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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Colors Like Memories Tour: An Interview With Meradeth Houston & Giveaway!

How long have you been writing?
A very long time. Since I was about eleven, when I started writing in a battered old notebook. I won't say how long ago that was ;)

What inspired you to write your first book?

Reading a Madeline L'Engle book (Many Waters) and really liking one of the concepts in it (though, for the life of me, I don't remember what that was), and thinking "Hey, I could write a story about that myself!"

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
From Colors Like Memories, probably Marcy. Not that I've ever been in her situation and lost someone that close to me, but her drive for perfect grades, to keep it together in public while in private she's really lost--I totally get that feeling.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
But then it wouldn't be a secret! Okay, here's something harmless enough: I hate eating my veggies. In all honesty, I really don't eat many at all. And lettuce? Grossest stuff ever!

If you could hop into the life of any book character for a day, who would it be, and why?
I can say this much right off: not Katniss, I don't care how adorable Peeta is. No thanks! But, I would probably have to say Hermione from Harry Potter. I'd love to go to Hogwarts for a day (and possibly try out a broomstick!).

What book have you read too many times to count?
I've read A Wrinkle In Time so many times that I had large parts of it memorized. I adore that book.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
"Just get it on paper!" I'm seriously guilty of getting too hung up on how lousy the last page I wrote was, and can't move forward. I have to remember to just get a draft done, then worry about how miserable it is.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I would totally move into one of them, given half a chance. But maybe that wasn't all that surprising...

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Lots! I'm not someone who sits still easily. I am a professor by day and that's what takes up most of my time. I love my job though so I can't complain.

Are any of the things in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
A very large portion is all made up (hey, I'm not really a Sary, as much as I would love to be able to fly), but little details here or there come from real life (the Christmas lights on Marcy's house in the first chapter? Totally had ours up year round as a kid--stuff like that).

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Probably the first chapter, as it just all came together way too simply, like I was just the scribe in a story that was already ready to go. I love it when things go like that in my writing!

Thank you Meradeth, for joining us today!!
Thanks so much for such a fun interview!

Check back at this blog in the coming weeks for a review of Colors Like Memories!

About the Author:
Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

She’s a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and use "like" a lot. When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!

She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she’s so happy to get to share her work!

If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.

A Short Excerpt of Colors Like Memories
I greeted his tombstone the way I always did—with a swift kick. The release of frustration was more than worth the sharp pain in my toes. The polished marble tilted to the left because of all my visits; a crooked tooth in the rows of pearly white graves.

I folded my legs under me, shuddering as the chill of the damp grass seeped through my clothes. “I keep hoping one of these days you’ll be here waiting for me.” The words were tradition. Some small part of me still clung to the hope I’d come over the hill to find him leaning over his grave, wearing a sly smile. He died so very long ago, but I couldn’t stop wishing.

Leaning forward, I rested my forehead against my knees and closed my eyes, longing for a few minutes of rest. A few minutes to pretend it was someone else buried beneath me. I tried to explain this to him, but tonight I didn’t have the will to pretend it was more than starlight that listened.

It took a long time to notice, building imperceptibly until I finally looked over my shoulder. Someone was there, watching me. It hadn’t been a sound that alerted me so much as the feel of their gaze, heavy in the darkness. After so many nights spent here, I could tell the difference.

For just a second, I thought I saw Frederick’s tall form step from the shadows. My heart stopped, and I started to scramble to my feet before the breeze scattered my wishful thinking. Scanning the rest of the cemetery, it was clear no one else was around. The sprinklers were hissing their rhythmic beat in the next section over, and it was better to leave before they started watering the grass over his grave. It had to be just my imagination—no one was watching me. It was for the better. If anyone saw me here, there would be problems I couldn’t face.

I kissed my fingertips and touched the top of the smooth white stone, anxious now to leave, alert to any movement in the cemetery. “I’ll be seeing you,” I whispered, wishing it were true. I wound through the sea of identical marble markers, making for the swell of ground at the far end of the cemetery where it was easiest to catch an updraft.

The small knoll overlooked the freeway, which was a little too close for comfort, but at this hour there were no headlights streaking past. I stretched out my wings, their emerald color turned inky black in the moonlight. Each feather ached to catch a hint of breeze. Leaping from the ground, I thrust down hard and was airborne. I circled up, straining, until I reached an altitude where no one would see me from below.

Tilting my wings to swing north, my thoughts wandered to my destination. A silent prayer to whoever might be listening filled my heart, hoping the lonely girl I was supposed to be guarding was safe in her bed. Visiting Frederick—Derek as I’d always called him—was the only thing that kept me sane some nights, but it did nothing to dispel the churning worry over Marcy. In the year since I was assigned to her, it had become obvious she deserved a Sary better suited to helping her. Instead, she was stuck with me, and somehow I was supposed to find a way to ensure she didn’t commit suicide.

Saving Marcy was my reward, and my price, for dying before I was born, before taking one miserable breath of life. I still wondered if my choice to join the Sary was worth it.

To learn more about Meradeth Houston and her books, visit her website & blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

The Giveaway!
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