Megan Whitmer wrote the very first scene of her debut novel Between back in March 2011. Fast forward to three years later and Between is just a few months shy of publication. For Whitmer, things are starting to feel more and more real.
“Most of my time since my book deal was announced has been spent revising and dealing with edit letters, and most of my time before I got the book deal was spent revising and dealing with critique partner feedback – so it didn’t really feel different. Now that 2013 is over and my book is literally just a few months away from being on bookshelves, the reality of it all is really hitting me. And it’s awesome,” said Whitmer.
It took Whitmer roughly four months to finish the first draft of Between. Soon after, she found critique partners and started down a long road of revising, which included lots and lots of drafts.
“When I started querying and entering contests, I revised based on the feedback I received. Along with that, I ended up doing three complete rewrites – one to change the point-of-view from 3rd to 1st, one to age my main character from 14 to 17, and one to change the tense from past to present. Yes, this is a little insane,” explained Whitmer, who currently does not have an agent.
Between’s follows Charlie, who is separated from her family and forced to turn to her frustrating neighbor, Seth, for help in getting them back. Seth takes Charlie to the magical world of Ellauria, where a group called the Fellowship supposedly protects mystical beings from human discovery. But Charlie finds out that she’s somebody under their protection – and everything she know changes.
A lot of research went into Between, and Whitmer had to Google some pretty strange things for it.
“I researched all kinds of mythical creatures for Between, since The Fellowship is responsible for every mythical creature in existence. I found so many wild legends I’d never heard of before, and some I wish I’d never heard of. Case in point: Camel Spider. Which actually isn’t 100% legend. Do not look it up,” said Whitmer.
Her whole inspiration behind Between came from her fascination with the persistence of certain myths and legends in today’s culture.
“It’s pretty well accepted that superheroes – at least in terms of humans with special powers – are fictional. I like the idea that there’s still some question about whether or not certain things like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster exist. Creatures of myth and legend are clearly harder to get rid of than superheroes.”
And if the fate of magic and all magical creatures was in her hands? Whitmer admits she wouldn’t be able to save it. “It takes a Charlie to save magic and all magical creatures.”
For her part, Whitmer has some advice for the 2015 debut authors.
“I know 2015 sounds really far away, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly time will pass. Prioritize your time and stick to your deadlines. Start thinking now about what kinds of things you might like to do to promote your book – no matter what kind of publisher you’re with, the more you can do yourself the better. If you don’t already have a web site or blog, set one up. (Blogs are free. There’s no reason not to have one.) It’s really helpful for people to have a central place to go to find out more about you and your book. Join 2015 debut author groups–no one will understand what you’re going through like they will.”
While she awaits the official publication of her debut novel, Whitmer is hard at work on other projects.
“I’m working on book two of the Between trilogy now, and there’s a sweet little contemporary romance that I mess with whenever I take breaks from Between-related work.”