Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you—Megan Cutler!
Megan grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania where books offered an easy escape from the mundane life of a rural highway town. In 2003 she married the love of her life and moved to Canada. Megan started writing full-time in 2011 and has since published five novels and several short stories, including the Mystical Island Trilogy and the Eternity’s Empire series. Her characters keep her up late and wake her up early, but she loves them anyway.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
As a kid, I had all of the usual desires to be an astronaut or a teacher, but in fifth grade I started writing stories and never looked back. Of course, I’ve worked in other fields, and I’m educated in Information Technology and Networking, but writing is the thing I always come back to.
Why did you choose to write your genre?
I’ve always felt the regular world we live in is somewhat boring. I spent most of my years in school waiting to go on a magical adventure of discovery like so many of the books I’ve read. I’m fascinated by anything out of the ordinary, so writing fantasy and science-fiction seemed natural. That way, I can infuse all of my worlds with the elements I felt my normal life lacked.
Currently, what are you working on?
My current project is a space opera set roughly around present day Earth called Symphony of the Stars. It involves two races struggling to deal with the sudden appearance of a dragon-shaped weapon that threatens to devastate both their civilizations. At the center of this struggle are two powerfully determined women – one an engineer and one who catches glimpses of the future. But considering how different these two races and their cultures are, it’s hard to say if they’ll be able to work together long enough to salvage both civilizations.
Let’s talk about your latest book for a moment. What motivated the plot?
The inspiration for my current WIP was actually music. My husband listens to a lot of obscure heavy metal bands from Europe. Whenever he finds one he thinks I’ll like, he passes them on. A few years ago he discovered a band called Iron Savior. They were more up my alley than his so he introduced me to their albums and WOW. Every time I hear one of their songs it just lights my muse on fire. If my current WIP were to have a soundtrack, it would definitely be comprised of mostly their music.
What is the strangest subject or topic you’ve ever written?
I do a lot of research about animal anatomy. I’m one of those people who likes to ground my fantasy in a touch of reality, just to give it those extra little details. So if I’m going to be cramming two different species together, it helps to know how each one works individually first.
What was the hardest story for you to write?
By far the hardest story for me to write was Crossroads of Frozen Eternity, the second book in my Mystical Island Trilogy. The plot dealt with a lot of heavy themes and touchy issues. At the time, I wasn’t sure I had the skill as a writer to tackle them. It really stretched me to my limits. But finishing that book also expanded them, so I’m eternally grateful I stuck with it!
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality?
Each of my character contains a small piece of me inside them somewhere. I don’t set out to do this on purpose, but it seems a natural part of the creation process. I would say that Domerin is my strength and Rose is my wisdom. Whereas characters like Catilen, the leading lady in the Mystical Island Trilogy, is so different from me that it’s hard to find the piece she sprang from. Ultimately, I think she comes from my dislike of confrontation and my constant desire to mediate or help my friends when they find themselves in distress.
Who has been your favorite character? Why?
Domerin has shoved all of my other characters aside to claim this distinction. He doesn’t appear in any of my novels yet, but he appears fairly often in the shorts I publish on my blog while he waits for his chance to star in a book. Domerin is an elf warrior who appears in several incarnations from a fantasy knight to a space mercenary. I think he’s my favorite because he always has a story to tell and he never lets me shy away from issues at the edge of my comfort zone. Writing Domerin’s stories have made me both a better writer and a better person.
What process do you use to plan your novels?
My stories usually start with a concept. Sometimes it’ll be a character, but just as often it will be a funky idea. My recent WIP Dreamers Do Lie came into existence because I was trying to explain why boat might be sailing a river that was on fire. Once I have that spark, I start gathering characters and building the world. Characters are always central to me, and often the plot is shaped by my character’s actions and motivations. Once I have an idea of what all my story is going to involve, I start writing a chapter by chapter outline. But even then, when I sit down to write the story, I don’t stick to the outline if it feels wrong. I let everything grow naturally as I go along.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?
Early in my writing career, writer’s block was a fairly common occurrence for me. I think a lot of it sprang from the fact that I hadn’t developed the habits and strategies that keep me writing through the tough times. These days I power through, chipping away at the tough part a little bit at a time until the blockage clears and the words flow again.
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be?
I’ve always been tempted to write a Paranormal Romance. It’s a genre adjacent to what I already write, so it kind of feels like a natural progression.
Which authors inspire you?
In my youth, I was inspired by authors like Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey, whose series I grew up reading. As I’ve grown older I’ve added authors like Neil Gaiman and C.S Friedman to that list.
What novel would you read multiple times?
I have read my copy of The Neverending Story by Michael Ende so many times that the outer cover has disintegrated and is now held together by scotch tape.
What is your favorite quote?
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character)
I’ve always been fascinated by the work of Nikola Tesla. I think it would be really awesome to have a few hours to pick his brain, not just about his work but about how he viewed the world and its future. I have a feeling the results would make an epic steampunk novel! [Wheels turning…]
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary?
I have to say dragons. There are so many different kinds of dragons, and so many different myths surrounding them from every culture across the globe. Really, you could write a hundred stories about dragons, each one unique, and still only have scratched the surface, which is what I love most about them.
What is your favorite color?
I love absolutely every shade of blue there is.
If writing is a full-time career for you, do you have other streams of income (i.e. editing, cover design, etc.)?
No other income streams for me at the moment. I’m trying to go all the way with my writing.
You can find Megan online at…
Thank you for hanging out with me today. It was a pleasure getting to know you better.
Join me next week when author Aliya DalRae will be stopping by!