Our March feature is a NYT Best-selling author with a slew of books to her name. When she moved to our Dayton, she joined our community of talented writers working here in the Miami Valley. It’s my pleasure to welcome Megan Hart to AOTM.

Janet Irvin: Hi, Megan! I’m so glad you’re here to share with us your writing thoughts. Let’s get started.

You are a New York Times and USA best-selling author and your output is prodigious. Can you share with readers how you manage to produce so many books?
Megan Hart: For a long many years, I wrote a lot of words instead of watching TV or sleeping or anything fun like that. I ran a household, raised kids and wrote. I wrote at the playground, after everyone was in bed, in parking lots, coffee shops…wherever and whenever I could. I made writing a priority, not a hobby.

J.I.: You write in multiple genres — mainstream, romance, speculative, horror. Do you have a preferred area? How do you decide what to write next?

M.H.: I really love horror and spec fic. It was my first love, and I’m really happy to be getting back into it. How I decide what to write next is based on if I have a contract or a deadline, and if I do, I write that. If I don’t, I pick whichever project is speaking to me the most.

J.I.: If a reader is coming to you for the first time, which book would you recommend for that initial Hart reading?

M.H.; For readers who enjoy sexy contemporary fiction, I’d say start off with Dirty. For spec fic, Clearwater is a good first read. My first thriller writing as Mina Hardy will be out in November, 2020, so anyone who likes those sorts of books can start with that.

J.I.: Recently you relocated to Dayton from the east. Has that move changed your writing or writing schedule in any way?

M.H.: I officially and completely moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania in September of 2018. Before that, I spent about two years commuting back and forth once a month or every other month. It’s about seven hours each way. It absolutely impacted my writing schedule. On the other hand, if I wasn’t a full-time writer with a flexible schedule, I’d never have been able to manage the long-distance transition, so it all works out in the end, right? As for how it’s changed my schedule now that I’m fully ensconced here in Dayton, it both has and has not. I no longer raise young children and I don’t need to write from 9 pm – 3 am or anything like that, so I try to write during “normal” working hours and take time off in the evenings to watch TV or spend time with my family, and if I work on weekends, I consider it bonus time. Yes, it has impacted the amount of words I write. I’m trying to be more efficient during the day. I can’t maintain those late night hours anymore, anyway. I’m over a decade older than I was when I got started!

J.I.: You also write under a pen name – Mina Hardy. Explain a little about that choice and direction.

M.H.: I’d been wanting to write domestic suspense for a long, long time, even before the popularity of what has become known as domestic suspense was even a thing. (I just didn’t have a name for it back then.) Basically, books about people making bad choices. So when I finally had the chance to go for it, I figured I’d probably need to use a pen name, if only to differentiate the genres. I’d used one for my YA Horror in the past, so it wasn’t a huge shock to learn that the publisher also wanted to have that distinction. It’s not a secret, so my readers who enjoy those sorts of books can still find me, and new readers can discover me.

J.I.: You have a killer web site. Did you design it yourself?

M.H.: Sort of…? I use a free WordPress template. So I did pick that out, but I don’t claim to have designed anything, really.

J.I.: You are also active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. How do you keep up with all the social media demands?

M.H.: I preschedule a lot of posts, which gives me time to add in “real time” posts as I experience them. I like social media. Probably I’d write more words if I wasn’t on Twitter all day.

J.I.: You and Rob E. Boley have your own press — Howling Unicorn. Why did you decide to venture into publishing this way?

J.I.: Rob and I met in 2015, and after an interesting Facebook post he’d made about a homemade Ouija board, I asked him if he’d be interested in doing a self-publishing project. We talked about it and worked on the details together and the anthology went live in January 2017. We formed Howling Unicorn to produce that project. We also intend to publish other works in the future, but we have no intentions of becoming publishers full time.

J.I.: What advantages are there to establishing your own publishing company? Disadvantages?

M.H.: The world of indie publishing has changed so much since I started publishing. I in no way claim to own a publishing company. I co-own and operate a small boutique publisher that handles independent publishing projects for me and my co-founder, and whatever wider range projects we decide to do for the love of it.  The advantage is that I get to publish fun projects. The disadvantage is that…well, there really isn’t any, since it’s such a small-scale labor of love.

J.I.: Your web site has an extensive list of things you love, like tattoos. Do you have a favorite tattoo?

M.H.: My favorite tattoo is the rose on my inner left elbow. I have a whole bunch of others, but that one’s my favorite.

J.I.: Thank you for joining us this month, Megan. Just for fun, where is your favorite place to eat in Dayton?
M.H.: To be honest, my favorite place to eat in Dayton is probably my house, since I hardly ever go out to eat. I really like the Yaffa Grill out by Wright State. I haven’t been to many restaurants here! I’m a homebody.
J.I.: If you could spend a day anywhere in the world, where would you go?
M.H.: If I could spend the day anywhere in the world, I’d go to Bethany Beach. It’s where I always want to go.
Below are two of Megan’s many books.

Megan Hart’s bio, in her own words: Megan Hart writes books. Some of them use bad words, but most of the other words are okay. Some of them hit bestseller lists and win awards and some don’t, but that’s the way it goes. She can’t live without music, the internet, or the ocean, but she and soda have achieved an amicable uncoupling. She loathes the feeling of corduroy or velvet, and modern art leaves her cold. She writes a little bit of everything from horror to romance, though she’s best known for writing steamy fiction that sometimes makes you cry. Find out more about her at meganhart.com, or if you really want to get crazy, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/megan_hart and Facebook at www.facebook.com/readinbed. Also Instagram.com/readinbed