The Furious Gazelle spoke with author Megan O’Russell about her recent novel, The Tethering, and her upcoming short story in Athena’s Daughter’s II, and what makes her furious.
Q: The Tethering is your first novel. Where did the inspiration to write it come from, and what was the process of writing it like?
The process for writing The Tethering was a little strange and not something I would necessarily repeat. The idea for The Tethering came from a little boy waiting in a window for a girl to come back. I don’t really remember why that image came to me, but I needed to find out more about the boy. I wrote a scene and then another scene, and after a lot of revisions and changes, The Tethering was born. In projects since The Tethering, I’ve kept much closer track of what I’ve written so I don’t rewrite the same information ten times. I’m still finding the process that works best for me.
Q: Your upcoming short story in Athena’s Daughter’s II is based on the world of the Tethering. What were some of the challenges you faced creating a new story in the same world? Do you have plans to return to the Tethering world again?
My story in Athena’s Daughters 2, “At the Corner of the Garden Wall,” actually takes place during The Tethering. And if you read both stories, it is easy to see where the two line up. Claire, the girl featured in “At the Corner of the Garden Wall,” is a secondary character in The Tethering, but I have been told many times that everyone wants to know more about her. This story is Claire’s chance to have an adventure all her own. The biggest challenge was deciding what parts of the world of The Tethering were really necessary for the short story. If I had tried to explain everything about how magic works in “At the Corner of the Garden Wall,” I wouldn’t have had room for the actual story. I also had to refrain from getting too in depth with the setting. I know who lives where in the house, but the readers don’t need that information. So it all had to be cut.
And as for returning to The Tethering, book two in the four part series, The Siren’s Realm, will be available for preorder in February, so I am very much still in the world of The Tethering.
Q: How do you approach world building? When you started writing The Tethering, how much of the world did you plan out before you started writing?
I knew what I wanted. I wanted wizards to mix with our world. I didn’t want them to be separated from us. I wanted readers to believe that the sewer grate at the end of the street might be exploding because of magic. Figuring out the how and the why of it all was one of my greatest joys in writing the series.
Q: Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote? What was it about and when did you write it?
I wrote a middle grade fantasy novel when I was in high school. I’m an actor by trade, and I wrote the story backstage during King Lear. I think writing and acting really go hand in hand. They are both wonderful forms of storytelling. And I am so grateful to have the opportunity to follow both passions.
Q: What are some of the books that you read growing up? How do you think they influenced your later writing, if they did?
I was such an avid reader my parents had to use both of their library cards so I could have enough books to only go to the library once a week. One of my favorite authors was Madeline L’Engle. I think from her writing I not only took away a sense of wonder, but also the desire to let my characters be who they need to be, even if I have to write another story for them to have that opportunity.
Q: What makes you furious about the lack of female science-fiction and fantasy authors published? How do you think we can increase representation of women in sci-fi and fantasy?
When I was looking for a home for The Tethering, the publisher I worked with briefly before Silence in the Library didn’t understand that the story was about more than romance. All they could see was the boy and the girl. The magic meant nothing to them. I was lucky enough to have a supportive editor who didn’t try to make me cut all the fantasy elements from The Tethering, but it was still rough. Because I am a woman, and there was love in my book, all it was to them was a romance. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean all I can write is teenage angst. And just because a boy loves a girl doesn’t mean there isn’t more to the story.
I am so grateful I found Silence in the Library and a true home for The Tethering. I am also thrilled to be a part of a project that strives to give more women a voice in fantasy and science-fiction. I think the best thing we can do to increase representation of women in sci-fi and fantasy is to support more projects like Athena’s Daughters 2. The only way for women to find their voice is to be given the chance to speak.
Megan O’Russell is thrilled to be publishing At the Corner of the Garden Wall with Silence in the Library. At the Corner of the Garden Wall is a part of The Tethering series, book one of which is currently available from SitL. And if you read The Tethering closely, you’ll find the night on which the adventure in the garden happens. Originally from New York, Megan is a professional actress who spends her time traveling the country for different shows. When not on stage or writing, Megan spends time with her beloved ukulele and her wonderful husband. To follow Megan’s writing adventures, you can visit her website at meganorussell.com.
Add The Tethering to your Goodreads list at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21480311-the-tethering
Athena’s Daughters II is now available for pre-order on Kickstarter.
Follow Megan O’Russell on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ORussellauthor or on Twitter @MeganORussell