1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?
My most recent project, The Stolen Guardian, was published just two weeks ago! It’s a dramatic action/adventure story about two high ranking military individuals dealing with a foreign invader and invincible monsters. There’s magic, drama, death, and even a little romance.
The story has been a long time in the making. The original version of the story was actually a role play that I did over the course of about a year with a friend of mine during my senior year in high school. It was also originally a Sonic the Hedgehog fan fiction, though it was a very loose fan fiction which only used a few basic elements from the world. No canon characters or storylines were involved with the story, and it even took place on a different planet.
As I studied craft and worked toward making my world an original world, The Stolen Guardian went through a bunch of drafts and changes until I ended up with what I have now.
2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?
I’m kind of a mix of both. I tend to write really detailed outlines with descriptive beats and clear goals, but I allow myself to pants things if the story lends itself to it. Any time I hit a wall, I’ll try to re-outline to make sure everything matches up. I like to see where I’m going while writing.
For short stories though, I tend to shoot the breeze. My best short story, “White Assassin,” which will be coming out next month, pretty much wrote itself. All I did was throw characters into a situation, and everything fell into place. “White Assassin” actually won an Honorable Mention in the prestigious Writers of the Future contest, which I see as proof that sometimes pantsing can be awesome.
3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?
I prefer character driven action and drama, with a bit of wit mixed in. I’m a very introspective person myself, so my characters tend to be introspective too. I also prefer speculative fiction. Pretty much all my stories have some level of magic, science fiction, magical realism, or other such things in them. Real life is boring. Magic is awesome!
4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?
Hmm, that’s a difficult one. Probably Matt Azure from The Stolen Guardian. Matt is a really passionate character, and he’s got a powerful drive to do whatever he can to help others. He throws himself into situations that he knows might be bad for him to protect those he loves. I’m not always good at that, but it’s something I admire and strive for, so Matt has become the sort of person I’d like to be.
5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?
Three authors really stick out in my mind. Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, was my first major inspiration. A lot of my writing style reflects his, such as close third person POV, lots of different POVs in a book, extreme detailed descriptions, and we even have similar characters.
The second is K. M. Carroll, author of The Spacetime Legacy series. She was one of the first really serious authors I ever sent my work too and she was completely honest about how much my writing sucked at the time! But she was patient and she helped me develop my craft and style, and still helps me with editing and marketing strategies today. She’s also an amazing author in her own right, and she always amazes me with how many books she’s put out. She has a big family, but she’s found a way to be the best mom ever, while still writing quality books and putting out several a year. She’s a big inspiration.
The last author that has really influenced me was Jess E. Owen, author of the Summer King Chronicles. K. M. Carroll introduced me to Jess’s books and I fell in love immediately with her writing style. I love the fact that she has such a strong sense of style and her characters feels so real. I’ve found over the years that some animal books never feel right because the characters never feel like animals, but Jess’s books aren’t like that at all. I also love the way she describes things, especially flight. Any time I get to describe flight myself, I think of Jess’s books, which makes flight feel so authentic and beautiful. The fact that she has an amazing series of great animal books has inspired me to believe I can do the same.
6. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?
Gosh, I read so many books, that’s hard to know! I think A Shard of Sun by Jess E. Owen is one. I’m actually rereading it for the third time. I’m also reading The Martian right now, which has immediately grabbed my attention. Excellent books.
7. Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I’m a college professor of English, which means lots of essay grading, so generally I don’t have a lot of free time. But when I do get it, you’ll often find me drawing or painting, walking through the botanical gardens by my home, or playing any number of video games. I’m a huge Assassin’s Creed and Halo fan, and I’m looking forward to both of the new games. Especially Halo. The game comes out on my wedding anniversary!
I also spend a lot of time reading webcomics. Questionable Content and Furry Experience are my two favorites.
8. Advice for other writers?
A lot of writers tell you to write every day. Don’t listen to them. Write on your own schedule. Make sure you’re making time to write, but don’t kick yourself if you don’t write every day. Sometimes life is more important than writing.
Also, don’t be afraid to try a lot of different genres. Sometimes writing a brand new genre will be a breath of fresh air and will rejuvenate you as a writer.
9. Where can readers find your work?
My novel is available on Amazon here.
Readers can also visit www.zyearth.com and access the first two chapters of The Stolen Guardian there. I’m also going to be releasing three short stories in the next three months, all of which can be downloaded for free from my website.
You can also find me on Goodreads.
10. What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?
The openness! I’ve only really been involved with the furry fandom for about a year, and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was drawn in and how kind everyone was. It seems like furries happily invite everyone into their circles and it’s made me feel really special. I’m very glad and blessed to be a part of such a wonderful group of people.
Check out R. A. Meenan’s member bio here!