Today I’m pleased to welcome Megg Jensen to Off the Page for a Q&A about her new book, Shucked.
I’ve been a freelance parenting journalist since 2003 and began writing YA novels in 2009. I co-run DarkSide Publishing, am a member of SCBWI, and I blog about writing while juggling freelancing, volunteering, and family life. I live in the Chicago suburbs with my husband, two kids, and our miniature schnauzer, Ace.
Q & A:
Q: Why did you decide to write a contemporary YA after spending the last three years writing high fantasy with the Song of Eloh Saga?
A: Shucked has been floating around my brain for close to seven years, but I always wanted to be known as a fantasy author, so I kept pushing Tabitha to the side. In January, she decided to grab a hold of me and not let go.
Q: Why did you set the novel on a farm?
A: I grew up on a farm and have always wanted to write about life there. Shucked gave me a chance to do that. It was a lot of fun writing about some of the thing that were normal to me as a kid that aren’t normal to everyone else. I adore my farming community and loved incorporating that small town spirit into the book.
Q: Where did you come up with the idea for the cover? I love it!
A: It wasn’t easy. I have a fantastic cover designer, Steven Novak (www.novakillustration.com). Usually he designs a cover, I say yes, and we’re done. This time I felt like the concept was a lot harder to nail down. He worked through four or five different version with me. I couldn’t be happier with the cover that you’re seeing now.
Q: Tell me about the title, Shucked.
A: Haha, that was another toughie. From the beginning, the file on my computer for this book was Adventure. It wasn’t until I became serious about publishing it that I realized I needed a unique title. I went through close to a hundred different ideas, but none of them felt right. Eventually I settled on Digging In. I figured it was the best I would come up with. About two weeks before publication, I finally had that stroke of brilliance with Shucked. Not only does it scream farm (shucking corn), it also is representative of what happens to Tabitha during the book (having her emotional layers peeled away), and there’s always the street meaning, which you can look up on Urban Dictionary if you want. Lol
Q: Will you write more contemporary novels?
A: I hope so! Right now I’m working on my next high fantasy, but Tabitha’s still in the back of my mind, begging for a continuation of her story. While Shucked easily works as a stand-alone novel, I think we all know that no one’s story really ever ends. There’s always tomorrow.
Suburgatory meets Indiana Jones…on a farm
Fifteen-year-old Tabitha has had the kind of life that would impress even the greatest adventurers. She’s escaped a croc attack in the Amazon, walked the length of the Great Wall of China, and earned a black belt in taekwondo in Korea. She owes her worldly experience to her mother’s career in archaeology, but when her mother takes on a dangerous new assignment, Tabitha is devastated to learn she can’t tag along.
Instead, she’s forced to live on a midwestern farm with her grandparents where she’ll have to attend a full year of public school. It’s Tabitha’s
Her math teacher is her mom’s old high school boyfriend, she can’t tell the friendly girls from the mean ones, and she develops a major crush on a boy she knows she can’t trust. And just when she thinks she’ll never get the hang of this normal teenager thing, an attack brings the danger of her previous life right up to her midwestern porch. Who could have ever guessed getting totally shucked would bring her face-to-face with her most exciting adventure yet?