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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

 


MeganKelleyHall wrote:

Becke.

I'm so jealous. I'm writing to you from snow-covered Boston with freezing winds at around 26 degrees.  Just last week I was enjoying 26 degrees Celsius weather in Australia (which is about mid-seventies here), and now I've gone to a drastic change down to 26 degrees Fahrenheit.  Not fun! I'm quite jealous that you are in warmer weather. Try to send some our way.

 

We're staying with our daughter, who works at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and never has holidays off. Our son in Chicago is flying down to join us on Christmas Eve. It's VERY cold and snowy there, but that didn't stop him from doing an 8 mile run on Sunday. I don't know where he gets that from - not me! 

 

I have a brother in Vermont who goes to Boston a lot. From his stories of Boston in winter, you can have it!

 

Australia is one of the most amazing places I've ever been. And Sydney is hands-down one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The only problem with Sydney is that it takes so long to get there.  After my first six hour flight across the country to California, we embarked on the 15 hour flight to Sydney (after a few hours of a lay-over in Los Angeles). That fifteen hour flight is truly brutal. The only way I could ever imagine it being comfortable is by flying business or first class, which is ridiculously expensive. After eight or nine hours into the flight, I became very claustrophobic and panicky.  Not a great time to experience those feelings, considering there is no where to go and nothing that can be done.

 

My son flew to China, and he described it much the way you've described your trip. If only I could get Scottie to just "Beam me up" and drop me off in Sydney!

 

We left on a Saturday afternoon and arrived in Sydney on Monday morning. Then we stayed for a week and left on a Tuesday, traveled for 28 to 30 hours and landed back in Boston on a Tuesday.  It was quite literally the longest day of my life.

 

How does that time change work? I hope you had some time to recover before you went back to work!

 

Although it was very painful to get there, it was definitely worth it. Australia is absolutely beautiful; the people are some of the nicest, healthiest and most attractive people in the world; the overall vibe of the place is that you should enjoy every aspect of your life.  Every day seemed to be a party or a celebration of some sort. I think they told Oprah that they don't live for their work, they work so that they are able to live life to the fullest. 

 

What a fabulous mindset!

 

What a great way to go through life! With an average of 270 days of beautiful, warm weather a year, I'd say that makes it pretty easy to enjoy and appreciate each and every day.


It's sounding better all the time...but there is that darn flight. Tough call!

 

Enjoy Florida!

 

They're forecasting nice weather this week. Hurray!


 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Megan - Awhile back I asked friends in my local writer's group to suggest questions I should ask our featured authors. This is what they came up with:

 

1) What of the five senses do you tap into most when you're writing?

 

2) What favorite book of yours do you wish you had written?

 

3) What do you think about the show Castle? Who do you think is hotter, Nathan Fillion or Gerard Butler? (Don't blame me, I didn't come up with these questions!)

 

4) Do you watch mystery TV shows and/or movies? If so, which do you like best?

 

5) If you were casting your books, who would you choose?

 

6) Are you a plotter or pantser? Do you know how your books are going to end or do you figure out as you write?

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eadieburke
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

[ Edited ]

Welcome Megan:

 

I just finished your book SISTERS OF MISERY last week. It was great and keep me engrossed until the end. I just ordered your other book, THE LOST SISTER, as I need to find out more about Cordelia. 

 

I applaud you for writing about the "bully" issue. It's very hard for young people to stand up for themselves as the bully tends to be in control of the whole group. Unfortunately, the victim is left very no one to turn to and usually ends up with tragic results.

 

We hope you enjoy your visit with us and be sure to come back and tell us what you are up to in the future.

 

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and thanks again for visiting during this very busy week!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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MeganKelleyHall
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

First of all, Becke,

I'm beyond jealous that you are staying at the Grand Floridian. What a wonderful time of year to be at Disneyworld and such a beautiful hotel! We've never stayed at that hotel when we've gone to Disney (we've tried the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Continental), but will hopefully get the chance to stay there on our next trip.

 

So, to answer some of the book club questions, here goes:

 

1) I try to put myself fully into the story when writing it. I want to see what my characters see, feel what they feel, hear what they hear and then I try to convey that to the reader so that they have a similar experience.  But the most important sense that I draw upon when writing is a sense of excitement that I feel growing deep inside of me when my writing takes me in a new and unexpected direction. It's really hard to explain. Almost a gut feeling. But whenever I feel that tingly, swelling, surge of excitement that extends from the back of my throat, expands through my rib cage and flows throughout my body, I know that I'm going in the right direction with my work.

 

2. No question, THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt. That's my all-time favorite.  Though recently, I've been really enjoying the work of Tana French. She's just brilliant. And if I could submerge readers into a story the way that Alice Hoffman does through her brilliant and evocative use of language, I'd be beyond thrilled.

 

3. Sorry, I've never watched Castle. Are both of those guys in it? I thought it was just Nathan Fillion. Isn't Gerard Butler a screen actor? And to answer who is hotter, I go with my default answer: Johnny Depp.

 

4. I'm obsessed with really scary psychological thrillers - both TV shows and movies. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't like them, so I end up watching by myself. Right now, for TV shows I love Criminal Minds, Fringe, Vampire Diaries and Dexter. Plus, whenever a really well-written, frightening and suspenseful movie comes along, I'm the first in line.

 

5. I may have touched on this a little bit earlier, but here's my *dream cast* (i.e.. if all of their schedules were available and money was no object)

 

Maddie: Nina Dobrev, Leighton Meester or Demi Lovato

Kate: Katie Cassidy

Cordelia: (as mentioned in an earlier post, Rooney Mara originally, but now, Taylor Swift?)

Reed: Ryan Kwanton (from True Blood)

Trevor: Chace Crawford

Finn: Jared Padelecki (Supernatural)

Rebecca: Julianne Moore

Abigail: Laura Linney

Tess:smileyfrustrated:hirley Maclaine

 

It's so hard to cast (I have major respect for casting directors) because the characters have stayed the same age, while the actors and actresses have gotten a bit older (as have I). For instance, Kate was 100% in my mind Gwyneth Paltrow. Maddie was Jennifer Connelly. Cordelia was Kate Mara. So, I've had to recast them as teens in my mind.

 

6. I know I mentioned this before, but I'll repeat it here. Definitely a seat of the pantser when it comes to plot. I am entertained by a good thriller just as much as anyone else. So, I like to surprise myself when writing a book. I figure that if I'm surprised by the ending of one of my books and satisfied with the outcome, then my reader will be as well.

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dhaupt
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Hi Megan, 

Thanks for visiting during this most exasperating, oh I mean exciting :-) time of the year.

I really applaud you for taking a stand against bullies in you novels and I think it's a great thing that any author can do especially for our girls of a certain age that seem to let everything bother them, that they're never satisfied with themselves and have very low self esteem and try to raise it using very destructive methods. Can you tell I'm a mother of a girl, well my girl is 30 now but believe me I went through it all.

Tell me do you think it would be good for parents of YA to read your books, is there any self-help advice in there that would help them.

 

Thanks again

Happy Holidays

Thanks Becke for inviting her.

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MeganKelleyHall
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Hi Debbie,

 

Oh, I'm so frustrated. My last post disappeared before I could save or post it. Oh well, hopefully second times a charm, right?

 

In any case, I'm right there with you in terms of this being an exasperating time of year. Right now I need to be wrapping presents, doing laundry, cleaning my house and decorating my tree, but at least I'm being somewhat productive by being here with you all. 

 

One thing that always seems to happen at my book signings is that I say "I hope you never meet girls as mean as the ones in my book." And inevitably, the teen (or their mother) says that they already have. This is so disheartening and one reason why I'm happy that my books are considered cross-over books, and can be read and enjoyed by teens and their parents. This opens up a line of communication about some of the harder topics like hazing, peer pressure and bullying. Actually, I've been to some book clubs where the moms felt like they could relate to some of the situations going on in the books more than their teens.  Perhaps that is why when SISTERS OF MISERY was re-released as mass market, it was placed into the general mystery category.  See the different versions of SISTERS OF MISERY below.

 

Sisters of Misery 

Sisters of Misery   

The non-fiction book DEAR BULLY that I'm putting together for Harper Collins for a Fall 2011 release features seventy top YA and children's writers sharing their personal essays and stories on bullying. This is more of a self-help, advice book that will let teens know that they are not going through these difficult times alone. We want DEAR BULLY to be a beacon of hope for those being bullied. If they are aware that their favorite authors have been exactly where they are right now and have come out the other side strong and successful, we hope that it will help them endure their current situations. However, I'm very passionate about promoting the fact that parents should not tell teens that bullying is something that everyone has to go through, that it is a rite of passage, or that it will make them stronger and more capable to handle the "real world." Instead, I would like this book to help encourage bystanders to stand up against bullying, to let them know that it's not okay and that by taking a zero-tolerance policy against bullies, that is the only way we can end bullying once and for all.  

 

So in a long round-about way, SISTERS OF MISERY and THE LOST SISTER present the problems and ramifications of bullying (in an extreme and frightening thriller-esque way) and DEAR BULLY offers solutions, suggestions, and relatable stories and essays.

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Mysterylover1138
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Megan

 

Great picks for the casting choices.  Absolutely love Ryan Kawanten :smileyhappy:   

 

I also agree with your television watching choices :smileyhappy:

 

When you are writing, do you ever find a character taking on a completely different role than the role they started with?

 

What was it like seeing your first novel published?

 

Do you have any authors who you love reading?

 

Any special plans for the upcoming holidays?

 

Hope you are staying warm.  It is freezing here in Upstate New York so I totally feel your pain with the whole freezing weather wishing you were someplace warm.

 

Leigh

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dhaupt
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Megan, thanks for responding and fortunately I serve on the board of directors of my library district and your novels as well as your NF will be on our shelves.

Thanks again for taking this stand, I hope in the future we have stronger more self sufficient women and men too who didn't have to go through he-l to get there.

 

Here, Here to you!!!

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MeganKelleyHall
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Debbie,

 

Thanks so much! I really appreciate you stopping by to chat and sharing your extremely kind words. And thank you for stocking my books on your library's shelves. VERY much appreciated!  Good luck getting all of your holiday preparations and plans in order!

 

Happy Holidays!!

 

 

 

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MeganKelleyHall
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Hi there, Leigh,

 

To answer your question about a character taking on a completely different role, that happens to me all the time.  One of the reasons is that when I'm writing a mystery, I start off not knowing who the "bad guy" is.  So, while I'm writing, every one of my characters has the opportunity to be turned into a good guy or a bad guy.  Once I've decided the direction that the story is going to take me, I go into subsequent drafts to make sure that there are no major red herrings or character flaws to give my "killer" or "bad guy" away, and to make sure that everything lines up the way it should.

 

Authors I love reading: Tana French, Laura Lippman, Laurie Stolarz, Carrie Jones, Jodi Picoult, Tonya Hurley, Andrea Seigel, Thomas H. Cook, Alice Hoffman, Donna Tartt, (my new favorite, Laura Kasischke -- she has a new novel, The Raising, coming out soon and it is NOT to be missed!!) There are so many, that it's hard to narrow down, but these are the ones who I thought of right away.

 

Seeing my first novel published was a dream come true. I had a very unusual path to publication story.  Here's the Cliff Notes version of  how it happened:

 

I was a freelance writer (for mags like American Baby, Glamour, Boston Magazine, Working Mother, etc.), but my dream was to see my books on bookshelves in stores across the country. But, I didn't have an agent or a publisher (or a finished book for that matter).  Then, at the age of 32, I started having mini-strokes or TIAs.  After a year's worth of investigation and doctor's appointments, meetings, research, etc., we discovered that the radiation I had as a baby (18 months old with a rare form of cancer, treated with chemotherapy and radiation) had aged my carotid arteries.  This was causing me to have strokes and actually caused permanent partial vision loss in my right eye. 

 

I went in for a carotid stent, which after one year stopped working.

 

Bummer.

 

Then, it was decided that I would have to undergo a 10 to 12 hour open heart surgery procedure (with a full sternotomy -- yes they'd be using one of those creepy saws that you see on television and the movies) to fix my aortic arch and carotids. It was very scary and I had a four year old daughter at the time (now she's eight) and I wasn't sure if I was going to come out of the surgery the same way I went in. Heart surgeries can be pretty iffy that way.

 

So, I went in and had the surgery. They fixed me, wrapped up my sternum with a pretty band of silver titanium and sent me home. Unfortunately, after major open heart surgery, there is not much you can do. No driving, no lifting anything over 5 pounds, no staying alone with a toddler. Needless to say, I had a lot of time on my hands for soul searching during my recovery. I realized that I had never followed my dream of becoming a published author. So I took out one of my old manuscripts, rewrote it as a young adult novel (it was originally an adult thriller) and within a year I had an agent at a top NYC literary agency and a two book deal with a major publishing house. SISTERS OF MISERY and the sequel, THE LOST SISTER were published. Then a year or two after that, I had my books optioned for film by one of the most amazing and accomplished female directors of our time.  (love, love, love her!)

 

Bottom line, you have no idea what life is going to throw at you.  If you are dreaming of doing something in your life, START NOW!! There is no better time to begin.   That's my inspirational story for the day. Carpe diem and all that jazz...

 

Hope you have a great holiday!!

 

xx

Megan

 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Megan - Just to clarify, we're staying with our daughter in Lake Buena Vista - she WORKS at the Grand Floridian. I love it there - we're going to go there New Year's Eve for the balloon drop, and we'll go over before then to see the gingerbread house and the gorgeous Christmas tree. We've gone during Christmas week before to see concerts there - it's one of my favorite places. Our daughter works upstairs at Citricos. GREAT restaurant!

 

Today is my daughter's day off and it's 70 degrees, so we're going out for a little while. I'm sorry for being back and forth here - it's one of those weeks!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Megan - I'll have to Google some of the people you casted.

 

I've got a writing question - YA is very hot right now, but I'm just curious if you've ever had the urge to write in other genres. Do you have other stories that aren't published yet?

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maxcat
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Hi, Megan, I must be truthful in that I have not read your books but am glad you take a stand on bullying. When my daughter was going to school, there was no such thing as bullying. I think today's parents need to keep a closer eye on their children and watch for signs of any sort. They should talk to their children on a daily basis to see what is going on in the child's world. There is so much out there as far as drugs, sex, bullying and kids getting into the wrong crowds.

My daughter was dating a guy and she had him come to the house one night to pick her up. I don't know what it was but I had bad vibes about him. It turns out that he was verbally abusive to her and she told me about and my suggestion of breaking up with him was taken. She was fortunate as she hadn't been dating him for a while. So the breakup was fine. She turned out to be the kind of daughter everyone wants but somehow things go wrong. She never got into drugs, doesn't drink and wound up with a peach of a husband that she has been married to for 15 years.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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dhaupt
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

 


becke_davis wrote:

Megan - Just to clarify, we're staying with our daughter in Lake Buena Vista - she WORKS at the Grand Floridian. I love it there - we're going to go there New Year's Eve for the balloon drop, and we'll go over before then to see the gingerbread house and the gorgeous Christmas tree. We've gone during Christmas week before to see concerts there - it's one of my favorite places. Our daughter works upstairs at Citricos. GREAT restaurant!

 

Today is my daughter's day off and it's 70 degrees, so we're going out for a little while. I'm sorry for being back and forth here - it's one of those weeks!


 

Wow Becke, I'm green. Think of me in the freezing, snowy, icy, yucky, icky, slushy, and every other adjective I can think of Midwest while you bask in the Florida sun. Also while I sit on the sofa w/hubby watching Dick Clark you'll be Rock Starring at the Grand Floridian.

 

Ho Ho Ho and Happy New Year

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

I was never bullied but my daughter was, to some extent. She developed early and when she was on the school bus she was subjected to a lot of very inappropriate teasing back then. Middle school was the worst time for her - by high school, she met other kids with the same interests - journalism, drama - and the teasing stopped. My son was teased for his red hair, but he was always into sports and kids mostly left him alone.

 

Have you seen the scandal on the news this week about the locker room hazing? That sort of thing scares me to death.

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Megan - what is up next for you? Do you plan to keep writing for a young adult audience , or will you be going in other directions?

 

I'm curious - how do you balance your writing time with your day job? What is it like working with other family members? I love my sisters, but I'm not sure we could work together!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

I forgot to ask something important - do you have any Barnes & Noble book signings scheduled?

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MeganKelleyHall
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Becke,

 

I'm still green with envy that you have such a fun and warm Orlando Christmas and New Year's planned!

 

I would love to continue writing for the YA audience, but I'd also like to try my hand at adult thrillers.  I consider myself a thriller writer first, so whether that means writing for YA, MG or Adults, only time will tell.

 

I've been lucky enough to work with my amazing family in Kelley & Hall Book Publicity. We started the company 7 to 8 years ago and have worked with many incredibly authors. We've had the self-published to NY Times bestselling author success stories with Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader and Lisa Genova's Still Alice.  We've also worked with authors who were already on the NY Times bestseller list, but were looking to broaden their presence online and move off of the traditional book review pages, like Michael Palmer and Jacquelyn Mitchard.

 

I was much more involved at the start of the company, but have taken time to focus on my own writing, and my most important job, being a mom to my 8 year old daughter, Piper. While I'm not involved in the day to day of Kelley & Hall, I'm still called upon once in awhile as a resource for the client work. There is so much overlap in this industry that there are plenty of opportunities to wear several hats.  Actually, when we do seminars on publicity, I can offer some advice to authors on how to put away their writing hat and think about promoting their books.  As an author, I also give my mom and sister a good idea on how writers think (yes, we are all crazy - ha ha!), so that gives them additional insight into what's going on in their clients' heads. 

 

Right now I don't have any Barnes & Noble signings coming up in the near future  (I just did one at the Peabody, Mass. store this past November), but will hopefully be setting one up soon!  I'm sure I will have many next fall when the DEAR BULLY book comes out.  

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MeganKelleyHall
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

I should probably also mention Kelley & Hall Book Publicity's website and contact info. See, this is an example of me forgetting which hat I'm wearing on any particular day.  We can be reached at www.kelleyandhall.com or if there are authors looking into promoting their own books with K&H (which I highly recommend), please contact my sister Jocelyn Kelley at Jocelyn@kelleyandhall.com  She's going to love that I posted her email right before the holidays. You're welcome, Jocelyn!!

 

Oh, and I'm still going to get Jocelyn to post here about her fab trip down under with OPRAH!! 

 

Don't let me forget!

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Fricka
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Re: Please Welcome Author MEGAN KELLEY HALL

Welcome, Megan!

I commend you for your work towards preventing bullying. I can remember "mean girls" when I was in both junior high and high school, but as my dad was one of the school principals, I pretty much escaped the worst of the bullying. I hate to think what it must be like today, with bullies not only running amok at school, but dominating social network places like Facebook. I do know that many teachers ignore bullying, so that is an area that needs attention.

I love the idea that you presented about the bullies being forced to wear scarlet "A"'s on their foreheards--only perhaps in their case, "B" for bully would be more appropriate. It does seem like many in our culture today have confused notoriety with fame, and they are willing to get attention any way they can, whether it is in a postive fashion or not. If we can somehow get the idea across that someone who bullies, whether male or female, is acting outside the pale, and not worthy of attention,  that will be a move in the right direction.

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie