I was very lucky to be able to talk with Megan about The Fallen World series and how it feels to have a published series out in the world.
This is a very interesting and different dystopian series that sets itself apart from those surrounding it. I was very impressed by this story, not only because it was a refreshing look at the dystopian genre, but because of the way it was written.
I hope you enjoy this interview from Megan!
1. Dystopia is a genre that has taken over the YA genre as of late, what made you want to write in this particular genre?
Megan Crewe: To be honest, I never set out to write in a particular genre. I just have story ideas that I get excited about, and they happen to fit into one genre or another. :) I've always found end-of-the-world type scenarios fascinating because when times get that desperate, people are pushed to their limits, and you get to see both the best and the worst of humanity. It's a lot of fun (if often emotionally draining) to write about a situation that intense. I also liked exploring what becomes really important to people when many of the aspects of modern life we take for granted are stripped away.
2. The Way We Fall is quite different from most Dystopian novels because it shows how the epidemic started. Why did you take that approach instead of just starting off after everything had already fallen apart?
Megan Crewe: Mainly it was that, when I read most dystopian novels, I find myself wondering how the world got to the place it's at, and what people were doing during the change that led to this new world. So I loved the idea of taking a look at that in-between time in a story of my own. I find the questions of how the world can fall apart and how people deal with that in the moment to be just as, if not more, intriguing than the questions of what happens years down the road.
3. Kaelyn loses a lot within the first book, why did you chose to include all of that in the first book and not spread it out over the series?
Megan Crewe: Oh, believe me, she still has more to lose. *evil author smile* THE WAY WE FALL, to me, is very much Kaelyn's personal story, in which she grapples with the changes in her everyday life and losing people she used to count on. The rest of the trilogy branches out into the world beyond her island, which means she has to face different sorts of challenges. I don't think she'd have been strong enough to deal with what's coming in books 2 and 3 if she hadn't reached such a low point in the first book and made it out the other side.
4. There is a sort of love triangle that appears within The Way We Fall but it is quite different than most. Why did you think to include Leo as a main focus of Kaelyn's journal?
Megan Crewe: I'd had the idea sitting around for quite a while, about a person relating a story as a journal addressed to someone who wasn't there. When I was playing with the idea of a killer virus story, I realized that format could work perfectly there. Giving Kaelyn someone to focus on who was outside her situation provided a counterpoint to what was going on around her--someone (as far as she knew) untouched by the epidemic, someone who represented the life she used to have and was afraid of losing permanently. Leo was something like a touchstone for her, a person to focus her hopes on.
Having Leo's presence in the story also allowed me to show how Kaelyn's focus changes over the course of the book. When she starts out, the journal is mainly for her to work through her feelings about him. But over time, writing to him becomes less important, and she's writing more and more for herself.
5. The entire book is pretty much written in journal form, what made you take that approach instead of writing straight first person prose?
Megan Crewe: I gave the format a lot of thought, because I know quite a few readers are adverse to journal form. But I just couldn't imagine the story playing out properly in regular first person. I wanted it to be a chronicle of the day-by-day struggles a person would face, showing all the little joys and crises amid the big ones, the way a catastrophe slowly unfolds and affects all aspects of people's lives. In regular first person, it's a lot harder to do that; it would feel more natural just to focus on the big events.
6. Most authors base their characters on people from their past, are there any characters in your series that are based on friends or family?
Megan Crewe: I don't generally base my characters completely on any one person--I find that too restrictive. But I will pick and choose habits or characteristics from people I know to build them. Kaelyn's social awkwardness and her love of animals both come from me. My mom's interested in gardening, though not to the extent Tessa is. When deciding Meredith's interests I often thought of the little sister of the kids I work with in my day job. It's mostly little things like that.
7. The setting of The Way We Fall is very important, why did you chose to base your story in an island community?
Megan Crewe: Being able to isolate my characters from the rest of the world was an important aspect of the story. It made the situation more frightening, and also allowed me to avoid revealing to readers what was going on on the mainland until book 2! In our modern society, it's very difficult to effectively quarantine a community, especially with cell phones, the internet, etc. I realized that an island was pretty much the only place the story could happen where I could cut the characters off from the rest of the world. I also happen to have an affinity for watery settings--they feel very symbolic and atmospheric to me. A lake plays an important role in my first novel.
8. I absolutely loved the Way We Fall and I want to thank you for writing it, but my last question is: what can we expect from the rest of series?
Megan Crewe: That's a big question! I can't say too much, because of course I'd like readers to be surprised. But I can say that readers should expect more action, several new characters, and a lot of moral dilemmas for Kaelyn to struggle with as well as the practical problems. Also, remember there's still a killer virus on the loose, and a lot of desperate survivors. Not everyone's going to make it to the end. You've been forewarned!
I really want to thank Megan for answering my questions and for writing such a great dystopian series!
About the Author
You can find a more detailed biography on her main website.