This Is Not The Shakespeare Stage: Author Chat with Megan Crewe

2012 marks the return of the This Is Not The Shakespeare Stage! This stage features hourly, genre-based, interactive programming sessions showcasing great Canadian young-adult books, authors, and artists plus the Open Mic Hour.

To celebrate, we asked Sofia Licata, our teen read reviewer, to interview a selection of authors reading on this stage in 2012! As a follow up to her review of her novel The Way We Fall, Sofia put together this questionnaire for Megan Crewe, who is presenting on stage at 1 p.m. in the segment titled “Facing your Fears through Writing”.

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1. What was your inspiration for this book?

It actually started with a nightmare.  I’d just read a novel about a zombie virus, and that night I had a terrifying dream involving a scene from the book.  After I woke up, it occurred to me that the only other time a book’s managed to give me a nightmare was when I was reading Stephen King’s The Stand, which is about a killer flu virus.  Obviously epidemics and deadly viruses scare me more than just about anything else!  And I believe that we write the best books when we’re tackling topics that really affect us.  So I decided I needed to write my own novel about a killer virus, to explore exactly what made the idea so frightening to me.

2. What is the message you want to get across to the readers of your novel?

I don’t generally have a specific message in my books, but I do include ideas I hope will give readers something to ponder.  In The Way We Fall, the essential question for me is whether it’s worth fighting to survive and to save your loved ones, even if you don’t seem to be making any difference, and maybe sometimes you’ve accidentally made things worse.  Does the act of trying have value in and of itself, whether or not you succeed?  My main character makes her own decision on that subject, but it’s not necessarily the only right one.

3. Why did you set this novel on an island?

That element of the novel was inspired by Albert Camus’s The Plague.  I read several books about deadly epidemics while I was figuring out the details for my own plague book, to see what had already been done, what elements grabbed to me and what didn’t.  In The Plague, the situation is made incredibly intense because the characters are quarantined inside their city walls and can’t get away from the infection.  I loved the power that sense of claustrophobia provided, but it was hard to imagine how I could accomplish something similar in a modern setting.  How could you cut off an entire community from the rest of the world today, and effectively prevent people from sneaking out anyway?  Well, if it was on an island at a fair distance from the mainland…  That setting also allowed me to believably shut off the characters in other ways, like failing communications and other services, so it worked perfectly

4. The Way We Fall ended with a very intriguing cliff-hanger. Are you planning on writing a sequel?

I’m happy to report that The Way We Fall is the first book in a trilogy.  The sequel, The Lives We Lost, is already written and will be published in February 2013.  It starts immediately after the last scene in The Way We Fall, so that cliffhanger will be resolved very quickly.

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