Hey! You might have guessed that the two resident Ravenous Readers are just a tad nerdy. So when we had the chance to get to know two nerdy characters AND their nerdy creator, we couldn't resist sharing them with you. Check out a bit more about everyone below and enter to win your own copy of Meg & Linus!
Interview with Hanna Nowinkski
Meg and Linus are self-identified nerds who love Star Trek. Are you a Trekkie or part of another fandom?
I’m a life-long Trekkie. I grew up watching Star Trek and everything I believe in is based on Star Trek: that human beings can solve their problems through intelligence and understanding, that the only way to progress is by working together and relying on reason and fact. It’s been my biggest fandom for as long as I can remember. I’ve been part of other fandoms, most of them within the sci-fi realm. Stargate, a little Firefly and Farscape most of all. But there’s nothing I love more than Star Trek.
We love Swoon Reads titles! What was your publishing process like and do you have any recommendations for authors who hope to be part of the Swoon Reads process?
My publishing process was one of the most nerve-wracking and exciting experiences of my life. I always wanted to be an author, but I never really managed to finish anything I was pleased with. Discovering Swoon Reads gave me a fresh boost because it seemed so much less intimidating than the traditional process. I’ve written a lot of fanfiction and I felt like in a way this was similar: write a novel-length story and put it on the internet, then hope that people read it and like it.
I heard back from them a lot faster than I thought I would and I couldn’t believe it at first because I never really expected them to choose my story. I had no experience with publishing and the first phone call with them . . . I could barely remember how to speak English. And opening the email with the first edit letter made me so nervous I almost didn’t want to do it at all.
My recommendation is mostly to just go for it. Don’t be afraid to try. What really helped me, and what I believe was the main reason I ever even had a chance, was having other people read over my manuscript before I submitted it. Don’t underestimate the importance of beta readers. If you can find people to give you feedback on your work before you submit it, that will be worth a lot. You’re too close to your own work to see everything that doesn’t work. A second or third or fourth pair of eyes can never hurt.
Meg is very much in a process of grieving over her relationship while Linus might be starting something new. What was it like exploring that dynamic?
Having that dynamic was really the starting point of my story. I wanted to have them on opposite sides of a romantic arc to explore how important a friend’s presence can be for both. I wanted them to have to navigate this together with both of them being the one supported and the one doing the supporting. Because friendship has to go both ways. It was interesting to try and find a balance for that where they can both rely on the other in equal measure, with both of them needing different things.
What personal teen experiences did you bring to the story?
Mostly the nerd aspect of it. My romantic experiences as a teenager were pretty much nonexistent, but I’ve always been a huge nerd and I’ve always been happy to find people who liked the things I did. And with the exception of my last two years in high school I was never really part of a huge group of friends. I definitely wasn’t one of the popular kids. And you don’t have to be that in order to be happy, and that was definitely something I wanted to bring to the story. You can find your own people wherever you like. They can be a group of twenty or just one person. You don’t HAVE to be anything. That’s something I had to learn as a teenager, several times over, and just that feeling of “oh, hey, yeah, this is me!” is something I wanted to bring to the story as well. Meg & Linus are way better at it than I ever was as a teen. But their comfort with their personalities is at least based on the comfort level with myself that I slowly started to grow into as a teenager.
Tell us about the process of writing in dual perspectives. What was it like living in the heads of two characters?
It wasn’t actually that difficult. They’re similar, but from the beginning they were separate enough in my head that I could go back and forth between them without problem. I felt very connected to both of them, and since their individual situations in the story are so different, it was a bit like flicking a switch every time I changed back and forth between them. I think if characters are different enough in your head, it’s an easy adjustment from one to the other, because you’re not as likely to mix up one’s characteristics and views with the other’s. And even though these two share a lot of basic traits, they aren’t the same. It was a bit like hanging out with one friend, than with another, and then with the first again. And you all have the same interests and basic world views, but you’re still different people. I could talk to both of them separately because they had very distinctly different voices in my head.
by Hanna Nowinski
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 18th 2017
Can friendship, Star Trek, drama club, and a whole lot of coffee get two nerdy best friends through the beginning of their senior year of high school?
Meg and Linus are best friends bound by a shared love of school, a coffee obsession, and being queer. It’s not always easy to be the nerdy lesbian or gay kid in a suburban town. But they have each other. And a few Star Trek boxed sets. They’re pretty happy.
But then Sophia, Meg’s longtime girlfriend, breaks up with Meg. Linus starts tutoring the totally dreamy new kid, Danny—and Meg thinks setting them up is the perfect project to distract herself from her own heartbreak. But Linus isn’t so sure Danny even likes guys, and maybe Sophia isn’t quite as out of the picture as Meg thought she was. . . .
From crowdsourced young adult imprint Swoon Reads comes Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinski, a fun friendship story about two quirky teens who must learn to get out of their comfort zones and take risks—even if that means joining the drama club, making new friends, and learning how to stand on your own.
Hanna Nowinski is a language enthusiast and trained translator for German and English who lives in the middle of nowhere, Germany. She has wanted to be a writer since she learned that books were made by real people. As a kid, she made up her own bedtime stories, mostly sending her stuffed animals on adventures around the world. She loves books, music, coffee, and getting way too emotionally invested in TV shows. Meg & Linus is her debut novel.
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