Interview with P.S. Meraux

Describe your desk
It's a behemoth, oak, roll-top desk that's nearly as tall as me, retrofitted for my computer. The cubbyholes are stuffed with slips of paper-- some are ideas for other books, some notes for upcoming chapters. Post-its flower the interior reminding me of deadlines for getting items to my editor. A one-eyed pirate skull sits atop a pile of books on the very top of it next to my printer. There's an assortment of knick-knacks from Scotland, the U.K. and Canada -- homes of my ancestors. A heavy, marble-encased compass rests on the note books that I outline chapters in. Four pens lay on the main writing surface so when I have to jot things down or doodle diagrams about how some action is going to work, I can. There are 12 drawers on the top of the desk, some the size of index-cards, filled with writing utensils; pens, paper, note cards, tacks, paperclips, etc. The lower draws are filled with files, more notebooks, and other supplies. Believe it or not, it keeps me highly organized.
When did you first start writing?
Like most kids, I made up stories in my head, sharing them with anyone who would listen and even those who wouldn't. I remember one occasion when I was very young, telling my grandfather a tall-tale that I'd made up about a monkey taking off with my baby doll, climbing up in the pecan tree -- and feeling very pleased that he'd sat completely still during the telling of it. Later, when he began snoring -- I realized he probably had not heard every word. From the sound of his resounding Z's he probably missed more than a few. Did that make him my first critic?
I was eight years old when I actually remember writing one down.
My mother had many health issues when I was growing up and was in and out of the hospital. During one of these many absences I was brimming with energy and a desire to share another story with her. Instead of drawing a get-well card, I wrote down the story with my crayons on construction paper. And thus my writing career began.
Needless to say it was probably time well spent.
While some of my childhood artwork was good enough for display on the fridge, I doubt anyone would have been interested in downloading my image of an oak tree drawn with purple and pink crayons.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Confusion, jealousy and a crazy dream.
It was suggested to me that I should try my hand at writing a book series. Being more familiar with Harry Potter and Twilight than any other series at the time, I decided to give it a go. Only I didn't have a topic. Yes, I know how nuts that sounds, planning to write a 2,000+ page epic story without a STORY is like journeying barefoot into a blizzard along the Appalachian Trail without a map. Man it was cold. I managed to avoid frostbite, if not the critics.
Then one day I read an interview that Stephanie Meyer's muse was an image from her sleep. Well, the green-eyed monster was upon me. My dreams are so predictably mundane with topics like; Did I remember to pay the phone bill? Was the chicken in the marinade? Another night of me going to the gym in my sleep. Nothing remotely inspiring as a vampire-werewolf-human love triangle.
Several weeks went by with me being grouchy at my dreams for their lack of creative input. You may scoff at this. But I really was. Then I awoke in the middle of the night, needing to go pee, not only were the dreams not stepping up but drinking wine before bed didn't help either. Or did it? I had this image dancing behind my eyelids of an immortal, a witch and an animated candelabra rushing down this amorphous corridor that was being created as they went forward by the candelabra's lively attachment. I didn't understand where it came from. I couldn't recall seeing anything online, my phone, on the big screen or small -- that could have been the root of it. I wondered where they were going? Why the rush? Why these different character types in this cluster? I jotted down a note to myself and went back to bed, wondering if more would be revealed in my sleep. It wasn't. Oddly enough, I didn't need the note. When I awoke the next day, I remembered the images in vivid detail. Over a morning cup of coffee....or perhaps half a dozen...I sat at my desk and found myself outlining the story of these characters. That initial image, while similar to the start of Luminary, actually led me to reverse engineer this epic story. That 'dreamed image' is actually something in the last book in the series, which I am writing now. To be honest, I am quite shocked that I have written six books and am now working on the seventh. I didn't know I had that many words.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Three I's and an E:
Insecurity...I didn't know how my work would be received by a traditional publisher, the public or young adult readers in general. I have to say that I've had some nice feedback from readers which has helped me with each subsequent book in the series.
Insomnia... the occasional kind -- when I don't have any wine handy. I don't have kids and I'm in the boonies, there's not much to do in the middle of the night when all the world's asleep -- except channel surf, clean or write. Writing is more soothing. I don't find blank pages as lonely once I've populated them with words.
Impertinence...I'm more than a little irreverent in my thoughts, words and speech. That includes my writing too. I like that some of my characters are the same way, like they've jumped aboard the cheeky train. Tell me of another job where I can go to work in my bathrobe or on a particularly hot day, just a halter top and a pair of Daisy Dukes? I mean a legit job that's not Hooters or the like. Get your mind out of the gutter!
Entertainment...I spent my childhood cheering up my late mum with my stories. It's how my mind works to this day. I think everyone needs diversion, enjoyment, something to take delight in from the trauma that daily life sometimes inflicts. I know its corny but I hope my books transport readers to a different a realm between reality and the tangible.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Who am I? Just some smart-mouth writer putting down a lot of words -- hopefully into a cohesive story -- that nobody has ever heard of. My background's in corporate writing/editing, not fiction. How was I, 'Ms. Author Nobody,' going to draw attention to my work? Win Publisher's Clearing House and hire a PR guru? Not bloody likely.
Smashwords let me indulge my --perhaps not so inner-- control freak. What I appreciate about Smashwords is that it allowed me to post my first novel for free, which meant that readers could sample my work without any hesitation. There was nothing to invest. No gamble. They could take a chance on an unknown author like me. And as scary as the prospect was: Like or hate my words.
Other publishing platforms don't allow you to do that unless you're enrolled in exclusive programs and only then for a limited amount of time. But if you're published for free on Smashwords -- they're pretty much forced to 'match that' or charge a price for an ebook that readers can get somewhere else for free. Like I said, control freak at the keyboard.
Although I did flinch at the daunting requirements of publishing on the site. It's not for the faint of heart, or those inexperienced with word processing. I must admit I thought I'd have a stroke when I read the formatting rules for my first manuscript. But after a little, ahem...adjustment. Eyebrows raised. I managed to get it right.
Now I don't even think about it when I type. It's just part of the technical aspect of writing a novel. So if their formatting criteria worries you, hang in there, you'll get it. And the benefits will come.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There's something uniquely self-satisfying about writing a story. Whether you're looking at a blank sheet of paper, or a blank document on a computer screen. The act of creating a new universe, a country setting or a single character on that flat surface and making that place, person or thing become real...three just so frigging cool!
Corralling all those words like so many wild colts, bucking and jumping about. Then strapping on a saddle and letting the characters take me for a ride as I figure out where the story goes. Maybe it's a commentary on the way my mind works...or perhaps doesn't... but I find it absorbing, fulfilling and invigorating at the same time.
If what I write makes someone I think book six, Beam, will then all the better. I've done my job. Giddy Up.
What do your fans mean to you?
They make me a better writer. I wouldn't be considered an author without fans. Lets face it, if nobody reads what I'm writing and agrees to go on that journey with me...then do my characters exist anywhere except in my imagination? Locked up in a vault within the confines of my skull? Waiting, biding their time, until it's their turn to come out and play.
My fans have been very vocal in what they like and what they don't. Although often it's been a case of them wanting the next book released before I was finished writing it! It's a nice relationship and a good feeling, knowing that they are passionate about the stories and the characters.
In fact, all the covers for the Luminary Saga series underwent a transformation because of my fans. Many said that they loved the book but the original cover? Not so much. Two readers even described it as being rather well...'stodgy.' I have to admit, I saw their point. For a young adult audience the books needed a better look. So thanks fans! I appreciate that. And changing the cover really helped boost sales.
What are you working on next?
I have started working on the first chapter of Flare which is the seventh and final book of the Luminary Saga. Everything, all the back story, all the reasons and intrigue behind what has transpired so far will be fully explained. The archer will finally be revealed, he's such a deliciously wicked soul. Exposing him will undoubtedly tick a lot of people off. Every good book needs a truly devious villain. I'm glad I found him...even though I wouldn't want to meet him in person, if you know what I mean. Bad Guy with a capital B-G!
Will Emily have any more decisions to make? You betcha. Will they affect her soul mates? You'll have to wait and see. I anticipate having the manuscript finished sometime in the fall. Later, if I keep agreeing to interviews. Hint. Hint.
After that I have some ideas for a couple of additional series but they won't be as long. Perhaps three books each in total. And they'll be for different age groups; Monkey Toes for adults, Granny Able for a general audience.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The MEEHH of the goats...waiting to be milked. Growls and sputters from the Labs waiting to be fed -- who are annoyed by the meowing kitties as they proceed to crawl and somersault like tiny, whimsical furballs all over the dogs in anxious anticipation for the coming goat's milk. And the two macaws, Pat and Sam, who like to ride on the backs of the goats and insist on commenting about everything they witness like a pair of fishwives. It's bedlam! Might as well get up and join in. I've learned from experience that pulling the covers over my head while wearing a pair of noise-canceling headphones doesn't make it go away. Thankfully Judas, the potbellied pig, ran off last year. Either that or the wild hawks, Cleetus and Pearl who live in the backyard trees, got him. Frankly, my money's on the hawks.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have a list which seems to grow by the month; Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer, John Green, Cassandra Clare, V.C. Andrews, J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Harper Lee, Lois Lowry, Philip Pullman, Anne McCaffrey and Veronica Roth -- just to name a few. I have different reasons for liking each. Their writing opens my eyes to different ways of looking at the world, the ones that exist and those that don't. Reading their work makes me closely examine how I want to describe the stories that I create and I think helps to make me a better writer.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
After multiple trips to the kennel to drop off said critters depicted in my response to an earlier question -- I like to go hiking and mountain climbing. I find it peaceful. In fact, I've hiked every major mountain range in the world except for two. They're on my list.
Finding peace in my surroundings is a big aspect of my waking life as you can imagine. Which should also explain the large supply of earplugs in my possession, and my affinity for wine.
When the trails are not beckoning, the animals don't need me, and I'm in between chapters -- I can usually be found in the kitchen trying out unfamiliar recipes or creating new ones. I enjoy cooking. It's a trait that I've kindly shared with Emily Wren.
Published 2016-05-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Luminary (Expanded Edition)
Price: Free! Words: 71,240. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Emily Wren had two soul mates. Before she could meet either they were both killed. Is she doomed to always be alone? A race of super immortals, the Paragons and their Luminary companions, who live in the domain between reality and the tangible, must intervene. They have one duty, matching up soul mates to release magic into the world. But is there more at stake than the happiness of one human?