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Gar Hits the Shelves

Ryann McManus, Sports Editor

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A meteor strikes his home town of Ada, South Carolina.  People go missing, but there is no evidence of the disaster.

No one seems to think this is strange except Ben McIntyre, one of the main characters in science teacher Megan Twiddy’s newly released YA novel, Gar.

Twiddy, who has always imagined writing a novel, got the idea for Gar in a dream.  

Initially, Twiddy’s dream consisted of a shark boy working together with teenagers to solve an environmental problem. However, realizing that shark boy already existed, Twiddy had to tweak her dream to turn it into a real novel.

The idea of shark boy eventually evolved into Gar, “named after a fish because he’s mistaken for a fish as a young alien,” Twiddy said.

Twiddy for a while did not think she would be able to have children.  She said, “Two of the main characters who are brother and sister I felt like were my children, so I gave them the names that I would have given my children.”

Even after the recent birth of Twiddy’s daughter Nell, Twiddy decided to keep the name for both her character and daughter.

In addition to being a loving family member and a passionate writer, Twiddy’s science background has also influenced her writing.  

Twiddy has loved writing ever since she was five, but also loves science.  She says, “I think that often times we say like ‘this is the career path that we’re following’ and then when we transition to something else then we’ll do that, you know, and I really felt like, there’s no reason I can’t do both.”

Twiddy believes that her background in science helped her to write Gar because she has a great sense of observation.  Using these skills, she says she was able to accurately convey how teenagers interact with each other and with adults since the majority of the book is dialogue based.

Science has also allowed Twiddy to convey her novel with clear and concise language because scientists have to be direct and to the point when proving a point.  

“I’m interested in being direct with my audience,” Twiddy says.  But at the same time, she is interested in “keeping some things from them so there is a bit of a mystery.”

After one year of writing and three years of editing, Twiddy clearly dedicated a lot of her time to Gar.  But between teaching in the science department and spending time with her new family, one can only imagine when she found time to write.

When Twiddy’s first husband was diagnosed with cancer, she was constantly at the hospital spending time with him and wanted something to do other than just sit around.

“We, each of us, you know really found things that we loved to do, and this was it for me,” Twiddy said.

Twiddy’s husband was her biggest supporter, and when he passed away, Twiddy says that it was through finishing the book that she was able to cope with his sickness and death.

Twiddy self-edited Gar, which is probably the reason why it took three years to do so, she says.  After continuously sending hundreds of query letters to editors about Gar and being rejected time and time again, one editor told Twiddy about self-publishing, something that she had never really thought about.

After no one picked up Gar for publishing, Twiddy moved to the self-publishing route, using Amazon to sell.

Twiddy hopes that readers of all ages will be drawn to Gar and drive its success and hopefully, someone will eventually pick up Gar and publish it, but if not, she will continue to self-publish her novels.

After Amazon’s initial six weeks of being the exclusive seller, Twiddy hopes to reach out to local bookstores and ask them to sell her book.

Twiddy continues to publicize her new book through social media, but also looks forward to book readings, and signings that will hopefully come after word gets out about her book.

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