Interview with Kelly Meding, author of Tempest

Publisher: Pocket Star

Publish Date: April 22, 2013

Order Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: The public doesn't trust them. The government wants to control them. Being a superhero has never been this hard, especially for Tempest.

Two months after the discovery of the powerful, non-Meta Recombinants, the former Rangers—Meta-powered humans dedicated to preserving the peace—have made no progress in uncovering the newcomers' origins, or convincing the public to trust them. Newly powered Metas are popping up and causing trouble, while the former Banes—Metas who harm humans and create chaos—show no inclination that they even want to leave the island prison of Manhattan. With a presidential election looming, the hot political debate is all about Meta rights—and whether they deserve to have any.

Still haunted by the murder of so many in the Meta War fifteen years earlier, Ethan "Tempest" Swift accepts an assignment in Manhattan, working with a team that's interviewing Banes to determine which are still threats and which have reformed. But Ethan has a personal reason for going to the island as well. Armed with questions for the Bane who just might be his father, Ethan's quest for answers is interrupted by an unexpected assault on the island. Forced to side with old enemies to uncover who's responsible for the devastating attack, Ethan begins to question more than just his past—he questions his place in defending a world that sees him as its enemy.

MetaWars series: Trance (1), Changeling (2), Tempest (3), Chimera (4)

Interview: Q. Please tell us about your current release.

TEMPEST is the third book in my MetaWars superhero series, which follows a team of adult heroes as they adapt to life with powers again after not having them for fifteen years.  They must deal with a public that fears them, a government still intent on regulating them, and villains who want to kill them, all while occasionally taking the chance of falling in love. Each book is narrated by a different character, so every hero (hopefully) gets a chance to tell their story.

TEMPEST is Ethan's story.  Ethan "Tempest" Swift can manipulate air into cyclones, creature pressure walls, fly, and even drill through solid objects, but he still doesn't feel worthy of his place in the group.  He has painful secrets hiding beneath his quick wit and friendly smile, and he lives in fear of losing his friends if those secrets ever come to light—of being seen as less than a hero in their eyes.  When Ethan travels to an island prison to confront the super-villain he believes is his father, he becomes embroiled in a plot to destroy all Metas that was put into motion decades earlier. And in the midst of battling this new enemy, an unexpected attraction brings Ethan a spark of hope for his future—if he can find the courage to come out to his teammates.

Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to writing?

I've been making up stories since I was a kid, but I didn't start writing them down until junior high. Even then, it was all in fun and I never took it seriously. For a little while in high school, I dreamed of being just like S.E. Hinton and getting published as a teenager. Unfortunately, I didn't have any good ideas when I was a teenager.  Most of my stories were extremely derivative of other books or films.

In college, I discovered a love of both screenwriting and fanfiction. While fanfiction was a fun release, screenwriting became my new dream—until I realized I'd pretty much have to move to Los Angeles and live in a cardboard box, and the chances of ever having a screenplay produced were miniscule.  So I turned one of those screenplays into a novel, and I've been working in prose ever since.  It took several trunked novels before I discovered urban fantasy as a genre, and then I never looked back. TEMPEST is my seventh published novel.

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your current release?

For once, I think I can honestly say no, I wouldn't change anything about what I wrote. I told the story I wanted to tell, how I wanted to tell it. Ethan got his chance to shine, the MetaWars world continues to expand and change, and I hope readers love this book as much as I do.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Telling myself that it's okay to stop and walk away for a while. I get like that when I reach the ¾ mark and can see the end of the book looming. I become a little obsessed with reaching the end, with seeing how it all pans out, and I have a hard time doing anything else, or thinking about anything else, until The End is typed into the document.

Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to while writing? If so, what kind of music?

The playlist changes with every book.  Sometimes it changes based on the scene I'm writing. A lot of the music I listen to is adult contemporary, pop, and rock, with other things tossed into the mix.  While writing TEMPEST, some of the songs I listened to frequently were "Over My Head" by Lit, "Perfect" by Simple Plan, "Little Lion Man" by Mumford & Sons, and "Broken" by Lifehouse.

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I like to "cast" my characters before I start a new book. It's a quirk leftover from my days writing for email-based role-playing games. I like having a firm picture of the character in my mind when I'm starting a project.  Very often during the writing of the book, the character takes on a life of their own and that starting image falls by the wayside.  On Pinterest, I've made some Boards for my books so I can pin those images for myself and others to see, kind of like an inspiration collage.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

The fourth MetaWars book, CHIMERA, releases from Pocket Star on November 11. This book is told from Renee "Flex" Duvall's point of view. Anyone who's read the first two books (TRANCE and CHANGELING) knows Renee can be a bit of a bitch, so getting into her head was a challenge. But I think fans will be very pleased with her journey.

Q. Please tell us your latest news.

I have a short story in an anthology called CARNIEPUNK that releases from Pocket on July 23, along with some fantastic authors like Allison Pang, Kelly Gay, Jackie Kessler, Jennifer Estep, Kevin Hearne, and many others. My story, "Freak House" is about a half-djinn whose father is kidnapped by a warlock who charges rich men a lot of money to see a sideshow of paranormal creatures performing magic. This is a new universe for me, unrelated to either MetaWars or Dreg City.

I also have a short story in a shared world anthology called REDEUS: BEYOND BORDERS. The world was created by Bob Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, and Paul Kupperberg, and is distributed by Crazy 8 Press.  The anthology will debut this year at Balticon.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

THANK YOU. It may seem small, but seriously. Writers are nothing without readers, and every book you buy increases the odds that I'll be able to write another one. So thank you, readers, for all of your support, and for journeying through the MetaWars world with me.


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