We chat with first author Meg Long about her upcoming release Cold at night, fast wolves, which is a gripping start to survival, family found, and the girl-wolf bond that offers a new twist to classic survival stories and frontier myths. Meg discusses all things writing, book recommendations, and more!
Hi, Meg! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Salvation! Thanks so much for interviewing me! I am the author of Cold at night, fast wolves, which is my first YA book with Wednesday Books in early January 2022. In addition to being an author, I design content for websites, apps, and games. When I’m not writing or acting I’m probably obsessed with Sailor Moon fanarts or K-Pop bands.
Welcome to 2022! What do you hope the year will bring and have you set goals?
Yes for 2022 – We did it! (I think. ð) I hope this year brings a much needed calm to everyone’s life and my only real focus is to work on a new idea for a book.
When was the first time you discovered your love of writing?
When I was in middle school and high school my first love was comics and after that it was manga / anime so originally I wanted to write and draw comics. It was the start for me to create characters and build worlds around them. But it took me a while to get back to it because I didn’t start writing serious books until 2016 (almost fourteen years later).
Quick flash tour! Tell us about the first book you remember reading, the one that made you want to be an author and that you can’t stop thinking about!
Oh wow, first book? I have pretty strong memories of some early images, like Take me to the zoo and Harold and the purple pencil. There were two books that made me want to write YA, Vampire academy by Richelle Mead and Throne of glass by Sarah J Maas that I reread in 2012. But there were older books, like A wrinkle in time and the old Star Wars novels that I loved so much, I created my own characters to live in these worlds. I guess I’ve been making up stories for a long time before I put words on paper. And a book that I can’t help but think about should be Crown hunters by Rebecca Conffindaffer. It’s such a fun and vivid sci-fi adventure story – I really wish I could live in this world too.
Your first novel, Cold at night, fast wolves, released on January 11e! If you could only describe it in five words, what would they be?
Only five words !? Uhâ¦ Girl, wolf, dangerous ice raceâ¦ bad luck! Okay, it was more than five. Ignore the last two words! But it doesn’t have the same sound without the misfortune.
What can readers expect?
Cold at night, fast wolves is a story about how to find a family when you’ve lost everything, and how connecting with people (or animals) can help you survive even in the most difficult of environments. There is a ruthless city on a desolate ice planet. There is a thrilling race and ruthless gangsters. There are predators, storms, and something that might kill you pretty much on every page. But the heart of the story is about a lost girl who is forced to help a wild wolf and how they learn to trust each other and be the family they both need, not just to survive, but to truly live. .
Where does the inspiration come from for Cold at night, fast wolves comes from?
The spark that started the story is actually a tweet thread by Iditarod runner Blair Braverman. She tells the story of being alone on the sled track with only her dogs as they run in the middle of the night and she sees what she thought was a demon. It was so visceral, so intense that it stuck in my head for a long time. I started to imagine if there really were demons in the woods and what it would look like if it was a sci-fi story rather than a fantasy one. I started to read anything with sledding or wolves in the arctic like Call of the wild and Stone fox and the whole idea snowballed from there.
Can you tell us a bit about the challenges you encountered while writing and how you were able to overcome them?
Well when I wrote this I was living in Louisiana where there is no snow and I have never been to Alaska in the winter and I have not (yet) ridden a dog sled. So I had to deepen my research on Iditarod runners and their experiences. over there on the trail. I watched documentaries and read firsthand testimonials, all to help me understand what it’s like to survive in these extreme conditions. I sincerely hope that the research rings true when readers access these particular parts of the book.
Are there any favorite moments or characters that you really enjoyed writing about or exploring?
I really enjoyed writing the supporting characters who end up taking part in the race and helping Sena, the main character, become a leader. She has to deal with this motley team of scientists who know nothing about survival but somehow they also take care of her in the midst of all these savage threats. Plus, the wild threats were really fun to write. Nothing is more enjoyable than surprising your characters with giant bears or killer ice demons when they least expect it!
What was your journey to becoming a published author?
Like many of my fellow authors, the road to publication is littered with abandoned stories and heaps of rejections. I was very lucky to find mentors through Pitch Wars, an online mentoring program for unpublished writers. Although I couldn’t find an agent through the program, I found an amazing group of friends and fellow writers who really helped me when writing or asking questions was difficult. It took six years and many unsuccessful book attempts to go from budding writer to published author and my journey is short compared to others!
What’s the next step for you?
I’m working on an accompanying novel for Cold at night who changes from Sena to one of the other secondary characters. It also features a wild planet, but I can’t say much else about it yet! But this character is a fan favorite, so I’m really excited to dive into a new point of view that everyone loves.
Finally, do you have any 2022 book recommendations for our readers?
So much! The bone rocket by Leslie Vedder and The ivory key by Akshaya Raman are some of my favorite 2022 debuts that are full of heart and adventure! For more books featuring dangerous beasts and competitive racing I’m really excited for Intrepid by Elisa A Bonnin and Monsters born and created by Tanvi Berwah.