Get to know Meg
Who knew that one night of salsa dancing could change the course of a life?
When Meg accepted Alan Gonzalez’s offer of a dance, she began on a journey that pulled her out of her sheltered life and into a big and beautiful world. Living in Mexico for a year showed her a whole new side of the country she’s only seen depicted in cartoons or on the news. The rich culture and varied landscape captured her imagination, and she just knew she had to share.
Meg sold her first book at the ripe old age of six. It was complete with crayon illustrations. She’s been writing ever since. She’s honored to write for young adults because it allows her try on a fun, witty voice, explore faith and the world from fresh eyes, and assure young adults that they are not alone in the trails and struggles they so often face.
She travels every chance she gets—some of her favorite places include Berlin, Rome, and Playa del Carmen (where Alan later proposed!). The list of places she wants to visit just keeps on growing. She’s jumped out of planes, zip-lined over the ocean, and tottered across a high-ropes course in the red wood forest.
Meg loves sipping tea and the occasional peppermint mocha frapuccino. When the weather’s nice—and you never know in Indiana—she loves to take long walks while chatting with her hubby or listening to a good audiobook. On chilly days you can find hercurled up on the couch with her pug, Pascal, to reading a good book or working on her next novel.
Another thing I love most about YA travel novels, is the adventure/discovery aspect. I can’t travel nearly as much as I’d like, so I turn to travel novels to vicariously go on the adventures I long to have. When you’re on an international adventure–whether in life or on the page–you discover all new cultures and customs, and you get the chance to view the world in a whole new way.
And why YA? Because YA novels are awesome! Young adults are still figuring out who they are and what they want to be. There’s so much potential for growth and change. That’s a lot of fun to work with as a writer, and a ton of fun to experience as a reader.
My #1 favorite city I’ve ever been to is Berlin. (Book 2 of the International Adventures series will be set in Germany.) There was so much history packed into one city and it lived comfortably, side-by-side with present-day Berlin. We took a long walking tour, which was an incredible way to discover the city, and our guide said, “The Germans are very upfront with their history. They don’t try to sweep it under the rug. Their attitude is: ‘This happened, and we will keep it here for everyone to see. That way it cannot happen again.'” We visited back in 2013 and that quote has stuck with me ever since.
Another favorite place to visit is, of course, Mexico! It’s got a rich, vibrant culture that draws you in from the start. The food is amazing. My mouth is watering just thinking of costras–my favorite kind of taco (you can get a free guide to Mexican food here). And the people… There aren’t words. They burn bright. They’re loud and full of life. And they welcomed me with open arms. I will never forget my year in Mexico.
Also, Mila doesn’t have a lot of confidence in her body image or fashion. I totally get that. The girls in Mexico are super fashionable, and I felt like my wardrobe never quite added up no matter what the circumstances were. And so many of the girls literally never had a hair out of place. As a young woman who was still growing out her hair that falls somewhere wavy and straight and refuses to go up without a halo of frizz, this was super intimidating.
The one thing that I wish I related to? Mila’s skills as an artist. I love art supplies. The colors and textures are fabulous. I have more colored pencils and crayons than I could ever use. I walk into art supply stores just to admire the brushes, paints, and canvases, but I have no skill. I get these beautiful pictures in my head but I cannot get them to appear on the page. It’s utterly frustrating. So I became a painter with words. And it allowed me to have a ton of fun with Sketchy Tacos. Read it and you’ll see how!
Favorite childhood books: I would have to say the Anne of Green Gables series. I read about Anne in middle school as I was transitioning from a younger reader to a more understanding one. The third book in the series, Anne of the Island, had a surprising affect on me. Before that time, I’d been fairly logical and a fairly unemotional reader/movie viewer, etc. I read Anne of the Island and poof, I cry at everything! Movies? Check. Super Bowl commercials? Check. YouTube videos? Well, as long as they’re not the silly ones my husband likes to show me.
Favorite author blog or website: DaniPettrey, author of Christian romantic suspense, has the most beautiful website. Seriously, I drool a little every time I visit. The design is simply stunning and you can learn everything you might ever want to know about her characters and settings. (And talk about kick-butt heroines!)
Favorite bookish website: I’m a big fan of Goodreads. I love tracking the novels I’ve read and striving to reach or exceed my yearly book challenge. It’s a great place to connect with other book lovers and discover new books to love.
Favorite time and place to write: I definitely write best in the morning—though making myself get up and get focused is not an easy feat for this night owl. I have two favorite places to write. The first is at my dining room table. We’ve got a huge window right next to it and the most comfortable chairs that don’t encourage lounging (like the couch). My pug likes to sleep in his bed next to me and I can disappear for hours into my story once I really get going. My other favorite place: While walking around my neighborhood! Strange, I know, but I’ve been playing around with dictation and some of my best scene havebeen written to the rhythm of my steps and the song of birds all around.