115 ‘The Tethering’ Author Interview with Megan O’Russel

ORussell-Tethering

I primarily know you as a theater actor. When did you decide to add writing to your repertoire?

I’ve always enjoyed writing. But I started working on The Tethering during a production of Wizard of Oz. The production was great, but since I was playing the tallest munchkin in OZ, I needed an artistic outlet. I started with one scene, and the rest of the book grew from there.

Can you give us a brief overview of what The Tethering is about?

I can actually give you my handy dandy book blurb from the Silence in the Library Publishing website:                        

All sixteen-year-old Jacob Evans wants is to win the heart of Emilia Gray, but with order in the magical world crumbling, war threatening, and Emilia’s boyfriend living across the hall, he may never have the chance.

Jacob Evans loses everything he has ever known and is tossed into a world of magic. The Dragons, a group of rebel wizards, are threatening to expose the existence of magic to humans. Jacob is determined to find a way to fit into Emilia’s family, but as his powers grow, so does the danger. With the death toll mounting, Jacob is accused of acts of rebel terrorism and must fight to stay in a world he’s only just beginning to discover.

When Emilia’s life is threatened, Jacob must risk everything to save her. Does he have the power to rescue her in time? And what could their survival cost?

The Tethering is YA fiction, what drew you to writing for young audiences?

I’ve always enjoyed YA, and that was where this story seemed to fit. I think my next series might be in a different genre, but we’ll see where it goes.

Who is your favorite character from The Tethering, and why?

Claire. She is the twelve-year-old smartass secondary character. She’s very smart, very strong, and very snarky. I love her.

What made you decide to start writing The Tethering?

The consistent writing began during the Wizard of Oz. The Tethering became my big project because of the scene I started with. There was a boy stuck in a window, waiting. I had to find a way to get him out.

 I know you were working as an actor during this process, how hard was it to juggle the writing process and a demanding theater schedule?

I try to keep a consistent schedule and write every day. But crossover and tech week tend to throw a wrench into that. The hardest thing is getting through editing on a schedule while performing. Sometimes I don’t get to sleep very much, but it’s worth it.

How did you find a publisher for The Tethering?

It was a lot like auditioning. I just submitted until I got some interest and went from there. I went through two publishers before ending up with Silence in the Library.

Who edited The Tethering and how did you select him/her?

Tiffany Turpin Johnson was my editor. She was with the publisher I was contracted with before Silence in the Library. I didn’t have a hand in choosing her, but she was amazing.

What was the hardest part of the editing process?

Content edits. Taking a scene and switching it to be from a different point of view. Or cutting a scene and trying to move the information the reader needs to have from it to a different part of the book. It’s like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle you made and cut up, but you have to put the pieces together in a different order.

I also know you as a blogger. What do you enjoy about blogging?

The instant gratification. I write a blog, I hit post, and then it’s published. I finished The Tethering over a year ago, and it’s just now being published. Patience really isn’t my thing, so blogging makes writing seem more worth it.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I love to read! I don’t always have as much time as I would like to. A lot of my reading time is now taken up with writing. I love C.S. Lewis, Madeline L’Engle, J.K. Rowling. Basically, I’m a giant geek. At the moment, I am reading The Mortal Instrument Series.

ebooks, or traditional books and why?

I love traditional books, and I do prefer them. But with how much I travel, ebooks are what I usually buy. That way, I can pack my Nook to take on a gig and be done.

Now that you are a published author, what are your ambitions for your writing career?

My first goal is to finish The Tethering series. Book two should be out early 2015, though I don’t have a set date yet. The plan right now is for a four book series, so keep an eye out for the rest of the books as well. After that, I want to move on to a new project I have in mind, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Will you continue to work in theater as well?

Absolutely. I love performing, and I don’t think I would do well with the isolation of not being at a theatre every day.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t worry about it being good or even in chronological order when you start a new story. Just write. If there is enough to make a whole book, the pieces will start to fall into place as you discover who your characters really are and how the world you’re writing in works. You’ll probably have to scrap most of what you write, but you’ve figured out how the story works, and you can begin the work of really telling the story from there. After mind numbing edits, start submitting. Expect rejection, keep submitting, and keep writing.

What advice would you give aspiring actors?

Smile as much as you can, and always be helpful in rehearsal and backstage. It’s amazing how much you’ll get to be on stage by being the person people want around backstage.

My blog is about my decade of living in NYC, as an ex-New Yorker, can you tell my readers a crazy story about your time in NYC?

When I lived in Hell’s Kitchen, there was a homeless man who lived right outside my building in an industrial laundry basket. He knew I was a dancer, and it turned out he had been a performer way back in the day. We made friends. I would always bring him my leftovers, and we would chat. One day, I was walking home from seeing a show, and someone started following me. I was about to cross to wait the creeper out in the doorman building across the street when my homeless friend jumped out of his laundry basket and chased the scary man away, screaming and waving his stick. The next day, I bought my homeless friend a huge meal, complete with chocolate cake, and left it in his basket.

How can my readers discover more about you and you work?

You can visit my website HERE

Go to my publisher’s site: silenceinthelibrarypublishing.com

Or go on kickstarter and pre-order The Tethering today.

The best part about pre-ordering on kickstarter is all the amazing extras. If you order a paperback of The Tethering, you get the ebook for free. You can combine The Tethering with wonderful books by Jean Rabe and Timothy Zahn. And once we reach our stretch goals, you’ll start getting free books! So go check it out and pre-order you’re copy today!

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