Bluewood interviews Megan Cox, author of Young Adult Fiction

Bluewood Publishing: Hi there, welcome to Bluewood. Tell us a little about yourself. What part of the world do you live in? Tell us about your background?

Megan: I like to say I’m from all over the United States. I’ve had the opportunity to live in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Newark (Delaware), Colorado Springs, Boston, and Baltimore, and I now reside in Oklahoma City. I love to travel and am currently working toward my goal of visiting all seven continents and all fifty states. My parents were in the airline industry, so roaming is in the blood!

Bluewood: Who are your favorite authors?

Megan: Oh my. This is a good, long list. I’d have to say Michael Crichton is probably my all-time favorite, but I have also voraciously consumed books by John Grisham, Jane Austen, Charlaine Harris, and Frank Peretti. That’s pretty eclectic, I know! I also adore many YA authors—the humor and wit of Carrie Jones and Markus Zusak as well as the expert storytelling of Veronica Roth and Lauren Oliver.

Bluewood: What is your genre and what attracts you to that genre, and what made you want to write it?

Megan: I write young adult fiction—everything from action-packed thrillers to sarcastic romances. I’ve enjoyed reading the YA genre since I was a teenager and am still fond of it. There’s something very interesting and romantic about this age. The teenage years are when one discovers so much about the world—both good and bad. That’s what I love about writing for this audience.

Bluewood: The question you are probably always asked – how long have you been writing?

Megan: I’m pretty certain there’s a short manuscript that I wrote in the first grade about a princess tiger. It’s sitting in a box in the attic. I’ve always been accused of having an overactive imagination and was keen as a child on playing dress-up and acting out stories. I started trying my hand at poetry and short stories at the age of twelve and attended my first writer’s conference in my early teens. I can’t remember not wanting to be a writer, I guess. I completed my first book at the age of 22, but it wasn’t until I reached my thirties that I became brave enough to submit my work!

Bluewood: Does the way you personally look at life reflect in your writing style?

Megan: Yes. I believe in hope, justice, self-respect, and love. These are themes you will see in all my writing.

Bluewood: What concept or situation about your book makes it so unique?

Megan: The Mafia is a huge part of Americana—both past and present. And yet, there’s little literature on the subject for young people. This could be because the mob is known for violence and immorality, but I figured if I wrote a story that emphasized the good—such as law enforcement’s positive role and the decisions an individual can make to affect good or bad outcomes, then the material was perfect for a YA audience.

Bluewood: Tell us about Accidental Mobster. What was your inspiration for this book?

Megan: I have always been fascinated by the Mafia and the families connected to it. I also have family and friends in law enforcement, and I am amazed at how brave and dedicated they are when it comes to fighting crime. I wanted to do a twist on the Cinderella concept, and so I came up with the character of Danny Higgins, a poor kid with nowhere to go until his wealthy godfather, Gino, takes him in. It’s every person’s fantasy to suddenly become rich, and that’s how the story begins. However, the money has to come from somewhere, and when Danny discovers how his godfather makes a living and that law enforcement is after him, it’s a big moral dilemma for Danny.

Bluewood: What is your favorite scene from the book and why?

Megan: Hmm. I love the first time Danny and Vince (Gino’s son) hang out. They come from polar opposite backgrounds, and they respond to their surroundings so differently. In fact, I think Vince is possibly my favorite character throughout the trilogy, because he’s like a little, temperamental kid trapped in an extra-large teenaged body.

Bluewood: Have you written other books?

Megan: I have completed the Teen Mobster Trilogy (which includes Accidental Mobster, Undercover Wiseguy, and Covert Criminal). I also have several other manuscripts that I am currently polishing. I just have a hard time letting them go!

Bluewood: If you could tell us one thing about the Young Adult genre that makes your mind spin with ideas, what would that be?

Megan: Oh the possibilities are endless! Every time I talk to a young person—middle school or high school—I come away thinking, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” Maybe I like writing this genre because I still get to think like a teenager. It’s fun to relive those days. Although, for most of my characters, their problems extend past the question, “Do you think he/she likes me?” And you know, for most real-life teenagers, that’s true as well. It’s an age group that should never be discounted because of their youth. They are smart, capable of love, and faced with life-changing dilemmas. And that’s why I enjoy writing for them.

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Megan!