Interview with Megan Tayte

The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. Butsuicide? It makes no sense.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.

To believe the impossible.  

1. In the summary for Death Wish, you ask the question If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint? What's your answer to this question?

I think I’d end up somewhere between the two, and struggling hugely with that.

It’s the central question of the ‘superhero’ genre – if you’re capable of helping people, where do you draw the line? Who do you save? Who do you leave to their fate? Do you have the right to choose at all? And how do you lead anything like a normal life when you have a supernatural power? When is it okay to be on a date, rather than saving people? When is it okay to sleep, even, when there are people out there who need you? How can a human, a mere mortal, possibly handle the power of the gods? Running about playing hero is all well and good, but what’s the true reality of living that life – of carrying such huge responsibilities?

If you follow The Ceruleans series right to its climax in Book 5, you’ll find the characters making personal choices in answer to some of these big questions.

2. Please tell us a bit about The Ceruleans. How did you come up with the concept?

The Ceruleans series began life as four discrete ideas that I planned to make into four discrete books. Then one day as I was walking (something I do when I’m looking for inspiration) the ideas knitted together, and from there the overall story arc of the series took form.
There are many inspirations. The story is quite personal to me, based on a mix of experience and fiction woven from my imaginings and ponderings. The setting – in a part of coastal Devon where I spent every summer as a child – was a key inspiration. But the story, about love and loss, light and darkness, good and bad, is based on my own efforts to make sense of a world in which people close to you can die; in which being true to yourself can be incredibly difficult; and in which love – for people, for places, for a way of being, for a passion and an ethos – is the only reason to hold on.

3. Your biography reads like a fairy tale, starting with "Once upon a time . . ." Do you have a favorite fairy tale?

Cinderella is the one that springs to mind. As a child, it was certainly the story I wanted read most often at bedtime. There’s something so compelling about the rags-to-riches story; about a girl who is suffering finding a ‘happy ever after’. But since I revisited fairy tales from a feminist perspective while at university, I haven’t quite seen Cinderella in the same light. I’d much prefer a modern take on the tale, in which Cinderella recuses herself from an abusive family and then builds a happy life, rather than requiring rescue. The love story in the original fairy tale is touching, but I’d prefer something that feels real. Perhaps Cinderella is already doing well for herself when she meets her prince. Perhaps the prince isn’t all that handsome. Perhaps the prince gives up his riches to be with her. Hmm. Perhaps I should write a new take on the story.

4. There are five books in this series. What do you think you'll write about next?

I have two new projects in development. One is a body of work relating to the Ceruleans, a collection of spinoffs following different characters. The other is something a little different, set in London’s theatreland, which is one of my favourite places in the world. That book has been haunting me for a couple of years now, so I’m itching to start getting words onto paper.

5. Who is your favorite author, and how has she/he inspired you?

Argh! This is a really difficult question to answer. There are so many books on my shelves that I love, and so many authors that inspire me. In fact, I probably change my mind about who’s at the top of the pile daily. But today, I’ll go with JK Rowling. Because she was the author who instilled in me a love for intricately woven plots spanning several books, which is what I’ve ended up writing. And because I’ve recently started reading Harry Potter to my son (aged six) at bedtime, and I’m so enjoying that time with him. He loves the story, he loves the language. The only issue we have is that he asks brilliantly insightful questions when I finish reading, which leads to lengthy discussions. Not ideal when he’s meant to be tucked up asleep, but I never could resist talking books – as he well knows!

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Death Wish (The Ceruleans: Book 1) is available at Amazon. It's a steal at .99, but you can read it for free if you belong to Kindle Unlimited.