Y'all remember the Society of Literary Ladies? That interview series I started last fall that went on for a few months before it slipped into oblivion? Yes, that's the one. Well, guess what! Here we are again with another installation! This time I'm pleased to introduce to you all a dear delightful girl by the name of Miss Meg March. Miss Meg started popping up in the comment box a few months ago, and it's been such fun getting to know her! I'm happy to call her a friend. :-) So, without further ado, please welcome...
Introduce yourself! Tell us your name, your age (if you don’t mind sharing), three of your biggest passions and one thing you love about September.
Hello! First off, let me say thank you to Emma for ‘hosting’ me. She’s so sweet. :-) Alright, now we may continue! I go by the name Miss Meg March in the blogging world, and I am fourteen years old, turning fifteen in a few months. I am a Christian saved by the grace of God, a homeschooler, and an extrovert. I have many hobbies, ranging from archery to embroidery, but my three biggest passions are as follows:
Music – Coming from a musical family, music has always been a great part of my life. I have dabbled in recorders and guitars, but my favourite instrument by far, is the piano. I play for leisure, but I do get taught, by my eldest sister, and am working my way up through the grades. I also sing on a daily basis, whether it is a Disney song, a pop song, a country song or a song from a musical (especially Les Miserables, which happens to be my favourite musical ever.)
Reading – I was always a bookworm. Classics and I get along the best, I reckon, but I love discovering new stories and characters. I used to be rather boring when it came to genres, but now I am beginning to take delight in many different types, whether they are biographies or fiction. Yet I am quite sure that nothing will ever replace a good old classic. ;-)
Writing – Only a few years ago did I discover the charm of writing. After that, I became addicted. Almost every day I write a few paragraphs because I feel like I almost need to let the words out. I write in my journal, I write letters, I write stories and I wrote poems. Sometimes I almost exhaust myself with writing, but somehow I never regret it afterwards. ;-)
As some of you may or may not know, I come from Australia, so September for me is the first month of spring! Spring is my favourite season. :-D All the flowers popping open, the baby animals frolicking in the green grass, the days warming up, being able to wear clothes that don’t weigh you down, going barefoot around the yard, feeling the fresh air blow in, knowing that our huge school holiday break is within a few months – that is what I love most about September.
Where is home for you? (Be as vague or specific as you like.)
My home is in the land Down Under. It is a small brick house, rather squishy as I come from a large family, but cosy all the same. I am surrounded by 600 acres of rolling hills with many trees, and a river within a few minutes’ walk. Our neighbour/land owner owns and breeds cattle which occasionally come up to our fences. We have a couple of horses and countless chickens. It is rather ‘in the middle of nowhere’ and you cannot see any neighbours from our house. But even though I’m not completely a country girl at heart, I love it for all of that.
What is your current situation academically? (For example, what grade are you in, are you homeschooled, out of school, go to public school, or take lessons from an elderly spinster aunt.)
Haha, no, I do not take lessons from an elderly spinster aunt. (What an amusing idea!) I am home schooled by my mother, and I am midway through high school. :-)
How would you describe your writing style as?
I have never really thought about it before. It’s almost as if I would have to ask someone else to answer that for me. :-P Well, I suppose I would describe it as simple but still somewhat stylish, and hopefully amusing. ;-) Apparently I have a strong ‘voice’, as in, several people have told me that they recognize my writing even if my name is not on it, and can tell it’s me just by the way I write. (Actually, speaking along these lines, I have a question. I have never done an entire creative writing curriculum, and seeing as you are all such excellent writers, I was wondering if you could suggest one to me? Have you ever done a creative writing course that you found especially helpful?)
Is there one author who has particularly influenced you in your writing?
Well, several really. L.M. Montgomery is someone I like to take inspiration from, she can write simply but still so interestingly and with such amazing detail. Charles Dickens also taught me to make my characters memorable. ;-) Louisa May Alcott influenced me a lot as well. So I would say a combination of all three, really. (But if I HAD to pick one, I’d probably choose L.M. Alcott.)
Favorite book series?
Eeeekk, that’s hard! I wish the word ‘series’ was in the plural. (It makes SUCH a difference.) :-P I suppose I’d have to say the Anne series or the Narnia series. (Little House on the Prairie was good too though!)
Favorite childhood book?
Well, depending what part of my childhood we’re talking about – I had new favourites every year! There is one, though, that I particularly loved (and still do!) called “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry. It was about a little girl whose best friend was a Jew, and they had to hide their family from the Nazi soldiers during World War 2. It always gave me chills reading it. :-)
I know it can be hard sometimes for us bookish personalities to pick a favorite author, but if you had to choose just one, who would you pick?
Ugh, Emma, what a nasty question. :-P If I HAD to choose just one....what an awful suggestion.... I reckon it would have to be Louisa May Alcott. Little Women and Eight Cousins are just THAT good. But still, it’s so hard to decide....
What’s your favorite book that’s been made into a movie? How do you feel about the film adaptation as compared with the book?
Um....let me squeeze in a few. Pretty please? I was very happy with the adaption of Lorna Doone, (the one made in 2000,) as well as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped (the 1960 movie) and the first Anne of Green Gables movie (with Megan Follows). But my favourite of all would have to be Little Dorrit (the movie made in 2008). If I may be so bold, the movie may have even been slightly better than the book! I heartily recommend both, however, but the movie was basically perfect in every aspect. The cast, the sets, the music, the scenery – everything.
Who is one literary character you feel a kindred bond with?
Haha, I think you all know what’s coming. ;-) I particularly bond with Meg March from Little Women, as I find myself strikingly like her, but of course, not entirely. We both dream of being married, and become envious of those girls who seem to be so blessed in life, tend to mother-hen our siblings, try to make a good impression, like to wear dresses and pretty things and also have a weakness for gloves. (Among other things.) ;-D Another literary character I feel a kindred bond with would be Anne Shirley, as we both somehow find ourselves in awkward situations, are hopeless romantics and can ‘talk the hind leg off a mule’. ;-D
Where is your favorite place to read? What about writing?
I don’t have a particular place I read or write – anywhere that is quiet is good enough for me! Often I sprawl out on my bed, sometimes I cuddle up on a lounge chair, and occasionally I go outside and prop myself up against a tree. When I’m writing stories, I’m either outside or on the lounge chair, but I very often write my poems outside. I suppose it’s because there is just more scope for the imagination. ;-)
Do you normally write first drafts on a computer, or do you prefer old-fashioned pen and paper?
For both stories and poems, I used to use computers, but after they died numerous times (and I lost several of my writing projects), I thought better of it. Now I’ve made myself a book in which I scribble away to my heart’s content. :-D
Be honest: what is your handwriting like? ;-D
Ahem. Nowhere near as nice as yours, Emma. ;-) (I think I studied it for 5 minutes straight when I first saw it, hehe.) It kind of depends if we’re talking cursive or print. For print, it’s readable but not wonderfully neat or pleasant to the eyes. For cursive, I have learnt a rather old fashioned one so that some people have trouble reading it, since it’s quite swirly and so different to the modern kind these days. Personally, I really like the style.
How long does it generally take you to read a good book? (Of course I know it depends on just HOW good it is, but in general.)
In general.....um, that’s hard. :-P It differs exceedingly, mostly because my life is constantly changing and free time expands and decreases within each week. A good book, in general (and I only ever read one novel at a time) takes me around 2 weeks to read, of late. (I used to think I was a quick reader, but then life happened and I find that I’m not.)
What’s your record time for finishing a book?
I never wrote it down or anything but I suppose less than 12 hours. :-P I read “True Grit” a couple weeks ago within..... 5 or 6 hours? I wasn’t counting, but I’m sure I wasn’t reading any longer than that!
(This picture was Emma's addition) ;-D
As it’s totally impossible to name all my favourites, I’ll name 5 of the books that I currently think are the best. It changes on a monthly basis, you see. ;-)
- “Eight Cousins” by Louisa May Alcott. It’s in contest with being better than Little Women. Seriously, it’s amazing! (Yes, that’s high praise, coming from me. I discovered it less than a year ago, and only read it once, whereas I’ve read Little Women 5 or 6 times.)
- “True Grit” by Charles Portis. I can just FEEL Emma beaming on me. ;-P She recommended it and I took it up – and was so glad I did! It’s simple, it’s fresh, and it’s captivating.
- “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. They’re one of my favourite stories ever, and I know they’re a controversial topic, but I think they’re superb. People who have never read them (and have nothing against them) don’t know what they’re missing out on! But I do understand they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, all the same. ;-)
- “The Prince and the Pauper” by Mark Twain. Mark Twain is most known for Tom Sawyer, but this is also a marvellous tale and for some reason quite overlooked. (There was also a movie made on it that I highly recommend, made in 2000.)
- “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. That man had to be put on my list somehow, and I decided to choose this one. Besides Oliver Twist, this was the first Dickens book I ever read, and my twelve year old self got hooked onto him after that. David Copperfield and Little Dorrit are the two best of his books (that I’ve read so far, and I believe I’ve read 7 of his works at least) in my opinion. The characters are memorable, the dialogue is entertaining, the storyline is clever and it’s a thoroughly good story. :-D (There was also a splendid movie made of it, in 1999.)
Tell about the things you think are most important in a good novel.
To have a fresh plot, that is new and intriguing, to have a wholesome middle (often times books have good beginnings and endings, but the middle is a little tedious) and to have relatable characters. There are so many things that make up a good book, but those are the first things I tend to notice. Particularly having relatable characters – if they are too good (I must admit, Elsie Dinsmore satisfied me until I realized she was ‘an angel come down to earth’) it’s rather annoying. Yet they can’t be your normal, nice person with a couple flaws who happen to be pretty and talented in everything and make up your perfect heroine. There should be something gripping about them, that makes you remember them, and leave you crying and laughing alongside of them.
About what age did you start writing stories? Do you still have your early works?
I think I began writing stories for fun when I was 10. I vaguely remember my first story, and it makes me blush crimson to think of it. I lost several long stories (and I mean very long) from the computer, that I hadn’t saved on paper, when our computer died (and then died again :-P), but I do have a few short stories I wrote for school. I also remember writing my first poem. Other than memorizing them for school, I had never ‘done’ poems before. When I was 10, I wrote this, on a whim, with no clue whatsoever on how to write poems:
She is awake early in the morning; she has so much to do.
When you cry, she always comforts you.
When there is work, she does not shirk,
She is good and kind and true.
I love my mother, and always will do.
I wrote that out from memory. ;-) I distinctly remember – I was so proud of it, I couldn’t wait 2 months for Mothers Day, I had to rush right out and show it to her. ;-D
Are you currently working on a novel/story/project?
Well, I’m ¾ through writing a poem at the moment, which I really should finish. I am also writing 3 stories in my little story book. One is about a little girl living in modern day Australia (I thought I’d TRY modern, but I’m quite sure it’s not for me) whose life is changed drastically within 24 hours. I’m also writing another one about the author(ess) of the song “Lavender’s Blue”, which I am completely making up (after discovering the songwriter was anonymous and being inspired from watching Cinderella) about a girl living in the 1800s. The last one is the one I’m particularly focusing on, and it’s about a Christian, 17 year old girl in a concentration camp during World War 2. You may well draw back and gasp, as it’s a huge project to take on, but I’ve been researching and using my imagination. I hope to make it as accurate as possible, but the characters are fictional (although the camp isn’t). It’s got a complicated romance thrown in there, as well. I’m rather excited to see how it turns out. :-D
Well, I’d like to thank you (one last time) Emma, for asking me to do this. I was so stoked when you suggested it, and a little nervous. :-P Your blog is so inspiring and entertaining, you are truly a talented writer, and such a dear girl! I say, three cheers for Emma! :-D
Thank you, Miss Meg!