s a cool fact you learned?

Naomi: I did do research, and it was SO interesting. The two main areas I looked into were Panic Disorder and time travel. One of the most interesting things I learned but didn’t get to include was that time travel is possible, and in fact has already happened—but only travel to the future, not the past.

Speed and gravity both slow time, so if you were able to travel at close to the speed of light, or hang out near a black hole (which I don’t recommend), minutes would pass for you while years pass for everyone else. Astronauts are all time travelers; they travel so quickly while in orbit that they come back home having aged microseconds less than their friends on the ground.

6. Are there any shows, media, or books that influenced the creation of Afterimage?

Naomi: Absolutely. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos show and StarTalk podcast gave me quite a lot of science-y inspiration, and there were many shows and movies that contributed to the tone and general geekery of Afterimage. Among them were Doctor Who, BBC’s Sherlock, Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Marvel superhero movies, and plenty of others that I Easter-egged throughout the book.

7. I saw you’re a fan of time traveling doctors so I have to ask – who’s your favorite Doctor?

Naomi: In my acknowledgements I mention Matt Smith as my favorite Doctor (I even got one of his lines—“We’re all stories”—tattooed on my arm to celebrate my book deal). Lately, though, I have to admit that season 9-10 Capaldi is pretty dang amazing. And now Jodie Whittaker is about to start her reign and I don’t know, can I just have three favorites? *clutches doctors*

8. Huge lover of Marvel here too so – favorite Marvel comic, show, or movie? (Or all three).

Naomi: Thor: Ragnarok forever!!! Also if I can pick a favorite character: Loki. Or maybe Valkyrie. No, Doctor Strange! Or Ruffalo’s Hulk??

9. What’s something you hope readers take away from your book?

Naomi: That bravery is not the absence of fear, but action in the face of it.


About the Author

Naomi Hughes author pic

Naomi Hughes grew up all over the U.S. before finally settling in the Midwest, a place she loves even though it tries to murder her with tornadoes every spring. She writes quirky young adult fiction full-time and works as a freelance editor. In her free time she likes to read, travel with her husband and daughter, and geek out over British TV and Marvel superheroes.

Twitter: twitter.com/naomihughesYA
Website: naomihughes.net

 

 


So after all of this talk about time travel,  A+ inspirations, and a really cool plot, I am urging you to put Afterimage on your radar. It won’t disappoint! And once again, a huge thank you to Naomi for joining me.

Until next time,

Megan

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Blog Bound 2018

Hello Readers and Writers,

I have a super exciting announcement and that is: I’m going to be a panelist at Blog Bound!!!! For those of you who don’t know what Blog Bound is, it’s a free event in New York City created by bloggers for the blogging/writing community. From 5:00pm – 8:00pm at the Jefferson Market Library, you can chat with others in the industry as well as attend a few awesome panels that will be happening during these hours. For more details on the event, click here

blogbound 2018 twitter with link

So what panel will I be on at Blog Bound? Well, me, along with several others, will be discussing how to get past reading and creative slumps from 5:15pm – 6:00pm. Seeing as this is my first ever panel, I am both terrified and excited to dive in and speak about my experiences and tactics to overcome such a frustrating aspect of the creative world. I am crossing my fingers and toes it goes well, though I expect good things with such supportive people around me.

If you happen to be in New York City at that time, I’d love to see you there!

Xx

Megan

When To Put A Book To Rest

No one’s writing journey is the same. Sometimes, a writer will land an agent after a few tries, while others will take a handful of manuscripts and false steps. Time doesn’t invalidate success and each writer will have a different story about how they reached their goal. Publishing weighs heavily on luck, the market, and what agents and editors have in their inboxes. A rejection does not always mean your story isn’t where it needs to be.

Seriously, I highly encourage writers to read blog posts by agents. They can help your mindset beyond words.

Bearing this in mind, writers can reach a crossroads where after so many unsuccessful attempts, a question arises – does this story need work or is it time to shelve it? The answer depends upon so many factors, but it’s an important thing to discuss. The story of one’s heart is not always the one that gets an agent or a book deal. Maybe it’s the second book of your heart or the fifth. Maybe it’s one you didn’t expect.

The bottom line is you need to do what’s best for you, your story, and what you want to achieve.

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If you plan to shelve a story, here are some things you should consider:

  1. Where are you in the revision process? Have you gone through multiple revisions from a variety of reliable people (critique partners, editors, agents) and it still hasn’t gotten requests or offers of representation?
  2. What’s the market like? What’s desired fluctuates. Maybe your story falls into a bracket that is no longer being asked for by the publishing industry. This doesn’t mean your story isn’t good. It just means the interest isn’t as current as it once was. Interests tend to come back around so your book may be relevant later as opposed to now.
  3. Are you wearing emotional blinders? Writing is and always will be personal. Has being attached to a story clouded your judgment? Separating yourself from the story could allow you to see what may or may not be working.
  4. Are you burnt out? Now, this isn’t always a factor that ties into shelving a story. Life could be stressful. A personal issue could prevent you from getting words down. You’re jumping between projects. What I’m referring to here is more specific. Has writing a story left you feeling more exhausted than happy? If you find you’re struggling with your love for a story or it seems to be draining you, leaving it alone may be what you need. What may have started off as a positive experience might have tipped into something you didn’t anticipate.
  5. Have your ambitions or goals changed? Another issue could be the story you began with isn’t the one you want to succeed or your views on it have shifted. Maybe you’ve decided to pursue a different genre or audience altogether. Maybe this story wasn’t what you hoped it would be. Shelving it to work on something you’re more excited/hopeful for could bring muse back and a newfound drive for the publishing process.

Of course, shelving a book will always be an intense and personal decision that is never easy. For some, it may hurt. For others, it may be a relief, but this is up to the writer and the writer alone.

Feel free to share your experiences if you’ve shelved a project. What made you decide this? How did you get through it? What are you working on now? No author has the same writing experience and it’s important to see the variety of paths.

Xx

Megan

 

Relative Strangers: A Review

I was super fortunate to receive a copy of Relative Strangers from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. This book is due out April 10th, 2018 and I highly recommend picking up your copy or doing the author a favor and preordering it.

No spoilers below!

Paula Garner left an impact on me after I read her debut, Phantom Limbs. She had a unique way of tugging at my heart strings. I devoured her book in one sitting and had to not cry in a car ride. It was a fun time. Relative Strangers had this same kind of emotional tug.

1This book is vastly different than Phantom Limbs as it explores a relationship between Jules, her mother, and a life she had never known about – particularly that she was in foster care for some time as a toddler. The plot not only centers around finding out what happened to her, but delves into her connection to her foster family, a complicated bond between mother and daughter, and how this shapes Jules as a person.

What I liked about Jules is the conflict within her, how things didn’t just settle into place, but was something she needed to explore in order to move on and craft a bridge between her past, present, and future. She makes some horrible decisions, but this demonstrates her conflict, her humanity, and her youth. I thought Garner did a great job with drawing on how emotionally taxing the revelation was to Jules and the people involved. Though this book may be short, it packs quite a punch to the heart. 

Also, I want to give a shout out to one of the secondary characters, Eli, because we need to protect him forever and his cuteness. When you read this book, you’ll understand what I mean.

Overall, this was a great read and Garner is definitely on my list of authors to watch.

Xx

Megan

Time Bomb: A Review

Hello Readers & Writers,

Today I will be reviewing Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau which is due out March 13th, 2018 from HMH Books for Young Readers. I was sent a galley in exchange for an honest review.

It is important for readers to know that this book contains mentions of: terrorism, Islamophobia, death, cancer, suicide along with suicide ideation, and blood.

This book has been circulating around my twitter for quite some time and I was immediately drawn in by the promise of a multi-faceted, thrilling young adult novel. After having devoured this in a day, I can say that Joelle does not disappoint. Time Bomb is fast paced and doesn’t leave you waiting long to launch into the story. We are given six points of views, each a different character who we wind up following as a bomb rips through their school. Joelle gives everyone a questionable motive to be at the school and while I figured out who caused the destruction early on, it is not an easy task. There are a lot of curve-balls and distractions that are meant to push the blame onto someone else and distract you from looking at the real culprit.

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However, this book is more than just a guessing game as to who set off a bomb. Time Bomb forces a reader to confront stereotypes, racism, and the political dialogue behind these kinds of attacks. For example, Rashid, despite having conflicts with his faith, is a practicing Muslim and a lot of his story arc is dealing with Islamophobia and how he wishes people would separate him from his religion. On the other hand, he also wishes more people would take the time to understand what his religion teaches. He pushes back against harmful accusations and ridicule and is one of the more compelling characters. We also have Diana, the daughter of a senator, who brutally points out that rescuers and the media will be talking about her and the group she’s with because of her relation to politics.

Joelle does her best to examine the framework of the media with these kinds of attacks and does not handle the material lightly. This is a book that will stick with you because of the honesty that is unraveled at your feet. She forces not only the reader, but her characters to confront what they may know about people and what comes from society’s expectation of people: what they should be like, how they should present themselves, and how we need to untangle our discourse from our prejudices and in some cases, blatant racism.

My only main critique of this book was I felt as if some of the points of view were not as developed as others and some motives may not have been as clear as they could have been, but overall, Time Bomb is a book that will stick with me. It could open up some important conversations that need to be had.

This gets 4/5 stars from me!

Till Next Time,

Xx

Megan

New Year, New Publication

Hello Readers & Writers,

Though I approach every new year with a bit of hesitation, this one has kicked off to a good start. A short story of mine has been published in an anthology and it is available for purchase on amazon! -insert confetti here-

The story in this anthology, Chaos of Hard Clay, was one I wrote a few years ago, taking a favorite character of mine I had written on the side and giving him his own story. With the help of my friend Erin, who created the second main character, Verity was born. It follows the protagonist Aleks, who has been living in exile after waking up to find his life for the past year was an illusion created by the government. He reunites with his best friend only to learn about what a disaster the world has turned into.

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A graphic I put together in order to represent Verity 

This story is close to my heart and I hope to do more with the characters in the future. Anyone who has a writer’s brain knows that stories appear out of nowhere and you can’t forget the characters closest to you. They also tend to chat in your brain regardless of your opinion on the matter.

That being said, if science fiction excites you, then consider buying this anthology as it contains twenty story of post apocalyptic disasters, alternative worlds, insane experiments and plot twists. Also, me and the other authors will be super appreciative. The full synopsis is as follows:

51pP-2IwknL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Imagine a world gone horribly wrong. Nuclear war. Climate Change. Zombies. Aliens. Science Gone Mad. Twenty authors present twenty horrific scenarios detailing the end of society. The good guys, the bad guys, and the murderers are all here, eking out a scant survival…or destroying all they come across. Who will live? Who will die? And will there be an Earth left when they do? Read these compelling, shocking stories to find out. Crystal Leflar: NO TEARS TO SPARE Daniel Willcocks: WHEN THE WORLD FLED EAST David Henderson: GAME OF TAG G. H. Finn: GRIM DIESAL Hákon Gunnarsson: WHAT’S BELOW THE SURFACE Han Adcock: A SHORT HISTORY OF THE FUTURE Jack Stone: AFTER Jessica Mizell: BEEN HERE BEFORE Jim O’Donnell: HANGING, JUST OUTSIDE THE WORLD Justin Bloch: THE BEGINNING, AGAIN Kamron Taylor: WHAT REMAINS Luke Kondor: DUST AND FINGERS Megan Manzano: VERITY N. J. Reynolds: BLACK WATER Ray Prew: HOW DO THEY LIKE IT Roxanne Dent: GHOST WOMAN Olin Wish: TAKE ME TO YOUR FUCKING LEADER Vonnie Winslow Crist: DEAD WRONG Steve Bissonnette: AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT! G. Allen Cook: ENDGAMES AND EPILOGUES

Purchase on [Amazon]

Read any of these stories, or even mine? Leave your thoughts below. I’d be happy to hear them. And as a final shout out, this anthology wouldn’t be possible without G. Allen Cook who put so much work into this project and believed in my story. I am still in awe of his drive and constant communication.

Till next time,

xx
Megan

Chainbreaker: A Review

Hello Readers & Writers,

Today I will be reviewing Chainbreaker by Tara Sim which is due out January 2nd, 2018 from Sky Pony Press. I was sent a galley in exchange for an honest review.

CaptureThe first thing I noticed about Chainbreaker was it had a very different feel than Timekeeper and I don’t mean this in a bad way. Timekeeper focused strictly on Danny as a main character and we got to follow his journey as he learned about what was happening with the clock towers, as he fell in love, as he fought to save his home town and his father. Chainbreaker expands the world that Tara built in the first installment. Not only do we get several more POVs, but we are taken to India, learn more about time, the clock towers, and their existence in the world. We’re even given a chunk of history.  While for some books, expanding the world this sharply could be a problem, Tara handled it flawlessly. To put my enthusiasm into perspective, I read two-thirds of the book in one sitting. Why did I stop? I had to be an adult. Gross, I know.

The main premise of Chainbreaker is clock towers are being destroyed in India, but time isn’t stopping as it’s prone to do. Danny and Daphne are sent from England to India in order to investigate the strange occurrences, but get way more than they bargained for.

There were tons of things that stood out to me about Chainbreaker. Getting Colton’s POV was a delight as we were able to see how he thought and snippets into his past. (No spoilers, I promise. You just have to read the book.) We got another round of Danny who was once again, a great character to follow, with strong morals and a fighting spirit. Then, perhaps my favorite of the bunch, was Daphne. Like Daphne, I’m biracial. Though I don’t share an Indian heritage with her, I have struggled with similar thoughts of what culture I belong to and what it means to not look like where you come from.  Daphne’s journey and thoughts resonated with me in a way I wasn’t expecting, but welcomed all the same.

This cast of characters and the world building create an engaging read in the Steampunk genre. You root for them. You get to know them and by the end, you want to solve the mystery as much as they do.

Though I’m still freaking out about the ending, (Tara, how could you?), I am beyond excited for book three. I need to know where these characters wind up and hopefully, I won’t have my heart broken.

This book gets 5/5 cogs from me.

Xx

Megan