Today I'm featuring one of my most anticipated novels for 2016. It is about espionage and everything in between. Crossing the Line has been on top of my wishlist for months! I'm happy to have this chance to interview Meghan Rogers and ask her the questions in my mind about her debut.
What kind of research did you do to be able to write Crossing the Line?
I did a lot of research on spies, North Korea, torture, and other things that have me certain I’m on a government watch list. I watched some documentaries on North Korea and did a lot of reading to understand what a top secret spy agency in that country might look like. I also went to some spy exhibits at the Franklin Institute and the International Spy Museum, which were fantastic! I even got to crawl through some air ducts like Jocelyn does in the book! And have a cousin who is really into history, espionage, weaponry, and the world in general. Even if he can’t answer one of my questions, he usually knows where to look to find the answer.
Could you tell us a bit about Jocelyn's kidnappers?
Jocelyn was taken by a North Korean covert spy agency called KATO. They’re known for their ruthless tactics and have found that the younger they start training their agents, the more control they have over them. Jocelyn was, in part, taken because her parents were spies for the American-based International Defense Agency (IDA). KATO trained her to fight against the IDA.
Could you tell us a bit about Jocelyn's training to be a spy/agent?
KATO’s training philosophy hinges on two main factors. The first is to start young. From the time Jocelyn was kidnapped as an eight-year-old she was taught to fight, steal, and kill. She had about six years of training before she was put on her first mission when she was fourteen. The second factor is control. KATO controls their agents with brainwashing and a certain degree of torture for misbehaving and poor performance, but their biggest weapon is an addictive drug called Gerex. Gerex is engineered in KATO and can’t be found anywhere else. Once KATO gets their agents addicted, they use it to keep agents loyal to them, and withhold it as a form of punishment. You’ll see Jocelyn struggling with this drug in the book.
How did you mold and develop Jocelyn as a character, given her complicated situation?
For this book the goal really to develop Jocelyn’s ability to trust. She’s coming from an agency and situation where she could trust no one but herself. Now in order to escape that environment, she’ll have to trust the IDA, which she has spent her KATO career fighting against, with her life. She takes this huge risk in order to safe herself, and that’s just the first step. She isn’t someone who likes to talk and share—especially given her history—but if she’ll have to find a way to get past that if she hopes to win over the IDA. A lot of her development comes by putting her in situations where she has no choice but to trust the agents at her new agency, with both her history and her life, which forces her to grow. By pushing that aspect of her character, it also opened the window for development in other aspects of her and the story.
I have read a lot of amazing feedback on the twists and turns and the strong plot of Crossing the Line. They have noted that you accomplished a difficult task in pulling this off. Have you encountered any challenges while writing Crossing the Line? How did you deal with it?
I love hearing that the plot keeps people guessing! The answer for this is a little involved. When it comes to plot there are a couple of factors at play for me. First, I don’t go into a book looking to create plot twists. My goal is to find ways to keep increasing the tension as the book goes on. Sometimes this happens with an unexpected turn, but a lot of times it’s more about raising the stakes. The second factor is that as much as there is one overarching plan for a book, I tend to break my books down into 8-10 storylines. When I’m planning, I’ll work out each storyline independent from one another and focus on increasing the tension within the individual plotline in the same way I look to increase the tension in the book as a whole. Once I’ve done that, I’ll start looking at ways to fit the storylines together. This is where I think the twists and turns come into play. My goal is to weave the storylines together as tightly as possible, which means a lot of times the connections come from unexpected places. The connections also tend to evolve and strengthen as the book develops. This is the when things start to get challenging because getting the storylines to fit together as tightly as possible, and filling in any plot holes that pop up, can be so hard! Usually when this happens I’ll go work on another project and come back. Or find a friend/critique partner who has read the book and discuss it with them. My editor is also particularly awesome at pointing out weak areas and giving killer notes to strengthen them.
What is your favorite part or scene in Crossing the Line? Why?
I don’t think I have one favorite part or scene, but there are a lot of scenes in this book that push Jocelyn to trust people (and her new agency) before she’s really ready to. I loved pushing her in situations where she had to trust and grow. It was fun to see how those scenes impacted not only Jocelyn, but also the other characters in the book.
Thanks so much for having me and for your fantastic questions!! :)
Thank you, Meghan! We're really looking forward to your book! :)
Meghan Rogers has been telling stories since she could talk and writing creatively since she was first introduced to the concept in third grade. She spent her high school years completing her first novel and has been actively writing ever since. After college, Meghan went on to work with high school writers while earning her MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College. She is currently living in the Philadelphia area and working on the next Raven Files novel.
Find Meghan: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest
Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: April 12th 2016 by Philomel Books
If Jason Bourne were a teenaged girl…
Jocelyn Steely was kidnapped as a child and raised in North Korea as a spy. When her agency sends her to the U.S. to infiltrate the very group her parents once worked for, Jocelyn jumps at the chance to turn double agent and finish off her kidnappers once and for all. She convinces the head of the American spy agency to trust her, but it’s not quite as simple as that: Jocelyn has to fight the withdrawal symptoms from the drug that the North Koreans used to keep her in line, and her new fellow spies refuse to trust their former adversary. Worst of all, there might be some new information to uncover about her parents - if she even wants to find out.
This action-packed spy thriller is part Gallagher Girls, part Alex Rider, and part Bourne Identity.
Thanks to Meghan for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs:
Signed Crossing the Line bookmark, signed Crossing the Line note card, Crossing the Line stickers, and a limited edition Crossing the Line credit card flashdrive and Crossing the Line ARC
Scope: US and CA
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!