I’m SO excited to be taking part in the Black Bird of the Gallows blog tour! I read this book a while ago and loved it, so I’m thrilled to have the chance to interview Meg 😊
A simple but forgotten truth: where harbringers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full. Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete that has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the centre of it is Reece – and he’s not human. What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbringer of death.
An interview with Meg Kassel:
About the book/writing:
Q) Where did the idea for Black Bird of the Gallows come from?
A) Sinkholes. Ancient aliens (there are no aliens in this book). The urban myth of mothman. The looting that took place along Jersey shore after Superstorm Sandy. Hockey players. Rain. House remixes of Lana Del Rey tunes. Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. The enormous crowd that sit on power lines in autumn. The cold of early spring. The businesslike honeybees who visit our flowers from the hive down the street. So, the inspiration comes from a hundred little places, but no one in particular. The little bits come together, over time, and gel into something vaguely story-like.
Q) Do you have a favourite character from the book? If so, why?
A) Rafette, the “villain”. I always fall in love with my villains.
Q) Was there a character that was harder to write than the others?
A) Angie, the main character, wasn’t the easiest to write. She endures a lot in this book, and had a very difficult past which influences her decisions. Making sure her reactions were authentic to her character and realistic in the circumstances I put her in was a challenge, but I loved her she turned out in the end.
Q) Who was the first person you told when you found out your book was getting published?
A) My husband, Pete, who is my best friend and the most amazing partner I could have. He supported me and believed in me when I didn’t, and never told me to give up, even during times when I thought maybe I wanted to.
Q) Do you have a tip to get you through writer’s block?
A) I do get writer’s block, and when that happens it usually means (for me) that I’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere in the story. Plotting does take place, but I don’t outline everything and I can still find myself in dead ends. I back up to the last part that I wrote where I felt excited and cut everything after it (I save it in a folder somewhere, but I’ve never used the cut stuff). Doing that gets me back on track and excited about the story again.
Q) Did you ever dream about any of your characters?
A) When I’m really deep in drafting a book, it haunts my dreams – sleeping and waking. It’s all I think about. Even when I’m doing other things, like driving, cooking, or whatever, the project I’m working on is always chugging away in the back of my head.
When I go to bed at night, I’m thinking about what I plan to write the next day, and if I’m really, REALLY lucky, I’ll dream the scene and characters in vivid detail. But I’m rarely that lucky.
Q) Were there any aspects of Black Bird of the Gallows that creeped even you out? (I will NEVER look at bees the same again!)
A) Yes! That scene where Angie is first confronted by Rafette after her DJ set. Describing the bees coming out of his face was really hard. I was freaked out by the imagery and how close he was and how frightened she was. I’d be peeing my pants if I were in that situation.
Q) Was there a book that you read that made you think “I want to write”? What was it?
A) There was no book in particular, but adult historical romances made me wish I could be a writer. Turns out, I’m very bad at writing adult romance, but I still enjoy reading them.
Q) Let’s say you got locked in a book shop overnight. Which genre section would we find you in?
A) Yeah, you’d find me in young adult/teen section. It’s my favourite genre to read and write. I’d probably have my nose in Holly Black’s latest offering.
Q) Would you ever get a bookish tattoo?
A) Maybe. I have a tattoo and it hurt. It would have to be something really, really amazing.
Q) Do you have a reading spot in your house?
A) Nothing designated. I read a lot in bed. If I’m obsessed with a book I’ll walk around my house while reading it – I can navigate pretty well without looking up from the page.
Thank you SO much to Meg for providing these answers for me! I’m so grateful, and I hope you all go and check out Black Bird of the Gallows! Make sure to let me know what you think! 😊
About Meg Kassel
Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart© winner in YA.