Meredith Egan will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Author Interview: Meredith Egan
Thank you so much for inviting me to contribute today!
1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?
This book bubbled up for me after many years of working and volunteering with people affected by trauma. I started writing a story as a way to decompress after hearing so many stories of pain and transformation. Fictionalizing my experience helped me stay healthy!
That was 20 years ago. My first book (Just Living) was finally published in 2016, and I wasn’t sure of the genre. Tide’s End continues the story.
Now I’m calling my novels “Hopepunk meets Contemporary Fiction”. I wrote my novels because during conversations with friends and colleagues I realized that the places I go (prisons) and the people I work with (trauma survivors – thrivers even!) were pretty unique and special. I was given the rare opportunity to understand (at some level – I know it’s not the same as being there!) life in prison, and the consequences of living after trauma.
These are voices that deserve to be heard, especially at this time when we are trying to understand histories of oppression and the consequences of generational trauma. I’m so honoured to work with people on the front line to help me tell their stories well.
2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a firstborn, middle, or last child, and how does this shape your view of the world?
I am the last child of four children, born into a fairly chaotic home life. I spent way to much energy trying to minimize conflict and the (very loud) difficult relationships in my family.
I didn’t succeed very often (of course).
However, my early experiences encouraged me to learn more about conflict management, de-escalation, restorative responses to harm, and critical incident/trauma informed practices. I worked in schools, communities and prisons promoting peacemaking and healing practices. I also decided pretty early on that I needed to understand healthy family dynamics and peaceful parenting, and non-violent communication.
Which led to my unique work, and these novels!
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
I work most happily in my office of my home in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia (north of Bellingham-ish). I live in co-housing, on a 20-acre organic farm with 35 other families. We like each other (usually!) and work together to share meals, gardens, and conversations. Looking out my window, I see my (small) pond in my back yard, and just past that are our communal plum tree, a cherry tree, neighbour’s veggie gardens, and in the background the Vedder Mountain.
I respectfully acknowledge that I live and work on the unceded territories of the S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō) people. Information about these peoples can be found at https://www.stolonation.bc.ca/
All of these things (including such rich and generous teachings from First Nations neighbours) make my writing space overlooking the land the perfect place for me to write.
Unless I can head to my camper…
4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?
This is a hard one! I live and work in a world where murder and sexual assault are common – in fact, I got involved in this world because a family friend was murdered, and since then two more friends have been murdered (one in prison). So I understand death.
But my darlings? SO hard. I struggle sometimes to even make them do bad things, or have bad things happen to them. Good developmental editors, and great teachers help me along with this. I have to remember that even my darlings aren’t perfect!
However, once I’ve killed a few darlings, and heavily edited others my world is so much more interesting! And occasionally one will show up again in another work…so perhaps they are buried in my subconscious!
5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
This is so easy for me because I’ve had the privilege of having many conversations with many favourite authors!
Diana Gabaldon (who defied publishing practices in the 80s!) has joined me in prison every year for about 5 years, working with the men inside to learn about creative writing. Hearing her stories about how she “just kept writing” in the early years while she was learning the craft have encouraged me to also just keep writing (and learning and growing).
Robert Dugoni has also joined us in prison. I’ve asked him lots of questions over the years (he also helps with developmental edits) and he has taught me about writing to keep the reader engaged. Donald Maas is an amazing resource, teaching me about evoking emotion in my writing.
I realize in answering this question that I’ve been very fortunate with my author relationships!
6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.
Ooo….secrets! This is a tough one because I’m a bit of an open book…but let’s see…
Years ago, when in University, I worked cleaning a police station during the summers. Some of what I experienced during that time definitely has ended up in my books. Thank you, Edmonton Police Services!
7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?
A notebook and a bunch of pens, of course.
A great water bottle with a filter for safe drinking!
A hammock to swing in the breeze, while I write, hydrate and wait to be rescued?
8. If you could have one superpower in your existence, what would it be?
Even when it’s grim.
It’s the only thing that helps me smile in these difficult times!
9. Favorite snack?
I’m a huge ‘fruit and cheese’ person, so apples and old cheddar, or pears and blue cheese, or grapes and brie…with a side of multigrain crackers and ginger kombucha. Maybe even … gasp … some roasted almonds?
10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit?
I know where I’m going, and I’ll get there soon enough.
However, I am more cautious than the Indy 500…and do drive with an eye on gas mileage.
Because global warming is real…
by Meredith Egan
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction
Taylor Smythe dreams of having a loving family. But first, he has to rescue his little sister Jenny from the gritty underbelly of the child cyberporn industry. Taylor journeys from homelessness in the inner city to a community in the dripping forests of the Pacific Northwest to confront the relentless pounding of his fiercest pain. Can he become the big brother Jenny needs right now, and for the rest of their lives? Tide’s End explores the many faces of sexual assault and human trafficking, and how life can shatter for those most affected – the victims. Because #MeToo is more common than we can imagine. As is #ChildrenToo and even #BoysToo. It tears apart our families and neighbourhoods. And wherever there is suffering, there are guardians and helpers who still the relentless pounding to encourage Tide’s End.
“Welcome, everyone. I’m Rosie, and I’m honoured to be here today,” she said, and she waved the long stick she was holding, getting us to stand. It had a carving of a big, black bird on the top and was painted bright colours. There was a large crystal in it, and some feathers fluttered from a ribbon. I liked it, I decided.
“Let’s start this evening in a good way, with a prayer,” she said. A prayer? Weird.
“Thank you, Creator, for bringing us together tonight. Thank you for the journeys that brought us here, especially the good bits.” She asked for kindness on our “healing journey,” and open hearts and minds and other stuff. Then she said something I won’t forget.
“Creator, we ask you to remind us to believe each other as much as we want to be believed. And to show us new ways to make sense of what happened to us. Help us find a way to go back into the world with less hurting.” Less hurting. An idea I could get behind.
“Let’s be open to new things, and not be too judgemental.” She just stood there for a bit, and when she finally sat, so did everybody else. People were smiling, even me.
“Tide’s End. I don’t know if you know why this place is named that, so I’ll try to explain.
“Mission – the train bridge, actually – is the place where the folks who regulate fishing have decided the tides end. The water is brackish until here, up the river delta, but First Nations People have been fishing here since time…forever. At least 10,000 years. We fished the salmon, and the sturgeon, and other fish. And we know about tides, and how they pound and beat on a place. Without ending.
“So, we called this place Tide’s End because we hope to help with the relentless pounding.” She adjusted her skirt and looked at us again.
“We’ll talk about Taylor’s participating later, but for now, know that sometimes we are going to push you. Ask you to work hard. But you can always say no, if you need to. We just don’t want you to be disruptive…stopping someone else from getting what they need in the circle.” She smiled and handed the talking stick to Kate.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Meredith Egan is an author of critically acclaimed novels, Just Living: a novel and Tide’s End: A Just Living novel. The stories are shaped from her work with crime victims and violent prisoners over more than thirty years. Meredith is trained in mediation and peacemaking circles., and has been honoured to learn from many First Nations peoples. Meredith coaches writers and other creative folks and offers workshops and training through her Daring Imagination work.
Meredith is the principal at Wild Goat Executive Coaching where her clients include leaders in the automotive, technology, government and small business fields. She lives at the Groundswell Ecovillage in beautiful Yarrow, BC. with her dog Mollie, and rambunctious feline sisters Firefly and Filigree. For fun she dabbles in cooking soup for her neighbours, and soaking in her hot tub with her four adult children when they visit.
You can find Meredith through her website, and on Facebook and Twitter for information about her novels, and her coaching work. Meredith welcomes opportunities to speak with groups about justice, and writing. Her books are available through Amazon and local bookstores.