WHAT A DEBUT NOVEL, WELCOME MEGAN!
We are SO very lucky to have the chance to feature Megan Goldin as our SPOTLIGHT September Book Club pick, for her debut novel, The Escape Room! Welcome Megan!
On the success of your debut novel, does that add any pressure for your next release?
I’ve been getting so many wonderful emails and messages from readers who loved The Escape Room, Many of them have said that they can’t wait to read my next book so I definitely want to make sure that I deliver and that I don’t let them down!
How long did it take you to write The Escape Room? (How many hours do you write a day)?
I write when my kids are at school which is about 6 hours during the day and then I resume writing at about 9 pm once they’re in bed. Usually, I keep writing until 1-2 in the morning so I suppose that’s about 10 to 12 hours per day. To get me through that very intense writing time, I often eat way too much chocolate because I find that the sugar hit gets me going in the morning. I really need to stop that bad habit and find a healthier energy boost. Usually it will take 3-4 months to write a first draft and then maybe another 2-3 months to get a draft that I am happy enough to share with my editors.
Does your editor give you control over the entire story or is it a collaborative process?
The editors that I’ve worked with are very respectful of the creative process and they give me control over the entire story. I think they do that for all writers. Having said that, I look for their input, perspective and ideas of what has worked in the manuscript and what has not worked because it’s very hard to write a novel and then look at it from the objective perspective of a reader. Plus they are awesomely talented for a reason! So it really is essential in my mind to take input from editors and then use it to make the manuscript better.
How long did it take for someone to say, “yes, let’s get this published!”
My publishers loved The Escape Room from the first time they read it so there was never a question about whether it would be published. Of course, there is always an editing process and always changes and improvements that can be done but fortunately I did not have to do any major rewriting or what they call structural edits. However, the process of publishing a novel is a long one and it usually involves multiple rounds of copy editing and proof reading. It takes about a year from the time we have a manuscript that we like until publication.
How and why did you decide on the certain types of characters- did you have people in mind before you wrote them?
I have a very organic way of writing. I come up with a vague idea and start writing and the characters emerge with their own foibles, backstory, character traits and distinct voice. The characters tend to take the story in all sorts of directions that I don’t anticipate when I start writing the novel. It keeps it interesting for me as a writer too as I don’t know exactly where the story is going or what happens next. Having said that, I generally have an idea of my starting point and my ideal end point. Everything that happens in between is decided by my characters.
Did you have a favourite character to write, where the story just flowed? Flip side did you struggle with anyone?
All the characters flowed. They emerged from the pages and took control of their own voice and destiny in many ways. I don’t recall struggling with any of them but of course I liked some more than others. Lucy was a particular favorite. I loved Sara Hall too. I just loved how she overcame adversity.
We sometimes learn that authors use or have alternate endings for their books. Did you always have this ending in mind for The Escape Room?
I always had that ending in mind. I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d get there until I reached those chapters but I knew from the moment that I started how the novel would end.
When you handed the final pages in, how did you celebrate?
I can’t remember but I am sure it had something to do with chocolate!! I worked 12 hours a day 7 days a week to write that book so once it was handed in then I spent more time with my kids. I also caught up on lots of reading and movies.
If you had to cast this as a movie who would you cast?
Viggo Mortensen as Victor. Maybe Emma Stone for Sara. Not sure about Lucy. Perhaps Ellen Page. As for Sylvie, Margot Robbie or Blake Lively. Off the top of my head, Edward Norton for Sam.
Many of us want to know what happens to Vincent. Had you given that any thought?
I haven’t but without getting into spoilers, I liked the way it ended with him.
Have you ever done an escape room challenge and how did you fare?
I have done escape room challenges and I have to admit that I am not very good at them!! I am not the one who figures out codes or solves the puzzles. I’m more the one who lands up finding the secret lever in the bookshelf that opens up a secret room. But that’s what’s so great about escape rooms, they are truly a team activity and everyone brings something to the party. Some people are great at solving codes. Others are more intuitive and just figure stuff out and then you have some who aren’t great at figuring things out but they are very organized, or they motivate everyone else.
Can you explain the significance of painting the gold bars as kids blocks? Was that just to get through security?
Yes, I figured it was a clever way to get those gold bars through customs checks without raising suspicion. I figured that if it looked like a kid’s toy then nobody would suspect it was actually gold. I guess gold bars are pretty heavy so they’d have been very heavy toy blocks if the customs people had opened them up to inspect them.
Would you ever write a sequel? We need to know what happens to Sara when she reads the news!!
A few people have asked for a sequel. I have a few ideas of what I might do but I kind of like where I left all the characters. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t write a sequel but it’s not on the cards right now. As for what Sara would think when she read the news. I think she might think it was all karma.
Adding onto that…Did you give any thought to where the story COULD go – “What did Sara think when she found out what she had done, in that now people were dead as a result of what she thought would be just people trapped in an elevator?
I think Sara is a nice enough person that she’d probably have felt bad but at the end of the day, the four in the elevator were given choices. They could have worked together. They could have united. They could have acted decently but instead they turned it into a zero sum game and turned on each other.
Lastly- Anything you’d like to share with our book club?
My new novel is called The Night Swim. I’m a huge fan of a podcasts and this new novel is about a true crime podcaster who goes to a small town to cover a rape trial. As she arrives, she is contacted by a woman who begs her to investigate the death of her older sister years earlier. It will be released in August 2020 and there’s a cover reveal and sample chapters available on the following link CLICK HERE!
Thank you so very much Megan, you have fans for life and we cannot wait to keep reading! Please stay in touch!
Thank you so much!! I really enjoyed corresponding with you and I love that photo you sent me of the lake. Canada is right at the top of my bucket list thanks to that picture 🙂 Hope you recover quickly from your surgery.
Well there it is guys! Could she be any sweeter? I hope you’ve enjoyed this SPOTLIGHT and Megan’s debut novel, The Escape Room! For more info on how YOU can join my club, keep reading!
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SO many questions Meg. I am BEACH reads all the way. THRILLERS. Edge of your seat, OMG how is this NOT a movie type book. I’ve always been a big reader, but lately I find I spend more of my downtime with my beloved iPad than my books.
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Enjoy! Meg xo