Monday, June 30, 2014

All Things Meg Collett: A Look Back at Her End of Days Series as it Comes to A Close

A Note from The Literary Connoisseur:

It's with a heavy heart that I announce that the End of Days series by Meg Collett is coming to a close. Her last book in the series, The Only One, came out today and thus concludes Michaela, Clark, and Gabriel's story. 

I am lucky enough to say that over this past year, I have gotten to know Meg very well, and I could not have any more adoration for her than I do. She is a wonderfully smart, creative, and beautiful person, whose brilliance when it comes to pen and paper, is extraordinary. I say that I couldn't have more adoration for her than I do now, but that's not true. Every time I think I can't love her more, somehow she proves me wrong, and I fall in love all over again. 

I am sad to say goodbye to Michaela, Clark, Gabriel, and the rest of the End of Days characters, but I am even more excited to say, "Hello!" to Meg's new stories and books.

In this blog post, we're going to take a look back at her End of Days series, starting with The Hunted One, transitioning into The Lost One, and finally, ending with The Only One. Here you'll find my reviews, buy links, and a special interview with Meg Collett.

I hope you enjoy, and if you haven't yet read the End of Days series, I suggest you start now. Meg's books truly are a treasure to behold.


The Hunted One by Meg Collett:

  I received Ms Collett's book The Hunted One (book one in the End of Days series) as an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) for review purposes about a month ago, and was incredibly excited to start it. I read the synopsis, checked out her author page and noticed that The Hunted One was talked about, well before it was even released! (And still is, since it officially hasn't come out yet.) Now I know why...
  As I type this, it has been about 20 minutes since I've finished the book Just, absolutely and positively wow. Based on how easily I fell in love with the story, I knew I was going to rate it around four to five stars, but now that I've finished it and am one step away from begging Meg for the next book, I HAVE to rate it five stars. The author initiates you into this adventure that Michaela, our main character, is thrown into and once you're in, you won't want to be let go. 
  Michaela has just been betrayed by her Archangel brothers and sisters, and was tricked into letting the Fallen into Heaven. Michaela's life long-partner and confidant Gabriel was tossed into Hell, Michaela has just committed a horrific crime, and Lucifer has just ripped off her wings, banishing her from Heaven. Michaela is done for...or so we think. She is saved by Clark, an angel protector, and must fix and stop what has started. Here starts the beginning of the End of Days series. 
  This book will hook you and addict you from the very first page. I would know, because I am a recent addict of Meg Collett's books. 
  There are many incredible and absolutely mind-blowing things about this book and Meg Collett's writing. Among them are Michaela's strong will and backbone, making her a beyond amazing heroine, a character that provides comic relief when you feel as if there's no hope left in the world, and most of all, and my favorite; how easy it is picture what the author is describing. As Ms Collett (and Michaela) was describing the angels and their array of transformations, I could easily picture what was happening as it was happening, without even closing my eyes. When someone was in trouble, I could feel it. When a beautiful or horrible scene was playing, I could see it and I could feel the emotions emanating from it. 
  These are the signs of a soon-to-be New York Times best selling saga writer. 
  Meg Collett has greatness awaiting her, I just know it.
  I am ecstatic, nervous and immensely excited to read on in the End of Days series, and I can only hope and pray that she has mercy on my favorite characters.

Book                                 ebook

The Lost One by Meg Collett:

The Lost One by Meg Collett is the second book in the End of Days trilogy, and now, it is my favorite. Before I started it, I chatted with Ms Collett and she told me that this installment of the End of Days series was her personal favorite, and that she thinks she did the best job on it.
  Of course I thought, "Oh, she's the author. It's different for her. I'm sure The Hunted One (book one) will continue to be my favorite out of the two."
  And now...I say this: Meg was right, and I was wrong.
  The Lost One is AMAZING! The continuation of the story, the plot development, and the character progression are beyond incredible. Of course I fell in love with Michaela and Clark as soon as they met in The Hunted One, but as I read on in The Lost One, I truly realized how exceptional they are. They're not just neat characters, they're some of my favorite characters in literary history! Their chemistry is absolute perfection.
  If you are not (YET) a fan of the End of Days series, let me catch you up...
  In The Hunted One, Michaela has just been tricked by her angelic brothers and sisters, she is now cast out of Heaven, and her wings have been extracted from her body. Clark (a human ally) stumbles across a nearly dead Michaela and helps to nurse her back to health. Together they fight to bring Heaven back to the way it once was.
  In The Lost One, Michaela has been betrayed by her love Gabriel, and she's desperately trying to protect the seals of Heaven from the ones who want it most, the Aethere. Meanwhile, the sky is (almost literally) falling, and the ten plagues are being cast on everyone around them. All Hell has broken loose.
  The way that Meg Collett tells this story is truly remarkable. She has a knack for storytelling, and a talent for putting me on the edge of my seat!
  These books are beyond brilliant, I just can't get enough of them.
  Which brings me to my next question...Meg, when will I get a book three??

Book                                 ebook

The Only One by Meg Collett:

It's here! The final installment of Meg Collett's End of Days series is here. 
We will finally know what happens to Michaela, Clark, Gabriel, and most importantly, heaven. 
Will Michaela return to heaven?
Will she fully forgive Gabriel? 
Will heaven fall?
The only way to find out is to read The Only One.
And I have.
As I read on in the End of Days series, I would repeat to myself, "There is no way I could love this book as much as I loved the previous one," and I was wrong. Each time. Meg Collett, with each book, captured my heart, my emotions, and of course, my reading time. 
The Only One was exactly the ending this incredible series deserves. It was flawless, breath-taking, impactful, and it will leave you wanting more, with an "I'm satisfied with this ending" chaser. That'll be your exact feeling when you finish it too. You will feel the most satisfaction when it's over, but also an overwhelming longing for more. 
Which is what reading is all about. The feelings that emanate from your very being when you read Meg Collett's End of Days series are the exact reasons why you adore reading so much in the first place. Meg Collett's books are pure love, and pure magic. 
I for one am VERY happy with this ending. And for some reason, I have a feeling that my love of Meg Collett's writing will long stay with me.
Well done, Ms Collett. Your End of Days series is a winner, and The Only One scratched just where I itched.
The Only One is well written, Meg Collett writes extremely likable characters- especially Michaela, who is a strong female lead- her stories are exceptional, and her End of Days series will capture your attention from the very first page. There is nothing I love more than a series that captures my heart from book one, and that is exactly what happened with Ms Collett's books. 
There are not enough nice things in the world I could say about these books. They are beautiful pieces of artwork, and I consider myself very lucky to be a recipient of them.
Meg, I cannot wait to see what brilliance you're going to come out with next.

Book                                 ebook

An Interview with the Star of the Hour Herself, Meg Collett:

The Literary Connoisseur: Hello, Meg! Thank you for stopping by The Literary Connoisseur and answering some questions about you, your life as an author, and your books, in celebration of your latest release, The Only One. If you're ready, lets begin! Are you a reader as well as a writer? If so, what do you enjoy reading? 

Meg Collett: I think of myself as a reader before a writer. I LOVE reading. Reading books made we want to become a writer. I enjoy reading all sorts of genres, fiction and nonfiction. I also love reading books by fellow authors and supporting the indie movement by leaving reviews and giving shout outs to that author. Right now, I’m reading Death at SeaWorld for research on my next project.

The Literary Connoisseur: Do you have a favorite place to write? Outside, or at your work desk perhaps? 

Meg Collett: I rotate between my desk and the couch to write and work. I’ve been working on the couch a lot lately so I can hang out with my dogs. Which is to say, my mastiff stretches out on the couch, and I huddle in a corner with my laptop perched on my knees.

The Literary Connoisseur: What would you like to say to your fans? 

Meg Collett: I would like to thank them for taking a chance on a new author and for supporting my End of Days series. It’s meant the world to me. I hope they’ll enjoy my next creation.

The Literary Connoisseur: What would you like to say to future fans of yours, or people who have not yet read your End of Days books?

Meg Collett: I would like to say that I think I’ve created a unique story that they’ll enjoy. The series has a little bit of everything in it: paranormal, fantasy, action and adventure, and romance. I wanted to write a story about redeeming yourself and rising from the ashes of your life to prevail and overcome. You may lose your faith along the way, but you never give up the fight. And I think I’ve accomplished that with this series.

The Literary Connoisseur: Do you have a particular writing strategy when first putting together a story? Does your Inspiration Board play a big part in your writing process? 

Meg Collett: I always, ALWAYS start with an outline. I know a lot of writers don’t use one, but I think sitting down and truly understanding your story takes time. And you don’t want to waste that time by writing what you don’t need. You can still discover new things while writing when you use an outline. I always revise my outline as I go. But outlines help you push your story to the best point. After I have a fleshed out outline, I’ll start writing. I just sit down and get the first draft done, NO MATTER WHAT. I don’t go back and edit, and I don’t reread what I write. I’ll typically write 2,000 words a day. But toward the middle to end of the story, I’ll increase to 5,000 words a day. The speed and quantity keep you in the story and keeps up the momentum. After that draft is done, I’ll do a slow read through and take notes on all the things I need to change. I stole this technique from Veronica Roth: I’ll start with a column of “issues,” and to the right I’ll have a column of “solutions” that I come up with as I work. After the slow read through, I’ll revise and send the second draft to my critique partner. Then it’s another revision and then off to beta readers. Then another revision process then off to the copy editor. Then I revise her notes then off to the proofreader. Then I accept those changes then back off to the formatter. He sends me files and upload them. VOILA! I have a published book. Easy, right?

The Literary Connoisseur: What is your favorite thing about being an author? 

Meg Collett: Getting to sit down and discover my stories. It’s one thing to have an idea for a story, but it’s something different altogether to truly become that story and live it while you’re writing it. I love having my first draft in my hands and preparing to make it the best story it can be. There’s no better feeling than accomplishing your vision for the book.

The Literary Connoisseur: How did you first come up with the plot for The Hunted One, the first book in your End of Days series? 

Meg Collett: Well, the plot for The Hunted One was six years in the making. I would write it, trash it, rewrite it, trash it, etc. I didn’t outline the first book and it showed, because I’d get halfway through and realize I had a huge, gaping plot hole. It took me YEARS to figure out the story I wanted to tell. Thankfully, I’ve matured beyond that point, but it was agonizing trying to plot the first book. I was still learning as a storyteller, so it just took me ages to put the pieces of the story together. Only when I sat down and outlined it, did I really begin to come up with the plot. By then, it was easy. It’s like driving a car: If you know the end goal, you can maneuver all over the map. You’re never lost if you know where you’re going to end up. And if you understand your characters and their motivations, you can make that journey exciting and meaningful for readers.

The Literary Connoisseur: Why write about angels? What about angels made you want to write about them? 

Meg Collett: The angel element was just another development along the six year road to The Hunted One. Suddenly, it just made perfect sense to make my characters angels. I was lying in bed one night and it just came to me. I jumped up and starting scribbling ideas down. I knew I wanted to tell a story about redemption and what better way to tell that story than with an angel who makes an awful mistake and has to fight to clear her name? It’s the ultimate redemption, because nothing is more pure or perfect than an angel.

The Literary Connoisseur: Which of you characters would you say are you most like? Would you say you're like Michaela or Clark in any way? 

Meg Collett: I’m similar to Michaela, because I identify with her. When I started writing the story, I needed to read about a character who had lost faith in herself but still fought for what was right anyway. At the time, I’d lost faith in myself, and I was struggling to handle things. Michaela was my outlet for all the emotions I was feeling at the time. I couldn’t make my life better, so I wrote about a beaten down character who still fought back and redeemed herself. In that way we are similar.

The Literary Connoisseur: What is your favorite thing about Clark, Michaela, and Gabriel? 

Meg Collett: My favorite thing about Clark is his loyalty. Everyone needs a best friend like him. And they are hard to find. I love him, because he never gives up on Michaela. Some people have said that Michaela is weak and indecisive, and I agree with them. She was an angel, the highest of all angels. She’s never known the other side of the line before. She’s never stood on the “wrong” side or the “bad” side. Right and wrong have always been black and white to her. So of course she struggles when she’s on Earth as a disgraced angel. But Clark never lets her give up. He is her moral compass, her lighthouse in the night. He lets her have her moment, but then he helps her pick herself back up even if he has to yell at her while he does it. That’s a good friend. And a best friend will put a smile on your face and a laugh in the air even in the toughest time.
Michaela…my favorite thing about her is her struggle. Sometimes the book is angsty and dark and riddled with self-doubt. But Michaela is honest and true in those times. She doesn’t skim over them just because she is an angel. Instead, she absorbs them and feels their impact because she is an angel. She has the greatest capacity for pain and grief because she has seen an eternity of it. So even though some people don’t like her struggles and indecision, I LOVE it. I admire Michaela for it because in the end, she overcomes it and she’s better for every struggle she experienced.
Gabriel’s issues are a little more external than Michaela’s, but he still struggles and overcomes them. But my favorite thing about Gabriel is his love for Michaela. In book one, we learn they are partners, created together and meant to be together for eternity. They share a unique love and bond for each other. But it’s tested on Earth, where everything isn’t perfect. Gabriel hates Michaela at times. He yells at her and hurts her as only those who truly loves us can hurt us. But I think that’s the most honest kind of love. There is no such thing as a knight in shining honor or a love that never fails or a happily ever after. And I think Gabriel represents that. He loves Michaela in the deepest way possible. He messes up and so does Michaela, but they come back to each other because their love isn’t superficial; it’s woven into every fiber of their existence.

The Literary Connoisseur: Are you currently working on any new projects? 

Meg Collett: Yes! I’m working on a new series. It’s sci-fi action with a bit of anarchy and romance thrown in. I first had the idea after watching the documentary, Blackfish. It’s about the killer whale that killed three people in captivity. Yet, SeaWorld still used him for entertainment (and willing put more trainers in the water with him until OSHA stepped in and banned it) and breeding, which only breeds in more aggression in SeaWorld’s already very inbreed killer whale calves. It’s one of those films that shakes the foundation you stand on. I’ve been to SeaWorld when I was little and I loved it. But only now did I stop and consider why we use these sentient, understanding creatures for entertainment. We put them in tiny tanks and push them into a psychosis where their only outlet is to kill.
And then I got to thinking…what if humans were the entertainment? What if in the future, scientists discover that our most powerful emotions cause disease and death? What does human nature mean when everyone can’t feel fear, doubt, love, etc.? What if we had to put a group of humans in a glass box and watch how they interact to remember what it feels like to hate or love? What would that be called? Reality television…perhaps? Exactly, and so The Glass House Series was born.

The Literary Connoisseur: Since the End of Days series is drawing to a close, how would you say you're feeling right now? Sad? Happy? Sentimental?

Meg Collett: As I finished writing the last book in the series, I cried every day. It’s hard to see this series come to a close, because I grew up with these characters and this story. It consumed my thoughts for years. To finish that…well, it’s tough. And scary. Delving into a new series is uncomfortable and hard. I can’t rely on Clark’s humor or Gabriel’s prickly silence to get me through scenes now. I have to understand new characters and a new world. It’s starting from scratch all over again. And that makes writing a book even harder. But I love it. And I’m already enjoying every second of my new main character, Wren.

The Literary Connoisseur: Meg, thank you again for honoring us all with this interview! You are a gem, and a sweetheart to do this for me, my fans, and your fans as well. Stay awesome, and Happy Reading (and Writing)!

About Meg Collett:

Meg Collett lives deep in the hills of Tennessee where there the cell phone service is a blessing and internet is a myth of epic proportions. She is the mother of one giant horse named Elle and two dogs named Wylla and Mandy. Her husband is a saint for putting up with her ragtag life. End of Days is her first series.

For more on Meg Collett, 

Like her on Facebook here!

Follow her on Twitter here!

Check out her website here!

Like her Goodreads page here!

And so we conclude this hour of Meg Collett, but I know deep down in my heart that my love of her work is not over, and her time to shine has only just begun.

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