Hi Megan and welcome. I am so glad you could join us here at RomanceJunkies. To start, will you please tell us a little bit about your current projects?
My current project is a contemporary romance based in the Veneto region of Italy. I adore everything about Italy – it is so inherently romantic – and I am having a wonderful time visiting in my mind. I find settings, in general, are key to stimulating my creative juices and Italy particularly so.
The heroine is a holiday representative who befriends her leading hotelier’s younger sister, but soon finds herself drawn into a web of deception and a host of unforeseen complications, made even more complex by her increasing attraction towards Giovani, the enigmatic hotelier. Needless to say, the path towards love is strewn with hurdles and setbacks with plenty of tension, some serious issues and there is a diverse cast of supporting characters.
How do you begin your writing day? How do you end it?
I begin my writing day, as with all others, with a few good slugs of coffee to kick start me. Normally, I write in the mornings and continue until I have achieved a minimum target or longer if the muse strikes. Keeping a routine is very important. Even when the words are not flowing easily, I make sure that I write something which can be refined subsequently. It is surprising how an alert mind can revise scribblings, over which you were previously agonising, in seemingly no time. I am a firm believer that no effort is wasted.
I write in longhand (I’ll swear that sometimes the words by-pass my consciousness and just flow down my arm into my hand!), then, later in the day, I read through and enter the day’s work on the computer.
What do you like best, and least, about writing?
I find it exciting being able to create a fictional world where I can completely lose myself, letting my characters lead the way so that even I do not always know exactly what is going to happen next.
Also, I like the fact that the emotional conflict in romance writing enables me to delve into the characters’ innermost feelings. I found that digging deep inside characters in ‘The Path of Innocence’ meant I could reveal some complex emotions and I was able to develop the story beyond that of a traditional romance.
Of course, the greatest reward is to produce a completed piece of work with good reviews.
The least favourite part for me, however, is definitely promo and marketing.
When finishing a project, are you ready to move on to the next one, or do you take a bit of breather first?
After completing my debut novel, I did take a break to devote time to promo/marketing, although my brain was still quietly formulating and shaping ideas for my current wip.
I don’t think that your creative juices stop flowing, even when not officially ‘writing’.
What was the best piece of writing advice you've received?
Believe in yourself. Don’t be discouraged by rejections and use criticism constructively.
If you had one day completely free of obligations, how would you most like to spend it?
I love the great outdoors, but since I live in a peaceful village in lovely surroundings, I think that I would opt for a theatre trip to London followed by an Italian meal in Covent Garden. The atmosphere there is always very lively and some of the street entertainment is almost as good as the shows.
You just found out you can go anywhere without having to worry about planning. Where will you go?
Anywhere along the Amalfi coastline of Italy. There is one particular mountain village, Ravello, which has a wonderfully timeless quality and an excellent restaurant perched on a precipice with the most dramatic, stunning views of the coastline.
What is your culinary specialty? What was the one recipe you were really looking forward to trying and thought was going to come out great, and it was horrible?
Desserts are my favourites. I love to experiment and the current vogue of serving three separate dishes on one plate is such fun for entertaining. My husband’s family are visiting in a couple of weeks and I am planning mont blancs topped with chestnut puree then a mix of mascarpone and whipped cream, little chocolate mousse pots and a compote of red berries.
However, I once made a mousse that did not set and turned out more like chocolate soup. Wish me luck!
How did you and your husband meet? Was it love at first sight, or did he have to work at convincing you he was “the one”?
My husband and I met at a mutual friend’s over a dinner party. We were drawn to each other immediately and we knew that we were destined to be together very soon afterwards. A year later, we married.
What is the best way to spend a quiet evening at home?
The current long summer evenings are ideal for quiet enjoyment. We will have a good meal, then spill out on to the patio with coffees, maybe pottering in the garden a little or simply watching the sun go down if it is warm enough. If not, we might curl up on the sofa to watch a little TV or read.
How do you describe Megan Johns? How does Megan Johns’s husband describe her?
I would describe myself as quiet, essentially an introvert, but no pushover. I am passionate about things I believe in, very determined, loyal, warm-hearted and with a keen sense of humour.
What would my husband say? Perfection! Or is that a perfectionist?
Gotta ask: did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? Have you broken any yet? Ever keep any that you made in previous years?
I keep making a resolution to try to build more exercise into my daily routine and I keep lapsing! This year is no exception.
However, one resolution I have succeeded in keeping is to cut back on an excessive chocolate habit.
What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?
The past three decades have seen amazing advances in technology, and the list of items that were not available when I was a child, yet happily lived without, would span several pages. I am certain it would be difficult for younger people to imagine never owning many of the items they currently consider necessary, whereas I believe I could survive without most things bar my computer. That is totally indispensable to me now.
Which flower or plant would best describe you?
Yellow roses attract me - they symbolize joy, happiness and friendship. I have a huge yellow rose bush in the garden which flourishes and keeps on flowering if treated with respect and is fed and watered. Just like me!
Name your most prized possession.
I have a console table with a collage of family photographs on display. They mean more to me than anything material.
And lastly, no interview of a writer would be complete without this question: what is your favorite comfort food?
This is going to sound really stereotyped, but I have developed a liking for fish and chips of late. I don’t know why because I hardly ate them for many years.
I also love pasta in its various guises, Indian food and, of course, chocolate. Chocolate is definitely my bête noir.
Love fish and chips, too! Thank you, Megan, for spending time with us. Continued success with your writing.