After a bit of a break, we’re back! The latest in our series of interviews with World’s Collider writers focuses on a new name you may not be familiar with. Trust me though, she is going places. One of the most exciting things about editing an anthology is the opportunity to showcase new talent, and here she is.
So Megan, you’re an artist and a writer – what’s that like?
More than anything, it just means that I have a creative outlet to turn to when one avenue is blocked. Since I’ve been focusing on my writing lately, my art has had to take a back seat, but when I find myself unable to focus, or I just need a break from it, then I’ll spend a few hours on one of the paintings I have stashed away in my spare bedroom/office. The best part of that arrangement is that I spend 99% less time brooding than I would otherwise.
The two do tend to merge together at some point, though. Lately most of my art has been based around the novel I’m working on. It’s definitely helped me focus on the world that I’m trying to create, and it’s given me something concrete to look at when I’m trying to make creative decisions about my story.
You’ve been known to say that you paint things which are real and write about things which aren’t. Is that a conscious choice, or just the way your imagination works?
I think it’s a little bit of both. My first love as an artist is portraiture and painting the figure, although I have branched out a bit lately. My first love as a writer is world building; there is nothing more exciting to me than creating an entire fictional universe based on a single idea.
The two play off each other to a certain degree. Being able to take really fantastic images and paint a picture in my mind of what it would “look” like helps me to describe the worlds that I create. In a way my art reigns me back in, so I try not to delve too much into abstraction.
Is sci-fi your usual genre?
A year ago I would have said no, that fantasy is, but I’ve had a lot more sci-fi ideas lately. One of my favorite stories of the last year is actually horror, which is a genre I hardly ever read and definitely never write.
I’m still pretty new to writing short stories, so discovering that so many of my ideas are sci-fi has been fun for me. It’s encouraged me to be more experimental. I am interested in branching back out into fantasy, though.
How did you come to World’s Collider?
I lucked into it! James Moran had posted about it on Twitter, and I had just started playing around with the idea of getting published so I went off to have a look at the anthology description. An idea popped into my head right away so I typed off a proposal and sent it in, just to see what happened.
What was your reaction when you found out you’d been chosen as one of the authors?
I was thrilled! And then I descended into the usual writer-angst as I started to wonder if I would actually be able to pull something like this off. Thankfully, excitement won out and managed to keep (most) of the angst at bay so I was actually able to complete the story and come up with something that I was proud of.
How have you found the shared-world experience?
It was a lot less intimidating than I thought it would be, and I think that’s because everybody who was involved ended up meshing together pretty well. It ended up being a lot less work than I thought it would be, and a lot more fun.
Did you find it difficult to tailor a story to someone else’s idea, rather than getting your own idea and following that to the end?
It wasn’t difficult; it was just a different way of working. I discovered early on that I had to be a lot more conscious of the things that happened in my story, since it had to fit into the universe that we’d created.
I also had to figure out a way to break one of the rules we established early on about the world of Worlds Collider, since it’s an essential part of my story.
What, in your opinion, is the biggest difference between writing your World’s Collider story and writing a story that’s completely under your own control? Aside from, you know, what I’ve just said.
I had to reign myself in a lot, and I had to (somewhat) stick to the ending in my proposal. I’m a big fan of going where the story takes me, and creatively I work best when I don’t know everything that is going to happen in my story when I first sit down and start to work with it.
It ended up being a more structured writing experience than I’m used to.
You have quite a full schedule, in terms of attending university, painting and writing. Does it all fit together organically, or do you need to be quite regimented?
I’ve tried to be regimented, and it never works. I try my best to get the things that need to be done out of the way as soon as possible so I can fill up the rest of my time with the things I want to get done. I still end up doing a lot of things at the last minute; I like to tell myself that’s all right, because I do best under pressure.
The only way I make it all happen is that I genuinely enjoy everything that I’m doing, so I don’t consider any of it real “work”.
What futuristic device would you most like to own, and why?
I want my own teleportation device. I could travel anywhere I wanted, anywhere in the world, and I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic ever again.
I also like to think it would mean I’d never be late for anything, ever again, but I know myself too well. I’d just have to be more creative with my excuses.
Please visit Meg’s website and check back soon for another interview.