Ask the Author: Meredith Tate
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember! When I’m not writing, I love traveling, and my life dream is to visit every continent (4 down, 3 to go). I’ve lived in 3 countries and am hoping to add more to that list. I’m always up for another adventure! Three facts: I’m partially deaf, I have a flatcoat retriever named Finley, and I love playing the piano. I also grew up in Concord, NH, which is the setting for my book.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
THE LAST CONFESSION OF AUTUMN CASTERLY is a speculative, allegorical murder mystery about two estranged sisters named Autumn and Ivy who haven’t spoken to one another in three years. Eighteen-year-old Autumn is a petty criminal and “mean girl” who just wants to get out of high school as soon as possible. Fifteen-year-old Ivy spends her days marching in the school band, playing video games with her tight-knit friend group, and hopelessly crushing on her best friend.
When a drug deal goes wrong and Autumn finds herself beaten, bound, and held hostage in an unknown location, her soul leaves her body with three days to save herself before her captors murder her. But in this ghostly existence, no one can see or hear her — no one except Ivy.
Shadowed by Autumn’s ghost, Ivy has three days to find her sister or else she’ll lose her forever. But the more Ivy digs, the more dangerous it gets, and she must decide how far she’s willing to go to save the sister she no longer knows.
(TW: rape) In addition to being a murder mystery, Autumn’s story is about the harm of rape culture and how society fails victims of sexual assault.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
TW: sexual assault
A lot of different things! I knew I wanted to write a contemporary with speculative elements about two estranged sisters, and as I was figuring it out, I realized I really wanted to base it in my hometown because I had never read a book set there before. However, a lot of this book came from a place of rage and pain and frustration, watching case after case in the media where rapists get off with egregiously light sentences, because our legal system always seems to value the futures of perpetrators over the lives of their victims. Part of this book was me screaming into the void!
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
I have two favorite scenes, but I’ll be vague because they’re both major spoilers!
- Autumn’s “goodbyes” chapter
- The field hockey party
To me, these two chapters — which are both near the end of the book — represent major changes in Autumn and Ivy, and show how much they’ve grown over the course of the story. These two sisters mean so much to me, and those are both chapters where we really see who they are as people.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
Growing up I was always a huge Harry Potter fan — I always say that I was a reluctant reader as a child before I discovered those books, which was the first series I ever remember reading for fun, not just because it was assigned in school or something. BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver is also one of my favorites, and it’s probably the book that made me want to try writing a YA speculative contemporary so badly.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Find a good group of critique partners. Be open to major revisions. Read a lot of books in the genre you want to write, and also outside of the genre you want to write. Just read a lot of books! And of course, don’t give up! ❤
Meredith is a travel fanatic, social work alum, and bookworm who lives in Houston with her husband. She’s never met a dog she didn’t like.
The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly: Indiebound|Barnes & Noble|Main Street Books|Gibson’s Bookstore|Penguin Random House|Book Depository|Amazon
The Red Labyrinth: IndieBound|Barnes & Noble|Main Street Books|Gibson’s Bookstore|Flux|Book Depository|Amazon
Freedom Trials: IndieBound|Barnes & Noble|Main Street Books|Gibson’s Bookstore|Book Depository|Amazon
Missing Pieces: IndieBound|Barnes & Noble|Main Street Books|Gibson’s Bookstore|Book Depository|Simon & Schuster|Amazon