Q: I read that you are an illustrator as well as an author. Tell me, how do you approach a book from a visual art perspective as opposed to a writer's perspective?
I'm more a wannabe illustrator. But I actually think the approach is similar, if expressed in different ways. In art, you have to capture so much in one moment. You have to convey emotion and tension with only superficial, visual cues. Writing is the same way, only reversed, trying to convey an entire visual scene in fifty word paragraph, with only language to help you.
Q: Your novel Until Proven is a speculative mystery. When you write a book like this, do you have every twist and turn planned out before you start? How do you approach plotting this out?
Yes and no. When I start, I definitely need to know at least where I'm going. So I think I have it mostly figured out, but then as I'm writing, I discover new ways of how the story could turn out, and new layers that move me in the right direction. Though I will say that my character, like me, is fumbling her way around and relies sometimes on luck. Those people who can plot out elaborate Sherlock-esque mysteries are much smarter than me.
Q: Until Proven isn't the first book you've written. Tell us a bit about the others, and where you got the ideas for them.
The trouble is all of my ideas are really polarizing from each other. The first book I ever wrote was this bizarre, quirky young adult story about Nightmares and Dreams being actual creatures. I was so in love with this world I'd created, I think I got hung up on that first idea for too long. I still have it available online, but it's not my best work, and the greatest advice I got about it was at a writing conference when someone said, "Move on from you first project." That's when I wrote Until Proven. Right now I'm working on a series of YA Shakespeare adaptions. I'm a hardcore Shakespeare fangirl, and it's been a total pleasure reimagining my favorite plays. One is retelling of Much Ado About Nothing set in a 1920s speakeasy, and the other is a retelling of the Tempest, set in a contemporary highschool.
Q: Like you, I'm a big fan of small press publishing. You work for Jolly Fish Press in their editorial department. Tell me why you are such a fan of the small houses.
Yes! I love small presses. The thing I love the most, as an author and as an editor, is the sense of community and closeness involved in traditional publishing on a smaller scale. This interview, for example, is an example of that. You feel like you're part of a small family. You get more attention. And it's not as competitive and intense, and you don't usually feel like you're getting ignored for a more prominent book, because in a small press, every single title matters.
Q: As an editor as well as an author, do you find it easier to hand your books off to someone else to edit?
Oh, yes. I NEED good editing. I'm the kind of writer who can shoot off fast drafts, but I need about twelve of those fast drafts to arrive at a satisfactory place. As an editor, it makes me crazy when an author is completely unwilling to take a second look at their book and change things. Anyone can write a book, but it takes a village to write a quality book. When I'm editing, I know that the only thing I'm trying to do is help polish the book to its highest potential, so when someone edits my book, I assume they're doing the same, so I take each critique seriously--even if I end up ignoring it or finding a different solution to the problem.
Q: What is the strangest daydream you have ever had?
Ha ha! I love this question, first of all. And I'm also laughing because we could be here forever talking about my weird daydreams. I daydream all the time. But okay: here's my most recent one, to save on time. On the drive over to the library, this guy cut me off, and I thought (a bit vindictively), "Well you're lucky I'M paying attention, pal," and then I entertained a full-length daydream about a guy whose job was to get into minor accidents on purpose to teach bad drivers a lesson.
Q: Let my readers know about your books, where to find them, and where to find you. (Links please!)
Here's my website, which also has links to all of my social media outlets: http://mckellegeorge.com. Until Proven won't be available until January 2015 (whew!), but you can read that first Nightmare/Dream book for free, if you want, on FictionPress: http://fictionpress.com/~mckellegeorge