I recently had the pleasure of conducting an email interview with Rachel Meehan, author of the fast-paced eco-fiction Troubled Times series. She has also authored a stand-alone novel, Eternal Inheritance. These young adult novels are wonderfully told with strong and complex characters. Read on to learn a bit more about Rachel, and then head over to my reviews of her books, Water’s Edge, Power’s Out and Eternal Inheritance.
First, a bit about yourself, your family and home?
I live in the south of Scotland – you can see the English Border from my house! It is a rural area, very green and quite sparsely populated. I come from a large family and we are all keen readers. I can remember my father taking all of us to the library at the weekends and we would take out a pile of books each.
I live with my husband and my main passion after writing is the garden.
What is the first book you remember falling in love with? What made you love it?
The Silver Crown by Robert C O’Brien. People may be familiar with him as the author of Mrs Frisby & the Rats of NIMH (which is also pretty good) but The Silver Crown is my favourite from early childhood. It’s fast, thrilling, full of danger and it has (like all good books) a strong female lead! His teenage novel Z for Zachariah is also a favourite along with anything at all by John Wyndham……. Basically I love end of the world stories.
What was the last book you read?
Just finished The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.. I really enjoyed it, strange and dark and complex.
Did you always want to be an author? If not, what did you want to be and why didn’t you follow that path?
I always wanted to do something creative and I trained as a fine artist, specialising in printmaking. I still draw and make things and do my own book covers. There is always a project on the go. When I look back I guess my art work was always full of stories so writing just seemed like the next step……… in between times I have worked for many years in a much more mundane job to pay the bills but I try to dedicate time to writing whenever I can.
Is there a special place you prefer to write from?
We have a tiny office space in our house, known as the cupboard! Much of my writing, including this, is done in there. I used to imagine sitting in the summer house looking over the thriving garden and penning the next bestseller but the truth is I would be out gardening within a few minutes…..
If you were a character from one of your books, which one would you be, and why?
This is a hard one, I guess Nairne from Water’s Edge (Troubled Times #1), as she is my creation I have put in character traits that I admire. Having said that she can be impatient and a bit too direct sometimes (both things I know I suffer from as well!) I like her self-confidence, which I think is a trait that many female characters lack and I like the fact that she does not rely on her looks at all but on her intellect. Plus by book two, Power’s Out, she has a gun!
Are you an eco-warrior at home? What do you do to be kind to the environment?
Yes, I guess I am. We generate some of our own power (when the sun shines… which in Scotland can seem like a special event) and we try to grow our own food. I think about the actions I take in relation to the environment and I get really annoyed by the concept that technology will solve all the environmental issues we face.
Do you think that climate change can be slowed or even reversed?
I think it can be slowed if drastic action is taken but I think we are already seeing the effects of it (much like the plot of Water’s Edge). The difference is those effects are being felt in poor countries so the world is prepared to look the other way. I recently saw a comment on social media blaming the Chinese for using too many resources because there are so many of them…. A pretty remarkable opinion when the consumption of raw materials in developed countries per head of population is so much greater. I think it will only be solved if we all make a decision not to need so much stuff…….
Have you ever found any signs of Triffids in your garden?
Not yet ….. but I live in hope and at this time of the year they could be lurking in the denser parts of the garden……
When can we expect your next book?
The final book in the Troubled Times series, Earth’s Descent, will be out in October, if I get my head down. The whole book is written, now I just need to do the rewrites and rewrites and rewrites….. but then today I had this really good idea for another book!