Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Guest Author, Meredith Towbin

Good Morning Meredith and thank you for joining us today.  First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on the brand new release of Straightjacket last Friday, February 15th!

And next, please tell us a little about yourself and the genres you write.

I’ve been writing fiction for three years now.  Before that, I had lots of jobs—high school English teacher, newspaper editor, magazine editor, freelance copywriter, and copyeditor for a medical journal.  I also dabbled in the world of grocery store cashiers throughout college.

STRAIGHTJACKET is my first novel.  It’s dark contemporary young adult.  I’ve also written one adult novel, THE DEPENDANTS.

I see from your website that you and I have something in common:  We are both big Cary Grant fans!  On a side note:  The Kabrini Message was released on Cary Grant’s birthday, January 18th.  I take that as a very good sign!
But back to you…(lol)…

I heart Cary Grant.

Your new book, Straightjacket (release date February 15th) includes the character of a young man who insists he’s an angel.  What influenced you as you wrote the book?

Music was a huge influence on me.  I drive a lot (my two kids keep me constantly on the move) and always have the radio on.  So basically I drive around daydreaming about my characters and all the trouble they can get into with the music blasting in the background. Song lyrics, the music itself, even the mood it evokes help shape my ideas.  Death Cab for Cutie, the Killers, Mumford and Sons, and Vampire Weekend were big time influences on me.

Your second book, The Dependants, was recently completed, too.  What was the inspiration for The Dependants?

Every year around Halloween the fam and I take a trip to a pumpkin patch.  It’s this whole farm complete with a corn maze and a little shop that sells squash and apple cider.  I've always loved that place and a couple years ago while we were there I found myself wondering about who the farmers were, what they were like, what they did when pumpkin season was over.  I took a bunch of photographs—the farm house, the shop, the fields, everything—and THE DEPENDANTS just started to take shape.

Is there an underlying theme or thread that connects your books?

For some reason I like to write about crazy people.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because they are way more interesting than “normal” people.

I also like to write about relationships—romantic, family, whatever.

 If you could spend a day with one of your characters, which one would it be and why?

Hmm, that’s a hard one.  I would probably want to spend a day with Caleb from STRAIGHTJACKET.  I may or may not have a crush on him.  I’ll never tell.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of writing?

My favorite part of writing is when it’s over.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  There are some rare moments when things just flow and it’s easy.  Other than that, writing can be very difficult, especially when I’m starting a new book.  There are also a couple times during the course of writing a book where I get totally stuck.  I have no idea where to take the story and I stress out for days.  That’s not fun.

If you could go back in time, what historical period or event would you most love to visit?

This might sound kind of weird, but I’d like to go back to early prehistoric times.  That stuff just fascinates me.  A few years ago I read a couple of the books in the Clan of the Cave Bear series, and the way people lived back then is amazing.  It would be a tough life, but very cool to see firsthand.

Tell us about your experience with the road to publication?

The road to publication was not easy for me.  In fact, I never thought STRAIGHTJACKET would see the light of day.  Originally, I signed with an agent and she submitted it to quite a few editors.  No one was interested, and after a few months my agent and I parted ways.  A year later, I got an email from my former agent saying that someone who had read my book as an intern was now an editor at Etopia and had contacted her asking if the book was still available.  One thing led to another, and STRAIGHTJACKET was acquired.  I had really resigned myself to the fact that my first novel would never get published.  It was a huge surprise.

Thank you very much for sharing some insights into your novels and your experiences as a writer with us, Meredith and the very best of luck to you!

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Marie!

You are very welcome and hopefully all of our readers will join me in ordering Straightjacket today and The Dependants as soon as it's available - please keep us informed!


Eighteen-year-old Anna has lived her whole life in shame, losing herself in books to cope with crippling panic attacks triggered by her abusive parents.  Forced into a psychiatric hospital, she can’t imagine a future that’s anything but bleak—until she meets Caleb, a gifted, 19-year-old artist who insists he’s an angel.

He swears his mission is to help Anna break free from her parents’ control and fulfill a destiny that she can only dream of.  The doctors, however, are convinced that Caleb is delusional.
Anna doesn’t want to be that girl who’s in love with the crazy guy, but when she sees his stunning portraits of her and the way he risks everything to keep her safe, she can’t help but imagine a new future for both of them, filled with hope.  But just when it seems they’ve created heaven on earth, Caleb’s past emerges full force, threatening to destroy their tiny, blissful world.  And Anna has to decide if she should follow her heart, or if Caleb’s really as troubled as his doctors say…

Twitter: @mtprose

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