Tuesday Interview: Joanne Macgregor

The Paisley Piranhas are delighted to interview Joanne Macgregor this week. A versatile author, we’ve enjoyed reading her contemporary novel, Scarred, as well as the first two in her dystopian trilogy – Recoil and (just out) Refuse (click for our reviews).

Read on to find out more about Joanne.

PP: Welcome to the Paisley Piranha’s aquarium. Make yourself at home. Don’t stick your fingers in the tank, we’re not sure how well trained the piranhas are. Can I get you a cup of tea? Would you like some chocolate? Silly question; you’re a writer – what sort of chocolate do you like and I’ll see what I can set my hands on?

JM: Thanks for having me! *eyes tank nervously* If you’re offering snacks, may I have some chips rather than chocolate? (I’m a salty sort of girl.)

PP: Okay, well, a big thank you for coming. We’ve loved reading your books this year and wanted to find out more about them and you. What made you decide you wanted to be a writer?

JM: I’ve always tinkered with writing different sorts of things (some poetry, corporate newsletters, etc.), but I set out to write my first book for young adults (Turtle Walk) in 2008. When trying to buy books for my daughter, I realized that far and away most of the YA books were fantasy stories, and almost all had male heroes with girl characters playing silly side-kicks, supportive friends, and victims in need of rescuing. I felt moved to create realistic, contemporary stories with clever, kickass heroines who are strong and resourceful enough to rescue themselves (and the boys), thank you very much.

PP: Kickass heroines are exactly our kind of thing! Which of your characters would you most like to be stuck in a lift with? (This can either be from the Recoil trilogy, or Scarred, or feel free to introduce us to another character we haven’t met yet).

JM: Well, my inner teen (who always falls in love with the guys in my books) would be keen to be with Quinn (from the Recoil Trilogy), or Logan Rush – the gorgeous hero of a YA romance I’m bringing out next year. My adult self would probably want to give Connor (Quinn’s brother from the Recoil Trilogy) a good talking to.

PP: If we suddenly descended into a totalitarian police state where the writing of fiction was banned, what would you do instead?

JM: Start a rebellion? One with secret writing groups, and underground libraries, and BookiLeaks on the web. (There’s a book in that!)

PP: What one thing that you know now do you wish you’d known when you were sixteen?

JM: It’s the advice I get the psychologist in Scarred to tell Sloane: You’d care less about what people think about you if you knew how seldom they did. Really, give up trying to please the world. Just stop. Now.

PP: In three words, why do you love/what’s the best thing about books?

JM: Escape, dream, learn!

PP: What are you working on now – and when does it hit the bookstores?

JM: I’m on a tight deadline for Rebel (Recoil Trilogy Book 3) because I want to do justice to the final book, and I’ve promised to bring it out in October, but it’s just not happening as fast as I want. So what I’m really busy doing is freaking out and working hard at not allowing myself to run nekkid through the streets screaming, “I can’t! I can’t!” while yanking my hair out at the roots. Luckily, for next year, I’ve already got the first drafts of two standalone romances written. One is a realistic, contemporary retelling of my favourite childhood fairy tale, and the other is about a girl who thinks she’s a freak. I’m very excited about them.

PP: And finally, the Paisley Piranhas like to share the love because we know how wonderful it is to find a new book or author to fall in love with. Can you recommend a (YA) book or a writer we might not have heard of that we really should try?

JM: If you haven’t read Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, you’re missing something special. It’s so clever and funny, and completely original. I listened to it in audiobook and it was outstandingly good!

PP: Excellent, we’ll add that to the Paisley Piranha kindle. Thanks for coming, and best of luck with the Recoil trilogy.

Sound like your kind of books? Recoil is currently FREE on Kindle.

If contemporary fiction is more your school of minnows, check out Scarred instead.

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