Meghan Scott Molin comes to writing by way of a Masters in Architecture, a minor in Opera, a professional career as a barn manager, and three years crash course as a mother. She currently resides in Colorado with her fellow zookeeper (husband), two sons, two horses, cat, and corgi. She is an avid lover of everything nerdy from Wars to Trek, Hobbits, Who, and beyond. When she’s not writing, she’s cooking, dreaming of travel, coveting more corgis, and listening to audiobooks while hanging out at the barn. If you’d like to know more about Meghan, feel free to follow her on Twitter (@megfuzzle) or on her website (www.meghanscottmolin.com).
Q & A with Author Meghan Scott Molin
You mention that the idea for this storyline came to you in a dream. Can you tell us more about that initial inspiration and your process for coming up with this novel?
Well, there is a long and a short version of this story. The short version is: I woke up laughing from a dream one morning, literally sat up and laughed in bed. My husband thought I was having a waking-dream, but once I explained that I’d had a dream about my best friend Kristi (who is a purple-haired fashion designer in real life) running through San Diego Comic-Con with a team of drag queens capturing a murderer, he said, “You should write that book.” And so I did.
The longer version of the story is that I was in the middle of re-editing a book I hoped to pitch to agents, but I could not get the “drag-queen” book out of my head. My “muse” Kristi really is a professional drag costume designer, and I’d always wanted to work that wonderful world into a book but wasn’t sure how. And seriously, one morning in the shower while I was listening to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, it was like bam!—MG was born. A caller (female) called in with the name of Michael, and the cocktail of ideas and the name just sort of melded in the hot water, and there she was! Fully formed. From then on, I cheated on my editing project at every turn. I couldn’t help myself. I kept coming up with nerdy jokes, and then Lawrence. And then more nerdy jokes. I couldn’t stop. So by the time I got to the conference, my editing project wasn’t so edited, so I shared my idea for this ridiculous new book instead…and I got several full requests on the spot. So I went home and finished the book in two weeks. It was literal insanity. It still needed a lot of work, but it gave me a sense that this concept had the hook-power I’d need to get it published.
MG is a really fun character to get to know in this novel. She marches to the beat of her own drum and completely owns her identity as a purple-haired, comic-book-loving nerd, but she also starts to discover another side of herself as she and Matteo grow closer. What are you hoping readers will like most about her, or better yet, what are some of your favorite things about her as a heroine?
MG is everything I wish I could have seen more of in literature as a young woman. She has adventures. She’s passionate, she’s driven, she pushes boundaries. She loves to let her geek flag fly. I emphatically wanted to write a real woman, not a GI-Jane, not a Mary Sue. Yes, she’s snarky. But she has heart. She makes mistakes, and she learns from most of them. She owns when she’s an idiot. She has prejudices but she wants to be a better person…and that’s what Matteo brings out in her. I love that she feels like an entirely real person to me, all the good and bad that comes with that. And the nerd stuff…that’s all me. I’m lucky to have found my nerd-band, and we all support each other in our endeavors and loves, but not everyone is so lucky. At the very least I want these people to look at a book and see that they’re not alone. You can be the geek and the hero/heroine of the story, you don’t have to “become cool” to get the guy, solve the crime, or wear the spandex.
One of the other great characters in this book is Lawrence, both as himself and as his drag queen alter ego, Latifah Nile. Of course the “nerd” universe abounds with elaborate costumes and makeup at events like Comic-Con, but it was interesting to have that combined with drag, considering MG’s interests as a costume designer. What impact or message do you hope to bring to your readers through L’s character?
Well, I think the main thing is I really didn’t have a specific intent, and I love that. Lawrence came to me as a vital part of MG’s world, as a whole person and an organic part of the a story. My goal for L is really the same for any of my characters: to make them a full and real person with goals and passions, who makes mistakes and learns from them. L is incredibly special. Truthfully (don’t tell MG this), my favorite character in the books. I think I identify with L’s love of the stage, the aggressive humming of show tunes, and the inability to sew with anything except hot-glue. On the back end of writing this super fun character, of course there is so much one can look at that is valuable by including people of all shapes/colors/abilities/orientations/etc. Our lives are and should be filled with diverse people whom we love and support. A common theme in my book is characters who fear being “boxed” into roles: MG as a woman, as a con-going-girl. L as a drag queen, or a gay man. Ryan as a gamer. I wanted specifically to show that these people live outside those boxes, live out their inclusive love of each other, and educate others (ahem, Rideout) in the process.
This book is full of allusions, from Star Wars to Harry Potter to every corner of the comic book universes. These all come to a head during the Genius employee party, where MG introduces Matteo to all the different fandoms. What are some of your personal favorites?
I’m a Harry Potter freak. I re-read them every year. I adore Game of Thrones for the drama and enjoy the discussions about gender roles, etc. that it raises. I love Star Wars, but my husband is the true expert there (I married my nerdy knight). We are voraciously devouring Sherlock, I recently binge watched the entirety of Buffy, and my nerd heart lies with the old, original X-Files (let’s not even talk about the new ones). And unlike MG, I do really like Tolkein. All in all, while incorporating different fandoms into the book, if it wasn’t a fandom I knew well, I found a friend who was passionate enough about it to educate me. I’m looking forward to writing other characters with other fandom loves in future books. And I need to note that I binge watched Project Runway and RPDR while writing book two, because…well, does anyone really need a reason to binge watch those shows? I told my husband it was book research. We’ll go with that.
Since this is your first novel, what were some of the biggest challenges in writing it and pulling it all together? What were the biggest surprises during the writing process?
This was my fifth completed book, so I’d practiced finishing a manuscript before…it’s important! I think the biggest surprise with this book was how easy the first draft was to write. I’ve never before or since had a book that wrote itself like that. It’s like a unicorn project—even book two has been much harder to write for me. I chalk it up to MG, L, and Ryan demanding to be written. Maybe fate had a hand!
Readers will surely be excited that this is only Book #1 in The Golden Arrow Mysteries series. Any leads about what they can expect for MG and Matteo in the next installment?
I’m so glad you asked! Let’s just say MG and Matteo go through the looking glass? There’s some trouble in paradise, there’s someone still running around in spandex and capes, there’s still a person out to get MG. It’s marvelous. ::evil laughter::
By day she writes comic books. By night, she lives them.
MG Martin lives and breathes geek culture. She even works as a writer for the comic book company she idolized as a kid. But despite her love of hooded vigilantes, MG prefers her comics stay on the page.
But when someone in LA starts recreating crime scenes from her favorite comic book, MG is the LAPD’s best—and only—lead. She recognizes the golden arrow left at the scene as the calling card of her favorite comic book hero. The thing is…superheroes aren’t real. Are they?
When too-handsome-for-his-own-good Detective Kildaire asks for her comic book expertise, MG is more than up for the adventure. Unfortunately, MG has a teeny little tendency to not follow rules. And her off-the-books sleuthing may land her in a world of trouble.
Because for every superhero, there is a supervillain. And the villain of her story may be closer than she thinks…
Available December 1, 2018