Welcome to Women Author Wednesday, where ladies dominate and the bestseller lists don’t matter. This week, we’re featuring Meagan Spooner, co-author of the Starbound trilogy and author of the Skylark series.
Love YA fantasy? Then you should know Meagan Spooner’s name. As the author of both the Skylark trilogy and the co-author of the Starbound trilogy, she’s not a name fantasy lovers can miss.
“I’ve been telling stories in some manner since before I can remember. I’ve always thought the obsession started at age four, but my parents just recently uncovered a home movie of me at two years old telling a story about the big bad wolf,” said Spooner.
The first story she remembers writing was around age eight, where a marine biologist was lured to the sea by a mermaid determined to make her one of their own.
“I know, creepy. Apparently I’ve always been this way.”
Spooner’s more serious writing began with fanfiction in middle school and high school before she left for Hamilton College in New York, where she graduated from with a degree in playwriting.
“With playwriting, you have to be very spare with your language. The only words the audience experiences are those the actors speak, so you have to rely on dialogue, not description. Hand in hand with playwriting was the study of acting, and I actually think that impacted my writing even more. You learn to analyze character in a very different way than you’re taught in literature classes. In theater, it’s all about motivations – what moves the character you’re playing each and every moment you’re onstage. In a novel, it’s absolutely crucial that your characters have the same strong, clear motivations.”
She spent a few years in Australia before traveling the world, though she now resides in North Carolina. In her spare time, she hangs out with her cat and plays video games.
The first in her Skylark series – helpfully named Skylark – was released by Carolrhoda Lab in 2012. Lark Ainsley lives in a world where a domed barrier of energy, which is sustained by harvesting the magical energy of children, protects them from the outside world. Lark discovers that she is a Renewable, able to regenerate power after its been stripped. She’s forced to flee home to avoid life “as a human battery,” taking her on an adventure away from the city’s clockwork creatures and into the deadly wilderness beyond the wall. The trilogy concluded in October 2014 after the publication of Shadowlark and Lark Ascending.
The best part of that trilogy was the twists and turns.
“Anyone who’s read any of my books, whether from Starbound or Skylark, knows I like twists. I can’t go into detail without spoilers, but I love setting up all those little tiny clues in a line so that when the big reveal comes, they all go crashing down and the reader wonders ‘How did I not see this coming?’ With Skylark, writing those reveals was sooooo satisfying, in a gleeful, maniacal laughter kind of way.”
Spooner also co-writes the Starbound trilogy with author Amie Kaufman. The first book, These Broken Stars, follows Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen after their spaceship crashes and leaves them deserted on a terraformed planet. Each subsequent book in the series acts as a companion novel rather than a continuation of Lilac and Tarver’s story. The second book, This Shattered World, follows Flynn Cormac as he takes Jubilee Chase as a prisoner for the rebellion force on the planet Avon. Their Fractured Light, the last book in the series, takes the resulting chaos of These Broken Stars and This Shattered Light. Hacker Gideon Marchant and thief Sofia Quinn are forced to work together to infiltrate and take down LaRoux Industries. Their Fractured Light will release this December.
Getting to co-write the series with Amie Kaufman is the best part of the experience for Spooner, “hands down.” Kaufman writes the male characters to Spooner’s female leads.
“For me, writing with another person is so different from writing solo that it’s almost not the same thing… it’s like swimming in a pool versus splashing around at the beach. It’s incredible having another person so intimately involved with the story, because you can bounce ideas off each other, give each other feedback, and cheerlead when necessary,” said Spooner. “I absolutely adore the characters she creates. I always feel so lucky to get to be the first person to fall in love with a new character of hers.”
Spooner’s next project is Hunted, a reimagining of both “Beauty and the Beast” and Russia’s “Firebird” folk tale, and is expected to hit shelves in winter 2017. The project began for Spooner five years ago, right after she finished writing Skylark and was waiting to hear back from potential literary agents. But as Skylark landed a three-book deal and the Starbound series took off, Spooner shelved Hunted – but only temporarily.
“Hunted is the book of my heart. I’ve always, always wanted to write a re-telling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – the Disney movie is my favorite one, and Beauty by Robin McKinley is one of those novels I reread every year. I never felt quite ready, when I was younger, or that I’d found my own unique take on the story,” said Spooner. “So this book, for me, is coming from that place of yearning – it’s the story I’ve always wanted to write, and I think that shows in the book.”
Do you love Meagan Spooner’s books? Which one is your favorite? Sound off in the comments below – or take to social media with the hashtag #womenauthorwednesday!