Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Character Interview: Meg and Ethan from THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING

I’m continuing the topic this week on the Lucky 13s blog with an interview of my main characters. I’ll have to agree with Elizabeth May – this was really hard! But before we get to the interview, here’s a quick description of my book, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING.

Meg Jones is sick of lying. With each new placement comes a fake name and false identity. The suits have dropped her family in a new small town – Natchitoches, Louisiana. All Meg knows about Louisiana is hurricanes and oil spills.

She’s not expecting great things.

To make matters worse, her mom’s drinking has turned dangerous and her little sister is barely talking anymore. Meg’s leaving friends behind in every town they burn through, and it hurts.

So Meg devises The Plan. This placement will be different: no friends, no activities, and most importantly - no more running. She wants her old life back. No matter what it takes, Meg’s done with Witness Protection.

 To be released in Winter 2013 by Disney-Hyperion

ASHLEY: Meg! Meg! I would love to ask you a few questions…wait, where are you going?

[Meg Jones ducks and runs as I call her name. Ethan Landry watches her flee the room then ambles towards me.]

ASHLEY: Hey, Ethan. Guess Meg wasn’t up to this interview today.

Ethan: You know how she is. She’s doesn’t like to talk about herself.

ASHLEY: Have a seat. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about her.

[Ethan leans back in the chair across from me]

ETHAN: Well, I’ll tell you what I know but it’s not much. Meg’s really good at dodging personal questions.

ASHLEY: I see that. So, Meg is new to Natchitoches. Where did she move from?

ETHAN: She says she’s from Arkansas but I’m not sure I believe that.  

ASHLEY: Why do you think she’s not telling you the truth?

ETHAN: She doesn’t know jack about Arkansas.

ASHLEY: Y’all are close, right?

ETHAN: I guess. You never know with Meg. Some days she’s normal but then others she’s got this crazy look in her eye like she’s fixin’ to come apart.

ASHLEY: What about her family?

ETHAN: She has a little sister named Mary that seems really shy. I can barely get two words out of her. Still haven’t met her dad, Meg never lets me inside her apartment, but I think something’s wrong with her mom.

ASHLEY: Oh … what makes you think that?

ETHAN: Anytime I’ve ever gotten close enough to meet her mom, Meg freaks out and runs me off. 

ASHLEY: Okay. Let’s talk about something else then. How do you think Meg likes living in Louisiana?

ETHAN: I guess she likes it okay. Sometimes she looks at us like we’re from another planet.

ASHLEY: Is she fitting in well at school?

ETHAN: No. Not really. But I don’t think she’s trying either.

ASHLEY: Gosh, this doesn’t sound good. I really thought she’d like it here.

ETHAN: Yeah, me too.

ASHLEY: Since you’re here, can I ask you a few questions?

ETHAN: Shoot.

ASHLEY: I see you’re covered in mud again – been at the farm?

ETHAN: Yeah, it’s getting pretty cold so I had to put some feed out. And the tractor broke down again. Work never ends out there.

ASHLEY: If you could take Meg on the perfect date, what would it be?

ETHAN: Let me think about that. It wouldn’t be a party – being with a big group of people makes her nervous. It would have to be somewhere Meg feels safe – I know that sounds nuts but she’s different when that scared look leaves her eyes. Maybe our date could be at the camp house on the farm, away from everybody else. I’d cook dinner and we’d just hang out. Watch a movie. I think she’d like that.

ASHLEY: That does sound like something she’d like. If Meg is so closed off, why are you trying so hard to get to know her?

ETHAN: Not sure, there’s just something about her. Maybe I’m as crazy as she is.   

ASHLEY: I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to talk with Meg. I was really hoping to get a few answers out of her.

ETHAN: [laughs] Get in line.

 ASHLEY: If there were three things you could ask Meg and she HAD to answer – what would it be?

ETHAN: Man, that’d be great. I guess one would be – where is she really from because it’s not Arkansas. Umm… I’d love to know what’s going on with her family. Something’s not right there. And the last question would have to be – what happened that’s got her so scared.

ASHLEY: Great, Ethan. Thanks so much for talking with me.

ETHAN: No problem.

Ashley Elston is a writer and occasional portrait photographer. She lives in Shreveport, Louisiana with her husband, Dean and their three young sons. Ashley also helps run her husband’s landscaping business but only because it’s a good excuse to dig in the dirt.   

Ashley also can be found on twitter or her blog.


  1. Great interview, Ashley! I'm looking forward to learning more about Meg and loved the fact that you had her fleeing the scene immediately. I'll have to email you privately about your main characters' names: I'm very close to an Ethan and a Meg.

  2. What an intriguing interview! Can't wait to read the book and find out more about Meg.

  3. I've never thought about interviewing my characters, though I do sometimes write sample diary entries for them. This was very intriguing! Nothing better than an unreliable narrator. I just love it when you know a character isn't being entirely honest. Can't wait to read it!