© Ellen B. Wright
Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She’s traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there’s a bit of every trip in every story she writes.
She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there’s no telling how long she’ll stay there.
In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.
You can visit her online at http://www.meaganspooner.com.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
As a child, my favorite books were The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. As a teenager, I must have read Stardust by Neil Gaiman about a dozen times in the space of a couple years. I also came to adore books I’d read as a child, and reread as a teenager with greater understanding and appreciation, like The Giver by Lois Lowry, and The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle—those two remain favorites at the top of my list today.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“The idea hovered and shimmered delicately, like a soap bubble, and she dared not even look at it directly in case it burst. But she was familiar with the way of ideas, and she let it shimmer, looking away, thinking about something else.” —The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
I’ve always loved this quote, but these days I love it even more because it describes so perfectly my own creative process. When story ideas first come to me I have to let them hover at the back of my mind and develop almost subconsciously—if I try to force them into the light of day, they shatter.
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Oh, this is hard—I have so many favorite authors and who’s at the top of the list is constantly changing. Right now, I’d say Lois Lowry, Philip Pullman, and Peter S. Beagle.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
Reading was probably the single most significant part of my childhood and teenaged years. Books were my best friends and my greatest love, and I never went anywhere without them. I could never get enough words and stories and characters. Being completely and utterly absorbed by a book remains one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences I can think of. How can I not want to give that in return to kids today? I love writing, but the drive to do it professionally comes from the desire to share these stories and worlds with kids today the way the authors of my childhood did with me. I want to form those same bonds across time and space, and if I can make even one reader get lost in my book, I’ll have done my job.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Read everything you can get your hands on. If you find a book you love, look for more books by that author. Develop a list of authors whose work you admire. When you’re first starting out, don’t be afraid to imitate authors you love as a form of creative exercise—this is how you learn to do what they do, and how you develop the instincts of a writer. It’s how you figure out what you like and don’t like about certain voices and styles. Gradually your own style and voice will come out of this process, and you’ll be able to write with your own unique strength and originality.
Don’t let yourself get consumed with the struggle to get published. Ask yourself this: if you knew you’d never get published, never get paid for your writing, would you still write? If the answer is yes, then keep at it and don’t give up. That passion will show up in your writing, and eventually, when the time is right, someone will take notice.