Meg Collett recently released of her debut novel, The Hunted One, and her blog tour kicked off last Friday the 17th! So be sure to check out the tour, giveaway, and, if you like what you read, head over to amazon to pick up your own copy of The Hunted One!
the hunted one
The fallen have trespassed into Heaven for the first time in eternity. Prepared for battle, Michaela and her Archangels open Heaven’s gates to confront the fallen. Only, Michaela’s Archangels—her brothers and sisters in Heaven—betray her. And when the fallen attack the sanctuary in the skies through the gates Michaela inadvertently left open, the holy angels accuse Michaela of planning the invasion.
One simple mistake with a thousand consequences.
Dragged to Earth by an Archangel turned fallen, Michaela will do anything to return to Heaven and save it. In her fervor, she kills the Archangel—something no angel has ever done before. Wingless, without any hope, Michaela welcomes death when an unlikely human ally, Clark, finds her. With the help of Clark and Gabriel, an innocent Archangel whose friendship deepens into something far more torrid and unexpected on Earth, Michaela must prove the holy angels have their own plan for Heaven, and it is one that may prove to be the End of the Days.
It may be too late to save herself, but Michaela is the only one who knows the truth about the holy angels. If she fails, she may never be able to return to Heaven. But even that may be a hopeless dream.
I recently requested an interview with Meg, and fortunately, she agreed! Keep reading to find out what we talked about!
Me: How does it feel to publish your debut novel, The Hunted One? Was there anything about publishing that you didn’t expect?
Meg: Publishing feels surreal. Since I’ve been writing The Hunted One for the last six years, it feels like every day has led up to this moment. And now that I’m finally here, I’m too numb to process it! Mostly I’m just relieved to have it out there finally. I want to know how readers will receive it and how it will do out in the world by itself. I sound like a mom sending her kid of to college, don’t I? Well, it feels like it! Haha
Me: I can imagine! Six years is a long time! Was there any struggles when writing The Hunted One? How did/does writing impact your everyday life?
Meg: There were so many struggles when writing it. I had a hard time writing the story the way I wanted to tell it. I had to learn to write, but I was too stubborn to give up on this book. I wrote so many in completed drafts. I would stop halfway through because it just wasn’t right. I completed it a couple times, but those weren’t right either. When I finally got it done, I sent it to the first editor I had hired. It wasn’t a good match. She didn’t understand my vision for the story. She basically told me this book would never see the light of day. I felt like I had been ripped in half. When I sent it to my new editor, Courtney Koschel, I begged her to tell me if it was even worth publishing. She loved it. And she helped me make it a million times better than it was. Because of Courtney, I overcome my issues with this book.
Writing is my everyday life. I need it to be happy. There is nothing better than getting a few thousand words of inspired writing done. When I’m not writing, I find that I’ll narrate my own actions in my head. Which is weird.
Me: That sounds tough! If someone had said something similar to me, I would have felt so horrible, but I’m glad you found an editor who you could work with! I think it’s hilarious that you narrate yourself in your head, it probably comes in handy, though, for practicing when you can’t be writing. Must be one of those writer quirks! One of my favorite things about The Hunted One was Michaela’s character, and how authentic she seemed, when she was the general, and after when she was on the run, and how much she changed over that period of time. When you first started writing The Hunted One, how did you develop Michaela? Was she there from the start, or did you have to work on creating her?
Meg: Actually, when I first started writing The Hunted One in 2008, Michaela started as this paranoid schizophrenic girl with a drug problem. Over time she turned into an angel, and then she turned into a version of the Archangel Michael. But from the very beginning, I knew I wanted her story to be one of redemption and struggle. I didn’t want to tell the easy story. I needed her to understand the line between good and bad is ever shifting, and though she may fight for what is right, she may oftentimes find herself on the wrong side. I am so happy she comes off as authentic! I struggle with her character a lot, and I often stumble. It takes me a while to get her motivations right. She has become such a part of me over the years that sometimes it is hard to see her objectively enough to write her.
Me: Wow! She sure evolved! I think you succeeded in making her story about redemption and struggle, and I love how you portrayed the good vs evil archetype, and how you didn’t make it something that was black and white, all good or all bad! The Hunted One was the first book about angels that I’ve read in a while, and it seemed like the was a lot of backstory and small details about Heaven and angels that I wouldn’t have known had I not read The Hunted One. Did you have to do any research? How did you come up with the idea to use angels?
Meg: I’m glad she came across that way! It was hard for me to really tell as I wrote the story.
Because I wanted to tell a story about redemption, the use of angels as characters came pretty naturally. What is purer than a holy angel? But what would happen if that angel got set up, knocked around some, and disgraced? Could that angel ever really redeem herself enough to go home to Heaven? That’s what I was asking myself when the idea to incorporate angels came into play.
I did A LOT of research. I wanted my version of angels to be very factually based. All the choirs of angels, their rankings, and even their names are based in my research. Although I took some liberties obviously. My research was root in stories from the Bible, the book of Enoch, and the works of Thomas Aquinas. I wanted to give the story depth without having to spend too much time explaining everything.
Me: I think the use of angels made the character development much stronger and obvious, too! Aside from Michaela, Clark was by far my favorite character! He was so humorous and relatable. What inspired his character? Is any aspects of him based on people you know or on yourself?
Meg: Let me just say this. While I feel like Michaela is a part of me, Clark was my absolute favorite character to write! He came so easy to me. I always knew what he was going to say. And that is a huge relief sometimes when I am going into a scene. His look and attitude was actually inspired by Jared Leto, the leader singer for Thirty Seconds to Mars. Jared Leto has always been an inspiration for me. He is a creative genius. But at one time he had a pink Mohawk too, which Clark also has in the book. But as for the other aspects of Clark, I wanted him to be everything Michaela wasn’t. I needed him to be a true friend to her even if it meant making her mad sometimes or disagreeing with her. He is exactly what Michaela needs him to be.
Me: I never would have made that connection! I’ve only seen Jared Leto with long hair! Though, I think I the image of Clark in my mind matches up pretty closely with the pictures of Jared I looked up! I only have a few more questions, the next being: If you could have your readers take away one thing (a message, lesson, moral, etc) from your book, what would it be?
Meg: Some of my favorite books leave me with this haunted feeling after I’ve read them. They captivate your imagination and fill your thoughts for days afterward. You see the world with a renewed sense of self. Those are always my favorite books. I would love for readers to take away that feeling from my books. It may not be something I’ve achieved yet, but I aspire to that in my writing.
Me: I can’t speak for your other readers, but, personally, The Hunted One completely changed my perspective of a few things, and one part that particularly stuck out to me was when Michaela decides she can’t imagine destroying a creature for simply existing. It sort of reminds of how quick some people are to judge. I’m not sure if that’s the same feeling, but that scene has stuck with me since I’ve finished reading it.
To wrap things up, what can your readers expect from your next book? Any spoilers you can spill?
Meg: Yes!! The next book is called The Lost One. It will release mid to end of March. This book will deal mainly with Michaela trying to keep the Seven Seals from getting in the hands of the Aethere, who will stop at nothing to get them, including unleashing Biblical plagues on the world. But Michaela has to learn when to fight and when to step back. I think this book will allow for a lot more growth in Michaela. She is still rebuilding herself after what happened in Heaven. It’ll also be a time when she and Gabriel work to repair their relationship. It’s a lot of growth for a lot of characters, so it’s been fun and challenging to write!
Me: I’m looking forward to reading it! I’m totally rooting for Gabriel and Michaela, by the way, so I’m super excited to hear that they’ll be working on their relationship! Thanks for agreeing to this interview!