Guest Author: Meg Tilly

 How much creative talent can one person have?

My guest author today has an abundance of artistic talent and energy. Initially, she was a dancer (dancing in the movie “Fame”) before a serious back injury forced her to change directions. It didn’t prove to be a setback because she then went on to a fabulous acting career where she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won a Golden Globe award for her role in the 1985 film, Agnes of God. I can only imagine what fun her three children had growing up when she took a break from acting in 1994 to focus on them, because I’m sure she would’ve focused so much creative energy into her parenting and created very special memories for them.
Now, this remarkable woman has returned to acting (seen playing alongside Brad Pitt in the 2017 Netflix feature film “War Machine”) but for years she’s also been honing another creative talent — as an author of novels and screenplays.
Originally, her books were dark stories but brought sensitive and important issues to light. These days she’s focusing on the genre she loves to read—romance!
From her home in the Pacific Northwest, I’d like to welcome my guest author, Meg Tilly to the blog.
Thanks for being here today, Meg, it’s very exciting to have you.
Thank you, Alyssa. I’m so happy you invited me to be a guest.
Your contemporary romantic suspense novel Solace Island was released late in 2018 by Berkley Books and is the first in a three book series. It’s been described by USA Today as “A romantic thriller with a clever ending. You may think you know exactly where the story is going, but looks, and people can be deceiving.” Can you tell us about Solace Island and whether it posed any particular challenges for you to write?
Oddly enough, writing Solace Island was the happiest I’d ever been as a writer. I had initially written Solace Island under a pen name. It was so freeing. I was writing the kind of book my heart had wanted to write, but I’d never had the courage or confidence to follow through. I had been devouring romance novels for decades and had made a few attempts at “writing what I read” with no luck. When I came up with the pen name, it freed something inside. I was able to write with no expectations, with no past rearing its ugly head. Now, of course, I have switched back to Meg Tilly. When the fabulous Jayne Ann Krentz advises you to do something, one would be a fool to disregard it. I am many things, but luckily, in this instance, I was not a fool.
I'm quite sure we would never call you a fool!
From all I’ve read, you’ve had an amazing life filled with some incredibly high points but also some dreadful lows. I know you’ve said you love the way romance novels teach women to speak their mind, to have their own opinions and to be strong and unique.
To keep going through the lows and to emerge with such acclaim in so many areas, you’re obviously very talented but what drives you? How do you draw strength?
Looking back over my life, I think in a way the hardships were also a gift. I know how challenging life can be. I know how very, very blessed my life is now and I don’t take even the simplest of life’s glories for granted. Also, when difficulties arise I look back at other things that I’ve overcome and think, “Well, sure, this is tough, but not as tough as that was! So while this might seem devastating you will find your way through.”
I love your outlook. I think the saying that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, can certainly be true. I think back to the hardships I've been through and think 'If I only knew then what I know now..." We can learn and grow from our experiences.
Your husband is also an author so he obviously understands the pressures of deadlines, the frustrations when the ideas don’t flow as quickly as you’d like them to and the joy of the story coming together. Do you use each other as sounding boards and if so, do you spin ideas around as they’re coming or do you prefer to wait to have the story line in your head before you share?
My husband generally will write the first three chapters and then has me take a look to let him know if the voice seems right, etc. After that he likes to go it alone. If he gets stuck he will tell me the bare bones of the problem and we brainstorm and generally something breaks through.
I, on the other hand, generally write the manuscript, go through it a few times and then have him read through it and flag things, make comments and then I do another draft or two before sending the manuscript to my editor or agent if it doesn’t have a home yet. Although sometimes if I’m having a lot of doubts, I will have him read a few chapters before it’s finished. But usually, if I get around 100 pages in and am having big doubts it’s because it feels wrong in my belly and even if Don says it’s fine, I generally end up scraping it and starting over.
You’ve said you love nature and I understand you love being at home where you can enjoy being in the midst of nature. Do you have a bucket list of places you’d like to travel or things you’d like to do?
I don’t. Weird huh? I’m happy to travel for work, or to see family and friends, and I enjoy seeing the different sights, tastes, art and architecture but my favourite place to be is cosy at home.
Home sounds like a great place to be!

The second book in the series, Cliff’s Edge is due for release in May of this year and there’s a third book in the series which I’m guessing you’re working on now. Can you tell us a little about these stories?

In Cliff’s Edge, Maggie’s sister, Eve gets her happy-ever-after and it’s a good one! It took me three attempts before I found the right man for her. The male lead is Rhys Thomas, a hot, super successful movie star. The movie world is one I… ahem… know a little bit about. There are thrills and chills sprinkled throughout and the whole stew culminates in a very satisfying conclusion.
I’ve handed in the manuscript for the third Solace book/Hidden Cove as well and am waiting for edits.
I set the Solace series on an island that is very similar to the one where I live. There are a ton of artists and art galleries here. When I was writing the first Saturday market scene in Solace Island, Zelia, a gallery owner showed up. She flirted with Luke and bought a plethora of his bread and croissants. She was acting all jaunty and confident, but the writer in me could sense an underlying sorrow lurking under the surface. Maggie got the man, but Zelia stuck in my heart. Even as I was writing Cliff’s Edge, I knew that Zelia was going to be featured in Hidden Cove, the third Solace novel.
I am having so much fun writing romantic suspense, the balance of lightness and dark. That laughter, hope and love win over darkness. However, I have to confess, I sometimes get nervous that if my computer ever got seized in a raid, my search history from diving into the villains’ needs and worlds would make them think I had intentions on committing all sorts of nefarious deeds.
Yes, I think our internet searches would make for interesting lists in themselves!
Meg, thank you for joining me today and I can't wait to read your upcoming releases.
I was at RT Reno but didn’t get a chance to meet you. I’ll make a point of looking out for you at the Booklovers Convention in New Orleans in May.
Thanks Alyssa! I look forward to meeting you in person. I had a quick question of my own if you’ll humour me?
I noticed you have the first book of a new series, Seduced By The Enemy (Billionaires and Babies Book 1) coming out April 4th 2019 and was wondering if you would share how the idea came to you? I loved the premise of two people being forced to put aside their enmity for the wellbeing of a child. I imagine the work you do with children gives you a lot of insight into the complex dynamics that are mostly hidden from public view.
What a lovely lead in to my work and how gracious of you to throw the spotlight onto my upcoming release!
I value family relationships and like to write and read stories where the characters are motivated to act for the love of family. There's nothing more compelling than life-death situation and that's the situation my characters face for their mutual niece. The fact there's animosity between them makes for a conflict right from the outset.
You're right that my work with children gives me added insight but that's more with children who have disability rather than who are facing a terminal illness. Two of my children have been seriously ill - one of my premature twins needed life-saving bowel surgery but surgeons were't sure it would succeed (particularly as she was 990g). Another of my children was diagnosed with a brain tumour in his teens and for six weeks post-surgery nobody was certain of the exact type of tumour because it was so rare, but they thought it was cancerous. So, I can relate to the angst and helplessness parents face with a child who's having a medical struggle. Thankfully, we've been very blessed and our children are all doing brilliantly (harks back to my "Wish I'd known then what I know now" comment earlier). It's been great to be able to write a HEA ending for the child in this story as well, but her needs drew my characters together.
For more information on Meg, her wonderful stories please visit her site: https://megtillyauthor.com/

Here are some covers from her young adult books! One character is Alyssa!

 

I hope you'll join me next week with my guest author, Celeste Bradley. Until then, Happy Reading!!

Best wishes,
Alyssa

www.alyssajmontgomery.com 

Comments

  1. WOW Ladies what a fabulous interview, I do love the sound of your books Meg, I need to look them up and what a very interesting life you lead acting and writing and yes home is always the best

    Have fun

    Helen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting Helen! Meg has certainly led a fascinating life, and definitely add her romance titles to your TBR pile!
      Have a lovely day!

      Delete

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