Today I'm pleased to welcome Meghan Rogers to APCB to talk about her biggest inspirations as a writer and how they have contributed to the her debut, Crossing the Line.
Guest Post - Meghan Rogers
My two biggest inspirations as a writer are visual media and my life. For Crossing the Line the visual media inspiration came into play from the start. The whole reason this book exists is because I saw The Avengers and found myself fascinated by the character of Black Widow. I knew nothing about her character going in. When we meet her in the movie, she’s a huge part of SHIELD, but before long we start to realize that at one point in time, she was an enemy. I became obsessed with what the transition from enemy to ally must have been like, and that became the backbone for Crossing the Line.
In the book, my main character Jocelyn was kidnapped by a North Korean spy organization and raised to be a ruthless assassin and operative. Now she’s eighteen, and she’s looking to break away from them. To do that, she’s turning to the International Defense Agency (IDA), which she’s spent the past ten years fighting against. That’s where I got to play with the Avengers inspired transition. I had a lot of fun exploring what it would be like not only for her, as the person changing sides, but also for everyone else involved.
Then there were a few ways my life contributed to the book. The biggest of which came in the form of a character. While I was developing the world of Crossing the Line, I decided that the IDA should have a school component to it—after all, if they were creating young spies, it would make sense to teach them too. I was developing some of the student characters and trying to fill out a class but it felt like something was missing.
I was working with high school students at the time and I there was one student in particular who was always on his phone or computer when he wasn’t supposed to be, though he was very good-natured when he got caught. He liked to push the envelope and get away with as much as he could, but he never went too far. He was also loyal and unapologetic in a way that was kind of inspiring. I realized that student was exactly what my book needed. Because that character showed up fully formed, he plays a much bigger role in the story than I thought a student would have when I first decided there would be a school. Also, since I was around a lot of high school students when I was writing this, there are tons of little things from them that worked their way into the book—small character traits, stories they’d tell me, words they used, and other things like that.
Another big inspiration that came from my life is Jocelyn’s codename: Raven. When my editor and I were discussing what her codename could be, my sister happened to be interning at the Philadelphia Zoo. My editor had suggested a bird, which I liked the idea of. I talked to my sister about which birds were difficult to control (since Jocelyn also couldn’t be controlled) and she said ravens. And in addition to be hard to control, ravens are also super smart. The raven at the Philly Zoo (whose name is Poe, by the way) only cooperates for one of his keepers and has to be given regular enrichment activities. He also smart enough to actually ask for help on these activities; he never gets the help he asks for, but he keeps trying. And actually, now that I think about, Jocelyn’s not one to give up either, so I guess they have that in common too!
There are, of course, dozens (probably hundreds, really) of little side stories of inspiration that went into creating this book, but these three are most definitely the biggest.
About the Book:If Jason Bourne were a teenaged girl…
Jocelyn Steely was kidnapped as a child and raised in North Korea as a spy. When her agency sends her to the U.S. to infiltrate the very group her parents once worked for, Jocelyn jumps at the chance to turn double agent and finish off her kidnappers once and for all. She convinces the head of the American spy agency to trust her, but it’s not quite as simple as that: Jocelyn has to fight the withdrawal symptoms from the drug that the North Koreans used to keep her in line, and her new fellow spies refuse to trust their former adversary. Worst of all, there might be some new information to uncover about her parents - if she even wants to find out.
This action-packed spy thriller is part Gallagher Girls, part Alex Rider, and part Bourne Identity.
Book Buy Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
About the Author:Meghan Rogers has been telling stories since she could talk and writing creatively since she was first introduced to the concept in third grade. She spent her high school years completing her first novel and has been actively writing ever since. After college, Meghan went on to work with high school writers while earning her MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College. She is currently living in the Philadelphia area and working on the next Raven Files novel.
Social Media Links: Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest
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