Interview with Meghan Scott Molin, Author of The Frame Up and The Queen Con

I am so excited to welcome Meghan Scott Molin to The Debutante Ball! Meghan and I share an agent (the excellent Joanna MacKenzie), and I was on the preorder train for both of Meghan’s published novels, The Frame-Up and The Queen Con. These books truly have something for everyone: smart writing, clever mysteries, swoon-worthy romance, and the most wonderful nerdy bad-ass main character, MG Martin. Meghan promises a third book to round out the Golden Arrow trilogy, and I can’t wait.

Read through to learn more about Meghan AND to get your chance to win The Frame-Up!

Meghan comes to writing by way of a Masters in Architecture, a minor in Opera, a professional career as a barn manager, and three years crash course as a mother. She currently resides in Colorado with her fellow zookeeper (husband), son, two horses, cat, and corgi. She is an avid lover of everything nerdy from Wars to Trek, Hobbits, Who, and beyond. When she’s not writing, she’s cooking, dreaming of travel, coveting more corgis, and listening to audiobooks while hanging out at the barn.

You can follow Meghan online at:

And now to the interview!

 

 

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The road to publication is twisty at best–tell us about some of your twists.

My story is a bit of a “do as I say not as I do” tale. I’d just finished writing my fourth book–the second I wanted to query. I hired an editor to help me polish it, and went to a writing conference to get face-to-face feedback from agents. Except…they weren’t interested in my book! They listened politely and then told me the market wasn’t good for what I’d written. What they wanted to know was what I was working on now, and when I told them I was working on this *ridiculous* idea I’d had a dream about — drag queens and comic books –, it was like that record scratch noise. I had full requests on the spot for the unfinished manuscript. From several agents. It was bonkers. I of course told them it was “almost done”, chucked the finished book out of the window (figuratively), and proceeded to go home and write THE FRAME-UP like a madwoman.  My poor husband and new baby. I was writing a chapter or two in a day day, at some points. It’s the fastest I’ve ever written… I was a woman possessed. But I think I knew this was my “shot”. So I did it. And…it didn’t land any agents. Two R&Rs, which was awesome, but I had no idea how to revise. Enter #pitchwars! I happened to finish it right in time to enter the #pitchwars Twitter contest and LA VOILA, my life was changed. My mentor, Kelly Siskind selected my book from over two hundred entries to work with and we spent a month and a half completely re-working it. I mean literally re-writing the whole thing. The new version had a new bad-guy, added scenes and was in a new tense! The work was worth it, I got five agent offers on the book and it sold quickly to 47North. Publishing isn’t without its bumps…things haven’t been perfectly smooth sailing since, but…it’s kind of fun being in an industry where there is no standard way to “arrive”. I think my only caveat to people thinking they can do what I did: I *knew* I could write a book. Never promise an agent a book if you don’t know beyond shadow of a doubt you can get it to them in a timely manner. I took a big risk, knowing I could pull it off (or hoped I could). This easily could have gone sideways on me!

Tell us about your next big project.

Can I be a bit vulnerable here? We as published authors like to present this bulletproof facade of success. “I’m published! I’m a professional! I of course know exactly what is next and I have seventeen contracts in the well!” But There’s this weird no-man’s land after your first contract (whether it’s one book or two) where you’re just sort of…wandering. No one told me about this! As I was finishing my second (contracted) book, I gave my agent a pitch for my third-and-final book for the series, but…what next? I had a list of ideas for my agent, but being cross-genre is a tricky beast. Picking an idea that satisfies my author branding (established with the published books), my publisher’s list, and my own vision of my career has proven far trickier (and far more time consuming) than I ever imagined it would be. I’ve written three proposals, and had to become a “professional” waiter. In that time, my agent and I have had to determine personally what I should push on and work for, kind of no matter which project ends up getting picked up. It’s this weird place of having so many balls started rolling, and anything could change at the drop of a hat. This is the part of a writing career that doesn’t get talked about. The debut is SO. MUCH. FUN. but the after…. the after can be hard. Almost harder than when you’re pushing for representation, or that first deal. Because it feels like you shouldn’t have to fight *again* so soon for direction/another deal/ etc. I am trying to look at this time as a gift (lemonade out of lemons!). I’ve really nailed down what I want from my career, what I want to write, and made a prioritized list of the projects *I’d* like to work on. I’m finishing up a project I’m calling #secretproject (because it’s out on proposal, and I can’t talk about it), halfway through Book 3 for my Golden Arrow Series, and I have two other proposed projects I’m really excited about. All of them have kick-butt strong and funny female leads, some form of nerddom, some form of saving the world, and of course a little kissing =)

Do you have a regular first reader?  If so, who is it and why?

I was really really lucky to have a fabulous community of readers develop from my #pitchwars class (heyooo class of ’16!). I have a really great writing group of about twenty of us who have stuck together, and read/support/share. My CP Ian Barnes is my go-to reader, but I’ve also been lucky enough to have a fellow Author ’18 author Mike Chen read some of my proposal work and give really solid feedback. My BFFs Vanessa and Erin also read most of my work and give more ‘reader’-level feedback. I think the biggest issue is you need someone to be both honest, slightly critical, but able to frame criticism in a way that makes you able to internalize it and crystalize it into a plan for making your work better. Our early-draft egos are fragile things, let’s be honest. We know our darlings need work. What you need is enough cheerleading to not burn the document, and to have someone believe it can be better. All of my Cps and readers are invaluable and amazing people with this skill!

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

This is going to be a very logic-driven list. The most mileage out of money I’ve gotten is my little MacBook air laptop. Before this beauty, I had a huuuuuge clunky PC laptop. This thing revolutionized my writing life. I can take it anywhere. The battery is great. They keyboard is perfect for my child-sized hands, and I try to keep it for writing-tasks only. No games, all business. Also in the practical column is my accountant. It’s not glamorous, but neither is paying taxes. You don’t want to be caught unawares, believe you me. For more fun stuff, I took myself and a friend to see the live-orchestrated Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban as a celebration for finishing my second book =)

Publishing a book is a bucket list dream for many people—are there any other accomplishments on your bucket list right now?

I think it’s really tough to walk the line of being humble and practical about a writing career, and dreaming big. I also think that as women, we’re often taught not to want big things. Or to be too ambitious. So I try to do both. Have a realistic plan for how to move forward with my career (with my agent’s help) and some bigger wishes. On a small scale, I’d like to move to adding YA to my plate in the next two years. I have two drafted YA projects already, but the time isn’t right yet for me personally (babies). On a large scale, I’d love to pay off my house and basically retire my husband so he can start his own business from home. I’d like to have enough money in the bank that if I hit a ‘waiting’ patch again we’re okay for a few months. I suppose big accolades aren’t my thing, mostly I’d love to be financially viable as a self-employed person with enough irons in the fire that I know what I’m working on next.

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GIVEAWAY TIME! Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter and SHARE or RETWEET the interview for a chance to win THE FRAME-UP, the first in the Golden Arrow Mystery series.

For extra entries, comment on this post. We’ll choose the winner on September 28 and contact them shortly afterward.

Learn more about THE QUEEN CON, the second in the Golden Arrow series.

MG Martin thought she’d turned the last page on the dangerous Golden Arrow case. The bad guys arebehind bars, and the rest is up to her detective boyfriend, Matteo Kildaire. But when Golden Arrow impersonators start popping up all over LosAngeles, the writer in MG can’t help but be intrigued. Are they impostors, or has the original Golden Arrow returned for another story arc?

Available pretty much anywhere books are sold:
B&N | Indiebound | Amazon US |

 

 

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Kathleen West

Kathleen West is the author of the forthcoming novel, Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, out 2/4/20 from Berkley. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.

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