MFT Interview with Dawn Metcalf, author of Luminous!

Joining me today is the wonderful Dawn Metcalf, author of the highly anticipated, upcoming fantasy, Luminous (June 30th)! Be sure to follow the link at the bottom of the post to Dawn’s blog, where she’s giving away tons of goodies( Please note: I’m not hosting a giveaway with Dawn, you’ll have to visit her blog for the giveaway. Thanks!)

Please welcome Dawn to the blog!

Dawn, first off, I’m dying to know how a Chicago girl became a rural New England girl!

Blame the husband. I’m a 3rd generation Chicagoan and I only came out East because I’d finally gotten accepted into a Graduate School program. (Three years, twenty-nine schools, twenty-eight rejections, and one acceptance: Harvard University! It took about 0.05 seconds for me to say, “Yes!” and move to Boston.) Somewhere in there I met this crazy guy through friends-of-friends and five short years later, I stole his surname and now there are two short people who look vaguely like us running around our house. Weird.

And what have we learned from this? a) Never listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t shoot for the moon, b) Choose your friends-of-friends carefully–they can change your life in ways you can’t imagine, & c) If you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to! (No, wait, that’s Lord of the Rings…nevermind.)

Now that that’s out of the way…can you tell us a bit about your first book, Luminous?

This is your typical story about a suburban latina teen who discovers that she can remove her skin and craft new ones out of anything in order to save people from dying before their time. I know, I know… it sounds like every other paranormal fantasy based on Dia de los Muertos out there. I am clearly a slave to trends. 

Actually, Consuela Chavez was born out of questions like: “Why aren’t there more minority superheroes?” and “Why do superheroines all wear skimpy, wedgie-inducing costumes while saving the world?” and “Why can’t there be some sort of mash-up between my favorite TV shows like Quantum Leap and Buffy the Vampire Slayer?” Naturally, it was inevitable I’d come up with a gorgeous Mexican-American guardian-angel-type pearlescent skeleton traveling via a parallel universe.

Um…Blame the husband?

What made you decide to write YA?

I have always written dark, quirky speculative fiction and most of my stories have a young adult protagonist and often a twisted sense of humor or world perspective. Once upon a time when I was a Young Adult, there was no Young Adult section and this was simply called “Fantasy” (or “Disturbingly Weird”), usually shelved in the back along with a thick layer of cobwebs and a smattering of dead mice. Nowadays, these kinds of books are proudly displayed in full view of innocent bystanders, either in the traditional Fantasy/Sci-Fi section or the snazzy Young Adult section (or, more recently, Paranormal Romance when there’s kissing involved)!

 I happen to love the fact that I write YA because the feelings are real, the consequences are meaningful, and you’ve got to bring your A-Game to the page because these folks aren’t willing to waste their time being bored. Maybe some adults can talk themselves into slogging through a book in their off-time, but YA readers are gourmets and gourmands — they know what they want and it’s high quality, high action, and high stakes. I love it!

Is there anything you absolutely need in order to write? Anything that gets the creative juices flowing? I read that you’re a chocoholic…

I am, indeed, a devoted chocoholic. (Blame my mother for that one. Her taste is exquisite and she makes such amazing desserts!) However, I can’t really indulge in chocolate or anything caffeinated because then I’m not so much typing as hanging from the ceiling tiles. I also don’t listen to music, type in coffee houses, make folders of actors or photographs for reference, or anything else vaguely normal for any other YA author who is unquestionably cooler than me. The only thing I absolutely need to write is absolute silence and no visual distractions. Luckily, my cats are both fat and lazy so once the kids are at school and my husband is working, I’m all set!

How do you balance having a family and writing?

Good question. GREAT question. Um…I’ll have to get back to you on that when I learn to do that better! (My daughter is currently groaning at me that I am typing instead of playing with her.)

 Honestly, I try to only write when my kids are in school or sleeping and my husband is at work, but sometimes they know that Mommy has to be locked in her office for a bit and “one more minute” is a bald-faced lie. Fortunately, they love me and are very forgiving (as long as I grovel with hugs, cuddles, and chocolate desserts).

Your bio says you’re a fringe geek. What’s the “geekiest” thing you own?

Hmm. It’s probably a three-way tie between my elf ear tips, my boffer weaponry, and LARP spellbook. If you don’t know what these things are, my reputation is safe.

Can you tell us a bit about your current project, Indelible Ink?

I love this story. Can I say I love this story? I love this story!

 If Consuela came out of geeky conversations about the stereotypical superheroine trope, then INK was in response to the ol’ immortal guy who falls for a sixteen-year old girl and “shows her the way to love.” Yyyyeah. So my first literary crush was Peter Pan and I happen to think there’s something terribly alluring about a powerful guy with an innocent streak paired up with a girl who knows what it’s like to feel and be human. So imagine this as “a teenage Meet Joe Black with knives.” The expression on people’s faces is like an American Express card: priceless!

Anything else you’d like to share with us about upcoming projects? Any teasers?

I am tempted to type “nyah-nyah” or something infantile, but truthfully, there is a lot I’m working on right now. LUMINOUS was my seventeenth completed manuscript and while a number of these “trunk novels” should emulate Bram Stoker vampires and never ever see the light of day, there are a few that I would love to see make it to print; mainly the ones where I get to be slapstick, snarky and silly because that part of my personality is less evident in my dramatic dark fantasy stories.

 I also love taking the road less traveled so mixing cultural histories with modern myths and turning “What If?” questions on their heads is my kind of storytelling. The best is when I push my own envelope, get uncomfortable, and notice that I’d rather be doing the laundry/the dishes/scrubbing the floors rather than write a scene; that means I’m really avoiding something that I have to overcome. And it’s worth it every time! The project I’m working on right now is just that sort of story, one that gets people talking, possibly in raised voices or self-conscious whispers, and that feeling is absolutely amazing!But alas, alack, I cannot reveal specifics. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out more!

Visit Dawn at her website!
Follow Dawn on Twitter!
Enter to win the MEGA GIVEAWAY Dawn has going on over at her BLOG!


  1. Awesome interview! Dawn is a billion kinds of awesome, and I loved Luminous. Indelible Ink sounds so out-there and cool. I'm not entering to win, by the way, but I'll definitely be checking out that mega giveaway. 🙂

  2. Great interview! I've been really looking forward to reading Luminous so it was cool to learn a little more about Dawn and her books. 🙂

  3. Offbeat Vagabond

    This has got to be one of the funniest interviews ever! What an amazing woman. I agree wholeheartedly about the usual superheroes and superheroines? Why the skimpy outfits? You see, Anita got it right. Jeans and Nikes, that is proper badass attire LOL! Love the idea of mixing Quantum Leap and Buffy together (favorites!). As for the geekiest things, I know what all of them are, so I think we are both screwed LMAO! I can't wait to start this. It is obvious you have quite the quirky voice, definitely next on the list. Thank you guys for the great interview 🙂

  4. Wonderful interview – thank you for sharing today.

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