17 Nov 2016

Author Interview with Margo Kelly

Hi Margo! Can you tell us a little about your latest book. 
17-year-old Hannah is losing her grip on reality, which is affecting not only her but her friends and family too. She wrecked the car when bugs crawled over her hands, but were the creepy things even real? Now someone is moving Hannah’s possessions around in her room, or is she imagining that also? Why does she feel like she isn’t in control of her own brain anymore? Hannah is terrified she’s headed for a horrible life in and out of the mental institution, just like her dad.
When her friends bail, Hannah is left floundering. Her boyfriend, Manny, doesn’t believe her wild stories, and new girl Chelsea is practically replacing her at school. Only artsy outsider and self-proclaimed occult expert, Plug, agrees to help Hannah discover the truth, but even he can't help Hannah reclaim her mind from whatever is taking over. She'll have to do that on her own, especially if she wants to save her friends, her mom, and herself.

What inspired you to write it?

When I was in college I attended my first hypnotism show. In an auditorium along with a couple hundred other students, I watched as fifteen guys and girls went on stage and participated in the show. The audience laughed and clapped and hooted when the hypnotized students did ridiculous things such as quack like ducks or sing like rock stars. It was great. Terrific. Until the end.
While the participants were still completely hypnotized, the hypnotist turned to the audience and spouted his political views. He didn’t even try to hide what he was doing. He spoke clearly and abruptly. The people to my left and to my right sat in shock. My own mouth dropped open in disbelief. The hypnotist went so far as to tell everyone exactly how to vote in the upcoming election. I was dumbfounded. I felt like my trust had been violated, and I wasn’t even on the stage. I was not hypnotized. I was not in any sort of suggestive state. But those students in the show still were. And I bet there were plenty of others sitting in the audience who were impressionable from watching the hypnosis being performed.
That’s the exact moment when I decided I would never willingly take part in hypnosis. Sure, that was an isolated incident. Some hypnotists are trustworthy. But not all. Some do not have a very high ethical code. And because of that, to this day, I hate giving up control to anyone, under any circumstances. I’ve never forgotten that college night, and it inspired my novel, UNLOCKED.

Is it part of a series?

No

What made you want to become an author?
I love telling stories, and I love being scared, especially when reading a book. It’s my goal to write thrillers that will give readers the goose bumps or the itchies or the desire to rethink everyday things.

Name one of your all-time favourite book covers?
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Name one book that made you think 'wow'? Why did it have such an effect on you?

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis ---- This was the type of book that was so utterly compelling that I could not start reading another book for quite a while afterward. The characters are still in my mind. I'm still thinking about the choices they made. I'm still thinking about what I would have done in their situations. WOW. There is SO MUCH great content in this story. It's about women's rights. It's about respecting other people. It's about respecting yourself. It's about defending the defenceless. It's about justice and injustice. Frankly, it's the best book I've read in ages.

Who, or what, inspires you?

My children inspire me. Every day.

Where is your favourite place to write?
In my office at my desk. I have a large window to my left, which looks out into my garden. Birds will perch on the fence, and the clear blue sky is just a glance away.

Who is your favourite author and why?

Dean Koontz, for his page-turning thrillers. My desire is to write fast paced thrillers for the young adult audience.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
When I was a teenager, trying to find a likeable job, I only lasted two weeks at KFC. It was so greasy that I kept slipping on the floors and falling. Grease covered every surface, and I went home feeling so icky every day. (But I still eat there occasionally!)

Tell us something interesting about the area where you live.
I love Idaho, especially when we go camping amongst the pine trees in the mountains of central Idaho next to a rushing white-water river. Best. Place. Ever. 

Margo is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, Margo is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? was her debut novel published by Merit Press (an imprint of F+W Media) in September 2014. Unlocked will be published by Merit Press in October 2016. Margo welcomes opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.
Margo loves to be scared … when she’s reading a good book, watching a good movie, or suffering from the hiccups. She enjoys writing thrillers for young adults and hopes her stories give readers the goose bumps or the itchies or the desire to rethink everyday things. Margo is represented by the not-so-scary, but totally awesome, Brianne Johnson of Writers House.
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