Thursday, July 05, 2018

DANGEROUS TO KNOW - Megan Whitson Lee - One Free Book

Welcome, Megan. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
It really depends on the character. For most, I would say there’s about 25% of me in them. I really like to write about people who are not like me. I gravitate toward historical figures or characters who do things that I wouldn’t do (good or bad). I like to explore their minds, figure out their motivations. If they’re villainous, I enjoy the challenge of making them somewhat sympathetic (as in the case of Lord Bromby).

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
This is a tough one because most people who know me would tell you Quirky is my middle name. A better question might be, “What’s the most normal thing you’ve ever done?” Ha! I might go with my bat rescue story in this instance. A few years ago, I found an injured bat on the sidewalk in our neighborhood. It was a tiny little thing, and it was August and the temperature was in the nineties. My heart just broke when I saw it there on the ground, so I called animal control while I researched a bat rescue. By the time animal control got there, I was on my way outside with a shoe box and a towel. I thanked the officer for arriving so quickly but told them I’d found a bat rehabilitation center instead. Then I drove the bat about twenty miles to a rescue facility.

Interesting. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I knew I was a writer when I was a little kid. My grandfather asked me to write a story about a ghost with six toes that lived on their street. I relished this task, going to the trouble to illustrate and deliver it in booklet form. My grandfather was thrilled with the finished product, and this fueled me to write more stories. By fifth grade, I was writing longer stories and plays, and by high school, I had friends asking me to write fan fiction of sorts, starring them and their favorite singer, actor, etc. in the main roles. I feel like I’ve always been a writer.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I am a super-picky reader. If I read the first three chapters of a book and it’s not grabbing me, I’ll move on. I love, love, love psychological thrillers and scary stories and literary fiction that deals with hard-hitting issues. I also like classic literature, and I listen to a lot of audiobooks. I rarely read “light” books or romances or anything that’s run-of-the-mill fare. If a book can grab my attention in the first two or three pages and keep it all the way through to the end, then it will most likely be forever on my “favorites” list.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I’m not sure that I do keep it. Ha! I wake up really early, I try to do all my writing between 4:30 and 6:30, and then I’m off to my day job, so by evening I try to make time for my husband and our three dogs. Late afternoon is my decompression time.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
For Dangerous to Know, I tried to do a spin on the historical figures’ names. Lord George Gordon Byron became Lord Gregory Gordon Bromby. Annabella Milbanke became Isabella Bankmill. In other novels, though I try to pick a name that I really like for my main characters (a name I might have used on my own child if I’d had one), but I try to make sure it’s easily pronounceable for the reader. There’s nothing more irritating than reading a book and trying to figure out how to say the main character’s name.

I so agree with that. It will pull me right out of a story. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I don’t often think of myself as an accomplished person, but I guess I’m really thankful that I had the opportunity to travel and live in foreign countries when I was in my twenties. I lived and worked in London and Melbourne, Australia, and the experiences I gained there were invaluable. I learned a lot about myself and people in general while living abroad. I wouldn’t ever trade that.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’m so thankful I’m not an animal, although I love animals more than just about anything else on earth. If I had to be an animal, I’d be one of our three dogs. They are literally the most spoiled creatures alive. Barring that, cats seem to fare pretty well. They do just fine on their own, and they always seem highly amused by the world around them. Also, God equipped them with very decent self-protection.   

What is your favorite food?
Hands down, spaghetti.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The middle of a story is always my blocking point. I’ll fly through the first hundred pages of a novel, and then the middle often holds me up for weeks. I usually have to move forward, write the end, and then go back to the middle.

Tell us about the featured book.
Dangerous to Know is based on the historical figures of Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke. Byron achieved rock star fame in 1812 with the publication of his epic poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Born with a clubbed foot, Byron had a troubled childhood—his father abandoned the family when Byron was very young, and he was abused by his nurse. All of these occurrences colored his outlook on life. Even so, Byron was wildly intelligent, creative, and talented. He was also extraordinarily good looking and people were naturally drawn to him. Unfortunately, he was also agnostic and obsessed with his own damnation. Annabella Milbanke hailed from a background of wealth and nobility. She was a well-bred young lady—Byron’s equal in intelligence but his reverse in faith. She was a true believer and devout in her Christian faith, but she made the mistake that so many other young women make in the assumption that she could win Byron over to her beliefs. The result was disastrous.  

Dangerous to Know is really a cautionary tale about the dangers of “following your heart” when God warns us that our hearts are deceptive.

Please give us the first page of the book.
March 1812
“Don’t look at him, dear. He’s dangerous.”

Isabella Bankmill glanced at Aunt Lydia before turning her gaze once more toward the subject of the older woman’s warning. She had yet to have a proper look. The grand salon of Holland House was a whirling kaleidoscope of moving bodies. Ladies, arms encased past their elbows in white gloves, dressed in elegant billowing gowns, whirled with their partners as they moved through the paces of the waltz. The man in question was shielded from her view by the forty or more guests standing around the fringes of the dance floor—at least half of them clustered around the man himself.

“Pray tell, how is he dangerous, Aunt Lydia?”

Underneath the curls so carefully arranged against her forehead, Aunt Lydia’s brow arched with impertinence. “I have read his poem.”

“Do you mean Heralds of the Morning? Oh, yes. I have only begun reading the poem, but I find his words quite illuminate a certain romantic way of thinking. Did you not enjoy the work, Aunt?”

Aunt Lydia’s furrowed brow and pursed lips made apparent she did not. “The poem is a shocking journey through foreign lands—all too free thinking and questioning of moral decency. Why, one would think the poem was not written by an Englishman at all.” Extending her fan, she fluttered it back and forth in front of her face as though she might faint at any moment. Small gusts brushed against Isabella’s cheeks. “Have nothing to do with him. Your mother and father did not send you to London to fall under the spell of Lord Gregory Gordon Bromby.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website:    www.meganwhitsonlee.com
Twitter:           https://www.twitter.com/MeganWhitsonLee

Thank you, Megan, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers will be as eager to read it as I am.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Dangerous to Know - Paperback
Dangerous to Know - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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22 comments:

Katie Crawford said...

Kingsport TN

Melanie Backus said...

I am intrigued by this one. Melanie Backus, TX

Abigail Mitchell said...

This looks very interesting! I like to learn about true lives. Would love to read this.
Abigail in VA

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Hi Katie, Melanie, and Abigail,

Thanks for stopping by.

Melanie and Abigail, I'd love to know your thoughts after you read it.

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Lena,

Thank you so much for hosting me!

Sandy Quandt said...

Megan, your book should wonderful. I love how you have taken real people from history and spun their story into an intriguing tale.

Sandy Q TX

Sandy Quandt said...

Sorry ... that was supposed to be "sounds", not "should". sigh

Kelly Goshorn said...

I had the privilege to read an advanced copy of DTK and thoroughly enjoyed it! Kelly from Virginia

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Sandy,
Thanks. It was a labor of love, but I hope it carries a cautionary message as well.

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Thanks, Kelly!

Melissa Henderson said...

I have read Dangerous to Know and the story is amazing. Love it!!

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Thanks, Melissa!

Winnie Thomas said...

Thanks for the interview. This book looks and sounds fascinating. I'd love to win a copy.

Winnie T in Utah

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Thanks, Winnie. I’m glad you stopped by.

Vivian Furbay said...

The sounds like a very interesting story and I am wondering what happens to this couple. Vivian Furbay of CO

rubynreba said...

Enjoyed the interview. Sounds like a book I would enjoy!
Beth from Iowa

Caryl Kane said...

Hey Lena and Megan! DKT sounds wonderful!

Caryl K in TEXAS

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC

Terrill R. said...

I'm familiar with Megan Whitson Lee and excited to read her historical.

Terrill - WA

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sharon, Ruby, Terrill, Vivian, and Caryl,
Sorry I'm just now replying. If you choose to read, let me know what you think!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

This certainly sounds intriguing!
Blessings!
Connie from Kentucky
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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