Get to know our editors: Megan Patton

LSQ has a group of wonderful editors reading and preparing stories for every issue. They’ve graciously agreed to answer some questions so we can all get to know them a bit better. Today we get to learn more about Megan Patton.

Hi Megan! First off, please tell us a bit about yourself. Have any super powers or secret talents?

I am a master level procrastinator, and I can turn just about everything into a one pot pasta dinner. Like, anything. It can get gross.

What random objects do you use to bookmark your books?

I’m a heathen. I usually have a lot of hard covers so I use the jacket flap. When I’m not being an abomination, I have a little owl that clips to the spine and his tail is the book mark.

What are your thoughts on fanfiction?

I really struggle with fanfiction. There’s so much of the author that goes in to creating a speculative series – world building can take years – and it bothers me to see an author’s years of work be treated like a rung on a ladder for lesser works. When we get submissions that are blatant ff (which is blessedly rare) I get annoyed because clearly, the writer is good enough to produce their own honest work but doesn’t, and even if the writer is doing it as an homage to their fandom, it’s still plagiarism if you take it out of the fanfic community and try to capitalize on it. That being said, I know fanficition communities can be a great support system for new writers and writers looking for support.

What do you think about YA literature and its popularity with adults?

Teens and young adults have become a lot more savvy over the years, which I think is why the market has evolved from the basic melodrama teen plots to a more mature story line that has a general appeal across age barriers. I remember a lot of YA when I growing up (mid-90’s) being a tad silly and all about having a boyfriend or girls sabotaging each other over prom dresses. There was no character growth. Since there was a lack of savvy plot lines, I gravitated to R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike whose basic plots consisted of “Sure, have a boyfriend. Have two! Good luck finding out which one is the killer.” It wasn’t intelligent or mature, but it was better than prom dresses.

Do you think much about whether the stories in LSQ or your own stories are respected as literature?

Judging the volume of submissions we get, I totally think it is respected as literature.

Do you think things are getting better for women in speculative fiction? How about in other areas?

Yes and no. Margaret Atwood exists, so how could I not say yes? However, the last three books I’ve read were speculative/fantasy or speculative/horror and they were all written by men: The Fireman by Joe Hill, Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay, and The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. I bought them and read them because of the way they were marketed. I think a lot of the time most works by women, but specifically spec-fic works, are marketed differently and almost “lower”: cover art that’s softer and less graphic, weak tag lines or first reader blurbs “I read it! It has pages you can turn!”. I’m a lot less likely to choose a book with some Magic Mike looking barbarian on a dark purple background, smolderingly staring at me than I would be to chose something with clean cover art and a succinct tag line.

Most writers are lifelong readers and books tend to be important to them. What books or stories have most influenced your life (genre stories or otherwise)?

Very early on I was exposed to what my grandmother called the Anti-Austens: Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables FOR LIFE), Gene Stratton Porter, Harper Lee. These women created girls who weren’t always cute and polite and nice. That stuck with me.

I’m always fascinated by where and how people work. What is your writing setup like? Any tools you enjoy using?

Currently, my writing set up is an iMac on the kitchen counter with a coleman camp chair pulled up to it so my knees grate on the cabinets. We (my husband, 2 dogs, and 1 pissed off cat) just moved from New York to Oregon. Our furniture has not caught up with us yet.

What got you excited about being an editor for LSQ?

Working with strong, intelligent, educated women with the same interests.

What gets you excited about an LSQ submission?

A world that feels real. I don’t care if it’s on a space ship or in a creepy old barn or in the high elf king’s tent, if the world feels real to me, I get into it immediately.

What have you been up to lately? Do you have any books out right now? Are you working on anything new?

I’m working on bunch of short stories and I have a murder mystery I’m grinding away at.

Where can we learn more about you and your writing?

Come to my house, lean over my shoulder, and scream in my ear “WHY AREN’T YOU WRITING MORE?”