Author name: Meaghan Curley
*Please tell us about your publications. So far my publications include a poem about how much I hate poetry in the Utica Writer’s Club Poetry volume, a short story titled “the CARF Crisis” in an international humor anthology titled Ellipsis, and my debut novel “Girl: Repurposed” published through Cosmic Teapot Publishers.
What first prompted you to publish your work? To be honest, I’ve been actively trying to get published since I was 16. This was actually the third manuscript I attempted to publish. Somehow I tricked Dylan [of Cosmic Teapot Publishing] into publishing my work haha.
What have you found the most challenging part of the process? Rejection, hands down. I internalized the crap out of all the rejections, especially in the beginning when I was attempting to land a literary agent and it was just nope after nope after nope nope nope.
Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? Give me a lightning bolt scar cause I am Harry Plotter [goose laughs]
What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? Check yo self before yo wreck yo’self (translation: figure out what you want out of this literary life before you decimate what little self-esteem you have).
If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat. Dumbledore and I’d beg my mom to make us her chicken riggies [a Utica famous cuisine].
What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work? Hey, I get the appeal of making writing as gainful employment but let’s be real. Writers should be about the readers, not about the fame or the monetary gain, or being about to show up your enemies with your name on the New York Times bestseller list. If I have to give copies out so people will read something that I’ve been slaving over for years, I’m happy to share. But that’s me. I definitely get why people would be offended by the prospect of selling their book for less than a cup of coffee. It’s insulting to the ego, to think your book is worth less than gold, but hey. That’s the way she goes. Just hope in the end someone will love your work so much, they won’t care about paying $19.99 for a hardcover.
What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Author’s do that??? That’s news to me. Personally, I’m a firm believer in the fact that the writer doesn’t have all the power that English teachers and Spark Notes likes to believe. The reader, the interpreter does. So if they interpret your book is shit, it’s out of your hands. Best you can do is laugh about it and maybe even learn from the criticism.
How do you deal with bad reviews? I look at it this way, “hey a bad review means they at least fucking read it”.
Sort these into the order of importance:
I’m going to cheat and say good plot and great characters are a tie, then technically perfect, then awesome world-building.
How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? Depends on the story. Some stories are so intrinsic to the human experience, you don’t need to research it. On the other hand, for my current novel, I read and reread as much ancient Greek literature as I could just so I could put in as much “accuracy” to the Greek mythology as possible. I can’t say it’s the “wildest” subject I’ve looked into would be how komodo dragon mating rituals which was someone I randomly felt was needed for this new project I’m working on (it’s gross by the way).
How influential is storytelling to our culture? Americans loves stories. It’s the reason we invented the 24 hour news day, tabloids, celebrity gossip channels. It’s the reason we have SnapChat stories and we still go to the movie theaters, even though movie theaters suck and we all know it. America is nothing without its stories and it’s storytellers.
What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Toni Morrison said it best: write the story you want to read but isn’t out there yet.
What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? I’ve always had teachers that tried telling me I shouldn’t be so “flippant” in my essays but then would give me A’s on the essays anyway. I learned after that it doesn’t matter the style. You can get away with a lot if it’s good enough (look at James Joyce and his difficult ass).
If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why? A mermaid hands down. It’s always been a dream of mine to see what was at the bottom of the ocean. Also, never getting my period again and punking sailors sounds awesome.
Which authors have influenced you the most? J.K Rowling was the one to show me “yeah you can write and have a sense of humor about it too”. Shakespeare showed me when I was young that you can be smart, make up words and make the occasional sex joke too. As I got older though, Rushdie and Dostevsky influenced me the most in terms of novel writing but there’s a variety of poets and short story writers that I feel have left their mark on me: Kaveh Akbar, Maya Angelou, Alexandria Kleeman, Katherine Ann Porter, Petrarch and a ton of fanfiction writers that I can’t even begin to name. The Internet, like many kids my age, had has a profound influence on my writing hahaha. In good and bad ways.
What is your writing space like? I don’t really have a writing space. I’ve written entire novels in my bed, in my car on my breaks, at work on napkins. I once wrote a poem that ended up winning second place in a local poetry contest at the McDonald’s near my boyfriend’s house because I was waiting for a ride.
Tell us about your latest piece? It’s titled “Girl: Repurposed” and it’s about a young woman who gets tricked into selling her soul to Hades by her salty ass grandmother. It’s got a ton of Greek Mythology jokes, dick jokes, puns, and a scene with Jane Austen fist-fighting Charon, the underworld equivalent of a bus driver (but with a sweet boat).
What’s your next writing adventure? Right now I’m trying to write a novel about Komodo Dragons Races and America’s Heroin Crisis.
What was the last book you’ve read? Might surprise, like, two people to say this but my favorite genre to read is nonfiction so I’m currently reading Bruce Watson’s Sacco and Vanzetti and Franco “Bifo” Berardi’s “The Soul at Work”.
Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? Just because storytelling has taken on new and inventive forms (ebooks, YouTube, SnapChat stories) doesn’t mean bibliophiles aren’t out there. Just because the major publishing houses are feeling an economic decline, doesn’t mean there aren’t independent bookstores popping up all over the world.
Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? Maybe by a handful of literary snobs but not the rest of the world. Just look at Barnes and Nobles has applications for self-published authors to sell their books in stores. There are plenty of companies who are recognizing that traditional publishing houses no longer the monopolizes of “good” literature anymore. Rupi Kaur is an example of a self-published writer who was recognized for her quality work and was able to make something for herself. I personally don’t think people are as apt to look down on the Indie writer anymore. Hell I don’t think they ever did! Jane Austen and Walt Witman were both self-published writers. Maybe people turned their noses on them then but they sure as hell don’t now.
Is there a message in your books? Yeah, fuck Zeus (that incestuous rapist) and if you’re going to trade yourself do it for a job at least. Don’t be like Megara and do it for a dude (sorry girl. You were still the best thing about Hercules)
How important is writing to you? Writing is my everything. It was all I had when I was a child and it’s all I have now as an adult, in terms of therapy. Writing is how I know who I am or how I am doing, it’s how I got through all my traumas and heartbreaks and painful experiences. Writing will always be on the Maslow Hierarchy of Need for me. Tied with the need for water and shelter and love.
Bio: Meaghan Curley is a writer from Utica, NY who is convinced, for some reason, that she’s going to die at the age of 27 at an ancient Indian Meth Lab, which sucks considering she’s, as of now, 23. She’s also convinced she’s funny despite antithetical evidence stating the contrary. She’s a published poet, short story writer, novelist and activist. Her debut novel, titled “Girl: Repurposed”, is out now. Her idols include JK Rowling, Harriet Tubman and Sampat Pal, the leader of the Pink Sari Gang in India who beats up rapists with a stick and fights corruption in the police force.
Buy my book on Amazon Girl Repurposed on Amazon -Meaghan-Curley
As well as at Barnes and Noble
Follow me on Twitter and watch me talk to myself Twitter – Meaghan Curley
Follow me on Instagram and watch me be full of myself https://www.instagram.com/meag_a_what/