2017 Debut Authors Bash: Meg Kassel


Hi, everyone!

Life happened…and we go a little behind (for the first time ever) on the Bash. So, we’re catching up in 2018. Just makes extra promotion for the books!

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before embracing her true passion, writing. She now lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her family, and is busy at work on her next novel. A fan of ’80s cartoons, original Netflix series, daydreaming, and ancient mythology, Meg has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. When she’s not writing, Meg is reading, hanging out with her husband and daughter, hiding her peanut butter cups, or walking her rescue mutt, Luna. She is a two-time finalist and the 2016 YA winner of the RWA Golden Heart© contest. Her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows, releases fall of 2017.


Can you tell us about your book, Black Birds of the Gallows, in 45 words or less?

It’s about Angie (a music-loving teen girl), Reece (a harbinger of death who survives by taking in the energy of the dying), and Rafette, (a tragic creature called a Beekeeper), who will do anything to be rid of his curse.

That’s pretty inelegant, but 45 WORDS. Using all of them only made it worse.


What was your favorite scene to write?

The final scene—the climax, or black moment, or whatever it is. The one where everyone’s fate is sealed. I can’t say more than that. It was the only scene I knew in detail when I started. Writing the book was an exercise in writing toward THAT SCENE. I refused to write it out of order, so it became my big reward for getting my characters to that park on that day under those circumstances.


Do you have a favorite quote?

“That was really nice, but I don’t kiss guys who won’t tell me what planet they’re from.” That was Angie, the main character, talking to Reece, the boy she just (obviously) kissed. To which he replies (with a cocky grin, of course), “I told you before, I’m not an alien.”

He’s not, seriously. This isn’t a book about aliens.


What was the hardest scene to edit out?

Oh man, there was a four or five page monologue by the Beekeeper, Rafette, the “villain” (I love him SO much, I made a different Beekeeper a hero in the companion novel, coming out next fall), in which he explains his whole history, including how he was turned into the creature he is, and who did it, but it didn’t fit because Black Bird wasn’t Rafette’s story, it was Angie and Reece’s. Ninety-five percent of it had to be cut. I hated doing it. But like I said, Beekeepers rule in the companion novel, and they are not what they appear.


What has been your favorite part or most stand out moment (so far) of being a 2017 Debut Author?

By far, the most stand out (and most terrifying) moment was signing ARCs of this book at Book Expo America and BookCon this past spring in NYC. It was something that I never thought I’d do and it blew my mind to smithereens. Met some amazing readers, who were very kind when nerves got the best of me and I spelled my own name wrong (yes, I did that). It took me days to recover from the overwhelmed-ness of it, but it was an epic experience.


What theme song would you give Black Bird of the Gallows?

Whatever music tickles my fancy becomes my playlist for any given book I’m writing. In this case, looking at the playlist I had on repeat while writing this book, I’d choose London Grammar’s Metal and Dust as the theme song. It was on heavy rotation during the writing of this book and some of the vibe leached into the words.


If you could recommend three other books to readers who loved Black Birds of the Gallows, what would you recommend?

Geez, this is a hard one. How about these: The Replacement, by Brenna Yovanoff, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black, and Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo. All three of those books blew me away. I loved them all.


What is the best book you’ve read recently?

I thoroughly enjoyed Warcross, by Marie Lu. A lot.


What are the next 2 books in your TBR pile?

All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater and Renegades, by Marissa Meyer