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Monday, August 10, 2009

Get Witchy with GCC Member Megan Kelley Hall

I’m so thrilled to host my Kensington sister, Megan Kelley Hall, whose new book The Lost Sister just debuted! (Get it, sister-sister? Insert groan here.) The first book in Megan’s Sisters of Misery series released to wicked reviews, so I know you’re all dying to find out how these witches from Massachusetts get scared straight. (Insert second groan). But seriously, Megan is an amazing author and if you haven’t read her books, you need to start now. You haven’t seen teen hazing until you’ve seen it gothic style.

As always, here’s a little bit about her book to get you hooked:

Sisters are born, not chosen…
Maddie Crane is grappling with the disappearance of Cordelia LeClaire, and trying to escape the grasp of The Sisters of Misery—an insidious clique of the school’s most powerful girls, whose pranks have set off a chain of horrific events, and who have Maddie in their sights…

Beware the sister betrayed…
Now in a prestigious boarding school far away from her mysterious hometown of Hawthorne, Massachusetts , Maddie feels free from danger. But when an unmarked envelope arrives at her dorm containing a single ominous tarot card, Maddie realizes with terror that some secrets won’t stay buried. Knowing she must return to Hawthorne—a town still scarred by the evil of the Salem witch trials—Maddie prepares to face the fears of her past...and the wrath of the sister she wronged.

Here’s what Megan had to say:

Q: In AMOR AND SUMMER SECRETS, Mariana discovers a hidden family secret. Are you a good secret keeper?

Megan: No. Well, let’s see. Give me a piece of juicy gossip and we’ll see how long it takes to hit the Internet. Just kidding. But, in all seriousness, I’m terrible at keeping secrets. Terrible.

Q: What is the favorite place you ever traveled to, and what was the coolest thing you saw/did there?

Megan: I spent three weeks on the French Riviera, which was totally wasted on a 13 year old, because I was pining away for a lifeguard back home, who clearly had no interest in me. (I still get flutters in my stomach when I hear his name – shhh, don’t tell my husband.). On that trip we visited a medieval town called St. Paul de Vence. We kept running into Tom Hanks and his new bride Rita Wilson. Since the town keeps wrapping around, we kept passing him until the third or so pass, he waved to us and said “Oh, my old friends.” Of course we had to have a picture taken with him.

Okay, that is the most awesome story ever. First, I’ve been to St. Paul de Vence and it’s awesome. And second, Tom Hanks is the personification of awesome. I’d love to meet him. Wilson!

Q: I often tell the story of how a psychic once predicted that I would go on to write children’s books. Have you ever visited a psychic?

Megan: I live next to Salem , Mass, so witches and psychics are commonplace. I’ve visited them now and again and never heard anything but very general stuff. One weird thing that happened to me was I played with a Ouija Board in college and it told me I’d marry someone named Ed. I only knew one Ed at the time, and I didn’t really see myself marrying him (no offense, if you’re reading this, Ed.) Anyway, here I am today, happily married to a guy named Eddie Hall. Go figure. But don’t get me started on Ouija boards. They are totally evil and I highly recommend people avoiding them at all costs. Seriously.

My fated visit to the psychic was in Salem! Gotta love it!

Q: My character Mariana spends her summer in Puerto Rico connecting with her father’s heritage. Have you ever researched your family tree?

Megan: I’m Greek, Italian, and Irish. Quite a mix. No one can ever tell what my nationality is. My daughter is Greek, Italian, Irish, French Canadian, English and Scottish. She looks like the All-American girl. Go figure. I went to Greece when I was four and all I remember was sitting on a really hot stone burning my butt while my parents took pictures. I also remember my first and last time using an outhouse. It was basically a shack in the Greek countryside with a hole dug in the ground. There was also a chicken nesting in the corner. I had nightmares for weeks.

Q: Where were you when you found out that your book was going to be published?

Megan: My heart stopped – literally! I was at home recovering from open heart surgery! I definitely had a bumpy road toward publication. I had series of mini-strokes, lost partial vision in one eye, and had a carotid stent. It was a nine hour procedure where they basically flatlined me for 96 minutes. After I was “fixed” (turns out the medical problems stemmed from radiation treatment I received when I was a baby with cancer), I was forced to do basically nothing for three months because I had to let my sternotomy wounds heal. It was at that time that I realized that even though I had written for some national magazines like American Baby, Parenting, Working Mother and even Boston Magazine, I’d never written for a major women’s magazine and I’d never published a book. So I used that time to revamp the book I’d been toying with for years and turned the adult suspense MISERY ISLAND into the YA suspense novel, SISTERS OF MISERY.
I realized how precious life was and how if you want something, you really have to go after it (it’s not going to come to you). Using those three housebound months as “work” time, I was able to accomplish the following things within the next year: I finally had a feature article run in Glamour magazine, I got a literary agent from one of the largest agencies in New York, and I got a two-book deal from Kensington Books for the SISTERS OF MISERY series. And to top it all off, my essay about overcoming obstacles was included in former CNN Anchor Daryn Kagan’s anthology entitled, “What’s Possible!” Truly amazing! So….just a typical first book story, I guess.

Thank you, Megan! Now, everyone go out and buy books, lots and lots of books!

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