Meg Mitchell Moore had critics raving last year with her debut novel, The Arrivals (out in paperback now) and readers are anxiously awaiting her highly-anticipated second book, So Far Away (May 29). Mitchell Moore sits down with SheKnows to dish on writing, motherhood and why she has photos of lobstermen taped to her desk…
SheKnows: Tweet us a blurb about your novel, So Far Away (in a 140 characters or fewer, of course)
Meg Mitchell Moore (@mmitchmoore): A 13-year-old cyberbullying victim connects with a heartbroken archivist and an Irish domestic servant from the 1920s through an old diary.
SheKnows: How is So Far Away different from The Arrivals? In what ways, if any, is it similar?
Meg Mitchell Moore: I think of it as very different and I’m really curious to know how readers respond. It’s darker. I think it’s more ambitious. And in many thematic ways, it’s the exact opposite: The Arrivals was about people returning home in search of solace, and So Far Away is about people looking outside their usual circles for solace that they couldn’t find at home.
SheKnows: Your debut novel, The Arrivals, is now out in paperback (time flies!). How would you describe your first year as a published author?
Meg Mitchell Moore: Busy! And exciting. And a great learning year. I was a lot more nervous last year at this time. This year, I have learned how to chill out about the stuff I can’t control. I have no Google alert on my name. I don’t read any reviews unless they are sent to me from my publicist. I take real joy in the writing time I have (I’m working on my third novel) because I understand more than ever that that is where the real happiness is.
SheKnows: You’re a mother of three and a full-time author and you even have a dog! We always ask authors about balance. What does it mean to you and how do you achieve it?
Meg Mitchell Moore: Oh, balance is elusive. Time is always a challenge, so when I do have time to write, I try really hard to focus and let everything else in life fade into the background, even if only for an hour or two. I also do NOT try to write when my kids are around. I think it’s impossible, so I don’t put myself through the torture. Writing happens only when I’m alone. I think all working moms are trying for balance. All you can do is do the best you can to get to everything and try not to beat yourself up when you don’t succeed.
SheKnows: What are five things in your writing space that give us some insight about you?
Meg Mitchell Moore:
- Jar of colored pencils and crayons — my first-grader doesn’t have a desk in her room so she does her homework here.
- Two giant bags of books I have been meaning to donate to a wonderful small volunteer-run library in my town. Packed them up five weeks ago and they haven’t moved since (see previous question about balance).
- Photos of lobstermen taped above my desk, inspiration for my third novel, now in progress.
- Bottle of Kombucha, my afternoon treat.
- Box of index cards with notes for third novel. I am not very good at plotting ahead, but I tried really hard to do that this time. I’m not sure it’s working.
SheKnows: One of the key plot points in So Far Away involves a diary. Do you keep a journal?
Meg Mitchell Moore: I don’t! In fact, the journal was one of the hardest things to write in the book. I kept resisting the idea that it needed to be written — in the first several drafts, I alluded to the journal, but never showed it; I told the entire story of the journal-writer in third person.
SheKnows: Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us what it’s about?
Meg Mitchell Moore: I am! I’m really excited about it. It’s tentatively titled The Captain’s Daughter. It’s about the daughter of a lobsterman from a small fishing village in Maine who returns to the town she thought she escaped when her father’s boat goes missing and confronts her past as well as some uncomfortable truths about her present.