Interview with Megan Powell + Writing Contest

Today as part of my New Adult Addiction, I'm talking to Megan Powell. Megan's first novel, No Peace for the Damned was sold and published before New Adult was actually considered by many people, including me, to be a thing.

However, the more I've been reading of New Adult and the more I've been thinking about where New Adult will go in the future, the more I think Megan's novel could be classified as a "New Adult Paranormal" novel.

Here's why:

In No Peace for the Damned, the main character Magnolia Kelch (who I love) is 22. And in the opening scene, she leaves home for the very first time (not for college, but because her family is evil and twisted). At the core, everything that happens in the novel revolves around Magnolia trying to make the right choices and figure out where she fits in the world now that she's on her own. It's funny and sexy and Magnolia is a great character who makes mistakes but keeps moving forward anyway.

Anyway, onto the good part. Welcome Megan. Tell us what your book is about in 140 characters or less.

A powerful young woman joins forces with a secret security agency to fight against her influential family's supernatural terrorism.

Is this book part of a series?

Yes. NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED is the first in the Magnolia Kelch series.

The second one is called No Love for the Wicked and it will be out August 13th! But back to No Peace, what was your favorite chapter to write and why?

Chapter 29 was definitely my favorite chapter to write. It was also the very first chapter I wrote. I had that scene with Magnolia and Theo on the couch long before I knew anything else about the characters or the story around them. All I knew was that this incredibly sexy young woman, who felt separate from everyone around her, suddenly felt a genuine, normal connection to someone else. The excitement of that moment overshadowed any other insecurities so that when she revealed her tattoo without thought of the consequences, she revealed an innocence that would otherwise be out of character. That moment shows that more than anything, all she really wanted was to have something – anything – in common with someone else.

What about character? Who's your favorite?

Definitely Magnolia. The book is told from her point of view so I really get to slip into her mind while I write. I love that she is strong and powerful, terrified and angry, whip-smart and completely naïve all at the same time. I remember very clearly being twenty-two and thinking I was the toughest person in the world with all these life experiences while at the same time feeling more vulnerable and uncertain than ever. It is a wonderful experience to be able to relive those feelings through a character with such unlimited potential.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Not at all. In fact, it never even occurred to me to be a writer until the day I started writing NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED. I was all about the business world and making my mark in corporate America. Life, however, had other plans. After years of my children being in day care twelve hours a day, having a husband I saw only on the weekends (if we were lucky), and parents with health problems, I decided it was time for some serious priority adjustments. I left my career to be a stay-at-home mom in 2006. By the end of 2008, I was pulling my hair out and seriously questioning my sanity. I needed an escape as much as I needed an outlet for all my frustrations. January 2009, I started writing about Magnolia Kelch. Now, in 2013, as a published writer, I’m still wondering about that sanity thing.

That's fantastic! What about the first work you had published, what was it?

The very first work I ever had published was a small (200 word) article on available youth sports in a small local paper. I think I got $5.00.

How did you get your agent? (Megan is represented by the fabulous Joanna Volpe, you may have heard of her...)

I met my agent at the Midwest Writer’s Workshop at Ball State University in 2009. I was introduced to her through a fellow writer who had read part of my manuscript and knew that this agent was looking for urban fantasy novels. For me, it was love at first sight. I think it took my agent a little longer, though. :)

I'm pretty sure that love at first sight thing was mutual. Did you query? How many (if any) rejection letters did you get?

I sent out a total of seven query letters before signing with my agent. Of those, I received three rejections, three requests for further pages and one none response.

You and I have recently talked about New Adult and the genre and how your book could possibly fit into that. What does “New Adult” mean to you?

To me, YA is all about firsts. First love, first time sticking up for yourself, first time trying something new and discovering what is really important to you or who you really are. New Adult, then, takes all those firsts and blows them out of the water. You think you found true love? Well, let’s see what happens when you and your love live in separate states, start separate careers, develop new priorities. You’ve found your moral compass? Great. Now let’s see what happens when those morals have to fight a war in a foreign country or take orders from a boss you’ve never met. New Adult is all about challenges and empowerment. It’s watching characters test what they know to be true and struggle to stay who they believe they really are.

I really like that description! Before you go, leave us with a quote from your book?

In that last moment of consciousness I had to chastise myself. I was not supposed to live in this world without violence and pain. And I was an idiot to have ever let myself think otherwise.

To learn more about Megan, here's where you can find her on the internet:

Facebook: Megan Powell, writer
Twitter: @MeganPwrites
Amazon Author Page:

And now it's contest time! The last one went so well, so let's do another 100 word writing contest.

Here are the details:

You need to write a short story (100 words or less!) using these five words:


Post your story in the comments of this post by 11:59 pm on July 5th

What do you win?

A paperback copy of No Peace for the Damned by Megan Powell


A first page critique this time--also good for you or a friend if you're feeling generous

Good luck!

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Melissa Grey said...

Great interview. It's interesting to see the evolution of New Adult as a broader category with books like Megan's.

And I love a good flash fiction challenge. Here's my (very) short story:

“Hey, Olivia,” Amy said. “Check this out.” She tapped her finger against the trunk of the magnolia tree before her. The second her skin touched bark, its white blossoms wilted, fluttering to the ground like flecks of ash.

“First of all, that’s a terrifying new skill,” Olivia said. She frowned at the petals that had landed in her open Nalgene. “Secondly, I wouldn’t advertise my supernatural abilities where the dean can see. You know we’re not supposed to practice outside of class.”

Amy’s grin was a brilliant, brief flash of teeth. “If she doesn’t catch me, she can’t chastise me.”

Rebecca Sky said...

Ok I'll give it another go:
(100 words)

I stand on my tiptoes, peering out the window at the graveyard. There’s something there I can’t explain, something supernatural.
My mother breezes past, eyeing the towel at my feet. “Off to swim, Magnolia?”
I nod, not wanting her to chastise me for lying.
Instead I skip towards the headstones. I pass a man, still like a statue, flower clutched in hand. At first I don’t realize it’s my father, when I do, I say hello.
He doesn’t respond.
I follow his eyes to a new headstone. It reads, “Beloved wife.” Beside it is another, “Beloved daughter, taken too soon…”

Sandy Williams said...

This interview reminded me of how much I loved Magnolia and NPFTD - and your writing!
Can't wait for the next book!
And it's definitely interesting thinking of this book as New Adult. I can see it, though. :-)


Unknown said...
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Ambiguous_A said...

Come one, come all! Be first in line for the wonders that await you at the Cirque du Magnolia, for wonders they are.

Gentlemen, is fire your taste? Then stray to the fire breather’s tent, where a breath will singe your new top hat, and a sneeze will do much worse.

And ladies, no one will chastise you for falling for the magicians’ illusions. You aren’t the first to be dazzled by their supernatural talents, and you won’t be the last. We’ll see to that.

But are they really illusions, you ask?

You’ll have to come in to find out.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Great contest!!
Here is my entry:
(99 words)

Magnolia blossoms cling to the trees, stark white against the pitch black backdrop of night. Their delicate fragrance drifts to me on a gentle breeze that stirs the spring air.
I am alone. This is new considering I have been surrounded, protected, for weeks now. Ren will chastise me harshly for disobediently leaving my guards behind.
Assuming I survive.
The nighttime chorus of wildlife ends abruptly in silence. He is here. I see his eyes first, bright green, reminding me he is supernatural. Otherworldly. I grip the hilt of my knife.
Tonight will be a good night to die.

Anonymous said...

These contests are so fun! So hard to look the other way! :)

Chastise me if you will, but I’ve always vowed to marry the first guy that guesses my favorite perfume right. Within the first three months of our relationship, that is.

Hint number one: It has a strong, feminine aura. Which means wearing it always makes me feel like some invincible, supernatural boss. Fragrance is power, I tell you.

Hint number two: There’s a dash of magnolia to it.

Each night, for the past eleven weeks and five days, I repeat these two hints to my new boyfriend. He’s my thirteenth so far, and he’s yet to guess it right.

(99 words)

leegomez said...
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leegomez said...
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leegomez said...

No Peace for the Damned sounds awesome :).

Jonee sips her tea, eyes alternating between the condensation sliding down her glass and the new family moving in across the street.

Jonee smiles. Waves.

The heavy branches of the old magnolia above her groan. Chastise.

Tonight will be it, Jonee’s first.

The family’s youngest squeals, chasing her brother through the front yard. Small.


Supernatural forces, authorities will say.

Family tradition, Jonee will say.

She rolls over, one of the many discreet mounds of grass at the tree’s base fitting to the curve of her spine. The magnolia’s blooms--the biggest in the county--smile down. Jonee smiles back.

Anonymous said...


“Magnolia!” some combination of Lilly’s insistent voice and Katy Perry’s “Supernatural” blaring from the speakers rips me from my reverie.

Taring my gaze away from Caden, I chastise myself. It’s not like it was the first time I had seen him with a new girl. I squelched the bile rising in my throat with another sip of luke-warm beer. Gross.

Lilly’s laughter finally draws my attention as she mock fans herself with a bar napkin. “If you two look at each other any harder, you are going to start popping out babies right here on the floor.”

MFGoddard said...

Thanks so much for this. I am really getting into this Flash Fiction Fun!

I had used no supernatural gift, no witchcraft, no spell or potion. He would try to chastise me for this; this my first success, my new defiance. He would wail and storm, throwing scorn around the room like lightening, but he would not shake me. He could not force me to be something I am not and here is the proof. I grew it from earth and water, sun and air, as natural as I am. But as I cup the magnolia bloom in my hands I feel the sting of poison. I feel the death within the life.

black cat said...

The MAGNOLIA tree always blooms on my birthday. But this year, I’ve gotten used to disappointment.

I race to the window and watch the FIRST rays of sunlight dance upon the branches. White petals unfurl over the tangled mess of dandelions, like a SUPERNATURAL reminder of past beauty.

The failed gardens prove that Mom is dead inside. Ever since Dad left, she lies to the mirror as she puts on lipstick. “I’m better than fine. I’m NEW and improved.” Her quick eyes CHASTISE my protests.

But we’re not fine. We need help. And it’s up to me to find it.

Nick Sanford said...

Cool interview! Thanks for your thoughts on the differences between the YA perspective and New Adult perspective.


Grandma always used to tell me that new magnolia blossoms, appearing on that tree out back in the early spring, housed tiny creatures that would grant wishes if you told them of a first time--any “first.” Because they’d been born with every possible worldly experience, all woven into their tissue-paper thin wings and engrained in their bodies no larger than bee bodies.

“They need help wondering, Lydia,” Grandma said.

But I was always afraid to visit those supernatural residents, sleeping in the magnolias out back, because what if they chastised me for my innocence and said, “You’re boring.”

Unknown said...

Petals of the white magnolia flower scattered the brittle autumn grass. This was nothing new, not when seasons changed, making death the only blanket for death.

A first-timer, Olivia scanned the other graves, noting bouquets and long stemmed roses. She imagined the visitors’ silent chastisement for her improper etiquette.

The shop owner had gone on about the near supernatural power of this particular bud that still lived. Olivia didn’t care. With teeth clenched, she ripped the final petal free, crumpling it before letting fall. If death was all he had for her now, that’s what she would bring to him.

Melissa said...

Since telling my husband that sending an agent a shoe with a note “…so I can get my foot in the door” isn’t very practical, I’m going to tell you… “Here’s my shoe. Now kick the others to the curb and vote for me!”

The dark-haired boy in seat 2A carefully pressed a small, white magnolia into the young girl’s hand. It was the first time a boy had ever gave her anything of meaning, or of real worth. It reminded her of her grandmother’s home back on earth, and the way the tiny flowers looked like popcorn all bunched together in the spring. If her older sister saw this right now she would surely chastise him. Magnolias are abominable, she would say.

The scared girl looked into his grotto-green eyes. They were cold and supernatural, but she looked further and saw something new.

jocelynfrentz said...

“We can’t be together,” I said, my voice shaking. “You’ve never broken a rule from the leaders.”

The corner of Alex’s mouth pulled up, and his eyes smoldered with defiance. “There’s a first for everything, Magnolia. I’m done caring about what they want.” He closed the distance between us–my pulse instantly reacted.

Tomorrow would be a new day, one where I could chastise myself for the sins of today. With urgency I pushed my lips against his.

Alex had a supernatural power over me. Something deep within the fibers of my being tied me to him –something forbidden awoke.

Alexia Chantel said...

I had just posted how I wanted to read No Peace for the Damned! Fun interview, thanks for sharing!

Here is my 100 word shot:

The scent of magnolias drifted over me, my first sense upon awakening. My eyes blinked slowly, stone grated against stone. Night claimed the city the moment my skin turned from cold granite to warm flesh.

Frozen on my perch, I patiently waited for my other senses to awake, a new feeling every time. Behind me a group of young women chattered, amidst them one pure voice called out to my soul.

“Away from here, evil awakens soon.” An old crone chastised, ushering them away. My chest moved, drawing in my angel’s scent.

I was a supernatural. I would find her.

Unknown said...

Okay, here goes:

I lean into the wind, scented with fragrant magnolia, and wish for something new.

"Supernatural" feels the wrong word; it leaves me wanting. Which is, perhaps, fitting, as the supernatural is what I want.

They chastise me. They tell me I am not the first to squander my days in reckless pursuit of the things I can't see, but long to feel.

Yet here, beneath the trees, my shadow entwined with moonlight and my soul alight with dusk, I believe I glimpse the essence of something I am not supposed to believe in.

And it is here that I belong.

Unknown said...

OK so I'll give this a go - here's my 100-words

Magnolia Crabtree was about to embark on several firsts.

New country
New home
New school

Her first day was less than promising. Her mum forgot to mention that this school is for the ‘special and supernatural’ and she was neither. It seems Magnolia’s special talent was being ordinary.

Ridiculed by the other students, Magnolia couldn’t understand why they would chastise her for a lack of natural talent, its not like she wants to be ordinary. Until she discovers her mother is a witch, and Magnolia has a family legacy to live up to and this legacy is more than symbolic.

Anonymous said...

“Oh, get real, Lily,” Marissa chastised her sister. “The address 123 Magnolia Lane holds a few secrets… Or perhaps you forgot.”

Lily winced. No way could she forget.

This was not the first time something out of the realm of the supernatural had happened near that address. “You’re right, sis. This is nothing new.” Lily thrummed her fingers on her thighs.

The golden halo hovering over the house on the hill was a dead giveaway. The halo only showed up when it was going to happen again. The grim…

Couldn’t anyone else see it?

But a bigger question remained…why now?

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

The magnolia tree dwarfs Suzette. Its new, out-of-reach blossoms chastise her for her small limbs. The nearest branch hangs well over her head. She can’t hope to reach it without some supernatural feat.

Jimmy should never have dared her to fetch him a flower from the top of the tree. He loves to ruffle her feathers and she always bites.

After climbing the first fifteen feet, she knows she will make it. Distracted, her foot slips and arms wind-mill. The ground rushes. Blackness follows the soft, dull thud of her head on the rock that let her reach the lowest branch.

Abrielle Sarah Fuerst said...

The first time I made love was underneath a beech tree. Pale hair and eyes the color of magnolia. Sweet pain and sunlight laughing at us. I swear that’s all I remember.

I was born this way; one eye to the living world and one eye to the supernatural. Both blind to consequences.

I don’t know if he was human, nor if the baby girl will be born a wraith. Oh, the world will chastise us! Child, I’m sorry I’m so foolish.

I can’t go home now, either way. So I think about the beech-tree boy with a new desperation.

saraland said...

Long time lurker, but can't resist the combo of flash fiction and the July 4th weekend. 100 words exactly...

I have a supernatural stomach.

My mother told me that once, after she chastised me under the magnolia trees for gobbling up my entire birthday cake when I was five. She said I looked like a bowling ball on twigs.

I still do. It’s kind of hot. Or not.

Today’s a new day. I'll be the queen of quaff, the guru of gorge, a devouring diva in a pastime as American as assault rifles and apple pie. I’m going to win. My belly will be my meal ticket. Have hot dogs, will swallow.

The first bite is always the hardest.